AFA Blocks the Curse Words


Apparently they’ve had this out for a long time, but I never noticed it until now. The American Family Association markets a product called TVGuardian, which filters out any naughty words that might otherwise fall on your precious child’s virgin ears. And boy does it work!

AFAtvguardian1

Of course, that will depend on the setting one chooses:

AFAtvguardian2

I think it’s quite amusing that you can be so strict as to filter out hell and damn. Then they could watch Christian TV and not have any idea what they’re talking about. It would be even funnier to have it replace curse words with their clean alternatives, like “fudge” for fuck or “sugar” for shit. Especially if it did so in a Stephen Hawking-style electronic voice.

Comments

  1. IslandBrewer says

    Crap, now I totally want to get one of those, set it on strict, and then watch a documentary on beavers, or the building of the Hoover Dam, or a history of ancient Hellenic Greece.

  2. says

    It would be even funnier to have it replace curse words with their clean alternatives, like “fudge” for fuck or “sugar” for shit. Especially if it did so in a Stephen Hawking-style electronic voice.

    I often think the censoring is funnier than the uncensored content. One particular instance was the first time I heard a particular song, via radio.

    The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire.
    We don’t need no water
    Let the motherHEE-HAW! burn!
    Burn, motherHEE-HAW!, burn.

  3. A. Noyd says

    Bronze Dog (#2)

    I often think the censoring is funnier than the uncensored content. One particular instance was the first time I heard a particular song, via radio.

    Hahaha, the first time I heard that one, the censoring was off by half a second, so it was like “Let th[beeep]erfucker burn.”

  4. matty1 says

    Anyone else think of the Family Guy censorship episode? “Beeep episcopalian beeeep with a paper ticket”

  5. TGAP Dad says

    More awesome if Anonymous hacked into it and changed the settings, especially the database of naughty words. Oh the fun we’d have!

  6. Alverant says

    Makes one wonder what “offensive religious filters” means. Would the Science channel be blocked completely or any mention of the word “evolution”? Which religion would count? Would it block McDonald’s ads because eating beef is offensive to Hindus?

  7. alanb says

    It would be even funnier to have it replace curse words with their clean alternatives, like “fudge” for fuck or “sugar” for shit.

    They have tried that, and ended up changing sprinter Tyson Gay’s name to Tyson Homosexual.

  8. says

    OT:
    This reminds me of one of my all-time favorite censor buds for a movie on TV, from Wayne’s World:
    Orginal:
    Garth:”Benjamin is nobodies friend. If Benjamin were an ice cream flavor, he’d be pralines and dick”

    Replaced with:
    Garth:” Benjamin is nobodies friend. If Benjamin were an ice cream flavor, he’d be Jamocha almond idiot”

  9. Sastra says

    I’m sure Ed remembers the good ol’ days of IRC when some of the aops in religious debate rooms decided to put filters on certain words so that anyone who said them was automatically booted and banned from the chatroom. They wanted decency and civility preserved so that the faithful would not be too shocked by their contact with heathens, heretics, and the hell-bound. However, there were … bugs. And oh, they were not just puzzling to figure out — they were also fun to play with.

    It took me a while to figure out the problem, but I got myself kicked out of #Christiandebate a few times for writing the word “analysis.” It contains the word “anal.” The naughty-word program apparently couldn’t distinguish between the word itself and letters placed in the same order within another word. So I proceeded to get a lot of the Christians — including even some ops — kicked and banned from their own room by wandering in occasionally and innocently asking “Hey, all, I’m having trouble with something — what’s another word for a ‘man-made river?'”

    Of course, we atheists also amused ourselves by getting the Bible-bot banned by asking it for Numbers 22:21. Ah, small pleasures and good times.

    The Christians eventually realized the filter was more trouble than it was worth and they got rid of it. Made them look silly. Sillier.

  10. says

    The one censoring incident I found funny when Joe Pesci’s line in, oh, one of his gangster movies was changed to: “You mother-lovin’ mother lovers.”
    Gee, I wonder what the original words could have been.

  11. lofgren says

    Would it block McDonald’s ads because eating beef is offensive to Hindus?

    No, because any acknowledgement of the existence of Hindus would be considered offensive to the AFA.

  12. matty1 says

    @16 from your link “Memphis Grizzlies backers hit the hay hoping that Kevin Love would open things up for Rudy Homosexual in the frontcourt.”

    This. Is. Genius.

