According to a Reuters article, the “U.S. government’s crackdown on media indecency could prevent World War Two veterans from sharing their stories in an upcoming TV documentary series by Ken Burns, the head of the Public Broadcasting Service said Wednesday.” The piece continues:
Noted filmmaker Burns’ highly anticipated seven-part series “The War” features salty language used by servicemen and others. If the expletives make it to air, they could lead to crippling fines for the offending stations as a result of a new law signed last month by President George W. Bush. […] Under the new law, fines rise to as much as $325,000 per violation from $32,500.
That’s the kind of news that warms the cockles of my heart. Because I for one am sick and tired of foul language and obscenity on television (except on 24 — man, that show is cool). I know it could be argued that no word is inherently foul — that, say, vagina and pussy refer to exactly the same thing, and one is only considered dirty because, well, because it’s considered dirty. But that kind of argument is just not Christian. We need taboos, whether the taboo thing is inherently bad or not. We need taboos as an early warning system, you see, because if someone is willing to walk about in public using the p-word — who knows what else he might do? It tells us as a society that he must be watched — closely — because here is a man who does not follow the rules.
Now, sure, it might seem like a good idea to let aged World War Two veterans tell the stories of their experiences in their own words — but if they are allowed to use such language on television, who knows who else might expect the privilege?
Just because something is absolutely harmless, well that’s no reason to go allowing it. If we let people do harlmess things, that’s a slippery slope right into the harmful.