FCC v. Fox is being hailed by many as the most important case to come before the Supreme Court since 1978. The case addresses a question of utility: Is it still desirable for the FCC to regulate the content on U.S. airwaves? The answer is a resounding “no”. Many who know me would be surprised at my answer, based on my socio-political-religious views and affiliations. However, solid reasons form a sound argument for leaving the FCC out of the question of the content of our airwaves.
In 2001, I moved to Phoenix, AZ. I made a conscious choice to stop watching television, as I was occupied studying for the CPA exam, and I knew that did not need any distractions. About six months later, while visiting home, I was with some friends who decided to watch an episode of Seinfeld. While I had never followed Seinfeld with any regularity, I had enjoyed it on occasion. Whether my absence from television had cultivated within me a greater sensitivity to vulgarity, or whether the Seinfeld’s content had deteriorated a measurable amount in my short absence, I do not know, nor do I recall what content was particularly offensive. I do recall, however, being shocked at what was allowed on television.
I kept off the television scene, partly due to my experience at home, but even more so because I rejoiced at the increased productivity and greater quality of life I enjoyed in consequence of abstaining from mindless television shows. Occasionally, though, at a family member’s or friend’s house, I will catch a bit of a sitcom, and find myself in a much greater state of shock than I experienced in 2001.
The point is this: We are already saying bad things on television, and we are already dressing skimpily, and we deceive ourselves in assuming that we maintain some modicum of decency by merely shunning a handful of words that burn our ears. We strain at gnats and swallow camels.
Additionally, there may accrue a benefit to removing FCC restrictions. If that which we term to be vulgar is included in our daily television content, a line will have been drawn, and no parent can justify that a given show “isn’t that bad”. The removal of regulations will result in a clear delineation between decency and indecency, and force parents to step up to the challenge of shifting children’s focus in other directions rather than watching the 28 hours a week currently attributable to them. Rather than hypocritically abrogating responsibility, as the aforementioned statistic would indicate is the practice of most parents, good parents will search out more desirable pursuits for their children, and leave no question in their minds about right and wrong, moral and immoral.
So parents, what do you think? Do you agree with Gary? If so, are you willing to remove TV, completely, from your home?
You might be interested in answering UFI’s poll question of the week. You can do so by clicking here and scrolling to the bottom of the page where you’ll find the poll on the right.
“If the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the FCC cannot police the airways for indecency, are you prepared to completely prohibit TV viewing in your home?” Go here to respond.