Which Words & Phrases Should Be Edited Out Of Songs?
Former Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court John Paul Stevens died earlier this week. Stevens was part of a 1978 case that upheld actions the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) took against a radio station after it played George Carlin's "Filthy Words" comedy routine.
The court ruled the segment was "indecent but not obscene" and the government had "strong interests in shielding children from potentially offensive material, and ensuring that unwanted speech does not intrude on the privacy of one's home."
According to an FCC consumer guide, here's the definition of each type of content:
Obscene content does not have protection by the First Amendment. For content to be ruled obscene, it must meet a three-pronged test established by the Supreme Court: It must appeal to an average person’s prurient interest; depict or describe sexual conduct in a “patently offensive” way; and, taken as a whole, lack serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.
Indecent content portrays sexual or excretory organs or activities in a way that does not meet the three-prong test for obscenity.
Profane content includes “grossly offensive” language that is considered a public nuisance.
Over the past few months, several listeners have been asking why songs, that had previously aired uncut, are now being edited.
"There goes the censoring again," commented Nancy Sittner on the Cat Country 102.9 Facebook. "Just now Kenny Chesney's song about boys wanting to get laid was bleeped. You think no one notices? I'm not letting this go, and I'd like an answer!"
Another song we received calls about was "Toes" by Zac Brown Band. The first lyric in the song is, "I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand" and had been played unedited since it's release in 2008. In Old Dominion's "No Such Thing as a Broken Heart" the S-word is edited out of "what am I gonna tell my kids when they see all of this bulls*** that goes down on TV." Is Cole Swindell obscene for the verse "I'm raising my glass to those savin' our ass overseas."
We never received one complaint locally that any of these song lyrics were obscene, indecent, or profane. I did get complaints when the songs played WITHOUT the lyrics.
Should we just consider all these songs art? Play them unedited regardless of what the Federal Communications Commission in Washington D.C. tells us, or do we ask OUR community what they think is acceptable for their ears to consume?
Take our poll and let us know which of these words and phrases you think are acceptable to play any time of the day on the radio and we'll share the results in upcoming weeks: