May 2008

The FCC and our culture of fear

By Galen Larson

In reference to David Grant Long’s article, “Oh, Canada!” in the April 2008 Free Press:

The Taliban are coming, the Taliban are coming! Women, get out the bhurkas or, hell, just throw a towel over your head. Hang up your slacks and pedal-pushers; get out the long dresses. No more perfume, pointed nails, or heaven forbid, lipstick.

If you think this is funny, keep on laughing. The righteous already changed the devil’;s highway from 666 to 491. (I don’t see where it curtailed any accidents, though.) The nut-cake attorney general, Ashcroft, covered the Statue of Justice because of one bare breast while he covered up all of justice itself. We didn’t complain when he did that.

The born-again Christian president wiretapped our phones; we laid down for that. The war he lied about has taken a tremendous toll on our young; we didn’t stand up against that. He gave his Arab buddies $100-a-barrel oil; we were surprised at that.

Now we have censorship.

The duly elected board that regulates our tax-supported TV signals decided to censor its viewers by taking Canadian Broadcasting Corporation programs off the air — in fear of being fined by the Federal Communications Commission. We can sacrifice 4,000 dead and 25,000 wounded to free another nation, but we live in fear in our own. I was under the (it seems mistaken) idea that we are a Free Nation. Proud to be an American. Fight for our rights and the rights of others.

I am a product of the Greatest Generation and I firmly believe in standing up for the freedoms our veterans fought for. Don’t tell me our veterans braved the cold in Europe, the death march in Bataan, the mud and snow in Korea, the jungles of Vietnam and now the deserts of Afghanistan and Iraq so we could just roll over. As the great statesman Patrick Henry once said, “Give me liberty or give me death.” No matter what one calls it — Taliban, Communism, or censorship — it doesn’t belong in America, my home, sweet home.

Dammit, I want Channel 30 back on the air. For those that care not to watch it, check your remote — there are buttons on there to change channels! There are a lot of sitcoms, crime shows and reality programs that I personally think should be off the air, but I won’t deny anyone else’s right to view that trash, so I have (with great difficulty) mastered the use of my remote. If I can do it, others should be able to, since they are so smart about knowing what I ought to watch.

I’ve had it up to my rear (see, you thought I might say “ass”) with pious groups who propose to tell me where my tastes and interests should lie. It started with the outrage over a half-second glimpse of a pop star’s breast during the Super Bowl halftime show in 2004. In order to save our eyeballs from being seared by such sights ever again, the FCC fined CBS half a million dollars.

Now, some local viewers are supposedly shocked by some of the content on CBC. They would really be shocked if they were aware of what goes on in this “moral” culture of ours. One in five children goes to bed hungry. The use of meth is increasing in every layer of our no-class society. Spousal and child abuse goes on day and night. People are getting kicked out of their homes, losing their pensions and being forced to choose between food or medicine. The healthcare system is squeezing the last dollar out of the aged and ailing.

All of this is obscene to me, yet the Information Gestapo (the FCC) is concerned about us seeing a breast, or hearing four-letter words you hear in every high school and middle school. I don’t think those kids picked those words up by staying up late to watch Canadian Broadcasting — more like ABC, CBS and NBC from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day in the USA.

I am quite broad-minded, but I can stand only so much of Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Chris Rock, Pamela Anderson and Victoria’s Secret — all readily available on channels broadcast by the TV district.

“Paradise Hotel” and “The Bachelor” on the major networks are shocking enough, but what really shocks me are these smooth-talking charlatans that call themselves evangelists bilking elderly people out of their nest eggs and Social Security checks, all the while maintaining outrageous lifestyles themselves. But I won’t ask anyone to censor them; some people love to be fools. That comes under the heading of “freedom” and I will gladly fight to preserve it for you. Why can’t you do the same for me?

As soon as we accept censorship through fines and fear, we set education and history back. What may be repugnant to some is art to others. No one person, group or government should be permitted to dictate our tastes to us, whether in books, art, movies, religion or television.

Who is to blame here? Is it the elected board members of our TV district who want to bring us enlightenment and entertainment but have to worry about potential fines? No, it is us. We allow the FCC to terrify us into taking intelligent, adult programs off the air — the first step in total suppression in the Home of the Brave and the Land of the Free.

Galen Larson writes from rural Montezuma County.