Idiot Box

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When Sen. Ted Stevens declared war on "indecent" cable programming, he argued that "most viewers don't differentiate between over-the-air and cable." Turns out he has the same problem himself.

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  1. Quite a few misspellings in that article.

  2. I’m referring to The Agitator post, BTW.

  3. I’ve been known to mispell a word now and then.

  4. I don’t think I’ve seen any libertarians comment on it, but this is the first time I’ve seen the argument made among the general public that shows with dirty words, beatings, and boobies can be respectable, quality programming. Usually, the angels in the indecency arguments act as though they got stuck with a dirty job that someone’s gotta do – defending porn movies or the idiotic halftime show. This time, I’m seeing people interviewed on CNN saying that they want to watch “The Sopranos,” dammit, and defending the programming on its merits.

  5. joe,
    Holy Crap! You said something intelligent about domestic policy. Upon closer inspection, I see that you are not actually extolling the benefits free speech yourself, just observing that there are those that do.

    Incidentally, Reason has an established history of defending pop culture on it’s merits.

  6. Someone watched Father of the Pride? I don’t believe it.

  7. And I see, Warren, that you haven’t defended free speech, either, but just observing my observation.

    But yes, Reason has made this point often. I’d think that seeing an argument it’s been pushing gain traction would be noteworthy.

  8. Incidentally, did anyone see Father of the Pride ? I didn’t catch it…I’m wondering: is it funny?

  9. Yeah, what’s the real story on the “sex toys and masturbation”, anyone who watched it?

    Senator: unplug co-axial cable (or, just stop paying your cable bill, then wait a few weeks). Reattach and extend rabbit ears. Channels 2-78 (or as many as will come in) are broadcast. The shows you don’t get anymore were cable.

  10. Actually, Joe and Warren, Joe’s observation has nothing to do with “free speech”, unless it’s “free speech for stuff I like”. The quality of the speech/work has nothing to do with whether someone has a right to communicate it.

    And of course, if you rely on “Hey, The Sopranos has boobies n’ blood, and it’s great”, you’re rather stuck when the other guy doesn’t think The Sopranos is all that cool or else thinks the boobies n’ blood are gratuitious, detracting features of the show.

  11. Eric, a lot more people agree with the proposition “The Sopranos are great” than with the LP position on broadcast indencency.

  12. Eric, a lot more people agree with the proposition “The Sopranos are great” than with the LP position on broadcast indencency.

    Who said anything about the “LP position on broadcast indencency [sic]”? You’ve got a weird obsession with those guys.

  13. I’m even more confused by the pointless reference to “LP position on broadcast indencency [sic]” when we’re talking about a twit who wants to force those indecency rules on cable.

  14. Think harder, Eric. You can do it.

  15. Joe, if you’re attempting to cleverly observe that popular speech is less likely to get censored than unpopular speech…well, OK, you’re trying, you can have a gold star.

    When you understand how that has nothing to do with free speech, you can have a cookie.

  16. When you realize that ideological purity is less effective than popular appeals, you can have a victorious candidate.

  17. Now what does Republican outreach rhetoric have to do with any of this, Joe?

    Let’s clear things up for the confused.

    1) I’m not talking about a candidate.

    2) I’m not talking about ideological purity.

    3) I’m pointing out that people objecting to their favorite shows being censored on cable, and harping on the great quality of those shows, makes it very easy for the next guy – or even this guy – to say, “But we’re only going to clean up the crappy shows, you know?” with much less resistance.

    4) For the guy who sniffs at people who fail to try to understand their ideological opponents, you have a perplexing focus on the LP and keep bringing them up when you’re talking to people who don’t give a rat’s ass about that group.

  18. 3), no, it doesn’t. The proposed regulation would, absolutely, beyond a shadow of a doubt, do away with The Sopranos. The proponents admit ad much – hell, they brag about getting rid of cable shows that features nekkid boobies and bad language. Sound like and Jersey-based gangster serial you know? Any argument based on “This wouldn’t effect good shows” is easily demonstrated to be bullshit, simply by raising the example of a good show that the regulations would stifle.

    4) if you which to avoid the impression of LP sympathies, you should avoid responding to observations that your position is connecting effectively with the public by whining about the fact that the discussion isn’t being carried out among the public at the level of bloodlesss edeological theorizing you’d prefer.

  19. 3), no, it doesn’t. The proposed regulation would, absolutely, beyond a shadow of a doubt, do away with The Sopranos

    Until and unless they adjust their positions, or the sponsors of the next bill.

    Any argument based on “This wouldn’t effect good shows” is easily demonstrated to be bullshit

    One would think, but strangely, not always true.

    4) if you which to avoid the impression of LP sympathies, you should avoid responding to observations that your position is connecting effectively with the public by whining about the fact that the discussion isn’t being carried out among the public at the level of bloodlesss edeological theorizing you’d prefer.

    Jesus Christ, Joe. I say “freedom of speech” and that it belongs to more than just the most popular HBO show, and I’m guilty of “LP sympathies” and engaging in “bloodless edeological [sic] theorizing”?

    Now, you’re just being creepy.

  20. “Now, you’re just being creepy.”

    What kind of socks are you wearing?

  21. When you realize that ideological purity is less effective than popular appeals, you can have a victorious candidate.

    And political expediency rather than principled argument isn’t much of a way to govern. Unless you’re proposing starting a new Pragmatic Party or something. And aren’t you the one always arguing against bumper-sticker-sized appeals, anyway? Isn’t your deal that policy positions are sometimes complicated and need to be better explicated than a populist appeal would result in?

  22. I think joe’s point is that free speech defenders are finally starting to challenge the notion of indecency rather than say “well, yeah, it’s trash, but they have a right to show it.”

    While that is most certainly true, there is an interesting advantage to be gained from challenging the merits of indecency standards: If shows that violate proposed decency standards are actually quality entertainment, it raises the question of whether it’s even possible to arrive at an objective definition of indecency. If there’s no way to objectively define it, then there’s no way to ban it.

  23. I think joe’s point is that free speech defenders are finally starting to challenge the notion of indecency rather than say “well, yeah, it’s trash, but they have a right to show it.”

    Except that quality doesn’t challenge the “notion of indecency”.

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