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Friday, April 02, 2004

FCC and Fines

I think that when considering the current furvor over "indecency" that is pervading our culture right now, it is important to take a step back and look at who the "actors" are. David Kelley wants everyone to think that it is "conservatives" who want to stifle "artistic license" and return our country to the 1950's.

In a sense, Kelley would be right, but his definition of conservative is not a political definition, rather a social one. In the case of the FCC and Janet and TiVo and the Superbowl, we saw an uproarious public outcry against Janet. It was bi-partisan. Heck, even multi-partisan. The decency police are not merely members of one party or another, but span across political affiliations etc. The fact of the matter is that Janet did something inappropriate knowing she had a "captive audience" which included young children. Why that audience includes young children when it is the modern equivalent of gladatorial games is a matter for another discussion (gladatorial games that I love and will share with my kids, but gladatorial games none the less). She knew children would be watching and she took advantage of that. It's like FHM or Maxim advertising during Saturday Morning cartoons. It's inappropriate.

That said, the market responded. CBS said, "Hey that wasn't cool, maybe we should have more oversight." America said, "Hey, we don't want to watch that during our Superbowl." Of course, no one is really talking about how the Janet number was actually the least shocking number in the show. I don't seem to recall her song discussing "spreading of seed." A subject I recall being explicitly mentioned in one of the other artist's songs. Add the "erectile disfunction" ads so reminicent of the "Summer's Eve" mother and daughter walking on the beach ads, and it puts what Janet did into context. That's beside the point though, because America's comedians are making sure to point those out to.

The FCC stepped in and fined CBS and Janet etc., but many Americans said, "That's all. I can afford to pay that." (Not really, but they were shocked that the fines weren't high enough to have fiscal impact on CBS or any of the parties involved, thus possibly no deterent effect.) So Congress is considering raising the fines to extraordinarily high levels. Levels that would affect CBS, but also levels that would bankrupt smaller entertainers and leave no room for "latitude" on the part of the FCC.

Remember that the FCC under Powell is so strict that it said that Bono's use of Fuck was okay because he wasn't using it as a verb. (Another thing that pissed off some people). So Powell and the rest of the panel are concerned that Congress is overreacting. Funny, because entertainers think the FCC is overreacting.

Typical that we begin to look at govt. agencies doing what Congress tells them as the agencies themselves overreacting rather than asking our representatives to cool off. Hello, if you don't like the way you are being GOVERNED have your REPRESENTATIVES change it. It's like, "Hey, politicians are being re-elected for life let's have term limits." Why not just VOTE FOR SOMEONE ELSE?

Sorry for the rant, but people baffle me sometimes.

The short of the issue is that the PMRC wasn't Reagan, it was Al Gore's wife Tipper. Lots of conservative's were on that bandwagon, sure, but it was Tipper. Joe Lieberman did run as the "anti-Hollywood" VP candidate. The divide between the "morality at home-ers" and the "morality by government-ers" isn't always on political divisions. In fact, I would argue that we all want government to legislate "our morality." I know I do.


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