Wednesday, July 2, 2008

On Obscenity: A WB Treatise in Four Parts

PART ONE. Leona Helmsley Leaves $6.5 Billion for Care of Needy Dogs

Reuters, summarizing a New York Times headline, reports today that (a) the late hotel heiress and notorious "Queen of Mean" left $12 million as an inheritance to her dog when she died in 2003. We all know that; the news went global within seconds. But since then, (b) a judge reduced the $12 million to just $2 million on grounds that Ms. Helmsley was probably a few fries short of a happy meal when she bequeathed such a huge amount. It's only a dog, you know? $2 million should be plenty to make it smile.

Today's update: That was just one dog's inheritance. She also left a separate trust fund for the care and feeding of all needy dogs everywhere. The fund is worth somewhere between $5 billion and $8 billion dollars. From Reuters: "Helmsley signed [the documents] in 2003 to establish goals for the trust that would disburse assets after her death. The first goal was to help indigent people and the second to provide for the care and welfare of dogs.... But a year later, she deleted the first goal."

There's some speculation that not all of the money will go to dogs. Just some of it. If the same judge follows the same 1/6 rule applied to the inheritance, then dogs will only get one billion dollars. Quite reasonable, especially if you're a dog getting cared for while needy humans fend for themselves. Survival of the fittest, baby. Deal with it.

PART TWO. In the Matter of Complaints Against Various Television Licensees Concerning Their February 25, 2003 Broadcast of the Program “NYPD Blue,” File Nos. EB-03-IH-0122 and EB-03-IH-03531

This case took nearly five years before the FCC could reach a determination. And no wonder: the "obscenity" involved was so graphic, and so perverse, that it could only be reviewed in small doses—even though the film segment in question was itself only a few seconds long (follow the link for the video). Here are highlights from the lengthy transcript supporting the FCC's ruling to impose a fine on ABC after it showed Charlotte Ross doing what Dennis Franz, David Caruso, and Jimmy Smits had all done regularly on NYPD Blue for ten years prior: expose a naked backside.

"[W]e find that the programming at issue is within the scope of our indecency definition because it depicts sexual organs and excretory organs – specifically an adult woman’s buttocks. Although ABC argues, without citing any authority, that the buttocks are not a sexual organ, we reject this argument, which runs counter to both case law and common sense.... [T]he scene contains explicit and graphic depictions of sexual organs. The scene depicts multiple, close-range views of an adult woman’s naked buttocks. [W]e find that the broadcast dwells on and repeats the sexual material.... [W]e find that the scene’s depiction of adult female nudity, particularly the repeated shots of a woman’s naked buttocks, is titillating and shocking.... ABC asserts that the purpose of the scene was to “illustrate[] the complexity and awkwardness involved when a single parent brings a new romantic partner into his or her life,” and that the nudity was not included to depict an attempted seduction or a sexual response from the young boy.... The Commission received numerous complaints, including thousands of letters from members of various citizen advocacy groups.... [T]he fact that the program is watched by a significant number of viewers serves to increase the likelihood that children were among those who may have seen the indecent broadcasts, thereby increasing the public harm from the licensees’ misconduct."

Now, it goes without saying that if the FCC were in charge of art museum displays, all children would be safe from seeing "repeated shots of a woman's naked buttocks" when their parents or school chaperones drag them on forced marches through countless galleries depicting women's "sexual and excretory organs" through the ages, those "organs" having been the inspiration for several thousand artists to create generally-agreed-upon masterpieces depicting beauty and perfection of form. (After reviewing the video, WB would objectively classify Charlotte Ross in this category.) Or, there would be no nudes in museums at all, just gory depictions of crucifixions and an endless series of still life fruit in bowls.

We can also assume that the FCC knows how difficult it is for children to access the identical "titillating and shocking" material on YouTube that it fined ABC for showing. The kids have to go through a tortuous process of creating a username and password, then solemnly swear to their computers that they are 18. And the FCC must take comfort in the fact that it's nearly impossible for children to learn about sites like PornTube and Xtube from such unsavory sources as CBS News, ABC News, and the Los Angeles Times, or to discover something called "iPorn" through reading Forbes. Probably those things contain a titillating and shocking shot or two of some organs, but there won't be any "public harm" involved. Only wholesome, patriotic capitalism; after all, each of those stories appears in the business section. Nothing wrong with business, and nothing wrong with profit, and nothing wrong with money, and nothing wrong with Constitutional protection for pornographers, and nothing wrong with a rich New York heiress leaving billions to dogs. Just a whole lot wrong with showing a woman's butt on TV at 10:00 at night to an adult audience that's been seeing a parade of men's butts on the same show for ten years.

PART THREE. And Now a Word from Senator Jay Billington Bulworth (D-California), Famous White-Boy Rapper and Honest Politician, Who Was Himself Accused of Obscenity.

The rich is getting richer and richer and richer
While the middle class is getting more poor
Making billions and billions and billions of bucks
If you weren't already rich at the start
Well, that situation just sucks
'Cause the richest motherfucker in five of us
Is getting ninety fuckin' eight percent of it
We got babies in South Central dying as young as they do in Peru
We got public schools that are nightmares
We got a Congress that ain't got a clue
We got factories closing down
Oh a brother can work in fast food
If he can't invent computer games
But what we used to call America
That's going down the drains
Ain't it time to take a little from the rich motherfucker
And give a little to the poor?

PART FOUR/CONCLUSION. Really, the Only Thing We Can Do Is Enlist Charlotte Ross to Salute Both Leona Helmsley and the FCC with a Moon Shot.

The End.

1 comment:

demaja said...

Lol @ "without citing any authority"! I didn't see the FCC cite any authority saying the "buttocks" is a sexual organ. And wouldn't a guy's rear be just as titilating to a homosexual male? And what about my childhood spankings? Was I being sexually abused? XD