Friday, November 26, 2004

Ranting and Railing for a Good Cause

Like many of us, Tom Shales is unhappy with FCC chairman Michael Powell and believes the wrong Powell quit recently. Few though have the opportunity to publish a rant like this in such a prominent paper. He also refers to Jeff Jarvis's now (not) famous (enough) investigation which revealed that a whopping three people complained about a "Married by America" episode and nonetheless instigated a $1.2 million fine against Fox.

Frank Rich has an excellent rant, "The Great Indecency Hoax" in the NYT, too. Rich points out the irony of people compaining about the Nicollette Sheridan football promo dabcle, when the show she's on feature far more explicit content. But kids aren't watching that show, you say. Wrong! "'Desperate Housewives' also ranks No. 5 among all prime-time shows for ages 12-17. ('Monday Night Football' is No. 18.)" Don't nobody tell the Traditional Values Coalition though, OK?

The point of all this, really--and Jarvis points it out *again* today--is that most Americans are not interested in a crack-down on television content. An extreme minority is having an inappropriate impact.

Jarvis also directs us to a rant by Newsweek's Jonathan Alter Alter desibes the Sheridan/Owens incident as a "little fiesta of hypocrisy, cynicism and fear." He also says, somewhat hopefully, "If this had happened 20 years ago (and it could have; TV was full of sexual innuendo then, too), all the talk would have been about the interracial coupling of Sheridan and Owens." Honestly, I'm not convinced that race *didn't* play a role in funneling the overwrought outrage we saw. I mean, would folks be as outraged if Sheridan had jumped into the arms of a white boy quaterback? Really? I think some people just know better than to express their true thoughts out loud these days, so complaining about the sexuality itself seems like taking the high road. Having said that, I certainly don't mean to count all the outraged as racists. I'm just sayin'.

Anyway, that's quite a bevy of heavyweight ranters isn't it?

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