The Corner

Above The Bleeping Aesthetic?

NRO columnist Meghan Cox Gurdon’s complaint about NPR’s morning airing of vulgarity is addressed by NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin. He reports about a soundbite of actor Ned Beatty taking the Lord’s name in vain in a Tennessee Williams play on NPR’s “Morning Edition.” NPR producer Neva Grant replied:

“I was aware that this might be offensive to some of our listeners, but was also aware that bleeping, or “whiting out” the three words might cause equal offense, as they would blunt the dramatic impact of the scene, and diminish our listeners’ sense of Beatty’s grasp on the role. Since so much of the ensuing interview was about voice, and the importance of Williams’ language, I elected to leave in all the words. One could also argue that unlike a rap song or TV comedy routine — Williams’ work is so widely known and respected — it rises above the aesthetic of ‘bleeping.’”

Let’s see if the FCC adds this notion to its strange notion that rock stars can use “F-ing” as an “adverbial intensifier” on television. Swearing’s okay, as long as it’s written by an esteemed dramatist…

Tim GrahamTim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center, where he began in 1989, and has served there with the exception of 2001 and 2002, when served ...

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