So sorry

So sorry

: We’re in a sorry state of forever saying we’re sorry. And I’m sick of it.

Alessandra Stanley in the NY Times today is sick of the sorrys on TV: sorry for the Desperate Housewives promo, sorry for cutting off CSI, sorry for Janet Jackson, sorry for bad words in Saving Private Ryan. Enough.

Mark Cuban says saying sorry should be the new business model: TV is making money out of apologizing… and getting tons of attention for it.

What we should be doing is turning to the people who expect us to say sorry — the prigs and prudes and religious nutjobs and Michael Powell — and say: Sorry for what? Huh? I’m sorry you don’t like what I like; I’m sorry I’m not sorry; but I’m not.

  • Ripper

    We could default the V-Chips to off, so no viewer would see any broacast channels without requesting each of them.

  • Mumblix Grumph

    I’ve always felt that political speech should always be protected…not always vulgarity. Please don’t call me a “religeous nutjob” because I disagree with an “anything goes” attitude. Should we allow sex and violence on off-the-air broadcasts? Only violence? Only sex? How graphic?
    Either anything goes, or we draw a line. If a line is to drawn, who is to draw it and who is to enforce it? The FCC, even if you don’t always agree with them.
    This issue is not about a bunch of latter-day Puritans versus Birkenstock-clad gray ponytails. Both sides have valid concerns, and tragically, both sides are viewing the other as complete asses.
    I personally feel that on subscription media, anything is up for grabs…except k1dd1e p0rn…oops, I drew a line…drat!
    Where’s your line?

  • If I object to what I see on TV, I don’t need an apology – I need a remote.

  • If I were George Soros and had $100 million to spare, I’d use it to endow a fund that did nothing but pay FCC fines for broadcasters and others exercising their free speech rights. Then, I’d run full-page newspaper ads and TV spots encouraging people to tweak the FCC.

  • Boy, that’ll teach ’em. Show them that they’ve got a great revenue engine in FCC fines. Legislators will want to shut that down that in a New York minute… you betcha.

  • Sorry, Everybody!

  • Brett: No, it’s fighting back and its symbolic. If someone with a wad of cash said sue us if you’d like, it won’t stop us from exercising our free speech rights, that could help point out the ridiculousness of government imposed censorship. Of course, another option is to not pay the fines and go do jail. Maybe George Soros’ money would be better spent creating a defense fund to take the FCC to court. Got any better ideas?

  • Mumblix Grumph,
    The simplicity of your either/or formulation is seductive; still, it is flawed. There are a number of considerations left out, but the most important is the market. It’s quite clear that “anything” does not go and never will. Now, maybe you’ll protest that there is indeed sex and violence in the movies, but aside from the fact that what the market supports in theaters is not necessarily what it would support on TV, all that demonstrates is that you don’t approve of what other people like (or wouldn’t approve of it being on TV). If you think there are no taste constraints on what gets shown in theaters, well, you just have little imagination regarding what bad taste is possible! :-) Another consideration is that the way the FCC works, no one really knows where that “line” is, resulting in ye olde chilling effect. Another consideration is context. Would accepting profanity in a broadcast of Saving Private Ryan force us to accept it in a broadcast of Porky’s? It’s tough for bureaucrats to make those distinctions, tougher yet if they’re operating under the philosophy of “drawing a line.” Well, that’s enough for now.

  • Anthony N.

    Here is an idea. The next time some sort of “questionable” content airs and a vocal minority complains to the FCC, write the FCC yourself, praising the content. What would the FCC do if they received hundred of reasonable notes (no baabaabooey please), praising the MNF promo or Stern or Saving Private Ryan. Powell would realize he doesn’t have the moral mandate he thinks he has.

  • rivlax

    Wondering if you felt this way when Jimmy The Greek, Al Campanis, Howard Cosell and Rush Limbaugh were being pilloried for comments that got some people’s noses out of joint — not to mention Dusty Baker, who got a pass.

  • Jeff,
    I’m not sorry as well.

  • I dunno, I do think Mark Cuban should apologize for The Benefactor.

  • Bill B.

