Simple thank-yous for millionaires

Broadcast | Familiarity

They’re vulgar, increasing in frequency, and containing shameless displays that shouldn’t be shown to impressionable young children. No, I’m not talking about the variations on profane words which Congress wishes to ban on broadcast television. I’m talking about celebrities making impromptu speeches on televised award shows.

After all, this is the most recent motivator for Congressional action was the FCC non-action regarding rock star Bono’s comments at the January 2003 Gloden Globes, “This is f***ing brilliant”, as well as public heiress Nicole Richie’s repeat offensives, unconjugated & unbleeped, in last month’s Billboard Music Awards. Why the blue notes? Bono has been gilded so many times, he’s run out of things to say at these award shows. No matter what he says, he will continue to have rewards thrust upon him for musical and humanitarian achievements. On the other end of thee spectrum, Richie, having taken the short path from wealth to fame, skipped passed the humility stage.

The most direct action should be to ban awards shows. This would spare us just from the pardonable profanity, but the occasional political rants. Unfortunately, we’d miss out on the moments of sheer joy, like the reactions of Adrian Brody and Norah Jones from the last year. The first speech is Can you imagine the academies announcing, “This is Ms. Jones’s first award on national TV. She will be giving an acceptance speech for the first, and only time.” Maybe in ten years, after a career comeback, the performer would be welcome to speak again at a rewards show.

The Congressional bill may stumble, given the free speech momentum built up in recent Supreme Court Rulings that struck down the CDA. Still, if there’s renewed pressure from the FCC or the Congress. If there’s enough support, the networks may smarten up and just agree to put a safer delay, say 15 seconds, on shows they can’t control. They can avoid the fate of the Source Hip-Hop Music Awards– which has been broadcast only after being heavily edited for the last five years.