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"Murphy was an optimist!"

Do not legislate morals to me January 30, 2008 9:56 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Politics, Touchy Subjects
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Dear Sen. Doug Jackson, Please quit wasting time and money trying to legislate morals. Allowing people the free will to turn off their televisions is far cheaper and more in line with the basic principles of freedom on which this nation prides itself. These commercials are shown late at night when children should be in bed. Our legislature should be far more concerned with important issues such as education and health care. Please keep your eye on the ball!

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A proposal that would ban late-night TV ads showing half-naked young women is stalling its second time through the Legislature.

The legislation sponsored by Sen. Doug Jackson, D-Dickson, would fine cable and satellite companies up to $50,000 for airing ads for obscene products. [Source, Michael Silence, Knoxnews No Silence Here]

What is obscene? Much of Europe finds America’s prudishness laughable.

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1. Barry - January 30, 2008

Everyone who laments our lawmakers “legislating morality” needs to understand that every law on our books is a bit of legislated morality. If we had no morals, there would be no need for law because nothing would be off-limits. Morals (whether they are religious or not) define rules and boundaries, and that’s where laws and regulations come from. It’s illegal to drive 65mph in a 55mph zone because it’s immoral to endanger other motorists. It’s illegal to murder another human because murder is immoral. It’s illegal to distribute child p***ography because it’s immoral to view children that way. We have no problems with those laws, yet that’s exactly what they are – legislating morality.

Sure, there are some laws that are procedural in nature, like business laws, those having to do with financial things but they all come back to laws being needed to having an orderly run society. And to define order, you have to rely on society’s common view on morality – what’s right, and what’s wrong. Letting a 7-yr-old watch a p**n movie is illegal, and that’s because it’s immoral.

Whether to ban late-night “Girls Gone Wild” video commercials that air when kids are in bed is certainly a topic up for debate. I’ve seen them on before, and there’ve been times they’ve cropped up when my older son was still awake. But he’s 11, and doesn’t need to be exposed to it, especially when it’s in a commercial in a program that’s not necessarily “adult” – I think it was a late-night sitcom we were watching, or something. I was a little embarrassed, although it didn’t seem to phase him one way or the other at this point. But the legislature (and we) should be certainly free to argue the point whether that type of commercial airing at that certain time of day is right for certain ages of kids. But to couch it as an attack on our “basic principles of freedom” is disingenuous, and has no bearing on the subject. If someone wants to debate time or place (or not at all) for this stuff, I’m fine with it. But to simply admonish us to “turn it off” is not helpful.

Would you be ok with live executions shown on TV? Sure, we could just “turn it off” but what if, somehow, a kid caught a glimpse of a real-live-no-fooling hanging? What if it was actual p**n? Or kid p**n? Is the legislature wasting it’s time if a debate comes up to restrict it’s airing at all, much less on free TV?

The basic principles of freedom mean the people, through their government, set limits on themselves based on society’s basic common morality. That’s where the freedom lies.

2. Doug McCaughan - January 30, 2008

Wow! Barry that was an exceptional response! Very thought provoking. (Were you on the debate team?) I can’t disagree with anything you wrote.

My irritation with this legislation is that it keeps coming up. It failed. It was tested and failed. Let it die. I feel like our efforts are wasted on things like this when we have such high priority issues that need attention. When I read this kind of legislation I think about Alabama outlawing sex toys. Did that law serve the public? No, because the toys continue to be sold as “novelty items” which means that they don’t have to be held to any standards. If it was legal to sell them for their intended purpose, then it could be required that they be manufactured with medical grade materials and such. The speed limit serves the public by keeping them safe (supposedly). I can’t see how the dildo ban serves the public at all. The Girls Gone Wild commercial ban? You now have me on the line.

As an aside, I don’t like the girls gone wild video commercials and don’t want the children to see them.

3. Barry - January 30, 2008

I wasn’t on the debate team – I was too busy with band and drama 🙂

4. Stormare Mackee - January 30, 2008

The legislation proposed was to regulate cable and satellite companies, not free (broadcast) TV. If I choose to pay good money every month to see boobies in TV, it’s a choice I make with free will and deliberation. Hence, the “off button” (or not paying to Comcast) paradigm applies. Why is a glimpse of a female mammary more damaging to a young psyche than seeing a living human being torn to shreds by gunfire?

5. Doug McCaughan - January 30, 2008

It isn’t. I am befuddled as to why some people think nothing of showing children extreme violence but flip out over a little skin.

6. Barry - January 30, 2008

Well, when they show actual humans being torn apart by actual bullets, then you’ll have a comparison.

7. Stormare Mackee - January 31, 2008

One could surmise that child who’s not mature enough to handle getting a glimpse of skin would not be able to tell a difference between real and fake violence either.

8. Barry - January 31, 2008

One could surmise, but one would not necessarily be correct.

Except for the occasional bump on the head on one of the reality shows, kick in the crotch on Funniest Home Videos, and the typical Sunday afternoon NFL game, there’s no “real” violence on TV. We don’t watch real people get injured and die on TV on purpose – that’s called a snuff film. And they’re illegal. Hopefully they always will be, and that there are never live executions on the air as some people want. So it’s every parent’s responsibility to tell kids that violence on TV shows is fake. While a character being shot a dozen times with an Uzi may be gross, it’s just an actor rigged with a bunch of squibs and fake blood. It’s special effects. And further, you’re not going to see that kind of 24-type violence in a commercial in the middle of “The West Wing” on Bravo or “Iron Chef” on A&E. But you could very well see a GGW commercial (and I have) on some of these late-night shows, and I don’t appreciate having to censor them for my kids when I shouldn’t have to.


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