Prevent It

by alphamonkey on April 17, 2008 · 20 comments

in Commercials

Prevent It PSAsI’ve been on a BBC kick recently (okay, so more like a Doctor Who kick, considering it’s a steady diet of the Doctor, Torchwood, and Sarah Jane Adventures), and one thing that keeps jumping out at me is just how much I covet a BBC level of permissiveness for American television.

Sure, stuff like Breaking Bad and The Riches (and a goodly chunk of F/X’s post-watershed programming) can pull that stuff off via the basic cable, but just imagine how much less formulaic network television would be if the FCC allowed the palette to widen enough to honestly and frankly reflect how we talk (ie, profanity) and live (ie, that motivator of all things: sex). Sure the U.K. has hooligan culture, but somehow I doubt it’s due entirely to being exposed to boobies and the word ‘fuck’ on television.

Even Canada kicks our ass in the honesty department, for crying out loud. Check out this disarmingly frank and brutal series of PSAs for workplace safety: Watch the Prevent It series of PSAs.

Kinda beats the holy hell out of a ‘this is your brain on drugs’ spot, don’t it?

Canada often gets accused of having a nanny-state mentality regarding citizen health, but at least they’re willing to honestly present something like this in a manner open enough to make you notice.

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  • Saint Nightwalker

    Since you loathe America so much and want hundreds of thousands of US soldiers to be killed and murdered by terrorists and want the US to lose the war on terror why don’t you move to Canada since you love it so fucking much?

    And as for people shrieking obscenities over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over on network tv, the networks have survived just fine without it for over 60 years, and there is no reason to change that, what with the easy availability of that hardcore infant bukkake snuff porn that you spend 14 hours a day jacking off to and the ease with which people can get access to HBO/Showtime and movie dvd’s with all the profanity that they could want.

  • hrh

    I don’t use profanity. And sex is not the motivator for everything I do. So I’d just as soon American TV stay the way it is, thank you.

    If you want profanity and sex, then pay for HBO/Showtime/BBCAmerica. It’s available if you really want it.

  • Recycled Miffery

    What I think Saint Nightwalker is trying to say is:

    “I concur, sir, with only a small portion of your argument. I believe we have a difference of opinion regarding the majority of the points you raise.”

    Either that or babelfish is on the fritz.

    One thing that I would point out is that for all the ridicule the “brain on drugs” PSA receives in hindsight, it was actually a very innovative ad at the time, and effective (well, effective according to measurable metrics).

    I used to do PSA work, and it was among the most memorable and message-focused PSAs according to surveys at the time. (Incidentally, contrary to popular belief – there are long-term studies that indicate that drug use among teens did decline during periods of intense public awareness. Not a lot, mind you, but to a degree significant enough to justify the dollars spent on PSA production.)

    Not that this little tidbit really has anything to do with the post, however.

    Incidentally, I’m not sure that these Canadian PSAs would be likely to be “banned” by the FCC under obscenity guidelines, so there’s no reason that their “honesty” could not be portrayed in the United States, as long as some industry council was willing to pay for their production and airing.

  • .alphamonkey.

    I didn’t mean to imply that the FCC would somehow bar them airing. I think our media culture in general would just never think to do something on that level.

  • Just Plain Bob

    MY GOD.
    that poor girl.
    that was horrifying.
    i don’t wanna see that crap on TV.

  • Chef Bryan

    I don’t think Saint Nightwalker is trying anymore…

  • .alphamonkey.

    you’re working off the assumption that he was in the first place…

  • Andrew DeGolyer

    SNW, you’re boring. GO somewhere else (or as my friend use to say, drink a couple more beers and drive home (which I don’t condone!)).

    The FCC may not ban them, but you know there would be a shit storm from the a lot of people if they were aired. Although very effective (I’m sure), those accidents were horrible. Now I have to stay up late playing internets to get the images out of my head. Thanks Canada!

    Incidentally, and I know this is an old argument, but why is grotesque violence, blood, gore, etc allowed on TV, but a pasty covered boob = $500K fine. That I don’t understand.

  • Recycled Miffery

    Oh, the old saxon violins question: why all the violence but no to naked ladies?

    The answer is so obvious that it is easy to miss.

    ‘Splosions are super cool. Girls have cooties.

    My primary concern is that if people raise the “violence but no sex” question too often that, instead of loosening its restrictions, the FCC will just get rid of violence.

    Then we’ll be left with nothing! Nothing, I tell you, save for the honey-sweet dulcet tones of Mickey Rooney selling shoe inserts, which, while a deeply meaningful contribution to our society is not quite enough to sustain our culture as a whole.

    We need violence and Mickey Rooney. One without the other would be a swift descent into madness.

  • rutkowskilives

    I really have to disagree on loosening the television standards, and I have to disagree that less restriction would bring television programming into a closer approximation of the realities of profanity usage and sex as a motivator. I disagree based on the simple belief that television entertainment is sensationalized. It needs to be to a degree to provide entertainment value; we like TV because it’s an escape from the normalcy of our everyday lives. However, if it brings ratings, extreme sensationalism will find a place in the market. It has, as other commenters have pointed out, in the sort of programming available on HBO, etc.

