It should tell you something that MTV is still highly valued by Hollywood as the televised center of the coolness universe. Why else would a top movie star like Tom Cruise dress up ridiculously as a fat, bald, bearded guy and embarrass himself in a profanity-littered skit on the MTV Movie Awards?
Cruise opened the show by saying he was going to take the program, put it up his posterior and make it a diamond. He welcomed viewers to "Relax, and enjoy my two-hour giant s---." And so it began, an apt description for the two hours that followed.
What is it about celebrities that they have to -- absolutely must -- be obscene in front of audiences with millions of impressionable children watching?
Broadcast networks have had repeated trouble at awards shows with celebrities cursing. But on cable television, which fears no fines or discipline from the Federal Communications Commission, MTV doesn't see profanity as a shocking accident. On this show, it was an intentional profanity barrage. If you love infantile cursing as dearly as MTV does, it was a stimulating profanity bath.
And it was staged. Actress Anna Kendrick asked, "Ready to make the censors' ears bleed?" A review of the 122-minute special by the Culture and Media Institute found more than 100 swear words. (Once you remove the incessant commercials, that was more than one a minute.) Network censors bleeped 70 curse words, including a remarkable 47 variations of "f---," 11 uses of "s---," two of "a--h---," one slang expression for breasts and nine even the watchdogs couldn't identify.
But at least 30 profanities made it past the censors, including nine variations of "f----," two of "s---" and one "goddamn." The censors didn't even try to cover a whole host of other curse words. It was like candy coming out of a pinata. MTV censors grabbed as many as they could.
One of the most egregious offenders was actor Peter Facinelli, who accepted the "Best Picture" award for the teen vampire drama "Twilight: New Moon." He cooed, "I've never heard the word 'f---' used so many times in one evening." He then went on to use it eight times himself, four of which made it past the censors. He only skipped cursing as he honored Stephenie Meyer, the author of the "Twilight" books, because he explained, "She's a Mormon."
That's consideration, Hollywood style.