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I swear it's a good time to be an American

January 18, 2012

The Obama administration has come out in opposition to profanity. I can't wait to see how Michele Bachmann tries to spin this one.

"President Obama is trying to take God out of da..." No, never mind.

But she doesn't need to take him to task, because I am, along with former state Del. Anita Stup, front and center to do it for her.

The matter came up because the TV networks have gone to court arguing that since fictional cable television characters are allowed to swear, fictional network characters should be allowed to swear, too.

You can tell the war's over; now we're getting back to the stuff that really matters.

"Today, broadcasting is neither uniquely pervasive nor uniquely accessible to children, yet broadcasters are still denied the same basic First Amendment freedoms as other media," Washington lawyer Carter G. Phillips, who represents Fox and other networks, told the court in a brief, as quoted in the Washington Post.

It's gotta be awkward for Fox, spokesnetwork for family values-oriented politicians (when they're not busy having affairs, that is), to be arguing for the right to curse a blue streak right in front of little Chauncy.

But that might be a red herring, designed to divert attention away from the profanity as free speech angle which, it should be noted, no one subscribes to more than me.

And if I could take a moment to put a little bug in my editor's ear, if the Supreme Court rules in favor of swearing on network television, I feel fairly sure that protection would extend to various unnamed newspaper columnists as well.

Not that it will help me. No lie, someone wrote in last spring to complain when I used the word "freaking," which the writer argued was tantamount to something else.

So in the spirit of compromise, I agreed to only use the word "freaking" once a year. I didn't use it for the balance of 2011, but sharp readers will note that the word resurfaced in my Jan. 1, 2012, year in review. So now I've poohed the scrooch for the whole entire year, unless the Supreme Court bails me out.

Me and Anita.

My old friend (and I honestly believe she would be disappointed if I didn't bring this up) has been in the news lately for swearing on a Frederick, Md., radio talk show, hosted by Frederick County Commissioner Blaine R. "Not Quite a Full Blagojevich Hairdo Yet, But Getting Warm" Young.

Ms. Stup was referring to a member of the county planning commission, and, in so doing, fell back on the old female dog equivalent. According to news accounts, Young made a good-faith effort to activate the station's seven-second delay, but was laughing too hard to find the button.

All right, I might have added that last part, but you get the idea.

The victim of the attack has filed a complaint with the Humane Society, I mean the Federal Communications Commission, contending that Stup's comment was both profane and personal — which, of course, it was, but why else would you use profanity?

I mean, it's not like people go around saying, "You know, she is the most loving, kind-hearted %#!* the planning commission has ever seen." Well, maybe if you're a Republican.

Anyway, this is why it's good to be an American. Where else could you argue that you have a right to swear in front of the children just because someone else is swearing in front of the children?

All I can say is that the networks better hope cable doesn't jump off the Empire State Building.



Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via email at timr@herald-mail.com. Tune in to the Rowland Rant on www.herald-mail.com, on antpod.com or on Antietam Cable's WCL-TV Channel 30 at 6:30 p.m. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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