Friday, July 14, 2006

Why Not Just Shoot Network TV and Get it Over With

What a long, long slide downhill it’s been from Walter Cronkite retiring with total domination of the nightly news, to Dan Rather eased-out with cable too dominant to compete with, news budgets all but gone and Network market-share in the dumper.

Somebody take CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox into the back pasture and shoot them.
CronkitePut these poor derelict remnants of government-in-broadcast out of their misery. Either that, or drive a stake through the heart of the FCC. What a long, long slide downhill it’s been from Walter Cronkite retiring with total domination of the nightly news, to Dan Rather eased-out with cable too dominant to compete with, news budgets all but gone and Network market-share in the dumper.
The TV most of us grew up with is an aging fighter, punch-drunk and staggering with one arm governmentally tied behind it, hoping to make it to another round. The match has long been lost, just please let us get off the ropes for one more round.
MarytylermooreshowWas it a ‘golden age,’ those days of Mary Tyler Moore and Mayberry RFD? Did we actually stay home on Saturday nights to watch the most successful shows ever aired? Did we care about M.A.S.H. and All In The Family? Was Cher a babe?
Seems to me that those simpler days of Network TV are like all the remembered simpler days—part myth, part nostalgia and irretrievably gone. I can’t help it, I liked Johnny Carson and the big, thin steering wheels of old Packards when they were new and you were still able to Ask the Man Who Owns One. They’re a couple decades apart within the memory-calendar, but nostalgia is like that, a mixed metaphor of mixed images and tastes and smells.
MashThe FCC can’t quite bear to kill off network TV, but they’re apparently determined to torture it to death. Like pulling the wings off of flies, they keep upping the ante of the indecency, obscenity and profanity fines, whatever indecency means, however obscenity is defined and whenever the language we use leaks into the language we hear on the tube.
Tiresome, but true, we've sacrificed more than sixty years of television’s occasional greatness (and more usual dreary decline to the worship of the youth market), not to competition but to the preventing of competition. The Moral Minority, unable to keep society from boozing and utterly defeated by our national drug habit, ineffectual at keeping their own kids from a healthy sexual interest, has decided to police yours and mine by the most draconian of measures.
Who in the hell are these constant consensual complainers?
AllinthefamilyBroadcasters are prohibited, by statute and regulation, from airing obscene programming at any time, i.e., material having a tendency to excite lustful thoughts. That's a direct quote from the FCC web site.
Excite lustful thoughts.
Please tell me just whose business that is? Anyone who has ever been seventeen years old can tell you how easily excited those old lustful thoughts can be.
Which is pretty much the greatest thing about being seventeen.
“The FCC staff must analyze what was actually aired, the meaning of what was aired, and the context in which it was aired,” (again, from their site) which ought to keep various staff members in a fairly constant state of salivation and various other bodily wetnesses. If only there were a safe harbor from all this lasciviousness.
Funny you should mention that.
CherThere is indeed a “safe harbor” and it occurs in the eyes and minds of the FCC at a time period between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., local time. During these hours, a station may air indecent and/or profane material. It seems, in the twisted logic of the morally majoritized, that safe harbor means staying up late and missing a good night’s sleep. The harbor they have contrived tends to excite lustful thoughts, but only among the older bones.
But there’s no safe harbor for the broadcast of obscene material which, (according to those who guard our morals) may not be broadcast at any time. Someone better run out and tell the cable channels. Lotta lustful stuff going on there.
Again, according to the FCC site,
Do the FCC's rules apply to cable and satellite programming? In the past, the FCC has enforced the indecency and profanity prohibitions only against conventional broadcast services, not against subscription programming services such as cable and satellite. However, the prohibition against obscene programming applies to subscription programming services at all times.
Have they ever fined a subscription programmer? Are you kidding? Put all that hot programming at risk? Surely you jest. The Moral Minority are all cable-guys.
They only want to shoot the horse that no longer pulls their wagon.

1 comment:

  1. It's really sad when you consider that parents and individuals already have the TV ratings and content-blocking tools to make and enforce their own TV viewing decisions. I don't recall the Founding Fathers saying "The government shall act as the national parent for our children."
    TV Watch doesn't think so, either...check it out at