You can only control so much of what your kids see and hear. Once they’re in school, your kids’ vocabulary gets mashed up with others, resulting in, for example, first graders learning “firetruck” is a substitute or code word for “the F word.”

How and where do 1st and 2nd graders get that? At home?

Yes, I’ve changed. Parenting will do that to you. Indecent language is an interesting topic and it concerns the highest court in the land — and Rupert Murdoch.

The case before the Supreme Court (FCC v. Fox Television Stations, 07-582) had this ruling being issued recently, as reported by TV Newsday and the AP:

The Supreme Court ruled narrowly Tuesday in favor of a government policy that threatens broadcasters with fines over the use of even a single curse word on live television, yet stopped short of deciding whether the policy violates the Constitution.

In six separate opinions totalling 68 pages, the justices signaled serious concerns about the constitutionality of the Federal Communications Commission’s “fleeting expletives” policy, but called on a federal appeals court to weigh whether it violates First Amendment guarantees of free speech.

Yes, the FCC rules over broadcast television and radio. Kids watch TV and listen to the radio (mine listen to satellite radio in the car, but I know which stations to avoid and which are “safe”). They’ll hear the bad words from others, but not at home. There are no “fleeting expletives” here.

Well, guess what? My kids are on the Internet, doing searches. We watch what they do and where they go, but it only takes a few seconds to click on an “indecent” link. I think “decency” varies from one culture to another, and, as any anthropologist will tell you, culture is always changing, adapting, evolving.

I was listening to George Carlin’s “Class Clown” album at age 12 (with my brother, who was 9 at the time) at my neighbor’s, who had older siblings. It was their record and we got a kick out of the “seven words you can’t say on television.” See that? That was 35+ years ago. Think it’s easier now? Hardly.

Personally, ads for ED drugs and some personal care products don’t belong on TV between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.


My, how quickly the years go by. The New York Times reports:

Fox said it had renewed “The Simpsons” for two more years, confirming that the animated series will become the longest-running prime time TV series in history.

That record has been held for more than three decades by “Gunsmoke,” the TV Western that ended in 1975 after 20 years. The current season of “The Simpsons” tied “Gunsmoke,” and its 21st season will surpass it. In testament to the long-lasting appeal of the fictional people of Springfield, Homer Simpson will keep inventing new catch-phrases through at least 2011, when the 22nd season would theoretically end. (The show is still young by Mr. Burns’ standards.)

With the two-season order, the series will reach the 493-episode mark, according to Fox. A year-long celebration of the series’ twentieth anniversary started in January and will conclude on Jan. 14, 2010.

I haven’t watched the show in years. Come to think of it, I wasn’t a regular viewer of Gunsmoke, either (I preferred Bonanza).

With The Simpsons, I’ve always enjoyed the “couch gag” during the shows’ intros (there’s even a Bonanza version; wait for it, around the 3:50 mark):