Fuck This Indecency Shit

Wow, I had so much to say about Senator Ted Stevens’s (R-AK) vow to place satellite and cable under the same indecency restrictions as broadcast TV that I was going to split it up into three posts. But your time is valuable, so I’ll keep it short(er).

First, let’s consider the audience. Telling the National Association of Broadcasters you’re going to regulate cable is a lot like telling the National Organization of Women you’re going to tax penises: wildly impractical, but a real crowd-pleaser. Maybe he was just pandering; we’ll know soon enough. Perhaps he’ll wise up and find his ticket for the cluetrain.

Still, my pick for biggest bonehead in this whole sordid affair is Mr. Edward Fritts, president of NAB. Sayeth Ed: “A 5-year-old doesn’t know if they’re watching cable or over-the-air.”

True enough, Ed. Of course, a 5-year-old also can’t tell the difference between sour grape juice and a nice Riesling, but I don’t hear anyone clamoring to ban alcohol.

I kid. Yes, youngsters may not be able to appreciate the minutiae of spectrum policy, but that’s why they have, um, parents. And parents have options:

  • Use the book, the Internet, or the paper to determine suitable programs in advance.
  • Use on-screen ratings to determine suitable programs on the spot.
  • Use the TV’s “delete” feature to hide channels from young’uns. (Adults can still key in the channel.)
  • Use the “V-Chip” functionality Congress mandated into TVs in 2000.
  • Ask the cable company to block channels, which is possible on a per-house basis.
  • Don’t get cable in the first place.
  • Don’t get a TV in the first place. (We didn’t have one in the home for my 2d – 14th years, and I’m not too fucked up.)

I’ve left out the most obvious one: be a parent! When your kid wants to watch TV, watch along. Yes, there might be risky stuff out there — when it comes to cable, questions of “indecency” should be matters of taste, not law. It might take a village to raise a child, but we don’t have to reduce every channel to the level of “Blues Clues” to do it.

Now back to my reading.

2 Responses to “Fuck This Indecency Shit”

  1. john M Says:

    Right on 🙂

    It at times amazed me how very much people want to dumb down (insert media form here). All in the name of “The Children.” It’s the ultimate rallying cry of the uninformed.

    As you said, there are many simple solutions, such as the V-chip. But c’mon parents. Watch with your children. Not only will you be monitoring their activities, but you’ll actually spend some quality time with them.

    (Better yet, turn off the TV and go to the park!)

  2. jsp Says:

    “It’s the ultimate rallying cry of the uninformed.” I love that!

    We’ve got to start saying, look, we understand how deeply you value children. We understand how people see optimism, curiousity, and boundless possibility in the young. That’s fine, but (as I said in another post with a naughty title) we live here too.

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