Tuned In

The Decency Cops: They Never Stop Not Watching

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The ever-vigilant Parents’ Television Council today registered its disgust with the maybe-rape scene in last week’s Rescue Me. From the press release:

“News Corp. and FX have stooped to a new low by airing this highly offensive and sickening episode of Rescue Me.  Is this what FX considers to be entertainment – that rape is exciting and enjoyable for the victim?  Do the sponsors of this program share that viewpoint?  It is an absolute outrage that families who find this raunchy programming so disgusting are being forced to subsidize it with their cable subscription,” said L. Brent Bozell, president of the PTCâ„¢.

Oh, they’re ticked off, all right. Steamed. Scandalized. So throughly offended, in fact, that they waited nine days to say so. This is the Internet age, folks. In the Pony Express days, you could declare your outrage over a particularly naughty burlesque show in under a week flat.

We should be charitable toward the PTC. They’re busy people. There have been all those episodes of So You Think You Can Dance to sift through. But might a reasonable person assume the reason for the delay might be that its officers and easily offended FCC-letter-writers don’t actually watch the programming they’re offended by? That they read about the episode in the press coverage and had to go back and dig up screener tapes in order to work up a proper moral lather?

If so, it tends to undercut the PTC’s argument–that children and people of delicate morals need to be protected from raunchy content. Because it would seem the system actually works: shockingly, people who don’t like risque TV aren’t watching Rescue Me in the first place. Why? Because Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl notwithstanding, edgy TV pretty much advertises itself as such; Denis Leary does not promote Rescue Me by playing an acoustic guitar to children and puppets. And because people are not idiots. Not even PTC members.

I’ve wasted a lot of bandwidth blogging about the uselessness of groups like the PTC. It’s nice to see them starting to do the work for me.