PTC sticks its nose where it doesn't belong

by Paul William Tenny

The Parents Television Council spends its days watching TV -- which is bad for you -- and writing up "reports" about the immoral programming they think nobody should be allowed to watch -- but they watch it constantly -- to save our culture from the evil Hollywood liberals that want our kids to "go gay" and have unmarried sex and do drugs all the time. Don't forget violence, they really hate violence too. In other words it's like you're a kid again, and your parents banded together with all your friends parents to "police" everything on television, to make the airwaves safe for the children.

Won't you please think of the children?!
Except that's usually just an excuse for censorship, to force things off the air and out of sight that they can't handle and don't want to see. It's just projection really, they can't handle seeing fair or slightly exaggerated depictions of lives they don't approve of, so it must go. It doesn't matter that this stuff is pure fiction, or that watching television is a choice so that you don't have to see something you disapprove of. If you as a parent choose to let your kid watch some of this stuff, then they'll happily take that right from you and substitute it for their own superior moral judgment.

Alright, so my own preaching aside, yet another one of these silly "reports" by the PTC which probably doesn't approve of a single program on television that isn't broadcast directly from a church, is complaining that there's an apparent epidemic of unmarried lust going on in prime time that I'm apparently missing out on.

"The anti-marriage bias in some of these programs is so transparent it's almost comical," said Melissa Henson, a spokeswoman for the nonprofit group.

To the contrary, I'd have to say...

Henson singled out a storyline in the ABC comedy "Desperate Housewives," in which a husband and wife get divorced and then reignite their relationship by having sex together as divorcees -- and enjoying it more.

..that's comical.

I don't know how you can approach that with a straight face, but it's as if the PTC thinks every adult or child that is sitting there at 9 or 10pm at night watching an adult drama -- first of all why are kids even watching Desperate Housewives that late at night? Isn't this more an issue of poor parenting? Shouldn't asking parents to be more responsible with what they let their kids watch be the first call to action as opposed to censoring adult content created for adults? -- isn't going to be capable of understanding that what they are seeing isn't real life. Granted, maybe a five-year-old isn't going to understand what they are seeing, but if a five-year-old is up at 9pm watching Desperate Housewives, no amount of television censorship is going to help that poor kid because the real problem there is really bad parents.

One way or another that kid is going to get into trouble either with a TV or a computer and there won't be anyone there to do anything about it. It is not the responsibility of TV show writers to make up for that failure by making everything suitable for airing on Nick at Night. We have channels for that already, where kids can go to see content appropriate for their age. If parents can't grow up themselves, why should the ones that have grown up be deprived of the entertainment they obviously want to see?

I ultimately don't give any weight to organizations that head hunt with an agenda other than studying a given situation to reveal underlying facts. The Parents Television Council wants morally conservative programming to replace already lightweight material airing in prime time to suit their own political and religious interests -- it has nothing to do with these shows being a bad influence on children. And really, nobody is arguing that these shows aren't inappropriate for kids. They are, which leads you right back to the root of the problem: irresponsible parents letting kids stay up late and watch programming that wasn't meant for them in the first place.

What I'd like to see is a more revealing survey of the regular viewers of these programs to see how many of them agree with -- or even care about -- the PTC's concerns.

I think you'll find none at all, because "reports" like this are almost universally written by groups that don't watch these shows in the first place, except to "police" television so that they can tell the rest of us what we can and can't watch.

And really, if the PTC gets all in a twist over Desperate Housewives, they obviously haven't seen anything on pay-cable lately.
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