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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Emmys Marred by Fox's Heavy-Handed Censorship

Sadly, the most striking thing about the Emmys on Fox tonight was the three times they cut off a speaker, and went to a lame shot of a glittering black ball on the ceiling.

The first time, presenter Ray Romano was saying something about Frasier- cut to the glittering ball.

The second time, Katherine Heigl had just won the Emmy for best supporting actress for Grey's Anatomy. "Shit...," she started to say from her seat in audience- cut to the glittering ball.

These two instances were annoying. What, are we the American people all children, that we cannot hear such language? Is there a scintilla of evidence that children are in fact harmed by hearing such words?

But the third cut was far worse. Sally Field, on stage to accept her Emmy Award for best actress for a drama - Brothers and Sisters - was talking about the pain of war, and dared to say that, "if mothers ruled the world, maybe there would be no more godda-"

Cut to the glittering ball. We're not allowed to hear the phrase "goddamned war," even though war is just that.

David Chase, up on stage at the end of the Emmys for The Sopranos' much justified win as best dramatic series, mused ... "and, hell, let's face it, if the world and this nation were run by gangsters, maybe- maybe it is...."

My wife immediately observed - Chase must have heard what they did to Sally Field.

The Federal Communications Commission, under whose unconstitutional rule the networks are afraid to treat Americans like adults, are certainly political gangsters. Someday, I hope soon, an enlightened President and Congress will banish the FCC into the has-been of history, the bygone affront to democracy, it deserves to be. Ron Paul would certainly do that, and I'd hope John Edwards, Barack Obama, or one of the other good Democrats.

In the meantime, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences should think about moving the Emmys telecast to cable.



MC said...

While I do applaud Dr. Paul's commitment to constitutional issues especially freedom of speech, I do worry about his take on the division between church and state.

"The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers. On the contrary, our Founders’ political views were strongly informed by their religious beliefs. Certainly the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both replete with references to God, would be aghast at the federal government’s hostility to religion. The establishment clause of the First Amendment was simply intended to forbid the creation of an official state church like the Church of England, not to drive religion out of public life."
-Dr. Ron Paul The War on Religion

Paul Levinson said...

An interesting point. But, actually, I pretty much agree with Ron Paul's interpretation on this. As long as the government is careful not to (and is forbidden from) establishing any official religion, I see no real problem with putting up Christmas trees, or whatever.

And I say this as someone who is pretty much an agnostic (or, at most, someone who believes in Emerson's transcendentalism - we, all humans, are the deity)...

Anonymous said...

"Putting up Christmas trees"? Sounds like a Bill O'Reilly example of a war on religion--trivializing the real issues like using religion to ban abortion or gay marriage.

Paul Levinson said...

Anon: banning abortion and gay marriage has nothing to do with the government being friendly to religions - both of those bans are wrong, whatever the government's attitudes towards religions

Or put otherwise: you don't need a restriction on government involvement with religion to stop government from banning abortion or gay marriage.

MC said...

Apparently the Canadian network running the Emmys did not censor the speeches(I was watching football last night, so I didn't watch the Emmys).

Re: Separation of Church and State. I think there exists two disparate visions of the foundation of the United States, neither of which truly existed. On one side, there is the view that the Founding Fathers set about to create a "Christian" nation from top to bottom, and clearly that was not the intention and the constitution does not support that interpretation. The argument that Under God is in the Pledge of Allegiance and In God We Trust is on money doesn't hold water as you well know Paul because of when those changes were introduced.

At the same time, the argument that the Founding Fathers were hard-core, dyed in the wool anti-religionists as is advanced by a lot of atheists is also not true. While there are a lot of quotes to support such a claim, the fact is, also not supported constitutionally.

The reason I am sort of down on Ron Paul's views in this one particular element of his interpretation of the constitution is he sees the Founding Fathers vision for the new country as being a "robustly Christian yet religiously tolerant America", which I do not take away from either the constitution or history (especially when you look at the events of the French Revolution which had many of the same intellectual roots). While I don't see the American Founding Fathers seeking out the high level of secularization that their French contemporaries, I also don't see them envisioning a purely and robustly Christian nation.

In the end, I think Dr. Paul's belief puts him a bit too close to the first camp I mentioned above.

Of course, seeing as I am both a Canadian and an Agnostic, well, I may also have a skewed position on this matter.