Thursday, August 12, 2010

Searching for Windmills?

Hey gang, I couldn't resist speaking out on the absurdity of this story.

I read in my morning paper that a media watchdog group, The Parent's Television Council, was organizing a boycott against any advertisers or local affiliates that would be supporting or airing the new CBS comedy, @#&& My Dad Says."

The series, starring William Shatner, is based upon the widely popular twitter account of Justin Halpern of the same name, (which has also spawned a best selling book) and uses an actual profanity in it's title, rather than the symbols CBS is employing...which is a common practice in publishing/broadcasting to indicate profane language without using it. According to Halpern, "I'm 29. I live with my 74-year-old dad. He is awesome. I just write down @$%& that he says."

According to PTC President, Tim Winter, "The title is indecent. Parents really do care about profanity when their kids are watching TV." Just so we are clear, the PTC is saying, "@#&$" (which is bleep, when spoken according to CBS), is indecent? Seriously?! Yes the original title does contain a profanity which is on the networks 7 words you can't say on Tv, but a bleep or symbols most certainly are not and never have been!

Winter goes on to say, “CBS intentionally chose to insert an expletive into the actual name of a show and despite its claim that the word will be bleeped, it is just CBS’ latest demonstration of its contempt for families and the public. There are an infinite number of alternatives that CBS could have chosen but its desire to shock and offend is crystal clear in this decision,” said PTC President Tim Winter. I get the feeling the PTC must be kind of short on windmills to tilt at, (re: high profile issues...that aren't really issues....that fuel new fundraising efforts), because CBS did not insert "an expletive into the title," it inserted symbols that represent one...big difference folks!

How thin skinned have we gotten as a culture if we now are offended not only by naughty words, but now by the terms or symbols that are commonly used to replace the offending words? This borders on the ridiculous, as it is tantamount to wanting to censor the idea, (I.E. that we must not allow people to watch a show that is based upon something that has a naughty word in it's title...even if the word is not used).

The PTC is doing this under the banner of that they are protecting our children, but seriously, in this day and age of cable and satellite TV providing any number of non-network TV shows (and movies into our homes) which use the actual offending words, sexuality and acts of gratuitous violence, this seems a rather silly and trivial issue to stand behind. But like I inferred earlier, this feels more about publicity and fundraising...since they really can't do much to affect networks like HBO or Cinemax...and the over the air networks make a prime target to demonstrate how much organizations like this are needed and should be supported by concerned parents everywhere.

When there are potentially dangerous ideas out there, we know the PTC will be there to make sure we can't hear, see or read about them. Carry on the good fight, gentlemen!

R.J. Luedke

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