As some of you will know, the over-censorship of media and entertainment in America really pisses me off.
I’m not a child. I can handle the word ‘fuck’ in a movie filled with uncensored (and apparently child friendly) blood, gore, guts and violence.
Well, this morning as I drove into work I heard censorship on the radio that pushed censorship (and me) to the next level.
It happened during the song, ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ by Panic At The Disco; it’s a great song with an incredibly catchy chorus.
The beginning of that chorus goes:
‘I chime in with a “Haven’t you people ever heard of closing the goddamn door?!”
No, it’s much better to face these kinds of things with a sense of poise and rationality’.
Guess which word was censored?
Yep, that’s right, the word ‘Goddamn’ was censored. The irony of that second line of lyrics was most definitely lost here.
I love this song, but the joy of singing along was ruined.
You see, in America religion is a big deal and it’s so easy to offend people. I knew this was the case before coming in, but I had no idea it was this bad. The phrase “went to church” comes up in more conversations than I’m comfortable with and a lot of my new friends here in the States are very religious.
This is something I have tended to find out when they casually mention going to church or they post something ‘God-ish’ on Facebook. When this happens I get a real sense of dread because I have to think back over every conversation we’ve ever had.
Did I say something blasphemous or offensive?
Have I made jokes about God or Jesus?
Did I sacrifice that goat in front of them?
In fact, not 10 minutes ago, this very subject came up at work (not instigated by me, I hasten to add) and one of my colleagues said, “I swear a lot. I use ‘Fuck’, ‘Shit’, ‘Asshole’ and all that, but if I use GD or JC, then you KNOW I’m pissed!”.
It took me a moment to figure out what she meant by GD and JC. She couldn’t even bring herself to say the words.
To her, saying ‘God Damn’ or ‘Jesus Christ’ is worse than saying ‘Fuck’.
What the Goddamn?
Is it me, or does that seem a bit fucked…er, I mean, ‘Jesus-Christed’ up? This would go some way towards explaining why the word ‘Goddamn’ was edited out of the song this morning.
A few months ago I said ‘Goddamn it’ at work and got told to watch my language. I couldn’t believe it. I was being scolded like a 7 year old by a woman I have heard swear numerous times.
I’ve even started to replace “Oh my God” with “Oh my goodness”. I hate that I’ve started doing this.
But people here are way too sensitive, and the entertainment business knows this. Out of fear of being sued,they’re pandering to the masses by censoring the shit out of television.
Unless the customer is paying for it of course.
Nothing on Netflix is censored and I hear it’s a popular service.
So, is America OK with bad language, blasphemy and sexual content when they’re charged a premium? Apparently so.
My wife pays a yearly subscription for something called XM radio in her car. It’s pricey, but there’s little to no censorship. It really expands the selection of music they play as they can air otherwise unplayable tracks and, being a premium service, there are no Goddamn, Jesus Christing commercials.
When it comes to TV, the UK have it right with censorship. Everything is the same as the US until 9pm. Well, I SAY it’s the same, but that’s not strictly true; they don’t play violent action movies on a Sunday afternoon when kids can see it. But apparently it’s OK for kids to see heads being chopped off and people being riddled with bullets, as long as there’s no sign of a nipple or someone saying ‘Goddamn it’.
At 9pm (or the ‘watershed’ as it’s called) it is assumed that your delicate little snowflakes are all tucked up in bed. After that, it’s the parents’ responsibility to manage what their kids watch.
At 9pm, all bets are off. The only word that is bleeped out is the word ‘Cunt’.
Sorry; ‘the C word’.
After 9pm, TV is for adults and if you’re easily offended, change the channel.
 Sarcasm, in case you didn’t realise it.
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Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me. Unless it’s the Lord’s name, of course – that shit’ll damn you for all eternity.
Hint: just say this fairy tale becomes a reality and you’re sitting at the bus stop waiting for the bus with the direct route to eternal damnation, remember that you can still repent then and all will be forgiven … that is, if you want to spend your afterlife ‘up there’ with all those people that are currently getting your goat. To me it’d be much more fun ‘down there’. And I much prefer the heat.
Me too. The tanning options are better AND a majority of my friends will be down there anyway. Plus, sitting on clouds ‘up there’ doesn’t sound fun. I hear it gets in all the cracks….like sand.
That degree of censorship does seem a bit excessive. Funnily enough, I tend not to use bad language much myself, either in writing or in real life, so people have always tended to assume I’m super religious. In fact, I’m really not. I’m quite interested in religion as a cultural and historical phenomenon, but I don’t belong to any faith and I’ve never seen any evidence that gives me much confidence that any particular religion is true.
I also get a bit worried when people say things like, “There is no amount of evidence you could ever give me that would cause me to question my faith.” Well, there we have a problem because there are Catholics who say this, Baptists who say it, Sunnis, Shiites, Hindus and who knows what else. They all believe completely different things, so either all but one are completely wrong or they are all completely wrong. My money’s on the latter.
A good point, well made (as usual)
I don’t actually swear as much as I used to in real life, but on here I do use profanity; not to offend or seem ‘edgy’, but usually because it’s either a) necessary, b) relevant to the story (like quoting someone) or c) fucking funny. (smirks to self for proving his point, in the point)
This is why I always have the Advisory ‘sticker’ in my header image, no matter which one it is.
Regarding religion, I’m the same as you. Unlike The Monkees, I’m not a believer. I have no issue with religion and I’m equally fascinated with the whole concept. I do enjoy having conversations with people of faith and I enjoy a healthy debate. However, my issues arise when no other viewpoint or religion is considered, or an attempt to indoctrinate occurs…then the conversation gets a little more biblical. Fire, brimstone and plagues are brought forth. Failing that, a furrowed brow and arm folding.
Yep, my attitude to religion is much the same. I’m happy enough discussing it if other people want to (not something I’d usually bring up), but I try to avoid the crazier ones.
I actually got involved in a group chat Friday night when one of the group said they’d read this post. The others in the group….highly religious. It was a healthy conversation actually, and now a lot of them are going to read my blog.
This will be interesting….
Good luck! I hope nobody gets too angry with you. With any luck, they’ll be the nice, love and forgiveness kind of religious followers and not the scary fire and brimstone kind. 🙂
This reminds of an incident a couple of years ago when people lost their shit over a Superman comic when he too exclaimed “God damn” but in agents of Shield – something I woukd assume is aimed at a wide age demographic we get a fairly graphic removal of the top of a skull and a poke around of the brain.
America is a country where Janet Jackson nipple causes a country to stand still but God forbid you water down that violence.
A couple of weeks ago, Blade Trinity was on TV….around 2pm on a Sunday….complete with all the neck biting, head chopping, blood spilling goodness unedited. At one point Ryan Reynolds’ character said “Fuck” during a particularly violent scene, and it was edited to “Damn”. I swear the priorities here are messed up. Case in point, the Janet Jackson nipple event (which was clearly intentional…regardless of whatever backpeddling they attempted).
Oh, and be careful saying ‘God forbid’ in vain.