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The Paranoid Android
...musings of a mechanically depressed robot...
Cursing is the new black.
I was up late last night... usual non tired no use in going to bed scenario... so I watched a couple of CSI episodes and at about 01:00 started channel hopping.  This is probably not a good idea - the quality of TV on the high numbered channels is on a downward slope after midnight.

I stumbled on a "x-rated TV they tried to ban" program - listing the (moral) decline in TV standard over the ages.  It was presented as a goofy look on old standards and was obviously relying on shock and titillation to keep the viewers watching... which worked of course - I watched it to the conclusion.

The thing was most of the TV the panel of "complainers" were saying needed to be banned was not x-rated.  There was a bit of flesh - a lot of implied acts - but for the most part it was just crap TV.  There was an enormous amount of swearing.

By the time I was watching they must have bypassed the (in)famous sex pistols interview and the similarly (in)famous Felix Dennis interview.  What followed wasn't really a series of milestones in pushing back the boundaries of TV (as the program hinted at) but more of a free-fall of standards... TV with little if any entertainment.  The program writers were feeling the pressure of extra channels (just one or two originally, now there are hundreds) and needed to make their show the topic of conversation - not caring if the conversation was complementary or not.

There was the battle of the soaps - first gay couple, first gay kiss, first lesbian kiss, first gay sex.  All these shows received "record amounts of complaints" - all 600 or so of them.  Considering the average evening soap boasts viewing figures in the millions that not really a significant number of viewers.

After each clip of the offending material they gave air time to these "complainers" to say why it should have been banned.  Most of the complainers where older people - and their argument was almost universally "it's immoral" and "it's not entertainment"

It's bizarre but I agreed with them 50%.  I was not entertained.  It didn't matter which program it was in, or for the most part, what offence was being caused - it just wasn't entertaining.  "Fuck" hasn't been amusing to me since I was about 12.  Watching lesbians kiss might count as mild titillation but knowing that's about as far as you are going to get due to TV regulations makes it rather dull.  If I really want to watch "lesbians" at it - there's the internet.

Next there was the sexual fetish shows... guys getting their jollies with a nutmeg grater, a woman who had sex with her pony.  These boggle my mind to the nth degree, but I was still not entertained.  Watching the reactions of the moralites splutter their vitriol began to become the most amusing part of the program.

An interesting tid-bit of information came next... the erect penis is not allowed to be shown on TV, but a flaccid one is.  The cut over point?  The angle cannot exceed that of the Kintyre Peninsula.
flaccid penis
image copywrite
kintyre.org - used without permission
It's remarkable just how much it looks like a penis!  It's even more remarkable that it's used as a standard for determining the flaccidity of said organ.

Finally when I'd given up hope completely with TV as it is today there was the promised top 3 most complained about TV programs.

First up - in third place - was Derren Brown's Seance.  This didn't have any swearing in it (that you could hear) or naked flesh.  It contained a bunch of easily led students and grainy night vision.  So why were more people complaining about this than almost anything else?  The "complainers" informed me it was devil worship.  "Neither God nor Jesus would put those students through that" said one of the old women. 
I actually found that program to be hilarious and educational.  He showed how charlatan mystics can manipulate people into believing things like Ouija board predictions.  How that is in any way in league with Bealzibub I've yet to work it out.

The next was "Jerry Springer: The Opera"  It was funny to note that almost all (more than 80%) of the complaints were received before the show was aired.  The show itself was crap even by musical standards.  If it wasn't for the mixture of blasphemy and the number of swear words it would probably have been ignored.

The last show (number 1 complaints) was Gunther Von Hagen's "The Autopsy"  No swearing here - and the only naked bits on show were the dead man's.  The complaints seemed to centre around the macabre nature of the program with the "complainers" saying it was not entertaining... and then saying watching dead people being cut up should not be shown as entertainment.  Way to shoot your own argument down in flames!  TV is not just about entertainment... it's about education as well.  I watched this show and found it to be fascinating if a little icky.  I didn't watch it with the idea of being entertained... Von Hagen didn't sing or dance and he showed the cadaver due respect.

As two of the three "should be banned" shows had very little to do with declining morals or were X-rated the show wasn't really well named.  Jerry Springer : The Opera was in my (less than humble) opinion a waste of space.  The thousands of complaints did nothing except add notoriety to the show.  The fact that the vast majority complained before seeing the show almost definitely assisted it's audience share.  If anything the show proved that the BBC will just about show any crap now, and there are far to many religious nuts in the country.  If your faith isn't strong enough to ignore other idiots "satirising" your religion you need to look a bit closer to home for your problems.

The question at the end of the show: where will TV go now?  It's broken all the rules, and we are now unshockable.  Perhaps a live execution is the only taboo left?

I found it ironic that violence was almost completely ignored in this show.  Show a pair of breasts (or heaven help us a penis) on the TV and there's outrage (from those hundreds with nothing better to do with their time but write or phone in to say how disgusted they were) but show someone beaten to a pulp and no-one raises an eyebrow.  Is that the best message to send to the mindless masses?  Sexuality: bad - violence: good.  No wonder the British are seen as a violent repressed nation.  More non violent sex... especially romantic sex as opposed to the soft porn of shows like "Footballers Wives" and the like and less beatings might help create a less violent youth?  Removing the taboo of sex might mean a more open environment - and who knows that might even lead to less teenage pregnancies?

The power of mass media... and we end up with "I'm a celebrity, get me out of here" ... I weep for this nation world.

Tags: ,
Current Location: EC2Y 9AQ
Current Mood: grumpy grumpy
Current Music: Radiohead - Creep (Acoustic Version)

1 comment or Leave a comment
laaalaaa From: laaalaaa Date: February 6th, 2007 08:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
hehe.. funnily I knew that about a penis.. and that's all I have to say :D
1 comment or Leave a comment