  13. tbp1 says

    I lived in Latin America for several years in the 70s and 80s. Most movies were subtitled, rather than dubbed, which was great for native English speakers like me. There was some variation in how the dirty words got translated, but they were often heavily edited. I will always remember seeing One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and after one of McMurphy’s (the character played by Jack Nicholson) incredible strings of obscenities, the translation read “You’re not a nice person.”

    It wasn’t an obscenity issue, but I also remember attending a Marx Brothers film festival in Mexico City and seeing how impossible it was to translate most of the wordplay, especially the long buildup to the payoff line, “You can’t fool me, there ain’t no sanity clause” in A Night at the Opera. Absolutely cannot be made to work in Spanish.

  14. says

    I believe it was “TBS” or “Superstation” that did it, but several years ago my brother, best friend & I were watching Fallen on TV. Near the end of the film, as John Goodman’s demon-possessed character is dying and Denzel Washington admits he has laced his cigarette(s) with poison to kill himself, Goodman exclaims (what I assume is) “Fuck you, my friend! Fuck you!” (or something to that effect – my recollection dims over the years).

    But the channel edited it to “Forget you, my friend! Forget you!”, with forget‘s two syllables awkardly squeezed into the phrase. It was one of the funniest unintentionally funny things I have ever heard, and to this day I enjoy tossing it out, usually in response to being bested in video games.

  15. Moggie says

    It’s almost worth watching the cleaned-up dub of Repo Man for the ridiculous insults: “melon farmer” being particularly memorable.

  16. Artor says

    I was amused to see an example of Xtian media filtering back during the Olympic trials for track & field. The Xtian line of reasoning is that the word “gay,” is too positive, so all references to “gay,” should be changed to “homosexual,” to make it sound less sympathetic. So the news, viewed through their filter, reported on Tyson Homosexual’s time in the 100 meter races, with many, many instances of the name swap occurring through the page.

  17. UnknownEric is just a spudboy, looking for a quantum tomato. says

    This is reminding me of the cleaned-up version of Major League. The stuff in parentheses was inserted by the censors, often in a completely different voice: “You may run like Mays, but you hit like (his sister)!” “Strike this (guy) out!”

  18. Phillip IV says

    It would be even funnier to have it replace curse words with their clean alternatives, like “fudge” for fuck or “sugar” for shit.

    I think they’ve learned their lesson on that. Not only was there the Tyson Homosexual problem, even before that was the embarrassing statement that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a posterior.

  19. jasonfailes says

    I love that “Hell” and “damn” are blocked.

    Dr. McCoy would be bleeped more than any other mother-lover in the galaxy. (Although still much less than that bad class fudger R2D2 in a galaxy far, far away.)

    Now that I think on it, Star Trek busted fake gods with about the same frequency that Scooby Doo tore ghost masks off petty criminals. Why would any gosh darn Christian watch a show depicting a society where the only vestigial remains of their religion are the curse words?

  20. mvemjsun says

    Miss Congeniality had 62 dirty words what setting was that on? Sandra Bullock has a potty mouth. That is hilarious.

  21. Ulysses says

    Around 1965 the Rolling Stones appeared on the Ed Sullivan show singing “Satisfaction.” The line “I’m trying to make some girl” had the word “make” bleeped. What Sullivan’s producers didn’t realize was the next two lines were worse: “She tells me ‘Baby, Baby come back maybe next week/’Cause you see I’m on a losing streak.’ ” IOW she doesn’t want to have sex because she’s having her period.

  22. baal says

    So far as they want to censor content, they seem to have a blind spot (inability to read or comprehend?) when it comes to slightly obscure (or maybe not “shoot it the right direction” and all) music that doesn’t use the ‘bad words.’ The two examples I’m thinking of (which dates me somewhat) are Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Relax and Tool’s stinkfist (the second song is more or less about intimacy and anal fisting). The did get ‘rapist’ bleeped from a lyric by the Butthole Surfers in their big hit pepper.

  23. says

    I think it’s quite amusing that you can be so strict as to filter out hell and damn. Then they could watch Christian TV and not have any idea what they’re talking about.

    Repent, or darned to H-E-double-hockey-sticks!

  24. eric says

    It would be even funnier to have it replace curse words with their clean alternatives, like “fudge” for fuck or “sugar” for shit.