    The beauty of the options available to Americans is that you have those choices. If you want a “safer” type of programming, stick to ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox. Looking for something edgier, you have the cable channels. Edgier than that, expand your cable package to get HBO and others.

    I don’t have children yet, but there are certainly things I won’t want them to see on TV. Isn’t there something to be said for that?

    Lastly, I actually think media content in general is tending towards the worse. For example, my wife and I heard that Juno was a “cute” movie and that we would really enjoy it. It’s rated PG-13. My wife and I did enjoy it for the characters, good story, and laughs, but we also felt it was a very crude movie. I felt embarrassed afterwards knowing that I took my wife to see a movie that in many ways was very inappropriate, and thinking back on the rating, have to say that it was the most vulgar PG-13 movie I’ve ever seen. How was it not rated R? That movie was for adults, not thirteen year olds.

  • Saint Nightwalker

    “I think our media culture in general would just never think to do something on that level.”

    You mean sink to the gutter filth level that you wallow in? The media culture has done that, witness the MTV produced halftime show at Super Bowl XXVIII, (The Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake fiasco). How’d that turn pout for CBS? They got slammed with something like a $2,000,000 fine and MTV got itself banned from ever having anything to do with the NFL EVER. Janet Jackson’s album that she was ostensibly trying to promote bombed. Oh yeah, EVERYONE was a big winner there.

    Tell us, why exactly are you in such a huge rush to have the broadcast networks showing full on buttfucking and shit eating scenes and scenes where two characters do nothing but shriek obscenities at each other for five minutes? What need (outside of your, alphamonkeys own sicko degenerate fantasies) does this fulfill? I sure as fuck haven’t heard millions of Americans crying and shrieking that they want Max Hardcore style buttfucking and obscenities being shouted out on every episode of Law & Order. What purpose does that fulfill?

  • .alphamonkey.

    Allow me to clarify a couple of points here:

    Wholeheartedly and enthusiastically advocating a loosening of broadcast standards does not equate wanting more mature (in the true sense of the word, not the Cinemax After Dark sense) content played at 7:00pm CST. I have no issues whatsoever with a watershed division wherein after 9pm or so the rules loosen for content. Not to say I’m advocating that we allow flat-out pornography on public airwaves (and that’s part of the real issue, these are PUBLIC airwaves), but I’m curious as to why a show like Lost Without a Trace/C.S.I./Insert pretty much any procedural show here can show ‘discrete’ scenes of sex/sex parties/prostitution/etc., but a side shot of a buttock or the word ‘fuck’ means fines that range into the tens of (and indeed hundreds of) thousands of dollars.

    As a parent (how weird to say that now) I understand that it’s 100% MY responsibility to limit access to media I don’t want my kids to watch, just as I understand that just because group A doesn’t want to see something means that groups B, C, and D should be denied (and vice versa). The whole trick with freedom of choice is that the responsibility to what we want to eat/read/watch/listen to lies with us and us alone. It should not the government’s job to act as an arbiter of taste and artistic value, and it’s not the government’s job to be our children’s personal culture shield. That’s the job of parents, plain and simple.

    I want a media culture that isn’t afraid to show Saving Private Ryan on network television just because a frank portrayal of war has bad words. And right now we don’t have it. Stations won’t air it not because it graphically and viscerally shows the physical cost of war, but because soldiers say bad words. Doesn’t that strike anyone as slightly insane?

    I want a network media culture that stops perpetuating a schizophrenic parody of human behavior by constantly joking about, talking about, obsessing over, implying, and sensationalizing sex, but treats seeing the human form in ANY context (sexual or not) as breaking the first seal on the Apocalypse box. I guarantee you that is a hell of a lot more damaging to a culture than actually admitting that there are such things as a penis, vagina, or breasts. Which, the last time I checked, a full 100% of the human population had some form or combination thereof.

  • .alphamonkey.

    Ben, why is it that you’re the only one ever going on and on about porn? You seem a little obsessed with the subject and more than a little familiar with it.

  • Saint Nightwalker

    So in other words, alphamonkey, you are now claiming that you never watch broadcast tv, but only HBO/Cinemax and the pay per view porn channels, and those are the only channels you let your child watch a,d that you think it’s unfair and unconstitutional that the broadcast networks aren’t allowed to show “Dirty Ass-To-Mouth Pre-Teen Bukake Orgy #19” and aren;t allowed to have some douche stand on a stage and bleat “FUCK!!! NIGGER!! SHITHOLE!!!PUSSYRIPPER!!! every Sunday night at 7:00 PM on NBC.

    You also bleat some bullshit about some tv stations choosing not to show particular movie, be it Schindler’s List or Saving Private Ryan.

