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What Would Lenny Bruce Say About Facebook’s Censorship Policy?

“If you can’t say Fuck, you can’t say, Fuck the government.” — Lenny Bruce

In this video, Lenny Bruce excoriates the cultural impulse to censor “dirty words” over violent images, which he traces back to religious roots. 

What we’ve come to call a “dirty movie” — the one with a couple having sex on screen –isn’t the one we should worry about our kids seeing, says Bruce. (And what is it about sex that we find so offensive, anyway?)

The truly dirty movie is Psycho, in which a woman is killed for no purpose, we see a shot of her blood running down the drain, and the killer wraps her body in a shower curtain to dispose of in a swamp. “This is not against the law. I never hear anyone say, this is bad for our kids to see. No it’s cool,” he mocks. 

The fact that kids are probably learning about sex should scare us less than the fact that they might one day become desensitized to violence, “the blatant deterrent of life,” says Bruce. To show the hypocrisy of it all, he paraphrases a censorious parent: Killing yes, but schtupping no–if they ever see an schtupping they might do it some day!

In today’s homepage post, “On Facebook, No Nipples Allowed (But Crushed Limbs are OK),” we look at the contrast between Facebook’s stringent policing of “private parts” and its permissiveness towards depictions of violence.

Tell us: What would Lenny say about Facebook’s policy?

Dan Honan contributed to this post.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.


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