Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Christian Privilege, FCC Style

Kept from the sweet darkness of sleep due to what can only be described as obscene amounts of caffeine, I sit on my couch watching half-hour segments of Comedy Central Presents. As some balding middle-aged man with a microphone failed to maintain my interest, something suddenly jerked me from my pre-sleep thoughts. The thing that caught my attention was the bleep, which, by itself, isn't out of place in the routine of your average stand-up comic (Brian Regan doesn't count). What suddenly piqued my interest was what was being bleeped.
The comedian had said "God damn," and Comedy Central had elected that its viewers would be better off hearing "BLEEP damn." Compared to other words deemed worthy of being bleeped, "God damnit" isn't nearly on par with the other things.

While we're here, let's examine the other words deemed worthy of bleepage by the FCC:

Fuck = BLEEP

Shit = BLEEP

Cock = BLEEP

Cunt = BLEEP

Asshole = AssBLEEP (This has always confused me; why the addition of "hole" makes saying "ass" so much worse is beyond my understanding)

God Damn = BLEEP Damn

(In hindsight, the preceding list almost makes me worry about offending my readers; but then again, the people who would be offended by the simple mention of a word are usually the people who would never read an atheist blog)

Why is God bleeped? God is not a curse word. Children don't get soap in the mouth for saying God. The word "god" is only bleeped when it is followed by "damn" or some variation. Surely there must be some government precedent for this oddly specific censorship?
Not at all. For the source of this, one need look no further than the 7th Commandment in the Christian Bible.

"Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." (Exodus 20:7 KJV).

Our friends at the FCC have decided to protect our innocence by saving us the egregious aural distress of hearing someone else take the Lord's name in vain. I am all too familiar, and disgusted by, Christian privilege in our society; but when I noticed the bleep example, I realized to what extent it reaches. Where does this censorship come from? Is the FCC, using the [true] assumption that most viewers are Christian, simply trying to avoid offending anyone like always? Is the FCC folding to Christian pressure on a word that otherwise wouldn't be offensive? Or, because the FCC is, like the viewers, mostly Christian themselves, simply sprinkling their censorship with their own views? The first is annoying; the second is frightening; the third is intolerable. Whichever it may be, the only solace I receive in the knowledge that our government bends over backwards to cater to the ever-so-sensitive ears of religious folk is that they at least do so for all religions. Just as they will bleep "God Damn," they will censor an image of the prophet Muhammad and the Islamic god Allah. At least if they're going to violate the Constitution, they do so in an unbiased manner.

Personally, I think Christians should lighten up about hearing someone say "God Damn." Not only is it not offensive, it doesn't violate the 7th Commandment, even if they still choose to respect it! They are prohibited from saying it, not hearing it! And Muslims need to lighten up about the image of their idols; it's the same case as with Christians. They are prohibited from depicting Muhammad and Allah; not from seeing it (an interesting point can be made about religion's propensity for crying persecution here: Allah has no image. Therefore, how is simply drawing something and calling it "allah" depicting Allah? If Allah has no image, how can one depict Allah? And Muhammad is one of the most common names in the world; is not each one of those people depicting themselves as Muhammad?).

Religious people are not actually offended. They act offended and cry persecution because their dogma tells them they should be offended. They have no personal thought about it; they simply know they are supposed to be angry about these things; and play the part as their religion dictates.

As far as the FCC goes, there is no reason to bow to the eccentric demands of superstitious dogmatists with sensitive ears. One would also hope that something shown at 2:30 AM wouldn't need any bleeping in the first place.

This is a sign that Christian privilege is far too well-rooted in our society; if we are censoring what we are allowed to hear on television and radio because of the wishes of a religious group, things have gone entirely too far. Although there are countless other more important, more influential examples of religious privilege in our society; I find this one (and others like it) to be the most frightening. The fact that things have gotten this far is a sign that it should have been stopped a long time ago. If religious people have achieved every item on their list of priorities so as to be able to fret about petty things like censoring "God Damn" and images of religious figures, hope for a secular-governed society is more bleak than I thought.

(An even darker outlook on this occurred to me...can you recall the last time that religion controlled what we could do, say, read, hear, and think? That was called the Dark Ages. How would things be if religion controlled more of what we could see and hear in media? Imagine if the FCC conceded to the simple whims of these people, instead of just the doctrines written in their holy texts? The only thing left on TV would be televangelists and a 24 hour network showing a documentary on Kirk Cameron non-stop)


No comments:

Post a Comment