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Now in our sixth calendar year
PCR #269  (Vol. 6, No. 20)  This edition is for the week of May 16--22, 2005.

The Saga That Is Star Wars
 by Mike Smith
And for those who missed Mike's preview in #267:
"Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith"  by Mike Smith
The Quest For Decency In America
 by Nick King
Why I Hate Star Wars....He's Dead, Jim
 by Vinnie Blesi
Chan-wook Park....Matango
Inaugural column  by Peter Card
Sith For A Buck
 by John Lewis
One Pope To Go!?
 by Matt Drinnenberg
May 19th....Frank Gorshin....Money In The Bank....Jaws: The Story, Part 19
 by Mike Smith
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Nicholas Rex

The Quest for Decency in America

Hello again, gentle readers, and welcome to another edition of my column. Once again I give have to give much respect to Nolan for continuing to invest such time and valuable space on his website for a loudmouth blowhard like myself.

As the title of this piece implies, the subject of this missive is decency in America. Iíve recently read and heard through several different sources that the House of Representatives is trying to pass a bill that would allow the FCC (or Federal Communications Commission) the right to monitor and enforce decency standards on the Satellite Radio, Satellite TV, and Cable TV services in this country. This would mean that the FCC would have to ability to regulate and censor all aspects of American entertainment. This is completely unacceptable to me as it should be to you.

Now you may be asking why Iím against the FCC gaining control over these pay services that have been beyond their reach for so long. Quite simple really, I donít like people telling me what I can or cannot enjoy. If the FCC is allowed this ability it will mean an end to the programming options we enjoy on our cable and satellite services. They would crack on shows that would be considered indecent by the Morals and Values demographic. Weíre not just talking about the soft-core adult movies that one finds on HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime. Thatís easily identifiable as indecent by the religious left. Iím talking about shows like Nip/Tuck, Rescue Me, and The Shield, critically acclaimed and highly rated shows that push the boundaries of whatís acceptable on TV. The fact that they are watched by millions of viewers each week makes no difference to them. All they will hear is the cursing and all they will see is the violence and some sexual material that these shows have.

Also political shows would have to watch their tone; for fear that the FCC would brand them with fines for being too liberal with their language or content. Real Time with Bill Maher, an excellent political talk show (not a shouting match like what you see on CNN or MSNBC), would come under this heading. Bill Maher does you foul language at times but itís for laughs and it also makes people think about the politics of this world in a different light. Other critically acclaimed shows such as the Sopranos, with its heavy doses of profanity, sex, and violence, would be targeted and disposed of by the FCC. Or the L-Word, a Showtime series dealing with the loves and loss of several lesbian friends, would be forced to be cancelled due the provocative nature of the shows. The list could go on and on. Names like Deadwood, Six Feet Under, Queer as Folk, or the HBO Undercover documentaries that are certainly harsh to watch and controversial in nature at times would suffer from the increased scrutiny of this pathetic organization.

My gripe with the FCC has always been and will always be that they are an unconstitutional organization. The FCC, an appointed body answerable only to the President of the United States, decided all by themselves that radio and television were the only two areas of American life that the Freedom of Speech amendment to the Constitution did not apply. It is one of the founding principals of this country that we as Americans have the right to say and do anything that the law allows. Yet the FCC believes that it is serving the public good by cracking down on so-called indecent programming. The problem is they donít even have a codified index of what is and what is not indecent. What it boils down to is this: make up your own mind about what is decent and indecent. If you donít like a program like Deadwood or The Shield because of its content, then turn the channel and donít watch it. If you donít want your children to watch these shows, then make sure they are not watching them. Stop parenting the rest of us because you donít want there to be provocative, edgy, or boundary-pushing entertainment. Some of us actually like it. In fact there are millions of people that do. Maybe we should be as vocal as the Morality Police in this country. Maybe then we can take back the country that belongs to not just them and their ideals, but to us and ours as well.

Nicholas Rex

"Nicholas Rex" is ©2005 by Nicholas King.   All graphics, unless otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.