The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

July 14, 2006


origins of speech
au			mmmm
oo			mmmm
a			ummm
o			mmmm
  i am a castle of language.

process of buddha-speech

speaking of every sutra

this is the one of many of video-speech

(i cannot do better than this. my useless
limbs wait for satori.)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 14 Jul 2006 20:15:12 -0400
From: moderator@PORTSIDE.ORG
Subject: FCC tells us what's indecent

[While this is a few months old, I found it most
instructive in terms of the current approach of the FCC
to all things indecent. Thanks to the Grassroots Radio
List for this posting. -- Nan Rubin]

WFMU's Beware of the Blog

March 16, 2006


It finally happened, folks! The FCC has just released a
steamy batch of decisions concerning alleged cases of
indecency on television. After cooking in the ever-
efficient bureaucratic easy-bake for up to 4 years, the
feds made up their minds regarding pending TV complaints
at long last.

We urge you to thumb through the decisions (and
footnotes for added comic relief): 2004 Superbowl
Halftime (aka nipplegate) | Without a Trace | Batch
Decisions (aka Omnibus, including The Surreal Life 2,
Billboard Music Awards, The Blues: Godfathers and Sons,
The Simpsons, etc.), so that you can laugh along with
us. Then cry. Here's a wrap-up of what the FCC's been
discussing for the past year or so (your tax dollars at

NOT OK - Simulated teen sex and making out (no nudity)
between hetero couples, girl in bra and panties engaged
in implied group sex, all during a flashback segment for
a rape investigation (Without A Trace, CBS). Pricetag:
$3.6 million! Because teens don't have sex. Or get
raped. Ever.

- Split-second of exposed nipple (2004 Super Bowl, CBS).
Pricetag: $550,000!

- Pixelated breasts, the kissing of pixelated breasts,
spanking, pixelated nude women, and Ron Jeremy's mere
presence (The Surreal Life 2, Pool Party Episode, WB).
Pricetag: $27,500.

- Non-nude rape scene (Con El Corazon En La Mano,
Telemundo). Pricetag: $32,500.

- Topless woman with pastie-covered nipples (Fernando
Hidalgo Show, WJAN in Miami). Pricetag: $32,500.

- Visual and vocal allusions to masturbation, thong-clad
women bump-n-grind, spanking, vocal allusion to anal
sex, female-female breast and butt-fondling, fully-
clothed oral sex simulation, fully-clothed lap dance
(Video Musicales, Aerco TV, Puerto Rico). Pricetag:

- Repeated utterances of "fuck" and "shit" in a non-
Saving Private Ryan broadcast (The Blues: Godfathers and
Sons, documentary produced by PBS, aired on non-
commercial community college station KSCM-TV). Pricetag:

- Shit, holy shit, horseshit, bullshit, oh shit, shit-
eating, owl shit (The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper, KTVI-TV,
St. Louis). Pricetag: $27,500.

What could be more entertaining than an entire federal
commission utilizing tons of public resources over long
periods of time to mull over the merits of the term
"wang" and argue over whether Janet's pastie-covered
nipple was exposed for 19/32 or 9/16 of a second (I told
you to read those footnotes)?

DOUBLE-STANDARDS AHOY Fuck and shit are ok in a
broadcast of Saving Private Ryan, but not a blues
documentary? Brief, fleeting frontal nudity is ok in a
broadcast of Schindler's List, but not during the Super
Bowl halftime show or a talk show? Pixelation just isn't
enough to protect the public from naked boobs? Non-nude
scenes that merely imply sex aren't kosher any longer?

And let's not even begin to pierce the surface of the
glaring racial and gender politics weaved into these

If the double-standards don't cloud the definition of
indecency further, be sure to read each commissioner's
individual statements. Only one out of four FCC members
even mentions concerns about restricting first amendment
rights. Thanks Mr. Adelstein, for publicly recognizing
that the FCC's current methodology of assessing
indecency fines is seriously flawed.

If CBS doesn't pay off the $3.9 million fine to the FCC
in the next 30 days, the commission will probably file a
suit against the network with the Justice Dept., and
this issue might finally make it to federal court! The
illusion that most Americans are deeply offended by what
they see on TV (over 90% of actual complaints to the FCC
can be traced to few extreme christian groups with large
e-mail lists), and that shaky definition of indecency
might finally be shredded to pieces by CBS's lawyers.

Now take a looksie at what newest Commission member
Deborah Tate has to say. Setting a bad precedent for her
next 4 years of service on the commission, Ms. Tate has
a problem with cartoon sexuality. She feels that
cartoons are vehicles for subliminally exposing children
to nefarious content, siting the scantily clad cartoon
women on the Simpsons (not determined indecent, see

MORE DECISIONS released yesterday... (march '06)

Indecent, but no fine levied: - "Fuck 'em," as uttered
by Cher. Non-sexual fuck. (2002 Billboard Music Awards,

- "Have you ever tried to get cow shit out of a Prada
purse? It's not so fucking simple," Nicole Richie.
Though in this case, the "shit" spoken of was indeed an
excretory shit, "fucking" was non-sexual. (2003
Billboard Music Awards, Fox).

- Dick, dickhead: not indecent. Bullshit: indecent.
(NYPD Blue, ABC).

