I heard a news story this morning that just made me shake my head. I have been whipping through the morning newspaper to try and find a corresponding story to back up the story I heard on the radio and I have not found it. Still, I have no reason to believe it was a lie. Anyway, I heard that the FCC, you know the branch of government that is supposed to keep the airwaves safe for our delicate eyes and ears, is soliciting radio and television stations for sports broadcasts. Are they just sports fans? No, they are looking for crowd noises and players swearing that were picked up and broadcast by the ambient mikes that sports broadcasts use to make you feel like you are at the game. Apparently they would like to start leveling fines against stations who let those noises slip out.
If you ever watch an old recording of a sports broadcast you notice the difference. While there have generally always been mikes that picked up crowd noise, these days the major sports leagues put mikes in the crowd, have players and coaches wear them and point them all over the place. I am certain with a really great sound-system and surround-sound it must really seem like you are sitting in the stadium. Quite honestly is would be the best seat in the house because you would have replays and an announcer who can help you figure out what’s happening. It’s part of being a sports fan and it applies across the board. This isn’t about one sport or another but any sport does this now with their broadcasts. You see, it’s live and that means that sometimes people might say things that normally wouldn’t be broadcast across the television and radio airwaves. Part of the fun of being at a sporting event is being able to shout obscenities to the players, officials and coaches.
All of this, of course, stems back to the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction during the Super Bowl half-time show a few years back. The funny thing is I did not see that happen live. Back then, what possible reason did you have to watch the Super Bowl half-time show? It’s a terrible show. It’s some idiot performer usually paired with some other idiot performer singing crappy songs while more idiots dance around on the field around them. I have never once watched a Super Bowl half-time show and enjoyed myself. So, I was watching something else. There was nothing in the world that was going to get me to watch Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake. In my humble opinion, both of them suck and the only thing that would have entertained me and gotten me to watch was if they were to be executed at the end of the show or something.
Plus, it was a breast and one that was technically covered. It was exposed for a second and then covered with a hand. If your children haven’t already seen or heard something worse on cable or basic network television then you must really shelter them. Considering recent studies show that some children are experimenting with sex as early as fourth or fifth grade and that has nothing to do with things they saw on television then I think the whole flap over a briefly exposed, unattractive breast is insane. The news shows more stuff these days than that.
Part of going to a sporting event is shouting. Part of watching a sporting event at home is trying to feel like you are there. Part of feeling like you are there is to get that crowd noise. Part of the crowd noise involves cursing. If you don’t like it then you need to stop watching sports of start watching them while wearing that ear protection you wear at a shooting range or something.
The government needs to stop butting in and trying to stop us from hearing things. I saw a documentary not long ago about a father taking his child to his first ball game. The kid heard the crowd chanting a certain swear word. The father smiled and nodded, letting the child know that within the confines of that ball park, and only there, was saying that word acceptable. It was a beautiful father-son moment, I’m sure.
We don’t need protection from our sporting events. We don’t need the FCC telling us what it thinks we should and shouldn’t be allowed to hear. If we are really worried about what the kids hear then parents need to take a more active role in what they watch and listen to. The government and the rest of the world shouldn’t be doing the parenting.
At some point we just need to start taking responsibility and stop acting like babies every time something happens that we don’t like. Get up and change the channel. Do something yourself to make things change and stop wanting the government or your neighbors of the rest of the “village” to do what you should be doing as a responsible person for yourself.
I don’t want to watch a sporting event filled with weird silent gaps as delay systems are put in place to block crowd and player cursing. I want to watch a game and feel like I am there as much as I can while sitting on my butt in my living room.