[linux-elitists] The hairball speaks

Rick Moen rick@linuxmafia.com
Thu Sep 11 16:55:59 PDT 2003

Quoting Nick Moffitt (nick@zork.net):

> And all that other tape lacked the rhetorical opportunity of
> the opening gambit.

Oddly enough, in a brief review of tape clips on TV news programs, I
couldn't find a single one where it was particularly clear whether the
20 seconds in question were from the beginning, middle, or end of the
speaker's appearance.

> Yeah yeah you're so elite with your no-TV.  Woo woo.  Even I can
> google for "fcc obscenity regulation asshole" and dig up all the radio
> and TV stations that posted warnings about fines for using the word. 

Being starved for vocabulary boosters addressing theology and biology --
and plainly needing a hobby -- I duly ran though the above three pages
of Google hits.  

One page includes "asshole" in a list of Federal Appeals court rulings
covering "Fighting Words, Threats, and Harassment".  Another is the
judge's opinion in Orange County where a police officer sued a
drunk-driving arrestee for torts committed while the latter tried to get
the officer fired.  (Defendent hurled the A-word at the officer while
being cuffed, but the complaint was on other grounds.)

One was a profile of the EFF's Mike Godwin, including the quotation 
"Never try to out-asshole Mike Godwin.  He's the most ferocious and
tenacious debater I've ever encountered." 

Another was a Village Voice article mainly about Federal Trade Commission 
hearings about labelling music CDs that have naughty bits and other
things that scandalise Tipper Gore:  "A boy across the room raises his
hand: 'They say some of it's too violent for kids. But to me, it depends
on what the kid's mindset is. If you're just a straight-arrow kid, and
you listen to that type of stuff, and you don't act like an asshole,
then it's fine. But if you're one of those kids that takes reality as a
joke, and you think, "Oh, I can light myself on fire like Johnny
Knoxville did" . . . ' His voice trails off in disgust."

Then we had a Slashdotter saying " If I think Matt Drudge is an asshole,
I can make a decision not to visit his site..." in a thread where a
fellow social savant opined:  "The FCC is a well-known corporate

Another was a set of footnotes to a pornography study, in which the FCC
was mentioned in passing.  The A-word citation -- my, what language! -- 
seems profoundly unrelated.

Yet another is a quite miscellaneous rant that I would guess belongs to
the blogosphere (and I sincerely hope it stays there).  The FCC features
largely in an equally but differently incoherent rant about
deregulation, on the same page.

Two are studies of censorware that include the entire "NetNanny
Blocked Words List" in table form -- fun for the whole family!  FCC
appears in the form of a (unrelated) fluffy, unctuous quotation by FCC
chairman William Kennard.

Another is an issue of the depressingly sober and unsensational "Stay
Free Magazine", in which the FCC and assholes are similarly distant.

And so on.  The only pages where FCC sanctions were mentioned are ones
where the word asshole was... well, ringed with much stronger language.
So, that's ten colourful minutes I'll never get back, though perhaps my
life has been somehow enriched -- but I found nary a sign of "fines for
using the word".

Cheers,     "Learning Java has been a slow and tortuous process for me.  Every 
Rick Moen   few minutes, I start screaming 'No, you fools!' and have to go
rick@linuxmafia.com       read something from _Structure and Interpretation of
            Computer Programs_ to de-stress."   -- The Cube, www.forum3000.org

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