- Bullshitter. (The Early Show, CBS).

Still OK for TV, but someone complained anyway: - Hetero
adult couple in bed kissing, caressing and rubbing
against each other under sheets (Alias, WJLA).

- Jesting breast adjustment (Will and Grace, NBC).

- Implied female doctor's hand touching male patient's
scrotum during a hernia exam (Two and a Half Men, CBS).

- Suggested genital grabbing: a female helping a male
character hit high notes while singing the national
anthem (Committed, NBC).

- Casino showgirls jumping onto the bed of a clothed man
(Golden Phoenix Hotel & Casino commercial, KRNV).

- Explaining tossed salad and a rainbow party to Oprah.

- One-off references to sodomy and rape (Political Ad,

- Brief background shot containing graffiti that reads
"Fuck Cops!" (The Amazing Race 6, CBS).

- Penis talk on the Family Guy: wang, little banana,
other euphemisms.

- Chris Rock telling people to "sit their asses down"
during the Academy awards, proclaiming that Superman
"sucked", and visual innuendo to oral sex.

- Hamster masturbation, coined "hamsterbation" (8 Simple
Rules, ABC).

- Partial penis exposure during news coverage of a man
being rescued from a flood (The Today Show).

- Alleged Smithers-stripper butt-grab on the Simpsons.
Duh, Smithers only has eyes for Mr. Burns.

- Naked infant falling on top of his pacifier, it gets
stuck between his butt-cheeks (America's Funniest Home
Videos, WHAM).

- Moon mime during a football game (no pants were
actually removed).

- Man shoots wife during therapy session (Medium, NBC).

Here are some blatantly un-profane words and phrases
that some folks complained about to the FCC:

- hell
- damn
- bitch
- pissed off
- up yours
- ass
- for Christ's sake
- kiss my ass
- fire his ass
- ass is huge
- wiping his ass
- for me to poop on
- package

More commentary about the FCC's decisions at

UPDATE (3/30/06): Indeed, the FCC fucked up on the safe
harbor issue (read comments for background). Fines were
just rescinded for 8 CBS affiliates who aired the
episode of "Without A Trace" in question at 10pm (within
safe harbor hours). Contrary to the FCC's claim in
Section III.19 (below) of their decision regarding
"Without A Trace", the commission actually did issue a
fine to some stations who aired the material during safe

Although we are informed that other stations not
mentioned in any complaint also broadcast the
complained-of episode of "Without A Trace," we propose
forfeitures only against those licensees whose
broadcasts of the material between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
were actually the subject of viewer complaints to the

Another fine example of federal foot in mouth...

Thanks to Harry Cole for his expert opinion.


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the variant

from the end of XXV, Legge's Chuang Tzu:

"Birth, before it comes, cannot be prevented; death, when it has happened,
cannot be traced farther. Death and life are not far apart; but why they
have taken place cannot be seen. That some one has caused them, or that
there has been no action in the case are but speculations of doubt. When I
look for their origin, it goes back into infinity; when I look for their
end, it proceeds without termination. Infinite, unceasing, there is no
room for words about (the Tao). To regard it as in the category of things
is the origin of the language that it is caused or that it is the result
noting; but it would end as it began with things. The Tao cannot have a
(real) existence; if it has, it cannot be made to appear as if it had not.
The name Tao is a metaphor, used for the purpose of description. To say
that it causes or does nothing is but to speak of one phase of things, and
has nothing to do with the Great Subject. If words were sufficient for the
purpose, in a day's time we might exhaust it; since they are not suffic-
ient, we may speak all day, and only exhaust (the subject of) things. The
Tao is the extreme to which things conduct us. Neither speech nor silence
is sufficient to convey the notion of it. Neither by speech nor by silence
can our thoughts about it have their highest expression."

The chasm is the variant of the Other, and each of these texts and images
are variants of others; the variant-machine has been set into operation;
one after another are set forth; a set is established; a style, genre, and
canon, are established; there is no original; words are insufficient. We
may create, day and night, the variant, of which everything is such; we
may do nothing; we might have destroyed; we might have been destroyed; we
might have been at variance. But there is no original of original, no
variance of variance. There is only a loss of insight, dim-
inution of creative force, defuge, exhaustion, the easy way out, of which
the easiest lies at the bottom and top of the variant; of the heap of
variants; of the contusions of the world; of that imminence of the lost;
of that immanence of the lost; of nothing lost, nothing gained; everything
lost and gained. From the pure, the turbid emerges; from the turbid , the
pure, like a dead disassociated eye come to life; an immobilized eye; the
variant of such; of eyes; of immobilizations. Here is one thing; there is
another; there is one thing, here is another. Language neither separates
nor units; it is a continuous collocation, collocations, of variants;
language itself is a variant; of languages; of others; of insufficiencies;
of sounds, noise, murmurs, cries, rattles, crashes, shrieks, winds, waves,
clouds and oceans. The variant has no limits; the variant-machine does not
exists, the imaginary accounting of the variant; as if to curtail the
limitless; as if to inhere. Of which the Tao has not spoken, already the
exercise, exorcizing, of the historical, hysterical, already writing,
already corrected, emended, erased, obscured, teleology reversed, nothing
of the origin, nothing of the end.

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