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October 8, 2015

PBS offering censored and uncensored versions of The War

by Adam Finley, posted Sep 4th 2007 7:02PM

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.

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Media Glutton

Like basically everything else, social conservatives like living in a fantasy world where no bad words are ever uttered.

September 05 2007 at 4:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brent McKee

The FCC actually approved the broadcast of "Saving Private Ryan" saying that the intention was not to "titillate or shock." Then the next year the FCC fined KCSM in San Mateo for airing an uncensored version of Martin Scorcese's documentary "The Blues: Godfathers and Sons," stating that "The gratuitous and repeated use of this language in a program that San Mateo aired at a time when children were expected to be in the audience is shocking." The FCC had received exactly one (1) complaint about the documentary. Given the increase in the amount of the fine that the FCC can levy ($325,000 per station) and the apparently capricious and arbitrary nature of the FCC's decision making - not to mention their refusal to pre-clear or offer an exemption to the show - it is not surprising that some PBS stations are concerned about covering their asses. And incidentally it is apparently not repeated use of the "four words"but four words used in the entire series. Needless to say it wouldn't happen in Canada - or just about any other country on Earth. Ridiculous!

September 05 2007 at 3:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Right, until his subordinates didn't kill all those people.

Movies of a historical significance should never be censored. I applaud ABC every time they show Saving Private Ryan in its entirety. It's ballsy, in the day and age of people having a stick up their ass about everything, but it's the right thing to do.

September 05 2007 at 1:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

REAL soldiers didn't need to swear....or shoot their guns or kill anyone. A civil discourse and rational argument was all Hitler REALLY needed.

September 05 2007 at 12:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

F*** censorship.

September 04 2007 at 9:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Censorship 1
History 0

September 04 2007 at 8:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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