Two very different organizations sharing an acronym can be potentially problematic, as the 2002 World Wildlife Fund/World Wrestling Federation dispute illustrates. The latest example comes from the United Soccer League’s FC Cincinnati, which received a handwritten letter apparently intended for the other FCC, the Federal Communications Commission. D.J. Switzer, the club’s senior director of digital and supporter relations, posted that letter on Twitter Tuesday:
— D.J. Switzer (@wrongsideofpond) April 24, 2018
Presuming that this is real and not someone’s elaborate prank, it’s hilarious on so many different levels. How could someone possibly find FC Cincinnati’s address and think that was the address for the entire FCC (which, you know, is based in Washington, and makes it quite clear what address you should send complaints to)? Simple Google searches for “FCC” don’t return anything about Cincinnati. It’s possible that local tailoring makes a difference there (maybe googling “FCC” in Cincinnati does produce the soccer team), but it’s perhaps even more likely this was an in-person mistake, with someone asking someone else for “the FCC address” and the respondent incorrectly assuming they meant the soccer team. And judging by the handwritten letter and the nature of the complaint, we’re probably not dealing with the world’s most tech-savvy person here.
And let’s discuss that complaint. This is so funny in so many ways, from the simple “RE: T.V. Complaint” on the envelope to the particular issues outlined. “I am writing to protest the rising use of the word ‘f**k’ in many shows on networks such as ABC, CBS and Fox. Local TV station are airing most of these shows with the f-word bleeped out, but it is clear what is being said. A recent episode of Life In Pieces had someone saying “fucking” during the show.”
It’s great that the letter in the same paragraph uses “f**k” and “the f-word” and then just decides to spell it out, and underline it for good measure. And the letter writer then goes on to say “I had always thought that vulgar language was prohibited on public TV.” Newsflash: ABC, CBS and Fox are not public TV, they’re private, for-profit broadcasters, unlike PBS. The word you’re looking for is “broadcast TV,” which does have a tighter set of standards than cable and can occasionally be fined for crossing that line (as the world’s biggest nothingburger, the Justin Timberlake-Janet Jackson Super Bowl “wardrobe malfunction,” illustrates), but fortunately for those of us not stuck in a 17th-century Puritan village, bleeped-out “vulgar language” in particular is not prohibited on broadcast television. (It usually leads to a higher age rating for shows, but that’s about it.)
Oh, and it’s interesting that NBC escaped this letter-writer’s ire; maybe their shows really do have less bleeped-out swearing, or maybe the letter-writer just doesn’t watch The Peacock. (Or The CW, for that matter.)
The letter concludes “I also thought that the FCC oversees what is presented on public TV. I can see that this is not the case.” Well, you’re right there, letter-writer. And you’re especially right when the FCC in question is not the Federal Communications Commission, but rather FC Cincinnati. But hey, we’ve obtained an exclusive look at this writer’s next letter.
Hopefully that one won’t find its way to FC Cincinnati as well.
[D.J. Switzer on Twitter]