"His voice betrayed a craving for terrible things." -- Don DeLillo
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March 12, 2004
Rhyme and Reason
A short update today because I didn't want it to get into next week already without anything added. More will come next week, but it's been a long couple of days and I don't have it in me right now. A few things I just had to comment on, though.
Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to pass legislation greatly increasing the fine for radio and TV indecency. The maximum fine would jump from $27,500 to $500,000
. Another ridiculous knee-jerk reaction to the Janet Jackson Peep Show, which is destined to be remembered forever as the catalyst for this grandstanding undermining of the First Amendment. Media companies now, frightened of incurring such a significant penalty, will start restricting what they show to prevent even the POSSIBILITY of indecency from showing up. The ubiquitous target right now appears to be Howard Stern, who is no stranger to large FCC fines, but who has already threatened to end his radio show out of disgust for the Bush administration and the conservative drive to quash "indecency," which, conveniently, just might include voices of dissent against the Bush empire. Some may be calling it a coincidence that Clear Channel Networks suspended Stern's show in six markets just days after Stern began voicing his rabidly anti-Bush sentiments to his multi-million listener audience and let's just say that it COULD be only business-related, but it must have been an AWFULLY NICE side-effect that Stern's vitriol would be shut down in Democrat-crucial markets such as Florida before the election. All you need to know is that the head of Clear Channel is a close friend of Bush's and has donated large sums to his campaign. Just a coincidence?
It disturbs me how closely we're skirting all-out censorship with these bills. We allegedly live in a free society; no one is forcing people to watch late-night programming or listen to Howard Stern. We have the ability to TURN OFF the TV, change the station. You may be worried about children having access to this "indecency," but who said it was the government's job to raise our children for us. Why should we allow them to tell us what is indecent and what isn't? Parents are supposed to be keeping an eye out for what their children watch and listen to. Don't want your son listening to Howard Stern? Then monitor his radio listening and make sure he isn't. Talk to him about it and explain why he shouldn't listen to it until he's older. From the V-Chip to this current legislation, the government continues to come up with ways to absolve parents of the responsibility of raising their children the way they see fit. What are we protecting children from? Language? As if they're not hearing this language on the playground in school. Sexuality? We're easily one of the most sexually repressed countries in the world--definitely a credible reason why we're so fucking violent. What happens when you feel like you need to supress your sexual desire? Right, it turns into blind, stupid violence. And are we protecting our children from seeing this violence? We can argue all we want to take off violent programming late at night, but is anything more violent than the nightly news? Myriad pictures of bombs exploding in Iraq, the latest "another black man killed a white person" story: pure unadulterated racist violence fed to you by the media and the government every day. The same Southern Christian conservative parents who are taking their small children to see Passion of the Christ's extreme brutality and violence are the same ones who come home and tell them never to watch that smut on TV. The Religious Right wins, George W. Bush wins, freedom gets screwed, and we're getting closer and closer to 1984
. It's going to be a long ride down.
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COMPLETE change of subject, but I had to bring it up: Omarosa fired on The Apprentice followed by Heidi? Susan flips out and quits Survivor followed by Colby getting sideswiped by Lex? Ahh, it's been a great two weeks in reality TV (ignoring Average Joe 2's finale, of course...let's just pretend that show never happened, okay?)