The Daily Show: A Love Supreme

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From the February 2, 2012 edition

Lately we’ve been talking an awful lot about the president and Congress, but there’s a third and equal branch of government — the judicial — that by now must be feeling somewhat ignored.

We didn’t forget about you, Supreme Court, baby. Why don’t you change into something more comfortable? Actually, you wear robes; what’s more comfortable than that? I guess you could make the fabric more plush, but then you’d just be wearing Snuggies and nobody would take you seriously.

Anyway, the Supreme Court has been hearing some new cases about the standards of decency on television.

“The U.S. Supreme Court is now considering a challenge to government rules barring cursing and nudity on the major networks,” Megyn Kelly reported on Fox News.

See, the networks could get hit with six-figure fines for things like profanity and wardrobe malfunctions, and the networks feel that’s just not fair because not everybody has to play by those rules.

“Most of the television programs that come into American homes are unregulated; that includes what is on the cable networks and the internet,” reported Pete Williams on NBC News.

So that means cable programs like mine are unregulated — then why can’t I say “f---stick”?

Well, if anyone can make sense of what appear to be arbitrary and archaic distinctions on profanity and nudity, it’s the nine be-robed big brains of the Supreme Court. Let’s hear what Chief Justice John Roberts has to say, because if he’s the chief justice, he must be the smartest.

“People understand — what you have demonstrated, I think, is that the context matters. People understand that, including children, when they hear a bad word when someone hits their thumb with a hammer, they understand that’s different than having an adult stand in normal conversation and use the words,” Roberts said.

That is so true, and I guess it explains the new title of the PBS show, “This Old, Ahh! Mother F---ing! House.” This makes for an interesting and somewhat onerous loophole.

So I guess there are distinctions of when you can use explicit language, but what about sexy-time pictures? When can you show those? Justice Stephen Breyer thinks that even granting some sexy-time picture exceptions gets tricky, like the case regarding the “NYPD Blue” episode featuring female nudity.

“You ran it … after 10 o’clock, and they choose to run it at nine o’clock for some unknown reason in the Midwest,” Breyer said.

Yeah, I could definitely see side-butt circa 1994 at 10 p.m., but 9 p.m. — what am I, Roman Polanski?

You know what, I’m glad someone is out there protecting America’s delicate sensibilities pre-10 p.m. Because if those types of barely clothed images infiltrated the airwaves, we would not have room for the more wholesome fair that does air at 9 p.m.

Where will the heartwarming tales of someone being sodomized with a banana on “Law & Order: SVU” have to go?