Friday, March 02, 2007

New York State and City bans a certain six letter word

You know when political correctness is going to far when the concept of Language Police doesn't seem that far off.

I am presented with a challenge here because I want to talk about this story while at the same time, I am not going to say the specific word in question.

If you haven't already read or heard, New York City, following in the steps of the state legislature, has issued a moratorium on the use of a specific racial slur. You know, the one that got Michael Richards in so much trouble. Yeah, THAT one.

Breaking it carries no penalty, so it is largely a symbolic measure, but still, it is just bizarre. This isn't something like an FCC measure to remove it from the airwaves or something that is being suggested to just employees of the state or city... this is a measure which is supposed to discourage anyone saying the word. What is that?

I am not advocating the use of the word in question, but at the same time, the anti-censorship zealot in me burns with a fiery intensity when I think about the greater implications of such a move. It is the slippery slope, for who knows what word they may target next... and what if the measure does get some teeth? What happens to media that feature that language? Would they be exempt?

And considering that New York is a major center for both hip hop and comedy, do these legislators really think that the threat of arrest for saying a word is going to really stop these artists? I mean, Chris Rock, while fighting rumors that his marriage is in trouble, thought the issue merited discussion.

While I do think the ensuing discussion about the word's place in modern society this has cause is a good thing, I don't really like the direction this is all going.

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