    Obscenity is in the mind. With good turn of phrase you don’t even have to do such a replacement, just a blank or pause and the listener’s brain will do the rest. For a highly amusing example, watch “the count censored.” Its a real sesame street song, just with the word “count” bleeped out. That’s all. Not a parody. No word substitution or additions. Just blanks where “count” should be. And it will sound just as dirty as you can imagine. :)

    Another example is an old Dr. Dimento song called “polka dot undies.” Again, no actual dirty words, the composer just uses rhyming schemes that will suggest to the listener what the next word ought to be (to fit the rhyme), and your mind does the rest.

  25. grendelsfather says

    I want to get one and run Gilbert Gottfried’s version of The Aristocrats joke through it just to see the whole thing blow up.

  26. says

    I think it’s quite amusing that you can be so strict as to filter out hell and damn. Then they could watch Christian TV and not have any idea what they’re talking about.

    In 1985, Carl Sagan wrote Contact. As few-sentence background world-building, he included the idea of something called Adnix – basically Adblock for television. It it was accompanied by Preachnix, which did what you describe.

    @eric:

    Profanity is indeed all context-dependent.

    In Quebecois French, the stronger curses are called sacre (‘sacred’) and many are derived from terms in the Catholic liturgy. the general French merde (shit) is fairly mild. The loanwords fucké and chit are milder still. Which leads to the amusing situation of Francophone Canadian media using them a lot while the Anglophone media censor them.

    There is similar sacred profanity in Italian and some dialects of Spanish. So this curse-blocker would be at least as absurd in languages other than English as it is in them.

  27. Rip Steakface says

    But the channel edited it to “Forget you, my friend! Forget you!”, with forget‘s two syllables awkardly squeezed into the phrase.

    Considering that an extremely popular (and surprisingly good) song did exactly that for the chorus, it’s not that surprising. “I see you drivin’ ’round town with a girl I know, and I’m like ‘Fuck you!'” is the original line, and the fuck was replaced with “forget.” Never mind that I’ve never heard the phrase “forget you” until that edited version.

  28. magistramarla says

    I always watch the ads for parental control for DirectTV with great amusement.
    We raised five children and never felt the need to control anything on the TV (or what they read, for that matter).
    We simply asked that they watch the films with us and ask questions if they wanted.
    We filled them in on the jokes and explained why they shouldn’t use the words that they were hearing on the TV at school.
    We actually had more problems with our kids watching mindless violence than hearing adult language or anything sexual.

    When they were teens, they were often embarrassed by us when they came in rather late and found us watching a late-night offering on Showtime. It was rather fun to watch their reactions!

  29. says

    Sometimes even a beep is unacceptable. The Canadian cartoon Total Drama Island, a spoof of reality shows, had a scene where one of the characters, fed up with a teammate, cuts loose several times with a long string of apparent curses, all beeped out. When the series aired on Cartoon Network in the US the beeping was replaced by “no good, selfish, bossy” and so on. Oddly enough Cartoon Network was forced to leave in the pixellated hand of the swearing character, who was apparently flipping the bird.

  30. jba55 says

    My favorite censorship bit was from Tremors when it was on either USA or TBS. In the scene where Kevin Bacon tricks one of the monsters into falling into a gorge and dying he normally says “Fuuuuuuck you!” The censored version was “FooOooOOled you!” The inflection and slightly off voice were priceless.

  31. says

    The all-time best word replacement was from the movie Young Frankenstein.
    Terri Garr and others were talking about how the monster would be larger than normal guys. She said, “He’s gonna have a great Schwanzstueke. In the censored version they substituted “personality’ for “Schwanzstueke.”
    When my sons were in their teens we would watch a movie on basic cable that they had seen millions of times on premium channels. They would try to outdo themselves by filling in the swear word for the basic cable word.

  32. Ichthyic says

    The all-time best word replacement was from the movie Young Frankenstein.

    how about all time best entire theme replacement?

    I saw Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie in the theaters when it first came out, and was surprised years later to see that it was scheduled to run on tv.

    Figured I would sit back and enjoy re-watching a movie I laughed my ass off at in my teens.

    For those that don’t already know… the primary plot device (big bag of pot, and the later farm) directly referred to in the film had been replaced with diamonds.

    no shit.

  33. twincats says

    I think they’ve learned their lesson on that. Not only was there the Tyson Homosexual problem, even before that was the embarrassing statement that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a posterior.

    I lol’d because because it wasn’t even his own ‘posterior’

  34. coragyps says

    The Rolling Stones also sang “Let’s Spend Some Time Together” on Ed Sullivan. No “night” on this Clean Family Show!
    I was about fifteen and laughed until I nearly choked.

