Around Memorial Day, 2005, I read an article about a cable TV channel which was going to air the entire, unedited version of Saving Private Ryan several times through the holiday weekend. They were getting pushback from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) because there had been complaints from some concerned citizens at the idea of the movie being shown on a family channel.
“Makes sense,” I thought. I’d seen the movie. The first scene is a graphic, gruesome depiction of the D-Day landings at Omaha Beach in Normandy. It is possibly one of the most churning, painful scenes to watch in cinema history, and I could understand a parent being worried about their child channel-surfing and stumbling across an image of a man walking across blood-drenched sands, searching for his arm.
But then I read further: people weren’t upset about the violence. They were upset about the use of the word “fuck.”