    There’s been many comments about being able to change the channel or turn off the TV to avoid “inappropriate” material (defined as whatever). My question is HOW DO YOU TELL which show is going to have what level of appropriateness? The V-chip keeps coming up — as far as I know each commercial isn’t rated, just the show as a whole. It seems to me that by trying to use the “just change the channel arguement” you imply that anyone who has a “appropriateness quotient” less than yours should be relegated to reruns of “Little House on the Prarie” on the family channel. Maybe when the spectrum opens up (HDTV rules kick in) each show can be broadcast in multiple tracks and you can pick how racy to watch (sort of like being able to pick a language as you can on some shows today). As for now even defaulting the V-chips to “off” doesn’t really help parent’s determine what is appropriate for their children if the shows’ AND ADVERTISERS’ content is not transparent. It’s like getting the brown paper wrapped magazine at your front door each week and trying to decide whether it was “Redbook” or “Hustler” without unwrapping it. Without arguing about where to draw the line (personal choice) don’t you think that being able to make a good guess about the what’s under the wrapper is important?

  • Jerome Almon

    You know we are the CHILD culture. I can watch murder after murder on tv-murder is illegal-no problem. But I see a woman drop a towell (although I see no actual nudity) and this will make me a degenerate. Grow up. We need to get out of our cultural cannibalism. Are WE the Taliban now? Yes-easy-and it is all a planned distraction from the war, the economy, the defecit, the price of gas,etc- and we are going for it hook, line sinker, whole pole.

  • Howard,
    My idea: turn your attention to content providers that are not regulated by the FCC. Go satellite – buy Sirius radios. Download podcasting and other internet content. We’re doing that already.
    Talent will go where it is unfettered to be its most creative. Market forces will then see the FCC as a killer and there will be legislative momentum to let it die, as it should.
    But if you throw wads of cash at the FCC via fines, you only prolong its relevance.
    Our energy needs to go into preventing the FCC’s influence/regulatory power from widening. That’s all.

  • Shawn L.

    The real problem is that the parents who are worried about what their kids are watching on TV are not doing their jobs in finding out what their kids are watching. Sure the Superbowl and football telecasts should be family friendly because those are family friendly shows, but if these people are worried about seeing a woman’s bare back then they most not look at themselves in the mirror or look down when they shower. IT WAS JUST A BACK! Sure the innuendo was there, but any kids who were watching it who were too young would not have any idea what was going on and any kids that did know what was going on it’s time for their parents to have that talk with them. There are many repressed parents out there who expect school, TV, and socity to raise their kids.

  • Marcus

    I think times like this need a paraphrase of the great “I’m Sorry” speech Joe Straczynski wrote for an episode of “Babylon 5”:
    “I apologise. I’m… sorry. I’m sorry we had to defend ourselves against an unwarranted attack. I’m sorry that you were stupid enough to be offended by an R-rated movie, when you KNEW the type of language and situations it would contain, and hadn’t complained the other two times we aired it before. And I’m sorry I waited as long as I did before I told you go go fuqq yourself… As with everything else, it’s the thought that counts.”

  • Let it eat itself. The threat of fines for offending someone somewhere will make broadcast licenses a liability, not an assest.
    Radio will take a while, but I bet within a year we will see a major market TV station letting it’s license expire and going all-cable. The scarcity that justifies regulation won’t be an issue anymore.

  • Chuck Pelto

    TO: Jeff Jarvis
    RE: Sorry….
    “What we should be doing is turning to the people who expect us to say sorry — the prigs and prudes and religious nutjobs and Michael Powell…” — Jeff Jarvis
    …to hear you feel that way.
    [The first step towards killing someone is to dehumanize them.]

  • Chuck Pelto

    TO: Jerome Almon
    RE: Childish Stuff, That
    “I can watch murder after murder on tv-murder is illegal-no problem. But I see a woman drop a towell (although I see no actual nudity) and this will make me a degenerate. Grow up.” — Jerome Almon
    I did, finally. I killed the television.
    Here’s why….
    [Violence never solved anything. — Genghis Khan]

  • I’m fairly apathetic about the FCC. I’d really like the Kerry-voters to stop apologizing on the behalf of the Bush-voters though. Now that’s an “I’m Sorry” we can all do without.