No Bitching!

The other night my wife and I were watching Misery on network TV, and I was surprised by how much violence was left uncensored. Given America’s current political climate, you’d think that graphic violence would be as frowned upon as a wardrobe malfunction, but apparently not. The scene at the end of the movie where the characters played by James Caan and Kathy Bates fight to the death was left intact, even the part where a bloody Kathy Bates is bashed senseless with a heavy typewriter.

Before Kathy Bates is killed, though, James Caan calls her “a crazy bitch” – except the word “bitch” was censored out.

I’m not sure what to make of this. The network censors were perfectly fine showing a bloody killing, but didn’t want to offend anyone with a swear word? What a strange country I live in.

14 thoughts on “No Bitching!

  1. What do you think about nudity? As soon as there’s even a small bit of nudity, it’s immediately covered up, and usually results in a huge controversy. But bloody gory violence is no problem at all. Strange indeed.

  2. I have to admit to laughing about something similar this morning, when I heard on the radio that the words to a well known childrens nursery rhyme were being changed to something along the lines of “Bar bar international sheep”, so as not to offend people.
    I will now go and listen to some international sabbath!

  3. Very hard to understand… after all, the word ‘bitch’ is perfectly legitimate, and no more, as you put it, a ‘swear’ word, than say ‘hen’, ‘cow’ or ‘vixen’.
    US TV is pretty sad…!

  4. International Sabbath! Ironically Sabbath is a generally Jewish idea, so I think it should be International Day of Rest, or more generic: Worldwide time of rest. Of course the real problem comes out when you have people who are mentally handicapped who can’t deal with time in which case it become worldwide instance of rest. Which is still problematic for those who don’t feel part of the world in which case you have sub-group celebration in a planetary instance of non-work. I could keep going but Nick would probably just delete this comment ;)

  5. Randy, how horrible that you could have said such a thing as ‘mentally-handicapped.
    We must have you arrested and beaten to death publicly to appease the gods of political-correctness…
    Whoops, better not say ‘gods’, might imply that they are better than others just because they are immortal, omniscient, etc…
    I meant to say the enhanced-ability (but-no-better-than-other-people) non-mortality-challenged recognized (by-some) cultural guides for standards of public speech and morality… ;-)
    On Nick’s point, our cultural hypocrisy on this topic sure came out during the 2005 superbowl ‘costume malfunction’ where our entire country went into hysterics at seeing a breast for a 1/2 second (plus of course all the tivo replays ;-). Meanwhile we’ll show any kind of horror on tv, as ‘fiction/entertainment’ or as ‘news.’ Heck, I have to switch the channel all the time just away from the commercials for the horror movies and tv shows advertised during normal prime time.

  6. Nick, ‘Misery’ is a Stephen King story, right?
    That would certainly imply that it’s going to be horror. You knew that right? The surprise was just that it wasn’t violence-censored for public TV?

  7. Jeff: Yes, I knew what Misery was about – I read the book many years ago, and had seen the movie before. The surprise wasn’t that it was violent, but instead that the word “bitch” was deemed more offensive than the violence.

  8. Here in the UK, watching recent imports (House, CSI) it has become very apparent that US TV is currently on a gore spree.
    Seems it is perfectly acceptable to see someone having their hand amputated, just as long as the rest of them is covered up and they don’t say any bad words.
    The extreme gore coupled with the tame language gives the shows a surreal edge.

  9. I remember when Star Trek III first aired on network TV, ABC edited the line Admiral Kirk said when the Klingons killed his son, but kept the scene of his being stabbed in tact….I dont’ understand it either….

  10. Not much wonder about how we’ve devolved to our so called civilization. I just don’t get it. Seems more of us engage in acts of making people than in killing people but murder is more publicly acceptable for viewing than sex.

  11. What is the purpose of censorship? To model good behavior? Seems a bit unfocused. But then again, we want to be able to send young people off to war to kill people…

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