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Bono’s potty mouth gets an F

Bono has a well-deserved reputation for speaking out on injustice, so imagine his surprise Tuesday when the nation’s justices spoke out against him.

Justice Antonin Scalia -- the go-to writer when the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority wants to punch up the judicial dialogue -- counted U2’s lead singer among “the foul-mouthed glitteratae from Hollywood.”

(Nobody likes to correct Supreme Court justices, particularly when they’re in the majority, but Bono was born in Dublin, where he still resides.)

Scalia’s comment came in a 5-4 ruling that said the Federal Communications Commission had the authority to penalize Fox for broadcasting “fleeting expletives” uttered by stars during award shows.

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So, here is Bono, the ambassador of high-minded rock, champion of the Third World’s debtor nations, implacable foe of world hunger, global warming and AIDS, suddenly being called “a potty mouth”?

This, after all, is a guy who has partied with Nelson Mandela.

Talk about human rights chic!

At least Bono has an excuse for his slip at the 2003 Golden Globes. He grew up on the north side of Dublin, where the “F-word” is a form of punctuation.

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But what about the other offenders cited for their “fleeting expletives” at the 2002 Billboard Music Awards?

One was Nicole Richie, who used a common synonym for excrement to describe the reality show she did with Paris Hilton. (Does Scalia really object to that sort of honesty?) The other was Cher, a lifetime achievement award winner, who used the F-word to dismiss her critics. (After what’s been written about her, she seems entitled.)

Not according to Scalia, who wrote that the FCC “could reasonably conclude that the pervasiveness of foul language and the coarsening of public entertainment in other media such as cable, justify more stringent regulation of broadcast programs so as to give conscientious parents a relatively safe haven for their children.”

A safe haven like “The Simple Life” or “Survivor”?

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And what would the justice have made of one of Hollywood’s most conscientious parents, Julia Roberts, who just the night before the court handed down its ruling unleashed a joking barrage of F-bombs at a Film Society of Lincoln Center event honoring Tom Hanks. (America’s sweetheart actress trash-talking Mr. Nice Guy?)

Apparently, Roberts was one of the last speakers at the event (which was not televised) and all her prepared jokes had already been used, so she decided to improvise -- as in, “all right, well, it’s late and I’m paying my baby-sitter overtime and I have to pee. So, Tom, everybody . . . likes you. All my bits are gone.” Good thing the FCC wasn’t there -- it got a big laugh.

Fasting for change

Inviting Mia Farrow to join a hunger strike may suggest a certain irony, but it’s a deadly serious matter of conscience for the organizers of a 21-day fast to draw attention to widespread starvation in Darfur.

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The actress has joined the Darfur Fast for Life, a three-week protest to draw attention to the world’s continuing inaction on the crisis in western Sudan.

Farrow will consume only water for 21 days as part of a group that includes John Prendergast, co-founder of the anti-genocide organization Enough, and Save Darfur President Jerry Fowler. The group also plans acts of civil disobedience at the Sudanese embassy in Washington.

The activists want the Khartoum government, whose president is under indictment for war crimes in Darfur, to immediately restore all aid services in the region and to give aid workers free access to the 4.7 million refugees there.

“I hope human rights advocates and citizens of conscience around the world will join me in some form of fasting, even if for one day,” Farrow said in a statement. “And when I can no longer continue, I pray another will take my place, and another, until finally there is justice and peace for Darfur’s people.”

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Sudan cut off all international assistance to Darfur after its president, Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir, was indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Farrow said she is undertaking her fast in the “hope that world leaders who know what is just and right will act immediately to end the suffering in Darfur and Sudan.”

Other participants in the protest include Gloria White-Hammond, chairwoman of the Save Darfur Coalition; Pam Omidyar, founder of Humanity United; Shannon Sedgwick Davis of Bridgeway Foundation; Ruth Messinger, president of American Jewish World Service; Tzivia Schwartz Getzug of Jewish World Watch; Ellen Kennedy of Genocide Intervention Network-Minnesota; and Gabriel Stauring, director of Stop Genocide Now.

You can get video and blog updates on the protest by going to www.fastdarfur.org.

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tina.daunt@latimes.com


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