: Just when you think this indecency fetish in Washington can’t get sicker, another legislator with a stick up his ass opens his mouth (and the stick protrudes):
The chairman of one of the entertainment industry’s most important congressional committees says he wants to take the enforcement of broadcast decency standards into the realm of criminal prosecution.
Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner III, R-Wis., told cable industry executives attending the National Cable & Telecommunications Assn. conference here on Monday that criminal prosecution would be a more efficient way to enforce the indecency regulations.
“I’d prefer using the criminal process rather than the regulatory process,” Sensenbrenner told the executives.
The current system — in which the FCC fines a licensee for violating the regulations — casts too wide a net, he said, trapping those who are attempting to reign in smut on TV and those who are not.
“People who are in flagrant disregard should face a criminal process rather than a regulator process,” Sensenbrenner said. “That is the way to go. Aim the cannon specifically at the people committing the offenses, rather than the blunderbuss approach that gets the good actors.
“The people who are trying to do the right thing end up being penalized the same way as the people who are doing the wrong thing.”
At last week’s Freedom to Connect, when I interviewed First Amendment attorney Bob Corn-Revere, he reminded the crowd that indecency is already a criminal matter; it’s not enforced that way. Now someone wants to.
Say, if I were on TV — and soon, if some have their way, on cable or satellite… or the internet — I could not only be fined up to $3 million a day under new legislation if I said “fuck Sensenbrenner,” he would now have me go to jail.
Well, fuck Sensenbrenner.
No sex, please, they’re British
: An erotic festival in Manchester closed for lack of interest.
The chaos scenario
: Bob Garfield has a major piece of analysis and reporting on the future of media in this week’s Ad Age, sadly without links online. He will also have a piece on this in this weekend’s On the Media). It is the perfect bookend, from the advertising and business perspective, to Merrill Brown’s piece in the Carnegie Report, which explores the media chaos scenario from the audience and content perspective.
Garfield draws a picture of the future — nearer than you think — in which audiences shrink severely in broadcast, mass media before new niche media are ready with the content and stuff to serve them and the advertisers who want to reach them.
Yesiree, by George, it’s a brave and exciting new world that the near future holds, a democratized, consumer-empowered, bottom-up, pull-not-push, lean forward and lean back universe that will improve the quantity and quality of entertainment options, create hitherto unimaginable marketing opportunities and efficiencies and, not incidentally, generate wealth that will make the current $250 billion domestic ad market seem like pin money.
Alas, the future — near or not — doesn’t happen until later….
Because revolutions by their nature are neither seamless nor smooth.
Because there is no reason to believe the collapse of the old media model will yield a plug-and-play new one
Bob quotes two of the smartest people I know in this arena: Om Malik and Rishad Tobaccowala of Starcom, the giant media buying agency.
I wish I could quote more — enticing you to go out and buy a copy of Ad Age — but, alas and damnit, they do not put the story online, even for us subcribers. What were they saying about dinosaur media?
In the air
: Satellite radio gets quite the valentine on the front page of today’s NY Times.
: On the front page of The New York Times today is a picture of pilgrims/tourists/mourners with their cameras aloft to get snapshots of the pope’s body as it passes by. I don’t get it. It’s a cultural thing.
All these pictures of the pope’s corpse brought back memories of seeing Pope John, who died in 1963, when I was 9. I was haunted, even freaked by all the pictures and TV images of a dead person. I’d never seen a dead person. I hadn’t been to a funeral and even if I had, my family doesn’t do open caskets. When you’re dead you’re gone. Dead bodies are scary. That’s how I was raised. As I said, it’s just a cultural thing.
I also remember how we were struck by the people applauding a dead man. Death was a silent thing, all somber and mournful where I grew up. It’s a cultural thing.