Lord, save me from the "Best Little Whorehouse" hypocrisy washing over America this very minute.
Let me say that I have deep respect for the true believers, whether they are devoutly Christians or not, conservative, liberal or somewhere in between.
But this Janet Jackson thing has people going, Oh, there is sex on television, oh the nation is going to hell.
If you remember the play and movie about a house of ill repute in Texas you will remember that things were fine for a long time. Politicians and winning football teams came to the establishment and suddenly some television reporter says there is a whorehouse in Texas and everyone expressed total shock. The outrage machine had to gear up and stop this atrocity.
Now hearings may be held on decency on television because oh, my goodness, milk is not the only thing being sold on television.
Duh, where have these people been. Sex, partial nudity, adult situations, off color jokes, bad language, have dominated television for decades now.
Madison Avenue has ruled the advertising mentality, convincing us that if we are lonely, depressed, can't get a date, just buy a $45,000 car, put on overpriced Speedo's and drive down to the beach and suddenly eight buxomy women are falling all over you. Never mind that you are 5'6" and weigh 300 pounds and that the only push-up you have done in years is to push up closer to that big plate of food.
Television is not big in telling you to keep that 10-year-old car, lose a bunch of weight and set your standards on a date with someone who is not superficially attracted to the price of things.
Reality shows, sit-coms, commercials, talk shows have been pushing sex and nudity for years. The same network executives who are outraged and shocked by seeing part of Jackson's anatomy are the ones who shoved big butts in our faces on NYPD Blue years ago in prime time. The standards regulators rushing to defend our sensitive eyes and morals are the same ones who sat by while some guy walks around naked on "Survivor" or beautiful people frolicked naked in hot tubs in everything from The Real World to The Bachelor.
Did the regulators ever ask the sponsors just how spending $4 on a certain shaving cream that should cost 75 cents is going to get those scantily clad women chasing you. Just what is the secret ingredient?
Do you remember those horrible Calvin Klein commercials that looked like an audition for a porn tape? Grainy video of teens in a basement being interviewed and then asked to tear off part of their shirts. The ads were yanked after an outcry, but remember television didn't have any problem taking Calvin Klein's money to run them. Calvin Klein, who knows how to take $6 worth of blue jean material and a 50 cent an hour third world sewer and add lots of sex appeal and marketing and sell that garment for $100, knew exactly what he was doing. He got people talking about the commercials.
My fear is that the cure is worse than the ailment, often when bureaucrats get involved. Now that everyone has Oh, my gosh, discovered that the television networks have a whorehouse operating there is now a mad rush to shut it down.
The only thing worse than network television today is network television tomorrow after bureaucrats have gotten involved. I still maintain that if there are 100 million television sets in America there are 100 million censors. It is known as the channel changer. Did I watch what's his name run around naked on Survivor, crinkled picture or not? No, I did not. The censor at my house flipped it to the History Channel. Did I watch beautiful people frolicking in a hot tub on the Real World. Yes I did. I was watching the program already and when it occurred the censor said that was ok at my house to keep watching. Was I so outraged by Ms. Jackson's display that my censor turned off the Super Bowl. No, I was upstairs eating more food when the display occurred and even if I had seen it my censor was pulling for the Carolina Panthers. I have seen it 5,000 or so times now on CNN and network news. By my count it has surpassed the Screaming Demon video of Howard Dean. Each time the video of Ms. Jackson is part of a story on whether television has gone too far, whether there should be more decency on television. Duh, CNN look in the mirror. You are showing the very thing you are asking if there is too much of. Hypocrisy, you are alive and well in America.
My point is do you go to Barnes and Noble and complain there are too many romance novels or do you make a bee-line to the science fiction or history sections? Do you go to the buffet and complain to everyone around the salad bar that you don't like beets or do you just not put any beets on your salad while you are piling it up, leaving more beets for the beets-lovers?
Keep the censors, the hypocrites and the do-gooders away from my door. And if CNN and ABC will stop showing outraged reports on this stuff, those of us watching the History Channel or A&E won't even know it occurred.
Bob Paslay is assistant managing editor of the News Daily and Daily Herald. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753 Ext. 257 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.