December 1, 2005

Time to Play Catch-Up: The Indecency Overview

Monday August 29th 2005, 11:22 am
Filed under: FCC, Indecency

C|Net’s Declan McCullough does a good job of wrapping the current indecency battles in a neat little package — one that includes the fight over .xxx domains and the FCC’s hire of concerned woman Penny Nance.

Brush up and catch up at C|Net.

And speaking of Penny Nance, a writer for the National Review wonders how anyone could be nervous about “a beautiful young wife and mother with a charming Tennessee accent and no history of violent crime.”

Well, that puts things in perspective, don’t it?

The Review’s Ann Morse continues:

[Nance is] bad news for those who make a living dumping untreated sewage into our homes via television and “shock jock” radio shows because when it comes to fighting filth, Nance is not afraid to get her hands dirty. She’s the founder of the Kids First Coalition, which vigorously lobbies against pornography. She’s served on the board of Concerned Women for America, which — among other things — lobbies against pornography. She has testified before Congress about the dangers to children of Internet porn, and was a signatory last spring on a letter to President Bush calling for stricter enforcement of indecency laws — including the use of “repeated and expanded” fines “until broadcasters understand they are not above the law.”

Nance wants to bring back television’s family hour, a mild move that would not eliminate the trashier programs but simply push them into later time slots. She’d also like to see pressure applied to currently unregulated cable channels which, she says, have a “huge indecency problem.” […]

[Nance is determined] to do everything she can to lesson [heh, sic] the grip pornography has on our society. She points to the links between the consumption of pornography and sexual assaults on women and children. A few years ago Nance herself was the victim of an attempted rape by a man addicted to porn; which is why she takes a dim view of those who say — as one of her blogger critics put it, “Don’t like what’s on the channel? Change it!”

Nance plans to change the culture. She knows that when others produce or consume obscene or pornographic materials, we all have to live with the corrosive consequences. Today we’re no longer shocked to hear of twelve-year-old girls engaging in oral sex, or of even younger girls being kidnapped, raped, and murdered — victims of men addicted to violent sexual imagery.

Where to start?

Strawman #1: Does Morse really believe that Lefties — or anyone besides 12-year-olds — shrug their collective shoulders at the idea of preteens having sex? Does she really think that we as a society, regardless of political affiliation, have become inured to assaults on children? Perhaps she does, but that’s beside the point.

The real question is, How did these issues become the jurisdiction of the FCC? How will increased indecency fines solve the problems? (Here’s a hint: They won’t.)

Strawman #2: Where exactly did the parental responsibility argument get off to? Morse makes an allusion to it (in reference to the “blogger critic” who urges offended viewers to change the channel), but never really addresses it. If Nance is, as Morse later states, “the representative of ‘the millions of American mothers who are sickened by the constant diet of cultural sewage that’s being fed to their children,’” what does she have to say to parents who indiscriminately park their kids in front of the television? It sounds as if the children in question have successfully conquered parentkind — indeed, humankind. Is the victory so total that government troops must be summoned, in the form of Penny Nance and her comrades?

Strawman #3: Morse implies that attempted-rape victim Penny Nance is somehow uniquely qualified to serve as a consultant to the FCC on indecency issues. That argument is itself pornographic, and is insulting to rape victims whose assailants had, say, a shoe fetish.

The pornography-begets-rape argument goes way back. Ironically, it was first popularized by 70s-vintage feminists like Andrea Dworkin. Yet there is an equally vocal camp that believes that rape begets pornography. Neither is a provable theorem.

Rape is a tragedy. Further, rape is a tragedy that pre-dates television. Pornography is, to some, an abomination. To others, it’s a harmless past-time. Pornography, too, pre-dates television.

Again, how did this become the FCC’s problem to solve?

Look, the Right and the Left will almost certainly never agree on the effects dirty pictures have on our society. We should accept that fact and move on.

Here’s one fact that we all should agree upon, however: No government entity should ever appoint or employ an activist whose goal it is to “change our culture.”

That simply is not what government agencies are for. And it sure as hell isn’t what the FCC is for.

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4 Comments so far

Declan McCullough knocks Kevin Martin for voting that “Saving Private Ryan” is indecent if unedited (which means it needs to be shown after 10 PM on broadcast tv.)

“Saving Private Ryan” is an R-rated movie.

One could argue that “indecency” regulations should be dropped altogether.

But as long as we have them, the purpose of which is to make kids less likely to see content which may disturb them, why the hell shouldn’t it apply to a violent war movie containing expletives?

Because it’s a great work of art which shows violence is bad? Parents who feel that way can rent the movie, buy it, let their kids stay up after 10 PM, or subscribe to a movie channel.

The govt shouldn’t be an art critic.

If any R-rated movies are going to be banned from being shown on broadcast tv before 10 PM, they all should.

Comment by Eric Jaffa 08.29.05 @ 12:24 pm

To clarify my statment above, if any movies with particular expletives are going to be banned from being shown unedited on broadcast tv before 10 PM, they all should.

Comment by Eric Jaffa 08.29.05 @ 1:30 pm

Someone should also tell Nance that rape is not about just sex. It’s about power, domination, humiliation and a whole bunch of other bad things that have nothing to do with pornography. Does she really think she was almost raped because of pornography? The sicko that did that to her was just that, a SICKO, with or without pornography.

I grew up just fine watching stuff that these nuts think is “indecent”. It’s becuase my parents didn’t use the TV and video games as a babysitter. They were involved with my life and montored what I watched and did. They kept me invovled with sports and community activities rather than just giving me a remote or a joystick.

Comment by Mitch 08.30.05 @ 10:33 am

Recently, television sportcasters hailed Snoop Dogg as a positive roll model because of his recent efforts in working with under-privledged youths in the “hood”. Later, Snoop Dogg was shown just outside the end zone of an NFL football game receiving a touchdown football and striking a Heisman Trophy pose. Later again, Snoop Dogg was presented making commentary about a sports great as if he were some kind of an expert on sports. Here is the thing that is disturbing. Snoop Dogg is in effect a pornographer. He the face of marketing for the infamous “Girls Gone Wild” videos. He likely has received considerable revenue as a result of pandering videos that show young women (some who appear quite intoxicated) without clothes. In the video commercials, it’s clear that he encourages young women to expose their bare breasts and more to a camcorder. Now those same videos actually show these women, again many of which who appear intoxicated, performing sexual acts. This is pornography and Snoop Dogg is its spokesperson. Why the NFL or the NBA would want to align themselves to the pornography industry needs to be questioned. As for Snoop Dogg, he’s should not be hailed for making money off the bare backs of these young women and then using a small portion of it for good in the hood.

It really is time for cable television to clean up its act as far as commercials and programming. It’s also time that legislators require a separate internet for pornograhic sites. As for the definition of pornography, it has already been defined at all levels of government. As for those who say it’s not the job of the government to restrict pornography from the air waves, they are dead wrong. It is the responsibility of government and of citizens to protect the well-being of our families and in particular our children. Then again, those who wish to support the free rein of pornography really are not concerned about the welfare of families or children.

Comment by Dan Boos 11.02.05 @ 7:11 am

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