Dissed by the Supreme Court

Compare the following statements in today’s opinion on broadcast indecency.

“[T]he singer Cher exclaimed during an unscripted acceptance speech . . .”

“[A] person named Nicole Richie made the following unscripted remark while presenting an award . . .”

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8 Responses

  1. Rebecca Tushnet says:

    You know, I gave that use some thought. Problem is, once you’ve identified Cher as a singer, if you just say “Nicole Richie” you’re suggesting that Richie is well-known enough that her role in the world need not be identified, kind of like we no longer need to explain what email is. That’s both awful and also unhelpful to people 40 years from now. So yes, it was disparagement by implication, but what would you have had him say?

  2. Shag from Brookline says:

    In due course, I expect SCOTUS will issue a belated posthumous apology to the late George Carlin. 7 words. Many, many more words to castigate 7 words over the years. If George were alive, he’d probably be adding to his 7 words, perhaps with “mandate,” with linguistic style – and a cite to Lawrence v. Texas and Scalia’s dissenting slippery slope.

  3. Joe says:

    Well, they printed the routine verbatim. That probably gave him some cause for amusement.

  4. Gerard Magliocca says:

    I would call her “a television personality.”

  5. Shag from Brookline says:

    “Well, they printed the routine verbatim.” So making reference to (quoting) the routine by cite to the SCOTUS decision on media might be okay? Room for a stand-up comic via the back door? (Scalia might have a problem with that “slippery slope.”)

  6. Joe says:

    With apologies, a term used in Shag’s comment has more than one connotation in the world of stand up comics.

    The legitimacy of saying otherwise banned words etc. in news programs, that’s a serious question that underlines the line drawing concerns here. As to gaming the system by using “official reports,” see HAMLING v. UNITED STATES.

  7. Shag from Brookline says:

    And some Justices might refer to the “backdoor commerce clause” as in “Wick-burn,” which Justice Scalia suffers from as noted in excerpts from his new book coincidentally published with the ACA decision about to issue. Good marketing!

  8. A.J. Sutter says:

    Given that Nicole Richie is much younger than Cher, she might yet do something to render herself more notable to future generations, while Cher may be long forgotten. After all, Nicole is still 29 years younger than Sonny Bono was when he was elected to Congress.

    In any event, how about “A presenter at an awards ceremony, Nicole Richie, made the following unscripted remark, …” — somewhat less alienated than “a person named ….”, while still agnostic about whether or not the reader of 40 years hence knows who she is.