that flashing in the corner of the screen? Is it a bird? Is it the score of the game? No,
its the brand new television ratings. Parents across the country are using them to
determine which shows are appropriate for their childs viewing. And the intrusion
doesnt stop there! Coming soon: automatically block out all unsuitable programming
with the V-chip-a technological and civil rights violation breakthrough!
same "child destructive" television programming that made me and Conan
OBrien model citizens is coming into your living room and may have the same affect
on your son or daughter.
Parents, man your V-chip enabled televisions. Program 1 if by TV-PG, 2 if by TV-14.
Opponents of the new TV ratings argue that the proposed system is a violation of the First
Amendment. Is that their best defense? Does anybody know any other amendment besides the
first? -WHINE!- First Amendment -WHINE!- Unconstitutional. Yeah, whatever.
Theyre all missing the big picture: if the V-chip becomes commonplace, well
all be responsible for an entire generation of youth growing up without the same
television opportunities that you and I took for granted. Im talking about the
freedom to be raised on crap. Thats right. Imagine what your childhood would have
been like had Charlies Angels or Starsky and Hutch not been a part of
Oh, the horror, the horror
of Huggy Bear.
If parents dont have time to monitor their childs TV viewing, why would
they have time to teach morals? My generation and those to come need television to teach
us values, the difference between right and wrong. If we shelter our youth from the Six
Million Dollar Mans, Threes Companies and Emergency Ones of the
coming millennium, how else are they going to learn that bad guys always have scars,
homosexuality is really funny, and a defibrillator is that cool device that makes people
bounce? Do you want to be accountable for a nation of emotionless drones that like to
reminisce about Masterpiece Theater? A technological disruption like the V-chip could
drastically alter the evolution of our countrys broadcasting. Dont disrupt the
balance of nature. Havent we learned that from every time travel movie?
Stock up on your canned goods, because V-chip judgment day will soon be upon us. While
the networks are preparing with their TV ratings onslaught, BET(African-American
Entertainment Television) is standing their ground with a "no TV ratings"
policy. Nobody be tellin them they no rate no Ebonics no foul language.
None of these ratings are set in stone. Depending on their
fluctuating content, a shows rating can vary episode to episode. But be careful how
you program your V-chip. You dont want to incur your daughters wrath when
shes shut out of a "very special episode" of Blossom. And although
news and sports are exempt from measurement, other live programming, like talk shows,
arent. You have to be careful. You never know when Chers going to come on your
show and call you an "asshole."
There are V-chip supporters who want a system, but a different one that gives separate
ratings for violence, sex, and foul language. Parents have distinct concerns regarding
their childs future. Some want their children to be sociopaths, some want them to be
sex offenders, and yet others just want their child to be New York City cab drivers.
Why is the government doing this at all? Well, some political yahoos funded a study and
found that TV negatively affected a few kids. Boo hoo. Just because a couple of
mamas boys cant handle a simple decapitation, Big Brother has to intrude and
ruin television for everyone. If the studies came back positive, do you think the
government would have passed legislation for more TV violence?
Attention broadcasters, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 grants you one year to
devise an acceptable ratings system. If not, the federal government will step in and take
control. So what. Either way its a bunch of old white men violating a childs
right to watch emotionally destructive TV. (Desperately hugging my television)No, I
wont let them take you away.
You may find yourself downsizing. The law states that after 1998 all
televisions greater than 13" will have to be manufactured with the V-chip. Reason:
smaller televisions leave proportionally less mentally damaging impressions than a larger
television. For example, a grandmother being raped on a 9" screen delivers only 33%
of the psychologically harmful content of a 27" screen. Therefore, it would take
Junior three grandma rapes on a 9" screen before he screams at you to buy a bigger
set-preferably one with a remote.
Parents overwhelmingly support the new television ratings. They believe the V-chip will
facilitate the confusing task of raising children. Is it really making their job easier or
is it just bad parenting? Raising a kid is hard. It shouldnt be easy. If you make it
too easy, then everyones going to want one. Parents who have not previously
monitored their kids viewing will soon feel obliged upon purchasing a V-chip TV.
"Well, we paid for HBO, we might as well watch it." Go ahead and set your V-chip
on TV-G, attach your kid to a leash, and your child rearing concerns are over.
These are all the views of Americas parents. But what about my single male view?
Their children are my future too. Even though Im sans child, dont I have a
voice in this debate? The impact of television is not isolated to the parent-child
relationship. We all feel the effect. Sure parents have the right to know and monitor what
their children are watching. But dont I, a non-dad, have the right to determine what
kind of world Im going to live in in 20 years? Children are our future, and I
dont want my future to be raised on PBS, Infomercials, and CNN.
As if kids are going to surrender to the almighty V-chip. Like I didnt figure out
how to sneak into an R-rated movie. If youre a parent, you better pray that your kid
is curious and smart enough to find away around the V-chip. If not, the problem wont
simply be a child overexposed to TV sex and violence, but rather an apathetic moron that
lacks any ambition.
Parents, do you truly believe that if your child only views non-violent TV that he will
be a non-violent child? With or without TV, kids have violent tendencies and are looking
for a means to release them. Do yourself a favor, allow them to be released constructively
through Xena: Warrior Princess instead of a Louisville Slugger to dads head.