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.
What a massive cow shit of a difference from Crawley in England.
We arrived on Tuesday and it’s now Thursday, so I’ve had a little time to get my bearings. I know I have a lot left to experience, but even in this short time I have some early observations that I want to share.These observations will be separated into three headings; Driving, Shopping and “Oh, you’re From England?”
The first of these is:
It all looks so easy. The roads are about three times as wide as those in England, most of the cars are automatic and the speed limits are lower…so by rights it should all be smooth and easy.
There are no road markings! Ok, I exaggerate, there are a FEW road markings, but only a fraction of what I’m used to in England. This makes junctions mildly terrifying.
Also, they don’t really make it clear that a lane is ending on the three lane road you’re on, despite the fact that the road doesn’t actually narrow in width. For a guy like me who is used to specific lanes (WITH road markings), it gets a little unnerving that you’re now effectively driving on a lane and a half.
Then, out of nowhere, the lane you’re in suddenly becomes a mandatory left or right turn with minimal warning and you’re somehow expected to deal with it without impaling yourself on the massive 18 wheeler in the correct lane!
Over here it’s all about signage. Small postage stamp sized signs with full sentences to read, positioned in obscure places tucked away out of your field of vision. Well, except for ‘STOP’ signs; they’re EVERYWHERE! In addition, they require a mandatory stop, even if you can see that there aren’t any cars coming for miles around.
These octagonal bastards are used a lot at four-way junctions (or ‘intersections’) where the rule is: ‘The first person who gets to the junction and stops is the first person who gets to go’. I suppose it makes some kind of vague sense until you arrive at an intersection the exact same time as someone else; then it becomes some kind of weird Mexican stand off.
I miss simple ‘Give Way’ road markings.
Then there are the traffic lights. Where do I start?
In the UK they play a simple role; red for ‘Stop’ and green for ‘Go’ (with amber as the transition between them). In Las Vegas they seem to have different rules depending on which junction you’re at, whether it’s a Thursday or if your star sign has the moon rising in Aquarius.
For example, you should stop at a red light if you’re turning right, right? Nope, you CAN turn right at a red light, that is UNLESS the microscopic sign fifteen feet above you tells you ‘No turn on red’; that’s nearly caught me a few times.
Then if you’re turning left, you can obviously do so if the left arrow is green, and you can’t if it’s red….but if it’s flashing amber you can turn left providing the lofty sign says ‘Yield to Traffic’. Surely that means you have to stay still and let traffic pass? Nope, it means you can turn left providing it’s safe to do so.
Then there are flashing red lights that sometimes mean stop and sometimes mean there are lights ahead….or is that flashing amber?
Did I mention that if you’re in a lane designated for turning left or right, you STILL have to ensure your indicators are on.
Plus, the speed limits are laughable. Near our house it’s a 35mph limit on a road the size of a UK dual carriageway, which is 60mph. These are long, wide roads with plenty of room, so why so slow?
With the speed limits, Stop signs, unmarked roads and traffic lights from hell….it takes forever to get anywhere.
All this in a country where 32% of citizens own guns.
Still, one thing that the USA does do right with regards to motoring is the price of fuel and the fuel pumps that lock into place.
Although, if I hear Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth’s “When I See You Again” on the radio one more time, I’m going to make it 33%.
One of the things I wasn’t looking forward to in the USA was the sheer magnitude of adverts (or ‘commercials’) on the TV. Every 10 minutes, for 10 minutes.
I have to say the frequency of these interruptions is a bit annoying, but at least the adverts are better than those in the UK. American commercials tend to be funnier and more upbeat. Plus, hearing all the side effects of some miracle drug or another is just laughable.
‘Want to reduce your blood sugar? Ask your doctor about Fuckitol. Side effects may include dizziness, high blood pressure, impaired vision, rectal bleeding, the loss of one or more limbs, nasal collapse and excess navel hair. So ask your doctor about Fuckitol today”
Now, I know this next thing has been covered a million times on a million blogs, but adding tax to your purchase at the cash register sucks!
This is mildly annoying when buying clothes and stuff, but we bought a laptop at Best Buy and I got stung for $26 extra when I came to pay for it. At least in the UK you paid what it said on the label. I miss that already!
