Wednesday, October 29, 2008
An R-rated case requires R-rated briefs, or so one might think.
But as the Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments Tuesday in the closely watched case FCC v. Fox Television Stations, many lawyers are delicately averting their eyes, and our ears, from the words in question. This is the case in which the FCC wants to fine television stations for naughty words ejaculated by Bono, Cher and Nicole Richie.
A DoyleReports Special Investigation -- thanks, Mr. PDF Search Mechanism! -- reveals that a majority of the amicus briefs filed in the dirty words case http://www.abanet.org/publiced/preview/briefs/nov08.shtml actually avoid using the words themselves. Of seven amicus briefs filed in support of the FCC's position, only Morality in Media used the swear words. The others, filed by the likes of the National Religious Broadcasters, prefer circumlocutions like "the f-word." The words are just too hot to handle!
Briefs supporting the broadcasters, perhaps predictably, are considerably more likely to let us in on the $#@!ing secret. Five such briefs, filed by the likes of the ACLU, cite the words in question. The idea, maybe, is to de-mystify them: see, they're mere words. However, five other briefs filed by the by the likes of Time Warner and the ABC affiliates avoided the swear words.
Of course, if I was smart, I would use the words in this post and thereby optimize search results...