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April 07, 2005

The Worst TV The PTC Has Ever Seen

Censorship, like charity, should begin at home, but unlike charity, it should end there. ~ Clare Boothe Luce

The Parents' Television Council has strummed together a bunch of clips they deem as the worst television moments from 2001-2004. They've removed all context and included a long-winded "we're warning you, no, we're REALLY warning you, and just to be sure, we're warning you again," introduction. Maybe it's just me, but if these clips are the worst TV has to offer, I'm failing to see what all the fuss is about.

However, I do plan to play the clip ten or twenty times a day off the site to run up their bandwidth. Maybe it'll be one less dime they can spend on their other plans.

Most of this is off-color humor (South Park), pushing-the-envelope sex (Nip/Tuck) and violence (The Shield), or just bad reality TV and award show antics. Oddly, no news clips of subject matter concerning things like the torture scandal of Abu Ghraib were included. Apparently, sex and violence and off-color humor isn't offensive if it's real.

According to the PTC, children could watch this stuff and grow up to have sex, engage in violence, and/or develop a taste for bad reality TV. Their goal is that this must be stopped at all costs. And, while discouraging future bad reality TV junkies is admirable, think of what this kind of energy could accomplish if it invested itself in something like, say, education programs that teach kids conflict resolution, or alternative after-school children's physical activity programs so that kids aren't camped out in front of televisions for hours on end.

No. Because of course, that doesn't stop the adults that want to watch this stuff. And that's what really cheeses these people off. It's not that kids could see this stuff -- kids see this stuff and worse on network news. Kids squish insects to see what guts look like. Kids in inner-cities and places of crisis see visions on their own street corners that make this stuff look like a Disney movie. The PTC uses "we must protect the children" as their mantra, but what they really want to do is limit the freedom of other adults to engage in watching sex, violence, and bad reality TV.

When I was a kid the screams of woe (and, sadly, the insanity came equally from Democrats and Republicans alike, along with their annoying spouses) largely centered on Prince music or the concern that we were all going to grow up and kill people because Bugs and Daffy and Tom and Jerry made violence funny.

Inexplicably, the vast majority of us grew up without sporking the lunch lady or masturbating to magazines in hotel lobbies (Hilton children aside).

I don't think anyone believes that children should be watching most of these clips. But as any parent will tell you the age at which a child is a child varies with the individual. I was reading Stephen King at 9 and drinking in horror movies during the height of the hack and slash era long before any of my peers. As for sex? Well, yeah, I got a jump start on that, too. And while my current manner of employment might be controversial, I never plotted to blow up a state building, or have orgies with the high school football team. I did, however, grow up to have a very successful corporate consulting career before altering my lifestyle and settling into the only lucrative work-at-home industry that truly exists. I pay my taxes and vote in elections. And you know what? All my friends do, too.

And the only people in my life that I have lost to drugs, violence, and/or mental instability? They were all raised in religion-focused family units where shame was emphasized as a staple of daily life. So, you'll forgive me if TV profanity takes a backseat in my book to the dangers of irresponsible parenting or the social pressures of hardline religion.

Obviously most kids shouldn't come into contact with hardcore pornography or ultra-violence scenes. But some children will and when they do, the answer isn't banning it across the board, but being a rational adult putting the sex and/or violence into proper perspective and minimizing whatever small traumas might have taken root. That it may be difficult and/or slightly embarrassing comes with that whole parental gig. Where did these people start thinking it was all little league, spelling bees, and Disney trips? Apart from letting your kid be a kid, you're also preparing them to enter the real world where sex and violence happen every day and have since caveman Oog and cave woman Goo first realized it felt good to rub their naughty bits together.

All of this, of course, is in addition to the notion that it is the parents' actual responsibility to monitor what their child watches, regardless of whether or not they think the task is monumental. The television networks are not babysitters and if they are, there is a larger problem at work than what's on TV.

Oh -- and that argument about not knowing what your kids are watching at their friends' houses? That's another one of those things you're supposed to do as a parent -- check out the places where your kids spend time.

With all the childproofing tools available today from cable boxes and v-chips and other such nonsense, is there any doubt that fundamentalist Right organizations like this one are only sending millions of complaints to the FCC as a means to do nothing more than impose their morality on the rest of us regardless of whether or not the children are protected?

America needs to wake up and curb the FCC's power now while we still can and we need to send a message to organizations like the PTC that if they really want to protect children, then they need to go do that. There are a million different ways to improve the lives and minds of today's youth without infringing upon the rights of adults.

By giving a government agency the right to censor and impose morality via fines at the behest of organizations such as this, we're surrendering the right to our own judgment little by little.

Poli-Sci by Doxy at 09:47 AM | permalink | talkback (2)


Doxy - will you marry me :) [just kidding]
This entry made me so hot for you...like I wasn't already ;) but seriously, when I win the lotto, and buy myself an island, do you want to be on the supreme council? LOL

Posted by: BookChick [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 8, 2005 10:49 AM

Hmmm. I don't know about Supreme Council member. Now, Queen I could really go for ;-)

Posted by: DoxyWringer [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 8, 2005 05:58 PM

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