Today we went to Barnes and Noble, which is America’s answer to Waterstones. But that’s where the similarity ends. This ‘bookshop’ had (in addition to books) Movies, toys, movie merchandise, a café and restrooms. Yes, this bookshop had toilets! It seems that almost every shop (or ‘store’) in Las Vegas has toilets. This is where England gets it wrong.
No-one likes to shop on a full bladder (or bowel). Well done America, you win with regards to retail.
“Oh, you’re From England?”
No matter where we’ve gone over the last 3 days, as soon as someone hears my accent I get asked where I’m from.
Most correctly guess England; some still think it’s Australia.
As soon as they learn that I’m from England, they tell me they have a cousin/uncle/sister in law that either lives in England/Wales/Ireland (pick one), or originally comes from there.
I don’t care. Just give me my laptop.
My favourite (I can’t bring myself to use ‘favorite’ yet) encounter, however, was in Trader Joe’s; an organic and vastly overpriced supermarket. The cashier was loving my “British accent” and asked me “Is it always foggy in England?”
Yes, and Jack The Ripper still roams the streets of London.
Now, this is only after three days of being here. God only knows what experiences I’ll have going forward.
Over the years I’ve noticed a few habits adopted by the idiots I’m forced to endure every day on the trains (or ‘commuters’ as they’re better known). A lot of these habits have become such commonplace that I usually can’t be bothered to blog about them, or I simply forget.
However, this morning there were three happening all at once and my Punch-O-Meter’s needle was twitching in the red zone.
So I’m taking time out to vent about these habits that leave me craving the sweet sound of knuckles on face.
1. The Multitasker
This is the person who, whilst having a conversation with someone else on the train, is also reading their phone or tablet. Even though they’re (thankfully) not talking to me, it’s still really rude and they don’t make any attempt to hide it.
It’s bad enough that they’re flapping their jaws while I’m trying to sleep or watch a movie, but to be doing it and not remaining committed to the conversation they’re having is like getting a drum kit for your birthday and then playing it out of rhythm, like Yugoslavian Jazz.
If you’re going to annoy me at least have the decency to do it properly.
2. Casual Viewers
I’m a bit of a viewing Nazi when it comes to TV and movies. If you’ve made a decision to sit down and watch something, then sit the fuck down and watch it. There are certain things you should never do, especially when I’m in the vicinity.
Talking to me.
Talking to someone else.
Talking at all.
Using your phone (for ANYTHING!).
Leaving the room without pausing it (at home obviously)
Eating and paying more attention to your food than the screen
The woman sat next to me on the train this morning was watching some boring shit on her tablet, but was also moronically scrolling through her Facebook newsfeed on her phone. I use the word ‘watching’ loosely as she didn’t actually look up from her phone for almost the entire journey into London, which was an hour.
I thought about all the money spent hiring writers, producers, directors (first and second unit), actors, extras and production staff, plus all the time taken perfecting every line of every draft of the script to keep the plot engaging, every camera angle to capture the subtle nuances of the actors’ performances, the scouting for locations, the permissions needed to shoot in these locations, the time spent in principle photography, all the post production, the special effects, music, overdubs, Foley dubs, the editing process to keep the right pace, the test audiences to ensure it will satisfy the masses and bring in the bucks, the premieres, the red carpets, the press junkets; all of this wasted on some bint ‘liking’ a picture of a kitten.
It really grinds on me. Can you tell?
Then, when she’d stopped mindlessly scrolling through the pointless crap on her newsfeed and sucked in her drool, she then spent ages rewinding what she had been ‘watching’ in an attempt to find the part where she’d tuned out. To be honest, I don’t think this woman was ever fully tuned in.
3. The Aisle Sitter
This one has always confused me.
It’s the idiot who gets on the train, sits in an aisle seat and leaves the window seat vacant.
Inevitably someone else will get on and want to sit down, so rather than simply (and sensibly) moving over to the window, they make a big performance of stopping what they’re doing (sometimes tutting and sighing in the process) and awkwardly standing up in the aisle (stopping other people from getting past) to allow the new arrival access to the seat by the window.
This is time consuming and makes absolutely no sense. It’s a commuter train which means this happens EVERY day, and EVERY day they do the same thing. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. Same dickheads, same thing; every day.
If they don’t want to be disturbed, then sit by the window, or find a seat next to someone who already has.
These are supposed to be intelligent people, right? I mean, they’re wearing suits and stuff.