King Prig

King Prig

: Well, well, what a banner week: First Michael Powell feels compelled to defend himself against the rising storm of criticism of his censorship and unconstitutional actions. Now his puppetmaster, the most frightening man in America, the prude of prudes, King Prig, L. Brent Bozell III, feels compelled to launch a personal attack on little old me. I guess we must be doing something right, eh?

Bozell is the self-appointed head of the self-created Parents Television Council — the proof that you can print a letterhead and end up as a spokesman for anything on cable news — and the guy who wants to singlehandedly censor all media in America to his lowest denominator.

But let me tell you something, Mr. Bozell:

I am a parent and you do not speak for me.

I am a Christian and you do not speak for me. Let me really scare you and tell you that I not only got to church every Sunday, I sing in the choir, I serve as a head of the church’s organizing body, I preach sermons, I teach Sunday school. But I also like Howard Stern and Desperate Housewives. Pardon me while I dodge the lightning bolts.

And I am an American but you do not speak for me. This is a nation built on free speech and a belief in tolerance and the value of the marketplace of ideas and the blessing of diversity. You are against all that. You try to stop the rest of us from watching what you think we should not watch. You disdain and condemn your fellow Americans and our culture because it does not match your idea of what it should be. That, sir, seems distinctly unAmerican to me.

You think you have some God-given right to tell us what we should and should not do. You do not.

But you know what? I think you should be able to watch whatever you want to watch, even if it is the 700 Club with its hate and homophobia. I would not presume to try to get it taken off the air for hate speech. I simply turn the channel. You should do the same.

And so now I’ll get to the second fisking in two days (that’s fisking not fisting, sir, a bloggers’ word; please call off your complaint factory) with my response to King Prig. Note that I cannot do this on Bozell’s site because he does not allow comments. I’ve already had a dialogue with one of his people in my comments and I continue that here because, Bozell, I’m an American and I believe in the free marketplace of ideas. So, to Bozell’s “column”:

Ever since exit-pollsters discovered a significant chunk of voters were casting their ballots based on which candidate stood for moral values – and most of those who chose that reason for their vote said they picked Republicans – the Hollywood crowd has tried to pick the idea apart, as conflicted, even ridiculous.

This is fun already. First, you know damned well — oops, goshdarned well — that exit poll in question was full of crap. In fact, you know what should really scare you (based on your own skewed mathematical analysis below): It should scare you that 100 percent of voters did not say they valued moral values. What about those other 78 percent, Brent? Are they all Democrats?

But, of course, the real truth is that all 100 percent of those voters do have moral values and value morals; they simply don’t all have your moral values. And that is what makes America great. That is why this country was founded. That is the essence of America.

For you to say as you do here that morality = GOP is the clearest indication of your true agenda.

The anything-goes gang is suggesting we live in a pretty hypocritical country if we can profess our desire for moral leadership and make our number-one smash on television the ABC smut soap “Desperate Housewives.”

You call it a smut soap. I call it a fun show. Fine. You change the channel and I won’t. That’s why we have tons of channels now. Go enjoy something else. Watch Bambi. I’ll watch Desperate Housewives. Just leave me alone and we’re both happy. Oh, but you don’t want to leave me alone. You want to tell me what I can and cannot watch. I keep forgetting. You’re our self-appointed censor. The unAmerican.

When the red states profess a great concern for moral values and then embrace sleazy shows, that’s hypocrisy, is it not? No, it’s not. The argument is disingenuous. Television today is so splintered, with so many choices, that a hit show – even a number one show – doesn’t translate into broad (and never mind majority) appeal. “Desperate Housewives” attracts less than 25 million viewers a week. Out of an estimated U.S. population of 290 million people, that’s less than one in ten Americans that cares for this allegedly massive hit show.

Oh, this keeps getting more fun. So you want to play a numbers game? You want to say that 25 million people don’t matter? Then how about your three people, Brent? Or your 23? Or your 4,003? If you want to play a numbers game, you’ll lose. A helluva — oops, heckuva — lot more people watch and enjoy Desperate Housewives than give a rat’s rump about your weltanschauung or come to your complaint factory. But, of course, that’s not the point. The point is that we all should get to chose what we want to watch — if you and your FCC henchmen will let us.

That fraction of the country is a very lucrative fraction for ABC and its advertisers, but political and pop-culture theorists are drawing wild conclusions about an America riddled with hypocrisy with some rather addled mathematics.

No, sir, that is called capitalism. Here in America, we value capitalism. We value the marketplace. We respect it. But, of course, being unAmerican, you would not understand that. Yes, there are more than enough millions of Americans who enjoy watching Desperate Housewives and more than enough marketers who want to reach those smart and good citizens of this great country of ours that it is lucrative. And you presume to want to stop them. You presume to think you’re better than all 25 million of them. You want to insult and reject them. Who died and made you God?

By the same token, a show like NBC’s “Will and Grace” is ranked 20th so far this season, averaging about 15 million viewers. That’s very good ratings for a TV show these days, but it’s awfully flimsy to take those 15 million Americans – five percent of the population — and say, voila, America favors gay marriage.

No, buddy boy — oops, pardon me for being so familiar; I hope you’re secure enough in your manhood to allow me that intimacy — all this shows is that (1) many more millions of people have a sense of humor than belong to your made-up organization and (2) we are a tolerant country, an open country, a country that accepts and, yes, celebrates the differences in people that make this country great. Oh, but I keep forgetting, you are unAmerican.

Yes, we know what you think of gay people. Here’s a quote from one of your columns: “The producers of ‘The Reagans’ are Craig Zadan and Neal Meron, who