I've just read that the Parents Television Council is threatening CBS's affiliates with a challenge to their broadcast licenses over the TV show based on the well-known Twitter/Facebook sensation, Shit My Dad Says, according to a report in the Hollywood Reporter.
Is it just me, or is this overwrought indignation about "bad words" a close parallel to the nation's war on marijuana -- albeit without the non-violent victims doing time in prison?
First off, we've got the comically conflicted position of the political/cultural right: the same people who say they want to abolish the "granny state" squawk and scold and clamor for the right to wash our mouths out with soap if we utter even the mildest of profanities.
Then there's the innocuous innocence of the offending word/substance. Our last three presidents (and Al Gore) have publicly admitted to having smoked grass -- with no apparent ill effects on them or their careers. Presumably, none of them would call the cops if they found their own children in possession of a few joints. Given that the sorts of people who go on to leadership positions in government and business have been trying/smoking pot for the past four decades, it's a good bet many American's parents have listened to the Doobie Brothers, if you know what I mean (if not, ask your parents). Yet here we are in 2010, still debating whether to legalize personal use among consenting adults.
Even worse, the federal government has drafted guidelines that would make it illegal to drive with any metabolites of marijuana present in the bloodstream. To be clear, the cognitive/motor effects of smoking a joint may last a few hours, at most, but the metabolites can linger in the body at detectable levels for weeks or months. So were I to smoke a joint today in Spain (where I live, and it's legal), then fly to LA to visit my parents in a week or two, it would be illegal for me to drive! Seriously.
Add to all this the blind hypocrisy and/or ignorance necessary to maintain outrage at adult marijuana use while quietly accepting skyrocketing quantities of Ritalin and anti-depressants prescribed to kids in the U.S., the contamination of the food supply with antibiotics and growth hormones, and the constant flood of pesticides into the water supply. Pay no attention to the circular insanity of pesticide residues in children apparently leading to increased rates of ADHD which leads to Ritalin prescription ...
This is like still getting all worked up over "shit" without raising a peep as "sucks" slips ever deeper into mainstream use. Remember when you could get into trouble for saying that something or someone "sucks"? Not anymore. Gizmodo.com's recent review of the iPad is unashamedly titled: 8 Things That Suck About the iPad. A few years ago, Seth Stevenson wrote a spirited defense of "suck" at Slate.com, where he argued that the Parents Television Council's goal of preventing "bad" words from seeping into the linguistic mainstream is essentially impossible and misguided.
Sucks to be them.