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June 14, 2005
Podcasting and Profanity
Last Sunday, on Corante's Podcasting Jeff De Cagna asked, what the role of profanity in podcasting was (Profanity in Podcasting: What is its Role?).
But there is an even more fundamental inquiry I'd like to pose here: what is the role of profanity in podcasting? Do we need to curse to demonstrate our fidelity to free speech? What is the point at which our defiant acts against the FCC will cease to be purposeful, and we will just become garbage mouths in the eyes (and ears) of our listeners? I know I'm probably messing with the bull here, so I'll be prepared! [emphasis in original]
The answer is simple, really. It plays whatever role the speaker desires. If that role doesn't mesh with the role the audience cares for, the audience will stop listening.
Use profanity, don't use profanity. It's a judgement call.
The real question is whether some censorship regime is necessary.
Last week on the Yahoo podcasters group, there was an extremely passionate discussion (complete with name calling) of profanity in podcasting and how it can be screened by listeners who prefer to avoid it themselves or want to keep it away from their kids. At the moment, of course, there isn't a way to screen for profanity short of listening to the podcasts. Some group members advocated a voluntary ratings system, while others recoiled at the suggestion. A key question is who gets to decide what is or isn't profane and by what cultural standard, an extremely relevant matter given podcasting's global reach. [link in original]
But really, is this necessary? The internet has a number of rating schemes, they're mostly useless. I've never noticed any blogs that are rated, why should podcasts? Depending on the audience, most blogs simply exercise a judgement call. Some refuse to publish vulgarities, others do. Sometimes the sites warn their readers, sometimes they don't. Seems to work just fine.
Of course, I'm sure the topic will come up again and again and again ...
+ TrackBacks (0) | Category: Broadcatching/Podcasting | Freedom of Expression | Rating and Filtering
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