Red Sox' David Ortiz Unleashes An Expletive During Televised Speech; FCC Says 'F**k It'

from the considering-the-Bostonian-'spirit,'-it's-amazing-it-was-just-the-one dept

At times, there’s no one in a more unenviable position than the chairman of the FCC. When not dealing with larger issues like net neutrality and wireless competition, you’re at the beck and call of every member of an Overly Concerned Citizens’ Group that feels the need to start a letter-writing campaign any time an expletive hits the airwaves.

Bono fired off an f-bomb at the Grammys and someone let Nicole Richie make the most of her what-am-I-for fame by giving her a microphone and allowing her to explain how difficult removing cow shit from a Prada purse is. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has twice found the FCC’s rules on so-called “fleeting expletives” to be a violation of the First Amendment. That, of course, matters little to angry letter writers who somehow believe The Children will be encouraged to swear by potty-mouthed celebs.

(As if every 8-year-old in the nation wasn’t using these words already. I don’t remember exactly when I started swearing but I do remember the first time I got busted for it: 4th grade. This may seem precocious [or developmentally-challenged — YMMV], but keep in mind that Tim Geigner fired off his first expletive sometime during his second trimester.)

Do-gooders on one side, real people on the other. In between, the FCC stands as a porous bulwark against inadvertent live sweariness. It can’t stop it. It can’t even hope to contain it. And when someone hits the airwaves during a celebratory event following a horrible tragedy, chances are they’re going to speak freely. And by “freely,” I mean they’ll be using the sort of language that most Americans use when emotionally charged.

It was, in five words, the encapsulation of a city’s defiance – bowed, but never broken. Not even close. It also happened to be NSFW (not safe for work). Or children. Or anyone in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood.

It was the declaration by legendary Red Sox slugger David Ortiz in pregame ceremonies Saturday, which were broadcast nationwide.

“This is our f—— city, and nobody’s going to dictate our freedom.”

Normally, this sort of casual swearing would net the offending network a $1 million fine (which would then be thrown out by the court). Not this time. Instead, FCC head Julius Genachowski took to the new face of journalism — Twitter — and declared his (and his office’s) solidarity with the people of Boston.

Perhaps Genachowski knew this was no time to be playing censor for a small (but noisy) selection of prudish busybodies. Perhaps he felt Ortiz’s speech encapsulated the city of Boston so thoroughly it should not be (excuse the language) fucked with. Perhaps he realized that swearing is an indelible part of Boston’s linguistic oeuvre, only equalled by its defiant refusal to pronounce the letter R.

Perhaps Genachowski, with one foot out the door, preferred to leave on a high note and with his (and Boston’s) dignity intact. An incoming FCC head may reverse Genachowski’s Twittered decision, but that person would need a heart of stone and a lobotomy to pursue any action against the network for airing a triumphant, cathartic speech unedited. Perhaps the classiest thing to do would be to let it ride and maybe throw JG a Boston-style parting gift.

Filed Under: , ,
Companies: red sox

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Red Sox' David Ortiz Unleashes An Expletive During Televised Speech; FCC Says 'F**k It'”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
out_of_the_blue says:

Keepin' it classy, minion.

This yet again proves why you’re all thought to be 14 years old. Not any weighty thoughts, sheerly giggling over naughty words.

For the record, I know more of ’em than you do, historical and some foreign, but use ONLY where appropriate, else they lose force.

And I’m NOT scandalized by this incident. — Despite that a millionaire who benefits from a legalized monopoly said it. — But the statement is just incoherent rage, a worse problem than the words.

But it’s NOT swearing, it’s not cursing, not even profanity! It’s simply VULGAR. You’re right that any 8-year-old can use them. But why would an adult do so habitually? And put it out front on a supposedly professional blog?

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Keepin' it classy, minion.

So basically, your comment can be summed up as “I’m hasn’t_got_a_clue, I’m paid to take a stance opposite whatever is written on Techdirt, so how can I write it?”

Also question – If “fuck” is not swearing, not cursing, not profanity…then how is it vulgar?

I also love the phrase you have up there “I’m not scandalized by this incident”. That sentence actually tells us a lot about you. None of us said that hasn’t_got_a_clue would be. There is no mention of you in the article, yet you had to defend yourself from an unwritten accusation, for some reason.

diadmer (profile) says:

What the fuck happened to TechDirt?

I haven’t browsed TechDirt in a while due to some onerous workload, but I recently returned to find this article and wonder aloud whether I should bother reading any more.

I’m not sure why I thought I would read here an interesting take on the balance between free speech protection, balanced against the need to protect children from unexpected exposure to mature content. You know, like the issue of whether stores should be criminally penalized if they sell M-rated games to children.

