Skip to comments.Powell OKs Private Ryan's F-words
Posted on 12/16/2004 11:14:18 AM PST by Tumbleweed_Connection
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell has recommended the agency ignore indecency complaints filed against ABC television stations that aired the film "Saving Private Ryan" that included at least 20 uses of the "f" word during prime time viewing hours.
Many of those complaints were generated by American Family Association members.
According to Donald Wildmon, American Family Association Chairman, Powell's reason for taking no action opens the door for broadcasters to air anything. Powell stated that the use of profanity was part of an accurate representation of the events making them acceptable. "Using Powell's reasoning, there would be no limits regarding what could be shown and the law regarding indecent material would be null and void, " Wildmon said.
"If Powell can get only two other Commissioners to agree with him, then the networks and local broadcasters will be free to show anything. Everything they show, no matter how indecent could be classified as being an accurate representation. That is what they have been wanting for years. Powell is only two votes away from giving the broadcasters their desire.
"Chairman Powell has a sworn obligation to enforce Broadcast Decency laws. His lobbying other commissioners to disregard the law as well to the satisfaction of ABC executives is a betrayal of the public trust. Certain language on the public airwaves is a violation, regardless of the entertainment value he may perceive it to contain.
"We realize it is important for families, especially our children, to recognize the sacrifices made by our loved ones during wartime. However, airing excessively profane language during prime-time television hours is not necessary to convey that sacrifice. We believe ABC should have aired their salute to heroes without violating broadcast decency laws."
AFA is urging Congress to get Powell to fulfill his obligations to the public and enforce the law.
Next...Scarface and Glengarry Glen Ross
In my opinion, anyone that thinks Private Ryan's language or violence is "innaproriate" is a damn fool. Either watch a very realistic account of a critical point in American history (which is so damn rare in today's media), or don't. Certain things rise above the normal rules.
So it appears that the stations that chose not to run it were justified, as the AFA did indeed file complaints. Don't these people have anything better to do?
If I were in combat I'd be using the f word all the time (when I'm just in rush hour traffic, it's a staple in my vocabulary.) But I do wonder, is there really the need to let the f word be audible? You and I know what's being said. Perhaps, if the f word was inaudible, we could weed out the "indecent words" and a child could view the film and not be subjected to the f word...just the horrific blood, guts and shear trauma of war....
(sigh) I'll say it again--ABC wasn't televising "Debbie Does Dallas." It was the first truly realistic look (for the most part) at a pivotal time in the history of the world.
Have you ever seen"The Longest Day"?
Have you ever seen "Patton" on TV?
There are ways to do handle this.
i voted for dubya 2x, but this is just plain stupid.
you see, wait until the next democrat fcc and there will be some changes in the so-called fairness doctrine that folks who listen to talk radio will not like.
i view freedom of speech as inviolable.
"Put that coffee down. That coffees for closers".
Was there ever any doubt they'd file such complaints? It doesn't matter, though, since the FCC can choose to either listen to or reject such complaints. You and I could raise all kinds of hell about the indecency of "Muppet Babies," but that doesn't mean the FCC will do anything about it!
I disagree. Put it on cable or air it in a later time slot. Otherwise, buy the DVD. This opens a can of worms and the last thing I need is a Spike Lee movie about "real life in da hood" complete with colorful linguistics aired in it's original form under the protection of the "Private Ryan Amendment".
Oh please. More early Hollywood fluff. I'd seen both of those before "Saving Private Ryan," as had many others, and there's no comparison as to the realism of the latter over its predecessors.
"In my opinion, anyone that thinks Private Ryan's language or violence is "innaproriate" is a damn fool."
It simply comes down to what type of language we wish to use, and hand to our impressionable children.
Picture a six year old, with Mom in the grocery checkout line. The little one says: "Make my f*****g day."
Mom nods, and encourages the young one to finish the movie dialogue they watched last night at 7:00 PM.
Different settings and age roups, for language colorations, please.
Keep the language clean, for primetime TV.
Yeah, the horrific part would be a lot better for children than the fword, or a nipple....
"By golly, sarge, a darn bullet just shattered my darn hand."
"Certain things rise above the normal rules."
True, in emergency situations. Otherwise, why bother with rules at all?
This is not an emergency.
Patton ain't fluff! A poetic treatment of a fascinating figure.
It's my belief that, if a parent wishes to expose their adolescent to real history, then make sure it is real. As for a seven year old picking up the F-word from watching SPR at 10pm - well, with parents that slack, they probably know it anyway.
Lee actually made (as far as I'm aware) the only Hollywood feature to date dealing with 9/11...at least in the background. 25th Hour...it was very good.
Also parents can pick up the remote and change the channel.. It is real simple.
