February 21 2008

Parents Television Council Gets Busy Again

Dexter LogoThe Parents Television Council is back… oh how I have missed them. Mind you, my true love is the American Family Association, but they have been oddly quiet lately. (Call me? I miss your nuttiness)

For those unfamiliar with them, the PTC is one of those groups that is convinced they know what’s best for you when it comes to what you see on television. They, and their ilk in the AFA and similar groups, feel that they are the guardians of morality on television. It boils down to that only G rated fare should be on television, and anything beyond that shouldn’t even be allowed to air because no one should be exposed to such material. The last time I wrote about them was in December of 2006 when they were all upset over a video on the Internet… you know… not on television.

At least this time they are sticking to the medium that is in their name, “television”, and taking on CBS over the airings of the critically acclaimed series, Dexter.

True, Dexter is the story of a serial killer who only kills murders who can’t be brought to justice, all the while he works as a forensics expert for the police. Yes, the subject matter is a bit grim, and it is about murder, but you know that makes it so different from CSI… and CSI: Miami… oh, and CSI: New York… and Cold Case… or any other number of shows about murder that treat us to graphic depictions of violence. True, Dexter aired on Showtime originally, and these episodes have been cut own for over-the-air broadcasting, but the PTC say it wasn’t enough and are calling for a boycott of the advertisers who supported the show.

Mind you, Dexter is airing Sunday nights at 10 EST/9 CST, after the “watershed” hour for adult material to be aired. It does carry a TV-14 rating, and they warn of the content of the show. All of this means nothing to the likes of the PTC though, they won’t be happy until every show has been sanitized to within an inch of its life. They are saying this is magnified by the issues of mass killings all over the country, and how insensitive it is of CBS to air a show about a serial killer when there has been so much tragedy.


Don’t get me wrong, I feel nothing but sympathy for the families that have been touched by those senseless, violent actions, but a serial killer and mass murderer are very different creatures psychologically. Also, add in that in the case of the recent shooting sprees (Kirkwood, MO and DeKalb, IL) were committed by people with known mental conditions, it is highly doubtful they were influenced by things such as television shows. I think it’s tasteless of the PTC to even bring them into their “argument”, but I have come to expect arguments from them to not always be connected to reality.

As I have said more times than I can count, you have the ultimate control over what you watch; if you find something offensive, you simply turn the channel. You control your TV and what is shown on it, and when you allow groups to force their morality on to the airwaves, we all lose and art suffers. Sure, there is some stuff that should never air, I would have problems with a show glorifying bestiality, but I also know I can turn the channel any time I want. I mean, if I wanted to rally behind getting something offensive off of television, don’t you think I would have forcibly had Rachael Ray

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