Rant of the Week


The FCC does not fine television networks very often or for very large amounts. 

So think about all the indecent things you have seen on TV in the past two years. 

You have seen incredibly powerful corporations advertise sugar-coated cereals to children seven years old or younger.

You have seen decapitations, stabbings, gunshot wounds, amputations, rapes, burns, slashes, and strangling. 

Nope.  Nothing offensive there.  Nothing there that could be construed as a threat to the moral fabric of the nation.

You've seen cheer-leading network eunuchs swallow whole the bilious lies and distortions of a government justifying a war it had no business starting and now has no clue about ending and which has resulted in the kidnappings, tortures, and murders of thousands of innocent civilians.  Nothing "indecent" there.

You've seen programs in which the police are shown, approvingly, beating up, abusing, and terrorizing suspects in order to extract confessions from them.  Of course, these suspects are then always shown to be guilty-- not like that soldier shot by the cop in Los Angeles, or Amadou Diallo, or any of these others.  Is society threatened by entertainment that teaches us that police brutality is usually justified and almost always rewarding?  No. 

But in February 2004, the moral health of America was threatened with such pernicious and devious audacity that Colin Powell's son-- head of the FCC-- leapt to his feet and immediately took drastic and decisive action.  America must not be permitted to see a woman's breast, not even for a second!

You know what a breast is, don't you?  You may have seen one yourself, if you were ever a nursing baby, a married man, or even a lucky teenager.  In fact, a quick study of television and magazines would lead a reasonable person to conclude that America doesn't think that there is anything they want to see more than a woman's breast.  Americans spend billions of dollars every year improving and enlarging their breasts.   Breast cancer survivors raise money for research by posing-- topless-- for calendars.   You pretty well can't be a singer or actress or entertainer of any kind unless you have large ones.

So Michael Powell, speaking most deeply from beneath his cloak, has fined CBS -- get this!-- $550,000!

The naked breast appeared during a performance in which Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson gyrated and danced around on stage simulating incredibly passionate levels of sexual arousal and desire for each other. Timberlake sang, "I'm gonna have you naked by the end of this song."  

This is what America paid to watch.  It's what the promoters of the Superbowel paid to show.  It's what every radio station in America promotes every day: songs about sexual desire.  It's what makes "Friends" funny, and Paris Hilton rich.  It's why competitors in "Fear Factor" wear bikinis.  It's the engine of the entertainment economy.  It's why National Geographic is read by adolescent boys. 

The breast was indecent?  The most indecent thing about this entire sorry episode is the overwhelming obscenity of people like Michael Powell having the power to determine what is "obscene".  What on earth does he think will happen in a person's mind when he sees a woman's breast?

What happened in his mind?

All contents © 2006 Bill Van Dyk