Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Making The Occasional Aesthetic Judgment

Memo to America's blue-nosed Busybody Brigade: YOU ARE DUMB.
Two stories from America's Metaphorical Heartland, the land of the alleged "moral values", the tittyhaters, the gay-bashers, the people who, as others have said, would be called "radical clerics" if their skin were a few shades darker.
The FCC has asked for tapes of, get this, the Olympic opening ceremonies. You know, the ones from five fucking MONTHS ago? Seems they've received unspecified complaints that NBC may have aired "indecent" material, and whenever they get complaints they must investigate. Even if, as has been demonstrated, their complaints are all coming from knee-jerk PTC Internet form-clicks.
The ceremonies included naked people portraying naked statues, but as there was no outcry at the time, and as NBC knew about that ahead of time and was not going to get caught in a Nipplegate for an event with a huge overnight tape delay, nobody has any fucking clue what the FCC is looking for, but they're looking! They have to ferret out the subtle, lingering effects of any indecency from this past summer lest... lest... lest... um, something horrible will happen?
Moving on to the "It's Not Censorship If It's Not The Goverment, But It's Still Fucking Stupid" department, a Maryland couple is suing Wal-Mart. Normally, I would be on the side of Trevin and Melanie Skeens, despite their ridiculous names, because Wal-Mart is, well, Wal-Mart.
But the Skeenses are suing Wal-Mart because they let their thirteen-year-old daughter buy the new Evanescence CD from Wal-Mart, and when they played it in the car and got to track 5, "Thoughtless", they were SHOCKED to hear the F-word TWICE. On an album that had NO warning sticker! Oh, Tipper Gore, why hast thou forsaken us? Our thirteen-year-old, Evanescence-buying daughter has heard the F-word for the first time EVER! And it's Wal-Mart's fault for selling it!
The Skeenses actually sort of have a case there, because the song's available at Walmart's web site, where the offending F-Bomb was disarmed by the classic "silence over the UCK" move. Plus, if Wal-Mart didn't put its huge retail muscle behind CD's without warning stickers, record companies might not be tempted to avoid slapping labels on borderline CD's. But the Skeenses problems run a lot deeper than a bit of big-box retail malfeasance.
First, of course... EVANESCENCE. If they're really concerned about their daughter's development, maybe they should stop her from listening to music she'll beforced to lie about having liked within five to ten years. As someone who went to see Hall and Oates live during middle school, I can tell you a couple of well-placed "fucks" during Maneater would have drastically reduced the subsequent emotional scarring.
Second of all, I looked at all the lyrics to "Thoughtless" to count the F-bombs, and... actually, this is more of "First", isn't it? Forget that "Second" part. Fuckety fuck on fuck-toast with fuck-butter and a light sprinkling of fuck-cinnamon, those are some bad lyrics. They're so bad I can't bring myself to make the obligatory "Thoughtless" joke. They're awful. "I will not be bound by your thoughtless scheming"? That's what I'd worry about your daughter hearing. That "thoughtless" is an appropriate adjective to modify "scheming".
Skeens, of course, isn't trying to scam some money by abusing the courts with his Puritan frivolity. He's merely using the legal system for its intended use, to stop corporations from harming our nation's children. It's ACTUAL LEGAL QUOTE TIME!
"I don't want any other families to get this, expecting it to be clean. It needs to be removed from the shelves to prevent other children from hearing it." - And I certainly empathise with the goal of legally restraining children from ever hearing Evanescence, because, as we have previously established, Evanescence is poo.
But people need to realize that in the Information Age, all the labels and restrictive corporate policies in the world are going to keep their kids from hearing, and using, the Big Eff. Just fire the lawyer and teach the kid not to sing the shitty Evanescence song in front of Grandma, and we'll all be fine. Well, except for the kid listening to Evanescence, they're doomed to a lifetime of regret and shame, but it's too late for that now.