  35. iknklast says

    So, would the Flintstones theme song have to become “we’ll have a homosexual old time”? Just askin’

  36. dingojack says

    billdaniels – If I remember correctly* it was a 3/4 full garbage bag’s worth…
    Say the bag is 56 Litres, that’s 56,000cm³, but it’s only 3/4 full, so about 42,000cm³ . Diamonds have an average density of about 3.515g/cm³ so the bag would weigh 147.63Kg or 738,150 Carats. If they were industrial diamonds the bag might cost $5,167,050 to $7,381,500** .
    Gotta get me one of them diamond farms!
    :D Dingo
    ——–
    * I was a bit hazy on the plot, even then
    ** loose radiant cut (5-7 Carat) could be as much as $36.0B [VVS1, D] to as low as $2.7B [I1, J] (at average prices in AUD)

  37. martinc says

    Filters are dependent on the filterers understanding what they are trying to filter. Australian radio in the 1970s had extremely strict censorship on song lyrics for some reason: nothing that even hinted of sexuality was allowed to be broadcast. But one local product got through, apparently because the censors simply didn’t understand it: Supernaut’s “I Like It Both Ways”. I still remember screaming the chorus along with all the other ten-year-olds.

    Australian television also gave us the immortal Eddie Murphy line in Beverly Hills Cop: “Get the (heck) out of here!” For best effect, try to imagine the word ‘heck’ dubbed (possibly by the TV station janitor) in as broad an Aussie accent as possible.

  38. dingojack says

    martinc – Don’t forget: “You Just Like Me Cos I’m Good Bed” by Skyhooks*. :)
    Dingo
    ——–
    * It was ‘banned’ via a gentleman’s agreement by commercial radio stations but was the first (and the last) song played on the (government-run) youth radio station 2JJ, as well as the first on the FM version, Triple J.

  39. billyeager says

    Already done betterer by the Brits:

    “You fun my wife, moneyfunster?”
    “No, I didn’t FUN your wife, but she sucked my DUCK and I ate her PUPPY.”

  40. eric says

    @40: ‘great personality’ reminds me of Python’s “she’s got huge tracts of land.” Dunno why – that’s the original, not the censored version – but for some reason you brought it to mind.

    martinc @47:

    But one local product got through, apparently because the censors simply didn’t understand it: Supernaut’s “I Like It Both Ways”.

    Similar things happened here in the US. The same time that Sullivan was censoring “lets spend the night together, songs like “Yummy Yummy” were playing on the radio – because, evidently, the censors didn’t understand the (far more naughty) reference. Heh.

  41. says

    My personal favorite was the TBS edit for The Big Lebowski. When John Goodman’s character is destroying the Corvette he yells, “Do you see what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass?” twice during his rant.

    It comes out thusly:

    “Do you see what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps?”

    and then

    “Do you see what happens when you feed a stranger scrambled eggs?”

  42. says

    “how about all time best entire theme replacement?”.

    Howzabout Robbie Coltrane in “The Pope Must Die(t)”? The RCC went fucking nuts when that came out. For some reason “Dogma” which was much more sacreligious didn’t get nearly the beating that was given to “The Pope Must Die(t)”. This may have had something to do with the U.K.’s libel/slander laws.

    When “MASH” was released to the AAFEES theater system in europe in 1971, the Army’s commanding general in Frankfurt, blocked its screening as being inappropriate and portraying the Army in a bad (and false) way. After being pilloried in the “Overseas Weekly”, a privately published newspaper that was generally not sympathetic of the U.S. military’s hierarchy he relented. He said, in effect, that the movie was a parody and a gross distortion of true military behavior. None of us junion airmen thought that to be the case.

  43. caseloweraz says

    Alanb writes: “They have tried that, and ended up changing sprinter Tyson Gay’s name to Tyson Homosexual.”

    Imagine what they’d do with the name of the author of Honor thy Father and Thy Neighbor’s Wife.

  44. caseloweraz says

    “I think it’s quite amusing that you can be so strict as to filter out hell and damn.”

    It reminds me that back in 1956 there was a controversy over the words Lloyd Bridges uttered in a TV drama called “Tragedy in a Temporary Town.” (I think it was a Hallmark Hall of Fame production, which helps explain the controversy.)

    The words? “You God damn stinking pigs!”

    How times have changed! That’s progress, I guess. /sarc

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