SharksWithLasers -- Seth Cooper

A CUTTING-EDGE BLOG FOR THE WORLD OF THE 21st CENTURY, Currently operated by Seth L. Cooper, a 27 year-old attorney in Seattle (sethlcooper at comcast dot net)

Saturday, February 14, 2004

COOP NERDLY ADMISSION ITEM -- I WATCH C-SPAN: It may be sad, but I freely confess to watching C-Span programming, including Congressional floor action, Presidential speeches, think-tank roundtables, Question Hour in British Parliament—a REAL fav—and C-SPAN 2’s “Book Notes.” Of course, I’m usually not a fan of “Washington Journal.” The guests are frequently interesting, but the folks who call the show with their questions are usually awful. Those people never actually ask any questions, but instead subject listeners to lengthy diatribes characteristic of overly partisan hacks.

Today I tuned in to taped proceedings of Wednesday’s hearing on Broadcast Decency Rules before the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee. This particular hearing was apparently called in reaction to the Super Bowl half-time show from last month. Given the acts that were announced, I skipped out on the half-time show to check my e-mail during the break in play. But from what I hear it was atrocious.

FCC Chairman Michael Powell was among those testifying at the hearing, and I really hope the Feds make life a difficult for MTV and CBS on account of the show. For me, its not all about the offensiveness of the half-time show--I expect it from the sorts of acts that were up there, and in any event I’m already too desensitized to the material in those kinds of shows. Jacko’s sister, Timberlake et. al., can continue with their embarrassing acts all they want, as far as I care. All I’m asking is for some kind of modest restrictions on the more outlandish and outrageous stunts where prime-time programs are airing with millions of children in the audience.

It is undoubtedly true that parents need to take control over what their children are viewing and that we can’t expect network and cable TV execs to be looking out for the kids. But for parents to have a real, authentic choice as to what they and their families will be viewing, their choice must be an informed one. Even a simple a warning about the program’s content would have given parents and families the information they needed to decide whether they were going to watch a glorified ex-Mickey Mouseketeer rip off the top of an over-the-hill lady in the middle of a silly tune or to instead get out ColecoVision and play Billy Graham’s Bible Blasters until the game resumes.

By the way, Question Hour in British Parliament airs on Sundays at 9pm, Pacific Time.

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