I know we can but SHOULD we?

According to this thread,

in the US, it is allowed to say “shit” on TV but should people say “shit” on TV? Do you think it is contributing to the moral demise of our society, or is it just another word that people shouldn’t get the panties in a wad about? What about other questionable words?

Personally, I think that if the majority of people consider a particular word to be vulgar in everyday usage (i.e. You would not use it in a business meeting), then you probably shouldnt be using it on TV.

What are your opinions? Let the debate begin!

Depends. Context is extremely important in its usage. Allow me to quote George Carlin on this very topic:

I’m all in favor of words that are in common usage appearing on television.

Why not? Plenty of folks, including myself, enjoy vulgar humor. As long as they’re not using that word in children’s shows, what’s the problem? Why should TV have to adhere to your personal standards?

Well, I wouldn’t say “Dude!” or “Wasssssssup!” in a business meeting, but that doesn’t mean those words shouldn’t be said on TV.

Way back in the dawn of time, it was pointed out in an issue of Mad magazine that bleeping out cusswords on TV was usually counter-productive–most of the people watching knew all the words, and they just made stuff up to fill in the blanks that was worse than what was actually said.

We can’t get around the fact that TV is going to be showing us things that we don’t see in everyday life–if it did, we wouldn’t watch it. ER may be a good show, but if it was the only show on, and you worked in an emergency room, would you watch it? Likewise with language–we’re going to hear people saying things we don’t hear all the time. Sometimes they’re going to be cusswords, sometimes they’ll be street slang. If you don’t like the language, watch a different show.

Slight tangent… at my son’s grade school, the kids weren’t allowed to say “hell.” They also weren’t allowed to say “heck” because everybody knew it was an euphemism for “hell…” My reaction? “The hell…?”

Ethilrist wrote:

Must’ve made it awfully hard to talk about the Bible…

Marge: So, what did you children learn about today?
Bart: Hell.
Homer: Bart!
Bart: But that’s what we learned about.
I sure as HELL can’t tell you we learned about HELL
unless I say HELL, can’t I?
Homer: Well, the lad has a point.
Bart: Hell, yes!
Marge: Bart!
Bart: [singing] Hell, Hell, Hell, Hell, …
Marge: Bart, you’re no longer in Sunday School. Don’t swear.

*“Allow me to quote George Carlin on this very topic” <snip> *

I seem to recall him having said once, (with TV speech in mind) that you could prick your finger but you couldn’t finger your prick.

“Ixnay on the ashholetray!”

Like Ethilrist said, there’s little point in censoring TV shows. They’ll always come up with something else to substitute in, and the substitute, while not being as “bad” on paper, will easily drum up the same sort of images/feelings as the “bad” words themselves.

Then again, if you were to suddenly lift the censors off of TV shows, you’ll see a MASSIVE influx of “fucks”, “shits”, and “assholes” to TV shows.


Mick Jagger once said in an interview that once in the 60’s, the Stones were on television performing and they bleeped the word “make” in the line “trying to make some girl.” Mick thought this was the stupidest thing ever, because if you have never heard the song before and you hear “trying to (bleep) some girl”, you’re not going to think the word was “make”!

The movies self-censored for decades. You’d be surprised what lengths of self-censorship TV might go to to keep the Bible-thumpers happy.

RickJay wrote:

I wouldn’t exactly call the iron fist of the Hayes office “self censorship.”

Well, if the scene takes place in a business meeting then you shouldn’t use word inapproprait to a business meeting. But if it takes place somewhere people would normally say “shit”,- a bar, a prison, a junior high cafeteria- then say “shit”.


Oh no. “Shit”'s ok but “Wasssssssup” should not be said on television. Or in real life.

A phenomenon that I’ve noticed regarding this subject that I find utterly fascinating is that most times on wtbs,usa or tnt or other low-budget movie channels when they have movies with profanities(specifically “God Damn”), they bleep out the word “God” but fail to bleep the “damn”.
In other words, the censors feel that “God” is offensive!

Chris W.
“It’s weird, isn’t it?”
–J. Ramone

I don’t think such words should be censored from TV or movies at all. What’s the absolute worst thing that would happen if Big Bird says “fuck”? Kids would start saying it. But that’s not a bad thing unless you already think that saying “fuck” is a bad thing. If the only reason one thinks something is bad is because it promotes others to do it, then there’s a horrible circularity in one’s argument that should be made apparant.

I can just hear the conversation now:
“Why is swearing bad?”
“Because if our kids hear it, they will swear.”
“But why is swearing bad?”
“Well, we don’t want other people to start swearing, do we?”
“Why not? What’s wrong with swearing?”
“It makes others swear too!”
“And what’s wrong with that?”
and so on.

That said, I’ve noticed that many shows throw in swear words that are just silly in their placement. They try to be “real” and “gritty” by using swear words, and it often doesn’t work.

I think the biggest reason of censorship on television is advertising. You should have seen the stuff that the PTC went through with advertisers of the WWF. With South Park now allowing the word “shit” to be said, there will probably be more people watching the show, but it will probably be even harder for Comedy Central to get advertisers during that time slot. If you want to know why curse words aren’t seen more often on TV, look no further than the Bible pushing assholes that boycott TV stations and there advertisers (which they find more convenient than changing the channel).

Lets go back to why words are bad in the first place…

The anglo-saxons said shit (or something like it) instead of poop. The normans conquered the anglo-saxons, and thus the anglo-saxon language was considered inferior. Therefore, an anglo-saxon word used to mean something instead of a norman word, was bad. That, ladies and gentleman, is why we have bad words.

I think, though, that these words are not bad. Especially words such as fuck, which can mean so many different things and be used in so many different ways. Example: “I didn’t fucking tell her ugly fucking face that i wasn’t going to fuck her ugly fucking pussy, because that would be too fucked up. Instead i wrote a stupid fucking letter.”