Instead, the author here scarcely mentions some Supreme Court cases while engaging in a cavalcade of insults and ad-hominem attacks. “Do-gooders on one side, real people on the other.” (People who do good aren’t real, and people who are real aren’t good? What the fuck kind of cynical world do you want to live in?) “Prudish busybodies”? And a hearty helping of “I was a foul-mouthed kid, therefore [yours is/yours should be/what’s wrong with you]?”

Nothing but a brush-off of the concerns that a kid watching his baseball idol or other celebrity use profanity might actually indeed, inspire the kid to use it? And what consequences s/he might face? Not just from his own “prudish busybody” parents, but moreso from his schoolteachers, or future employers? No point in going to see if there’s any, you know, scientific research on the subject, or other expert opinions? Just a bunch of smart-mouthed insults?

Top-notch editorial journalism right there, yup…

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: What the fuck happened to TechDirt?

There’s a few different writers on Techdirt and Tim Cushing’s articles are almost always in this style. If you want articles that are more on the scientific, try the other authors.
As for not questioning about whether Little Johnny may grow up to be a sewer-mouth? The way you wrote that part makes it sound like only the FCC, and the FCC alone, is what will prevent Little Johnny from dropping f-bombs at every turn. Simple societal pressures train most people not to, and there’s no need for the FCC to do that. If they’re in their 20’s and still doing it, well, they only have themselves to blame. It’s their mouth, their speech, their choice as to what they say.
What the angle of this article is, there’s a difference between society pressuring people to tone down on uttering expletives and making it illegal to utter them. I fully support everybody’s right to utter as many f-bombs as they want…but that’s totally different to me wanting to hang around them if that’s all they say.

Simply put, the notion that there must be a quasi-legal body that monitors the air-waves for expletives no longer makes sense. For one, it’s a violation of free speech rights. For two, simple market forces would pressure the networks to not allow expletives anyway – if the FCC vanished tomorrow, it’s not like suddenly the millions of parents who don’t like to hear expletives on television would too. That would be a large demographic for the networks to want to sell too.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: What the fuck happened to TechDirt?

Why should anyone look up scientific research or get expert opinions on the subject? The Supreme Court says that fining cable channels for fleeting expletives is a violation of the First Amendment. End of story. No need to give the other side equal time. They’re wrong and they need to be told in no uncertain terms.

Anonymous Coward says:

Most do gooder parents don’t have a clue it seems about their little Johnny. Nor do most others. I seem to remember in school it was always it seemed the preachers’ son or daughter that was having to be fished out of trouble. Mainly because they were the high visibility child out of the group. The majority of the rest said the same things but got away with it.

I would suggest that before these do-gooders get out trying to influence the world they look in their own nest first. Little Johnny is not always the angel he is portrayed to be.

Of course that doesn’t stop the busybodies from trying to tell you and everyone else how to live their lives. It’s like they don’t have enough to do to fill their own so they should make trouble for the rest. A small town gossip spreader at their finest.

There’s nothing wrong with a good hell or a damn or whatever in a mature crowd. If your child was watching this, what are you doing not overseeing what your child watches if it is that important to you?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The purpose of using expletives is to impart emphasis and context to the expression that is not conveyed by any other part of the language. The problem with children using them is that they often do not understand when the use is appropriate and when it is not. Contrary to what the prudish Moral Majority would have people believe, effective use of expletives requires a more advanced understanding of language and a more diverse vocabulary than those who do not know how to use them properly.

doug barnett (user link) says:

Wrong Question Every Time

“swearing, not cursing, not profanity…then how is it vulgar?”
It’s vulgar.

But who cares? When monotheism came into being, along came 10 or so Commandments.
An important Commandment is to offer your good afterlife (against a bad afterlife) as your bond for keeping true to your agreement (ie, all the commandments) with the guy who decides the nature of your end-of-life payoff.
Those who deal-in (Christians) do so with their word. Since no one can “swear” to hold a conflicting oath, Quakers stopped taking oaths, they had one with God already.
The ‘State’ demands it’s citizens kill (war,, Quakers said no and 12,000 rotted in the Roman silver mine at Lancaster, and elsewhere. Two men and Mary Dyer were hung in Boston.
The Cesarian Christens, King James and the Racist, “Christian” Right-wing-nut Mr. Webster rewrote the meaning.
(Speling is the entry card to the 1%, 12 years of education to spell th Webster-Way)
This reduction of a man’s “oath” into a “curse”, a “verbiage error” gets so repressive that in apartheid South Africa, a Playboy magazine would land you years in jail.
Disclaimer: I have served on the board of the most powerful FM radio station in America for years. See US Supreme Court; Pacifica Vs FCC. In 25 years, this OG quaker has heard it all.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...