This is a silly piece about a "tempest in a tea pot."
I am thrilled that at long last The Parents Television Council is appropriately campaigning against an upcoming CBS program "$#*! My Dad Says," and is urging advertisers not to sponsor the show.
They point out that "The Second Edition of the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary contains full entries for 171,476 words in current use; yet CBS decided to use the 's-word' in the title of this show, putting its blatant contempt for children and families front and center."
PTC president Tim Winter went on to say "Unless or until CBS chooses a different title for this program, we are urging advertisers to avoid sponsoring such an abomination purported to be lighthearted fun. The advertisers have two options. Either they can be complicit in the effort to serve up excrement in front of children and families, or they can choose not to associate their products and services with excrement."
I am very proud that Mr. Winter has the courage to speak out about this most important issue. I am very disturbed that both the broadcasters and the cable networks are incessantly wasting the public's time with repeated reports about the two wars we are engaged in, the oil spill, unemployment, the upcoming election and additional trivial issues such as these that should be ignored.
Winters went also said: "The premise of the show offers potential for good entertainment, the question is why CBS feels the need to shove harsh profanity into the faces of Americans through the program's title. Their reliance on symbols as a veil is feeble at best. Beyond a port-a-potty, a laxative or a roll of toilet paper, most corporations don't want their customers to associate their products or services with excrement."
The PTC plans to inform its members about which advertisers fail to comply with its request and, if the organization's pattern holds, urge them to boycott their products.
I am a parent who has worked in Television for many years and I applaud Mr. Winters and the members of his organization for avoiding the pitfalls of dealing with a world "on the brink" and concentrating on a meaningful broadcaster transgression.
Perhaps members of PTC are unaware of that very old expression "sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never harm me." Perhaps Mr. Winters is so upset that he has forgotten the existence of the V-chip. Perhaps he is unaware that the V-chip is intended for use by parents to manage their children's television viewing. All he needs to do is use the available technology and his television set will block the offending program.
This would be very simple solution to a horrid problem about the use of one word in the title of a television show. I would wonder if in the 1930's what Mr. Winters would have done had he objected to something in print. Would he have demanded that it not be published or would he suggest that people not read the offending words?
And now I will delve into a bit of personal history.
About fifteen years ago I debated a lawyer who was the President of Morality in Media.
He was not thrilled that he was to face a very outspoken and very liberal "godless" media executive who was not an attorney.
He would have been more comfortable discussing the issues as a matter of Law and the Constitution, and not as a matter of what I considered "reasonableness, self expression, and free speech."
I had suggested in my opening remarks that he was resorting to the "we must protect our children" position on sexual (ergo obscene) material, and that it was his desire to "protect" adults as well from this content.
I thought at the time as well as now that if you do not want to watch something, or you do not wish your kids to watch something, use the available tools like the on/off switch, or change the channel. What an incredibly creative idea.
Now we have the V-chip which has been described as "a safety cap for your television."
If you are not happy with what you see, use the available V-Chip technology in order to keep the content that you might find objectionable out of your home!
By the way, (and this is a very cheap shot) if "they" are so interested in protecting our children, why do "they" send them off to Iraq and Afghanistan to possibly die or be wounded?
How old must these "children" that we are protecting be in order to see a bare breast, or hear one of George Carlins "seven dirty words?" If you are in the military at seventeen, are steps taken to keep these children away from sexual images and depictions of violence? Never forget that in order to see a movie rated PG17, you must be eighteen or older, but you can go into the military to kill other people or be killed yourself.
It all is so tragic, and indicative of a warped society that condones war and killing, and condemns words that we speak as well as pictures of our bodies for us to see.
Don't want to see pictures of naked bodies or hear words that you find objectionable?
Do not look and do not listen?
What an interesting notion.
And never forget the "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television." My role model George Carlin regularly took on politicians, advertisers, religion, God, the main stream media and the covenants of the "fearful." I wish he was around to take on Mr. Winters.
Norman Horowitz; Raging Atheist