I've noticed many around here lately that think the f word uttered in public is in and of itself evil and a valid excuse for physical retaliation against the offender. However, I personally see no problem with airing an unedited movie.
"Patton"'s look at the man was indeed excellent, but, for the most part, it's portrayal of the war's violence and horror wasn't any more realistic than "The Longest Day."
I once had a minister (Christian) friend who put it in this very perspective.
"...a movie this accurate should not be edited."
Fine. Then don't show it at prime time.
The truth of the matter is all movies are edited. This one can be edited successfully for the audience or time slot as well. Think of what we all missed that is lying around on the cutting room floor. I want my money back!!
If the movie needs the language that bad, it was poorly written (and yes I've seen the movie several times).
...but don't get me wrong, of course we should avoid using such slang, but hell, if I were in battle, I'd sure not be worried about what I was saying...and therefore it is silly to think that this movie could be realistic without a whole lotta cussin'!!
And, by the way, the cursing in SPA is NOT gratuitous.
OTOH, I would hate to see the movie used an excuse to make the F word common to be used in prime time.
I agree with the ruling ~ we don't need censorship ~ we need personal responsibility!
There was plenty of warning about the content of the movie.
I learned the "F" word in the first grade ~ I'm 74 and still use it ~ it works wonderfully as an adjective, noun and verb. :)
Applying the Michael Powell principle, "Boogie Nights" could be shown uncensored because the language and "adult situations" are accurate depictions of what takes place in the dehumanizing pornography industry. There are things that can be done to render a movie like "Private Ryan" less harmful, e.g. frequent violence warnings and muting the more offensive language.
Well, whether right or wrong, this is just going to give more ammo to Howard Stern, and his crazy theory that the FCC is out to get him and only him.
I don't believe that there's a specific vendetta or program against him, but instances like this give me pause. There really isn't any difference between when "bad" language is used on H.S. and in this movie. They're both being used in a conversational manner. So if anyone on this thread or reading this now didn't have a problem with Saving Private Ryan running, unedited, because the language in it was "conversational", then I hope you're consistent and let Stern off the hook for the same reason. And if you want to talk about sexual content being worse than the extreme violence in "Ryan"....sheesh, ok....anyone who thinks that "wins" this argument, I guess. :|
I mean really. It's becoming increasingly difficult, even for someone like me who loves this administration, to justify some of the actions of people chosen by it (in this case, Powell). Consistency is a *good* thing, sometimes, you know?
Hypocrites, all of them....
Request Granted, my child.
It is the setting of the precedent that turns me off. Much like the push to allow foreign born immigrants to run for President (The Ah-nold Amendment). It sounds great if it helps a candidate you like, but you open up the future possibility of allowing a greater influence by, say, the Chinese Communist Party. Or maybe a fat-cat Indonesian F.O.B.?
I think we need to expand the rating system for movies shown on television. If the fword is used anywhere in the movie, then there must be an "F" superimposed on the screen in the lower right-hand corner. Make them flash the "F" for five seconds before the word is said, giving viewers ample time to change the channel, if they would be offended. See, there's at least one solution to every problem.
These people are just as bad as the ACLU clowns.
I hate busybodies, whether it's from the right or left...as for Private Ryan I just don't see lots of people watching it edited on TV anyway. Buy the fricking DVD and a cheap Made in China DVD player from Walmart. Sheesh....
These hyper-prides at American Family Association need to get a life.
Thanks Mike. Of course, the horse is already gone, but its nice to know the barn door is closed.
From a parent's perspective, if I objected to my child hearing the Fword, I also objected to my child seeing the violence of real war. So I think it's a moot point, really. Show the film uneditted with a warning to parents of violence and adult language. The parents should make the decision to remove their children. My opinion.
This isn't about whether or not some or all of us use bad language, or whether SPR is or isn't a good movie.
The point really is that the FCC has established regulations and ABC TV knowingly violated them. The end (i.e. in this case some enlightenment about the horrors of war) doesn't justify the means. This is just another example of trying to change the law by backdoor methods.
Separate the issue of whether the "f word" should be permitted and debate it all you want for the future. But that issue has been decided under the FCCs interpretation of indecency and Michael Powell once again lacks the guts to enforce his agencies own rules. If you wonder what I mean, go check his record, he's as bad at Clinton when it comes to blowing in the political wind).
On all sides.
NBC aired Schindler's List completely unedited in 1997, including every curse word, all the violence, and full frontal nudity, and I don't remember any such outcry to the FCC. Parental warnings were aired repeatedly during both movies that these films were not intended for the kiddies.
The thing about the the f-word in Private Ryan is that its use is neither gratuitous nor prurient.
Dare I hope for Goodfellas?
"...gratuitous nor prurient."
I'm impressed. Gotta get the dictionary....
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