>Say what you will

>Sorta, especially if it’s in the form of a fleeting expletive. So said a federal appeals panel as it struck down Federal Communication Commission policies that had, in recent years, taken a tougher stance on so-called obscenties spoken on broadcast television and radio.

The challenge to the FCC indecency fines related specifically to utterances by such celebrity luminaries as Bono, Cher and Nicole Richie appearing on live awards broadcasts, generally involving variations on your basic “f-word” theme.

Reversing decades of a more lenient policy, the commission had found that the mere utterance of certain words implied that sexual or excretory acts were carried out and therefore violated the indecency rules.

But the judges said vulgar words are just as often used out of frustration or excitement, and not to convey any broader obscene meaning. “In recent times even the top leaders of our government have used variants of these expletives in a manner that no reasonable person would believe referenced sexual or excretory organs or activities.”

As we sit back and ponder what might constitute a “reasonable person,” we eagerly anticipate what ruling might soon come down on the matter of another celebrity’s fleeting, bare nipple.


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