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Frankly, though, live events ought to be the least of Congress’ worries. An unexpected expletive aired by a musician (or an athlete such as Tiger Woods) is less objectionable than the pre-planned use of vulgarities, fairly explicit depictions of sex, and gratuitous, gore-filled violence. And with so many avenues other than the public broadcast spectrum now open for “artistic expression,” any efforts by Congress to substantially tighten the restrictions on the public airwaves would put very little obstacle in the way of people who want to produce more “adult-oriented” entertainment. (Frankly, though, today’s TV network obsession with sex and foul language is far less adult than it is adolescent, as if TV writers and actors never quite matured beyond the emotional age of 15. That’s also why the Hollywood writers’ strike was in some senses far more a public blessing than it was a curse.)
IT IS WORTH NOTING that, in most cases, the TV networks themselves can’t even claim that stricter regulations would deny their “free expression.” As was noted by PTC president Winter, a lawyer and former executive at NBC, “Most broadcast networks own the cable networks they ‘compete’ against.”
And, he added, “The courts have said that the public airwaves are so uniquely pervasive, such that any child can access them at almost any time, that there are certain restrictions that can be put in place.”
To be clear, the courts have also ruled that while regulation of expression, through sanctions for violations, is allowed, “prior restraint” of any expression, even of the most heinous sort, is unconstitutional. And Winter emphatically rejects that option anyway.
But I don’t. I do not see how the Constitution forbids Congress to do anything it wants, short of regulating political expression (a different subject entirely, on which Congress certainly should never tread!), to protect the public from indecency in the relatively limited spectrum of which the public enjoys common ownership. Let the cable outfits produce whatever the market will bear. But keep the publicly owned realm free of smut, at least before 10 p.m., so our children walking past a stray TV set in a mall somewhere won’t be moved to ask us, “Hey, Daddy, why is that naked man in bed with that other man’s wife, and what does it mean to get laid, and why did he just call her a bit**?”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online