Ed Driscoll

Hollywood's New F-Word

Brent Bozell writes about the repercussions of Hollywood’s Isaiah Washington kerfuffle:

Last October, gossips chattered about a scrap between two male stars on the set of the hip ABC medical show “Grey’s Anatomy.” Actor Isaiah Washington reportedly called a fellow cast-member a “faggot.” The rumors spurred cast-member T.R. Knight to openly declare he is gay.

The irony was rich and inescapable for Robert Peters, the president of Morality in Media. While insisting he had no intention to defend Washington’s babbling, he nonetheless asked, “How do we explain the phenomena of TV executives and their high-priced actors being so deeply concerned about the sensibilities of adults in the workplace but so totally unconcerned about the well-being of children in their audiences?”

The networks fill the public airwaves with cursing and sexually charged conversation and simulated sex while countless children are watching, he said, and there are no apologies. (One need go no further than watching “Grey’s Anatomy.”)

In fact, the networks are in federal court at this very moment, suing for the “right” to drop F-bombs on children whenever they’d like. That F-bomb is OK for national television, but it’s not OK for the new F-bomb to be uttered anywhere, even on the privacy of the set, even when it’s between adults.

Once again, Hollywood looks hypocritical, so high and mighty about their vaunted right to shock and offend, to push every envelope and melt every taboo, and it doesn’t matter how many they offend. But in their neighborhood there are rules, they have their own list of Seven Dirty Words you can’t say, their own system of censorship and their own secular sacraments of penance. [Read the rest of Bozell’s article’s for Washington’s terms of penance, which are Byzantine–Ed]

We saw this in November, when comedian Michael Richards screamed the N-word at a comedy club, recorded on a cell phone. No one would rebroadcast the offending word, even as Richards was denounced in every venue. We can applaud that and ask: So why not the same standard for the other obscenities?

The double standard at the Internet Movie Database has been particularly amusing. Their breathless daily reports on the latest twists and turns of Washington’s story have featured nothing but references to “f****t”. This despite the fact that a search of their database turns up loads of quotes from movies throughout the years that feature the word spelled out in its entirety. Will the IMDB go back and asterisk out that word’s use in the rest of the quote database? And then what about the use of the original F-word? Or to pick but one example of another word that modern Hollywood has run into the ground onscreen, the endless use of the N-word in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, not the least of which was by Tarantino himself during his memorable on-screen appearance during “The Bonnie Incident”.

But then, foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of political correctness.

(And it goes without saying that Hollywood has largely ignored the story of the “naughts”, despite its being spearheaded on 9/11 by homophobes astronomically more intolerant than anything a single actor could ever hope to muster up.)