Thursday, May 13, 2004

Howard Stern Kicked Me Out Of His Car: Ira Glass comes to Howard's defense in the New York Times:
Sadly, lots of smart people shrug off the recent government crackdown on Howard Stern -- and on other "indecency" -- as if it were nastiness going on in some bad neighborhood of the broadcast dial, one that doesn't concern them, one that they'd never stoop to visit.

But the recent F.C.C. rulings make me Stern's brother as I've never been before. Here are just a few of the things we've broadcast on our show that now could conceivably result in fines of up to a half million dollars for the 484 public stations that run the program: assorted curse words, people saying "damn" and "goddamn" (a recent F.C.C. decision declared that "profane" and "blasphemous" speech would now come under scrutiny); various prison stories; and a very funny story by the writer David Sedaris that takes place in a bathroom and that violates all three F.C.C. criteria for "indecency." It's explicitly graphic in talking about "excretory organs or activities"; Sedaris repeats and dwells on the descriptions at length, and he absolutely means to pander and shock. That's what makes it funny.

Link via Jeff Jarvis, who notes that some radio stations are pre-emptively taking Elton's "The Bitch Is Back" off the playlist, fearing FCC interest in the key word.

Come to think of it, I agree with that last decision. But not for the same reasons.

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