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    Send it in a letter, baby / Tell you on the phone

    I was going to post an addendum to what I wrote a few days ago about respect for public spaces, in response to something Nathan had said on the same topic. Then Nathan was no longer able to log in to his own site’s comments, and it seemed unfair to reply to him when I knew he couldn’t reply back. But then, I figure the issue of obscenity in popular culture is unlikely to be solved between now and when he arrives home; it’ll still be hot, one might say, when he’s in a position to get back to it.

    What I was going to say was this: I think that social liberals’ knowing “most people won’t” turn off the television to avoid certain content means something different when we’re talking broadcasting in general from when we’re talking about the Superbowl specifically. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to me for broadcasters to assume that young children are in bed or away from the TV by late evening and that programs with sexual or violent themes are acceptable at that hour. Whole 24-hour channels that parents know are going to be minefields of things you can’t explain to an eight-year-old don’t seem to me to cause ethical problems, either, as long as everyone knows what they are. (Even better is if people can block them.) However well it may serve the aims of the atheistic elements who want to destroy society…or whomever…the people who make the decision to put television sets in their children’s rooms so they can watch unsupervised are the parents.

    The problem with the Superbowl escapade was that it violated the gentlemen’s agreement to acknolwedge that whole families watch together and keep it away from anything more controversial than bad calls and shocking sums spent on whiz-bang advertisements. The FCC’s barging in strikes me as wacko; so did the way so many people seemed to take the tack that the female breast itself was some sort of Mound of Discord. The aims of aggrieved parties would, it seems to me, have been better served if they’d gone with measured, slightly contemptuous condescension. Communicating by letter and telephone that they were so very appreciative of the broadcasters’ desire to put on a piquant show…but that they planned to boycott any organizations involved because of the poor judgment about what the audience would find acceptable…could have been devastating if they’d followed through.

    4 Responses to “Send it in a letter, baby / Tell you on the phone”

    1. Auntie Mame says:

      The FCC barging in was a result of thousands and thousands of letter, faxes, e-mails and phone calls.
      They never received such an avalanche before.
      Agree or not, they are government agency, responding to The People.

    2. Auntie Mame says:

      Oh, and Happy Independence Day to our dear expats, too.

    3. Sean says:

      Thanks. You, too, of course. It’s a beautiful day in Tokyo; I hope everyone gets fine weather for all the picnics (though it rarely happens that the contiguous 48 + AK + HI all get great weather at once).
      I know the FCC didn’t just decide it had to react of its own accord–I should have made that clear. I also know that it’s easier for people to figure out how to contact a well-known government organization than to try to figure out where the HQ’s of all the mega-bucks corporations involved in putting on the Superbowl are. And there’s already a ban on “obscene” broadcasting between…is it 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.?…and unless I’m wrong, that would apply here. I just wish someone, at some point, would stop reparing to the biggest possible organization in the government to get things fixed all the time. It’s the most obvious way to get immediate action, and the show-me-where-it-says-I-can’t reasoning used by pop culture media doesn’t help. But I think it’s a bad idea in the long run, and I’m in an Eeyore-ish mood.

    4. Mrs. du Toit says:

      I agree. Kinda/Sorta. So many viewed the SuperBowl as a last straw, even without knowing they’d been gathering them. They could deal with channel blocking, finding your 11 year old kid watching the Comedy Channel at 3 in the afternoon, hearing a comedian blather on about masturbation and dildos, but we knew we were responsible for those moments. We should expect the off channels to do that stuff (I don’t allow the kids to watch MTV anymore–talk about decadence on parade), but it’s becoming impossible to insulate without isolating. Sometimes I feel like we need to put paper bags over the kid’s heads. It shouldn’t have to be that way.
      Most people aren’t prudes–well, they may be, but they’re not opposed to other people having something to watch on ANOTHER channel. But it was too much. Yes, it was her fault, but the Network should have been more careful.
      They should have had the modern equivalent of Pat Boone (is there such a thing?). No risk there.