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Supreme Court indecency ruling in FCC vs. Fox TV – does it really matter?

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You can keep banning nudity and the occasional swear word, but that won’t get rid of talk shows that discuss deviant sexual behavior, entertainment shows that feature a parade of celebrity misbehavior, newscasts highlighting the latest in local rapes and murders, and a plethora of "Law and Order: SVU" re-runs, where children are routinely kidnapped and abused.

Good thing the government is protecting your child from a glimpse of a nude behind.

During oral arguments, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. said that if the court were to overrule its 33-year-old decision, “the risk of a race to the bottom is real.” I’d say that race is over. We’ve been looking at the bottom for so long, looking at a naked bottom won’t really make a difference. It’s part of the bill we pay for freedom of expression.

The problem with regulation is that we can only regulate what we can regulate. It’s easy to regulate the f-word but not all the disturbing subject matter that finds its way into almost every sitcom, drama, and newscast.

For example, whether or not the Supreme Court overturns the law, a child will still be able to flip to an episode of Criminal Minds, where a killer is talking in detail about how he dismembers his victims. As long as the psychopath doesn’t use the f-word or moon the camera, apparently whatever else he says is fine.

And during the commercial break, the child can see an ad for a horrifically violent video game because the Supreme Court ruled last year that the government has no business safeguarding children from violent video games.

Writing for the majority, Justice Scalia made the point that unlike depictions of “sexual conduct,” there is no tradition in the United States of restricting children’s access to depictions of violence. He cited our tradition of “violent” fairy tales such as Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood (See Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association).

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