California Supreme Court on Offensive Speech

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Apr 21 02:39:06 UTC 2006

At 9:07 PM -0400 4/20/06, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
>On 4/20/06, Baker, John <JMB at> wrote:
>>                  9 Of course, explicit sexual references typically were
>>  replaced with innuendos, imagery, similes, allusions, puns, or
>>  metaphors in order to convey sexual themes in a form suitable for
>>  broadcast on network television. For example, "motherfucker" was
>>  replaced with "mother kisser," "testicles" with "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?
>The "Friends" writers did use both "mother kisser" and "in the stern",
>but both "testicles" and "balls" were apparently acceptable on the
>1004 - The One With The Cake
>Judy: (to Monica) I remember your first birthday! Ross was jealous of
>all the attention we were giving you. He pulled on his testicles so
>hard! We had to take him to the emergency room!
>1005 - The One Where Rachel's Sister Babysits
>Phoebe: That woman at the game didn't know what she was talking about.
>Mike, obviously you have balls.
>Mike: (puts on a fake smile) Where else would lame Mr. No Balls hide it?
>1015 - The One Where Estelle Dies
>Monica: Okay, but if we don't get this house, she's stil gonna show up
>wherever we go! I mean, at least if she's here, it eliminates the
>element of suprise. I mean, never again will you have to hear the
>three words that make your balls jump back up inside your body.
>Notably, all of these episodes were in the tenth and final season
>(2003-04), so I guess standards had loosened up by then.
Alice can probably confirm the exact wording, but every morning on
"Mike and Mike", a nationally syndicated radio sports show on ESPN
radio (I believe it's also simulcast on "the Deuce", ESPN2 TV), the
segment in which Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg cover baseball tidbits
from the previous day is introduced with a recorded voice-over by an
announcer with a sort of deep comical voice (hard to describe) saying
something like "And now, Mike and Mike let you discover their balls
[long pause] and strikes".  I've been wondering how they get away
with it (at 8:45 a.m. or thenabouts).  "Discover" isn't the actual
verb they use, but it's something along those lines, requiring
retroactive accommodation when you get to the "and strikes" part.
These are web-archived, but you have to be a subscriber.


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