Obscenity and Free Speech

Is it real obscenity, or just a lack of taste?
To legislate morality seems such a useless waste.
For standards vary by observer, and from day to day;
Leaving little black or white, but only shades of gray.

Let Washington decide the content, and it won’t be long
Before no matter what you say, it will be judged as wrong.
If personal objections are imposed by a select few
You can be sure that who decides will not be me or you.

I wonder if those who cry out against culture’s decline
Have paused to look at their actions, their own state of mind?
It seems to me that feeling tempted comes of false pretense
that man cannot discern between paths to experience.

And worse, to think that being tried is not required for faith,
that we can become wiser by remaining stale and safe,
leads only to destruction as we weaken from within
and learn to label evolution as some kind of sin.

So, what is real obscenity? And what makes it obscene –
The context, or the message, or delivering machine?
If you would have your own opinion, mind the censor’s might,
Before you want to disagree, and do not have the right.

22 MAR 2004

Instead of letting each of us choose what we want to watch and hear, Congress is moving quickly to require large fines on “indecent” content. This economic censorship would dramatically infringe on the First Amendment and would hinder the diversity of programming available to consumers. We each have a right to watch what we want on television, and change the channel if we don’t like what we see. If a television show is offensive we can complain to the broadcaster and choose never to watch that show again. This market process allows us to find programming that meets our individual tastes and is free of government interference. New legislation, the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004 (S. 2056), would allow the government to levy large fines on broadcasts that the Federal Communications Commission considers “indecent.” This vague definition would lead to broadcasters censoring their content and forbidding their staff from playing controversial material. The proposed legislation would even allow the FCC to impose large fines on Musicians, comedians and other artists who it considers “indecent.” — ACLU Free Speech Alert

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