Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Kevin Martin, recently named chairman of the FCC, is feeling his oats.

He is now warning cable companies that they need to “do a better job” of addressing growing concerns over television indecency. The alternative? Federal regulation, of course.

This is getting ridiculous.

It’s bad enough that everyone is falling all over themselves to avoid any hint of “indecency” in the wake of the Janet Jackson Superbowl Titty Incident. One lousy nipple - and not an especially attractive one at that - and wingnuts everywhere are now in High Dudgeon over the Festering Cesspool of Immorality that is our Broadcast Media.

And that’s fine. Personally, my biggest issue with Jay-Jay’s tit was that nobody expects to have to deal with the Human Mammary when they’re gathered with friends, family, and little children to watch a Major Sports Event. It was inappropriate in the context of what surrounded it.

And the Government has always been in the position of regulating the airwaves, so if they want to pull back on the reins a bit, that’s OK.

But once you start in on cable, buddy boy, you’re going Too Damn Far.

Cable TV is a service that is available only to people who are interested enough in it to pay for the privilege. It does not waft through the ether, available to anyone who cares to put up an antenna. (Satellite TV does “waft through the ether,” but you can’t receive the signal without paying for a decoder, so the same rules apply.) Cable and satellite both use proprietary networks and infrastructure to distribute their content. As with books or films, if you do not want certain types of content, you are not obligated to purchase them. So: if you don’t like The Sopranos, just don’t subscribe to HBO.

What’s next? Books? Movies? The Internet?

Who the hell are you, Mr. Martin, to presume to tell me what is indecent? Do you find pie-eating contests offensive? I do - so I don’t watch them. Do you find “reality television” offensive? Sometimes I do - so sometimes I don’t watch it.

I think rap music videos suck - but if someone else wants to watch that crap, fine with me. As long as I don’t have to, great!

If nobody wanted to pay for “indecent content,” it would dry up and blow away. But someone must like it enough to spend money on it. Hey, that’s capitalism!

Here’s a chance for Republicans to act like Republicans (unless, of course, they’ve been so co-opted by the Religious Right that their bedrock principles must be put aside for the sake of political expediency, that is.) Down with intrusive Big Government! Keep the cableways free!

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