California Supreme Court on Offensive Speech

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Fri Apr 21 00:58:54 UTC 2006

Just a day or two ago I heard Shepard Smith of the Fox News Channel read a viewer's email which contemned the generals who have criticized policy in Iraq as "not having the balls" to do so before they'd retired.

  Smith then used the word "balls" again in referring to the message.

  OK, Fox is cable, but still....I was surprised.

  I share John's perplexity.


  "Baker, John" <JMB at STRADLEY.COM> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: "Baker, John"
Subject: California Supreme Court on Offensive Speech

The California Supreme Court ruled today that the writers for
Friends did not harass a writers' assistant when they used vulgar
language and conduct around her,
pdf. Among the many interesting tidbits is this one from page 24 and
related footnote 9:

<"sorely understated the actual climate" of the writers' room in her
interview, these
types of sexual discussions and jokes (especially those relating to the
personal experiences) did in fact provide material for actual scripts.9

9 Of course, explicit sexual references typically were
replaced with
innuendos, imagery, similes, allusions, puns, or metaphors in order to
sexual themes in a form suitable for broadcast on network television.
example, "motherfucker" was replaced with "mother kisser," "testicles"
"balls," and "anal sex" with "in the stern.">>

Can this be right? You can't say "testicles" on network TV, but
"balls" is acceptable as a euphemism?

John Baker

The American Dialect Society -

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