So there I was at the gym this morning with all the other hamster people, running on my exercise wheel while listening to The Kleptones on my iPod, when I started noticing an interesting football film clip being repeated on various TV screens around the place. Some player from the Minnesota Vikings was shown scoring a touchdowm then leaning over and rubbing his hiney against the goalpost. What's the big deal with that? Since I'm a TV watcher, and not a TV listener, it was difficult to figure out what was so scandalous about this end zone dance, but apparently the player was fined $10,000 for it.
Only problem is, he didn't moon anybody. Last I heard, mooning involved pulling down your pants and baring your butt cheeks at the intended moon-ee. Moss only pretended to pull his pants down, as you can see.
No matter. In the post-Orwellian age in which we live, it's the thought that counts. The NFL has taken a page from the FCC's playbook, and is fining this guy for what he was pretending to do, not for what he actually did.
This is just like the FCC's recent $1.2 million "Married By America" fine against Fox television, the largest FCC fine ever. It was a remarkable fine for two reasons. First, the offending (and therefore illegal) scenes in the show included a bachelor party in which attendees licked whipped cream off of strippers pixillated boobs. That's right, pixillated. Any genitalia or nudity in the show was scrambled so it couldnt actually be seen.
But according to the FCC, a pixillated boob is just as dangerous as the real mccoy. A handful of viewers from one Fox affiliate complained, and the FCC in its infinite wisdom, multiplied the fine by the number of Fox affiliates that aired the scrambled mammary glands, despite the fact that not a single viewer from these dozens of other Fox affiliates actually complained. That's the second remarkable aspect of this fine - the FCC reversed it's longstanding policy of fining on the basis of listener complaints, and fined dozens of stations which were 100% complaint-free.
The FCC got started in this approach back in 2001, when it fined two commercial stations $7,000 a piece for airing what was the number one song in the country at the time, Eminem's The Real Slim Shady. Now we all know what a potty mouth Marshal Mathers has on him, so the stations were naturally broadcasting the radio edit of the song. You heard right - they aired the version of the song that had all the cuss words bleeped out. They were fined anyway. That FCC decision is here. The stations contested the fine, and one of them eventually prevailed, after spending far more than the amount of their fine in legal fees. But you can see that not only was the FCC not initimated from fining for non-existent words (or images), the idea is actually catching on! Hence the NFL's 10 grand fine against Randy Moss.
So dont forget - just because you're minding your Ps and Qs and keeping your clothes on doesn't mean that you're not being dirty, dirty DIRTY! (Safe for work. Sort of.)