2005/07/23

Censoring Profanity on TV

I had been warned before I came that a lot of things are censored here, so I haven't been shocked by anything that has been cut out of things for the most part. But the other night I was watching Independence Day on the TV here (I hope that Ben and Henry can forgive me), and I noticed something strange: they let a lot of words go out that in America would have been bleeped (e.g a**hole), but then they muted "son of a bitch". I understand that different cultures have different standards of what is a profanity (for example, in America 'fanny' is a fairly polite term for a butt, but not in England, where it means something else), and that Arabs in general dislike dogs (because they are unclean). But still, this struck me as really strange.

3 comments:

Mohamed Elzubeir said...

I have always maintained that the UAE in general and Dubai sepecifically is full of contradictions. A striking one is regarding the issue of censorship.

Dubai TV (before becoming One TV) did not censor any profanity, day or night. At the same time, I was finding it increasingly more difficult to buy music CD's that weren't censored. I kept thinking, this should be exactly the other way around!

Well, they finally gotten around to revamp Dubai TV -- and they have done a terrific job at it. They do some censoring, which I appreciate. I personally prefer the profanity (and do not have kids, etc.) but it would be inconsiderate to not think of the children audience.

As for what to censor and what not to censor, you are right. You would also be laughing if you could read the subtitles. Even when the profanity is not being censored, the subtitles never actually contain any vulgar language. Odd.

Your Man in Dubai said...

the one I like is that they cut a kiss even a peck, and then they alow any swear words doesn't matter how crude!

Anonymous said...

Those who do the censoring (or translation/subtitles for that matter) aren't that proficient in the language. If you're bilingual, you can spot several errors in translation as well.
Music: there were times when I walked out of stores in malls with my 13 yr old daughter because the songs that they played had nasty, nasty lyrics. Never heard anything like it on a radio or public place in US. To people here, it's just a song from the west!