On the John
Kiss my (expletive deleted)
Originally published in the Indiana Daily Student on December 5, 2003
“I heard that you were feeling ill: headache, fever and a chill. I came to help restore your pluck, ’cause I’m the nurse who likes to…”
Above is a quote from the film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” In the scene, a sexy nurse comes to the door and shares her poem with Ferris’s sister, but is cut off when the sister slams the door in her face. This edit is made for comedic purposes, because the filmmakers know that the scene will be funnier if the assumed last word is thought by the audience rather than spoken by the nurse.
Even though the word is never heard, the very fact that the scene leads viewers to think the word causes networks to end the scene after the poem’s first line.
Why do people still give a sh*t about swearing?
The week before Thanksgiving, Comedy Central ran adds announcing they would be showing the movie “South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut” in all of its unedited glory. The movie would air Thursday night, Friday night and Saturday night at 1 a.m.
Needless to say I was a tad skeptical, as I’d heard such promises before.
A few years ago, USA advertised that they’d be airing the unedited version of the Howard Stern movie “Private Parts.” Instead, they ran a PG-13 version of the film with most of the cursing removed and clips of Howard telling us to rent the video.
Unlike those jerks at USA, Comedy Central kept its word and aired every one of the South Park movie’s 399 profane words — including 133 F-words as well as the film’s 128 offensive gestures and its 221 acts of violence (www.imdb.com).
After a half hour or so, the novelty of hearing swears on regular TV wore off, and I was able to simply enjoy the film.
It was among the most thrilling moments of my television viewing career, along with the time VH1 started running late night “Ren and Stimpy” reruns a year ago, when Whoopi Goldberg was being interviewed on TV in 1992 and the network bleeped out the word “damn.”
At the time, I thought it was pretty ballsy of Whoopi to say “damn” on television, and while many words worse than “damn” can be heard on a daily basis on TV, I continue to see films “cleaned up” on network television.
My dad always says that people cuss because they don’t have a vocabulary to properly express themselves. Sure, that’s true, but does that make curse words inherently evil?
The absurdity of editing movies and TV shows for language content is that the words become even more appealing. Do television censors really think that a bleep, overdub or silent cut is going to was being said? That’s bullshnit.
Like the South Park movie, the recently released “Bad Santa” has created some controversy over its use of curse words around children. That film is about a filthy man (both in word and smell) who takes jobs as a mall Santa Claus in order to rob the vault. In doing so, he has to interact with kids and does so in the most vulgar (and hilarious) ways possible.
Some people may find this kind of language around children upsetting, but rather than censor the film, the advertisers have done the sensible thing: they’ve marketed it as an “Adults Only” comedy.
Like anything in life, being honest with people and giving them a choice to make their own informed decision is always better than forcing a decision on them. One day, I’ll be able to watch movies on television that aren’t filled with voiceovers and bleeps, and when that day comes, I’ll be the happiest focking guy in town.
Copyright 2003, jm silverstein