PBS offering censored and uncensored versions of The War
"Gee whiz, that crazy nut just shot at me! I'd like to give that silly so-and-so a bop on the noggin, by golly!"
Yeah, I just can't imagine a World War II veteran talking about his experiences and not using a few expletives, and there are more than a few curse words bandied about in Ken Burns' seven-part documentary The War. The swearing comes not only from the soldiers themselves who use phrases like "holy s**t" and "***hole," but from the narrator, who explains what the military acronyms "FUBAR" and "SNAFU" stand for (if you don't know, Google it).
In order to hopefully appease the FCC, PBS is offering stations two versions of The War: one with swearing, and one without. Also, in the "clean" version, instead of going to war, the soldiers all go the county fair and catch fireflies while a big smiley face on the sun sings "A Bicycle Built For Two," and bluebirds weave dresses for the ladies out of clouds and rainbows.
All in all, it seems like a reasonable compromise, but I'm hoping the public television stations here in Minneapolis choose to show the uncensored version. Burns himself has said he wanted to show the reality of World War II, and in order to do that, the soldiers need to explain their experiences in their own words. True, the "bleeping" makes it clear that a curse word was uttered, but it's a false, polished version of reality, like a soldier in an old time movie being shot without a single drop of blood appearing on the screen.