by Tracy R. Walsh
The dump button provides a relatively insidious, more censorship-like form of editing, because its alteration of the original broadcast has been actively concealed. If we are to have disagreements about what constitutes acceptable media for a civilized general audience — and we should — they should be aired in every possible way. Through a very loud bleep, for example. And through litigation, and yes, complaints to the FCC. Through arguments at dinner tables and letters to the editor.
A bleep is honest, immediate, noisy. It’s the cultural superego in motion, calling attention to a difference of opinion regarding the offensiveness of the bleeped material. Here is this questionable thing; think about it for yourself, investigate if you like. In this way, the bleep is a literal demonstration of First Amendment principles: the 1KHz-sound of a community actively engaged in the process of establishing standards, and struggling to understand itself.