    To which I and no doubt many others say, SO FUCKING WHAT? In this day and age of Netflix and vid rental stores on every corner, if your local station refuses to show a film, you can damn weell go down to the vid store and fucking rent it or put it on your NetFlix list. Of course you’d bleat that you were then being oppressed because you had to actually pay money for said vid.

    And as for your claim that there are laws as to what a broadcast network can and can’t show, that is yet more bullshit farted and bleated out by you.

    The FCC doesn’t spend 365/24/7 listening and watching every single radio/tv station. It would be physically impossible unless they had something like 10,000,000 employees, which I can assure you they do not. The FCC only looks into things if they get a specific complaint about a show and even then, more often then not, they do nothing.

    Finally as to your farting bleats and shrieks that 100% of the population is equipped with a penis or a vagina, you are once again, absolutely wrong.

  • .alphamonkey.

    I’m forced to wonder if perhaps we shouldn’t look into to getting Ben Conover here enrolled in some kind of remedial reading comprehension course. Does Bowdin College not offer one, Ben? Or do you just lurk about the campus as the unofficial ‘that creepy guy’ that screams about porn to everyone?

  • Gorlog

    I find it fascinating that Saint Nightwalker is arguing about strict regulations in the media, arguing against issues such as nudity, discussions about sex etc. (which are different than pornography) yet his language is about the most berating, derogatory and crass I have observed in a long time. Usually to the point where I loose track of what he is trying to argue.

    In Miller v. California (413 U.S. 14 [1973]) the U.S. Supreme Court established a three-pronged test for obscenity prohibitions which would not violate the First Amendment. Of course, like all tests, it is very gray and has a lot of interpretive parts. But the idea is quite sound.:

    A. Whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest:
    B. Whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and
    C. Whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

    So, based on this… the Janet Jackson issue was a fluke… a wardrobe mis function. Not a planed exposure. even if it was planned… It certainly doesn’t pass the obscenity test.

  • .alphamonkey.

    What I find fascinating is that you’re able to discern any kind of intent whatsoever. A Speak n’ Spell programmed by Andrew Dice Clay could present a clearer thought than our pal Ben.

  • Just Plain Bob

    What an obscure reference 😛

    …I dunno. I feel kinda conflicted about this issue. On the one hand, i think parents who let their kids off the leash are causing a lot of the problems. people should take closer care of their own children and try to raise them with decency and morals and limits.

    on the other hand.. there’s great pressure NOT to. the current trend in parenting is to let your kids do what they want. and on the kids’ end, the current trend in media and marketing is complete freedom for youth. american eagle’s slogan right now is “live your life”, yeah? might as well be “you’re 12! you know enough to decide for yourself whether or not to sleep with your 20 year old boyfriend you met at the carnival!”
    if you take a close look at the way clothing stores, MTV, and various other commercial industries are marketing to children these days, it revolves around convincing them that no matter what their parents are saying “no” about, “no” is oppression. Your parents can’t tell you not to see a movie, or listen to music, or wear slutty clothes. Because if they do, they’re holding you down. Your parents can’t say “don’t go on a roadtrip to the beach for a weekend with your highschool friends i’ve never met and no supervision” because now the parents are uncool and the children are being subjugated. And in all of this, the best way for the children to express their independence is to buy the latest MTV-supported album or wear hollister clothes. (ever been into a hollister? it’s creepy as hell.)
    And if by some miracle parents can cut through all the media influence on their kids and actually DO hold them to some set of standards, it’s difficult for them to let the kids out of their sight. I’ve worked with a lot of youth (through churches mostly, sorry gents ;-)) and i see time and again kids whose parents refuse to let them smoke or drink or whatever, who have free access to these things right down the block, at a friend’s house, or often even a cousin’s. Their parents are almost universally unaware of the subterfuge. In many cases, the parents actually did make an attempt to meet the parents in charge of the house their kid would be spending time at. A lot of parents today really believe it’s their job to ‘save’ kids from ‘over-protective’ parents.

    Kinda undermines a lot of the effect good parenting has.

    Anyway. In conclusion,
    seriously. I don’t wanna see no chick with her skin boiled off in the middle of the latest episode of Lost. Kthx.

  • Saint Nightwalker

    Funny how whenever you are losing the argument you start the personal attacks, alphamonkey. If, as you endlessly shriek and bleat you truly are hipper and smarter and cooler then I am it should be easy for you to dispel and refute my argument. Shit, you should be able to keep jacking off to your collection of ass-to-mouth infant snuff bukkake orgy mags that you keep next to the bed. So instead of making personal attacks, either refute my points or admit that once again, I am correct.

    Oh, and what is this Bowdoin College that you are bleating about? Is it your alma mater or some shit?

  • .alphamonkey.

    Quick contest: How can point out how many unintentional hilarities are contained within Ben’s last comment?

    I’ll start: “Once again”? You have to manage to be correct even once to qualify for ‘once again’, Brainaic.

    And lies make baby Jeebus cry, Ben. You should stop now.

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