Saturday, September 22, 2007

In Which We Learn More About How We Have All Been Affected By The Fucked-Up "Morals" Of A Few Preening Douchebags

Ken Burns has a new documentary coming out. This one's about World War II, and is entitled, simply, The War. It's kind of a last chance to get a lot of first-person perspectives about the war on record. Like his other movies, this one will no doubt be very thorough, and it will probably move at a snail's pace.

Now, you'd probably think that a thorough documentary about war would contain some awful images, and you'd be right. But that's not what has a few people's knickers in a twist. PBS has sent two copies of the film to its stations. Why? Because of dirty words. The stations are nervous about FCC fines if they air the uncut version.

Four dirty words. Two of which are in acronyms--FUBAR and SNAFU--and aren't really even spoken, if I understand correctly. The other two are "shit" and "asshole."

So, if you're keeping score at home:

Images of people on fire, decapitations, stabbing, evisceration, and all manner of human suffering: Okay.

Saying the word "asshole": Verboten.

Four words in fifteen hours of film.

Now, because of the special place accorded to war (especially to World War II) in our society, it's not very likely that the FCC would hand down fines for this particular movie. But the fact that PBS is nervous enough to distribute two copies of this film to all its affiliates is a god-damned shame. And the fact that the FCC probably won't care because this film is about war is equally to be lamented.

Once more, with feeling: If you don't like the content of a particular program, change the motherfucking channel, asshole. And maybe, just maybe, consider what you consider offensive and why.

A quick aside about SNAFU. During the war, the US Army contracted with Warner Brothers Studios to produce a series of short animated films about the misadventures of a character named--wait for it--Private Snafu. That's right. The private was created by Frank Capra, some of the stories were written by Dr. Seuss, the voices were provided by Mel Blanc, and the films were produced by Leon Schlesinger and directed by such animation legends as Friz Freleng, Chuck Jones, and Bob Clampett. If you've watched a lot of Bugs Bunny cartoons, those names will look very familiar to you.

Private Snafu had two brothers--Tarfu and Fubar.

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