The AP today published an unattributed column expressing frustration that Congress hasn’t yet enacted tougher decency standards on America’s airwaves, including tougher penalties for violators, in order to protect the viewing public. To read all the particulars, copy and paste this link:
The FCC recently acquired the services of anti-porn crusader Penny Nance, who’ll act as a “decency czar” for the American airwaves. Could the days of full-frontal nudity, full-penetration, extreme close-ups, male tumescence and “money shots” on your favorite network sitcoms and crime dramas be coming to an end? Say it ain’t so!
The fact is, we have had protection from “indecent” material on TV since the moment televisions were introduced those many decades ago. No one has ever been compelled by law to own a TV, much less watch one, much less watch any specific channel or program.
TVs made in recent years have a parental “lockout” option, enabling parents to deny their children access to objectionable content.
Every show now running on American TV has content-specific ratings and/or warning messages displayed at the beginning. So, if a parent happens to peek into the room when a program is starting, they might see that that show is not really for their kids. Many parents today use TV to baby-sit their kids, yet, oddly, don’t check any references on the babysitter!
True, lockout options and ratings likely wouldn’t have stopped anyone from seeing Janet Jackson’s partial breast exposure during the Super Bowl, but said titillation was quite transitory.
Nonetheless, many parents appeared to have suffered strokes, myocardial infarctions, shock and other unfortunate health effects as a result of the episode. FCC Chairman Michael Powell, son of Colin Powell, was watching the Super Bowl with his family, and was reportedly very traumatized. The brain damage that ensued nearly caused him to later surrender the airwaves to a precious few broadcaster-benefactors, under the delusion that, if there’s one thing Americans hate, it’s variety!
Children, for the most part, seemed to have suffered little permanent damage from seeing Miss Jackson's sun-shielded chest gland. If the sight of breasts were harmful to children, I don’t think we’d be literally pushing them into their faces shortly after birth!
Is it me, or are parents today just making excuses? They’d rather complain than take responsibility for their own TVs. That’s part laziness, but it’s mainly an attempt to force their own narrow views of morality on the rest of us.
It seems as though the television is turning out to be one of the more challenging household appliances for some people. Still, if you can’t work the microwave without initiating the China Syndrome, you probably shouldn’t be allowed near one.
Instead of toughening TV decency standards, I propose we toughen ownership standards. The purchase process for a TV would be akin to adopting a new puppy: You’d only be allowed to walk away with one if you agreed to take responsibility for it.