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Getting bleeped: It's not just for awards-show speeches anymore. Once largely relegated to slips of the tongue during live events, censored cursing has evolved into a pre-planned, or at least largely expected, punch line that's network-approved and no longer lowbrow.
Whether you blame it on Bono's "[bleep]-ing brilliant" outburst at the 2003 Golden Globes or chalk it up to TV scribes' freedom of speech, the use of bleeped curse words on television has risen steadily, particularly over the past few years, according to a recent study by the Parents Television Council, an L.A.-based media watchdog group. Across all networks and prime-time hours in 2010, a bleeped or muted S-word aired 95 times (up from 11 times in 2005) while a bleeped or muted F-word aired 276 times (up from 11 times in 2005). Last year, the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the Federal Communications Commission's efforts to limit "fleeting expletives" to late-night television, a ruling that has severely hampered the government agency's ability to punish what it deems indecent language.
So is it exclusively related to the religous puritanism of some american fringe?