As my friends and Twitter followers will know, I have a fair bit to blog about, and hope to do so very soon. But tonight, I felt compelled to tap out a quick post about censorship on TV.
After Doc Martin and the ten o’clock news, there was a show called ‘Exposure’ on ITV1, featuring a rule-breaking bailiff. It was really only background noise, as I was reading whilst waiting for a show to start on another channel, but one word in particular made my ears prick up, and my eyes meet the screen.
Before I say why, it seemed to me that this bailiff seemed to get a kick from wielding power over people who owed money, using intimidation, threats and humiliation to get what he wanted from them.
In his case, he was collecting unpaid Council Tax. Yes, it is unfair that the vast majority of people do pay it, and yet some decide the don’t want to and won’t. But others simply cannot pay, maybe because they have been made redundant, their business has collapsed, or they have found themselves seriously ill or injured, and are still wading through the bitter treacle and jumping flaming hoops – also known as the process of being allowed benefits.
The attitude of this man was aggressive from the outset, telling his “apprentice” – an undercover reporter – of ways to get clients on their “f*cking knees”, proud of his knowledge, and seemingly violent, methods.
“Fucking” was edited as above, where his low, conspiratorial voice necessitated subtitles, and the spoken word was bleeped out.
Fast forward a minute or two…
“There’s no toilets in garages any more because Pakis don’t like cleaning them.”
Neither the subtitled or spoken word was censored. I couldn’t believe that such an incredibly offensive word was there to be seen and heard. Not just once, bit repeatedly.
Yes, I understand that fuck is still an offensive word to many people, but the show was on past the “watershed”, even before which, fuck can be heard on TV shows and films.
The P word, like the N word, is offensive to a entire race and nation of people. Remembering a girl in my class at secondary school being made to cry by other girls singing a cruel song containing the word, I quickly switched off. Just as he decided to speak in a supposed Pakistani accent, and harass a man who didn’t even live at the address, stating “if this happened where you come from I’d be in ‘ere with a stick and you’d be up against that wall.”
I’m sure some people will have an issue with me saying P and N words, but they are not my words. I know people of my colour have, and do, use them to create hurt and humiliation. I haven’t censored funk because, largely, I find it inoffensive.
I believe censoring fuck only makes it seem more offensive than a word that has caused thousands of people emotional and mental pain, and I don’t believe that is true.
I’m sure ITV1 had a good reason for exposing this man, and others like him in his business, who constantly and flagrantly breaks out of the guidelines allotted to bailiffs. I hope it will shame those who are at the head of the industry into creating serious rules, and punishments for those who break them, particularly when violence and racial assault is involved.
But they should be ashamed of their censorship failings. The P word is not one we need to hear on TV, unless come from a Pakistani person, as with the N word coming from a black person. I believe they own those words know, reclaiming them from those who used them as weapons.
I wonder, readers, which words do you think should be censored? And what do you think about the censorship in Exposure (oh the irony!)?
Let me know!