Columnist says violence needs attention

The Federal Communications Commission continues to rule over our television and radio airwaves, but lately their presence seems to be minimal.

Many network television shows have continued to use obscene language, even though the FCC has outlawed the use of several four-letter words.

A story published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Tuesday, written by a New York Times reporter, stated several programs have been pushing the limits on adult language. The Golden Globes award ceremony, which aired on TV Jan. 19, was given as an example because of the use of FCC-banned words.

Accompanying this story was an instant poll for all readers of the online edition of the Star Tribune to participate in.

The results of the poll are not comprehensive because of the way in which the answers are phrased. In addition, the results only include respondents to the survey who submitted their responses before 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The poll was phrased as follows:

“About language used on television …”

Respondents can answer in two ways. Out of the 1,856 readers who responded to the poll, 70 percent answered, “It’s (language) a big problem. TV should lead the way in elevating our common language.”

Thirty percent of the readers responded, “It just reflects the language many people use. I don’t see a problem.”

Although these answers are phrased in a way that cannot convey an accurate rating of the public’s opinion on obscene language, people did choose to answer the poll.

I am concerned these people who believe television should lead the way in improving our language are parents. How can any responsible parent or citizen for that matter, rely on TV to improve the language of humankind?

Television is the appropriate place for enjoyment and relaxation in the form of mindless comedy.

If you are looking for a way to improve your language, try reading. In high school and college, students always are reading the great authors of our time to improve their education, language and writing skills. Anyone looking for intellectual language should pick up the works of Dickens or Conrad.

I did not respond to this poll, but I would have responded in favor of obscene language on television. There are much worse things in society that we should be safeguarding our children from. Obscene language is a part of the English vocabulary and children will learn it, regardless of its use, or lack thereof, on television.

Parents and other lobbyists who are constantly bombarding the FCC with new regulations should turn their focus first to the content of television.

It is hard to comprehend why the FCC would censor language on television before censoring the brutal murders and other violence portrayed on network television shows. If the FCC is worried that children who hear these words may be more apt to repeat them, then it should also be concerned with the other things television portrays. For example, the “Power Rangers,” “Pokemon” and “Batman” cartoons each show some kind of violence. If children watch violence, won’t they be likely to emulate the actions they view?

The issue of the Star Tribune’s poll and the work of the FCC raises several questions. First of all, why are people beginning to rely on television to elevate the language of society? Secondly, what should we be worried about children repeating, naughty language or brutal beatings? And finally, if the FCC is censoring a part of what is going on the airwaves, should it censor every aspect of television? Or better yet, if they won’t censor everything, should they censor at all?