Brent Bozell

The pinned female houseguest was interviewed by police, but her on-air response was pathetic. All she could do was weep and lament she had denied her housemates their most precious gift: their chance to watch themselves misbehave on TV. Local feminists came forward to press their usual argument: that a female victim in this position often blames herself. But there's more here. There's also the tricky matter of the victim trying to preserve her own place on the TV show.

The Australian version of the FCC, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), quickly ruled that the show could not be sanctioned by the government, since it appeared only on a Webcast, not on television. But the Australian government was considering new legislation to expand government powers to less traditional methods of broadcasting. As new technologies create new opportunities for young people to be exposed to morally repugnant programs, the regulation/self-regulation debate will follow.

Believe it or not, this was apparently not the first time the Australian version of the show has featured a wayward male sex organ. Feminist writer Germaine Greer wrote in the Guardian: "In last year's series a housemate reportedly rubbed his naked penis on an uppity female housemate's naked back by way of pretending to give her a massage. This piece of nastiness went to air uncut, as this year's will not."

Don't think this appeal to lewd behavior isn't also employed in America, even if it hasn't stooped to this level ... yet. CBS host Julie Chen lamented in one interview that "It took four seasons of the show" to develop televised sex between strangers, but "The moment that Amanda and Dave had sex in the 'Big Brother' house was one of the greatest moments for us on 'Big Brother.'"

TV moguls appear to be calculating just the right degree of outrageous behavior, figuring out how to scandalize the public by stepping over the line of acceptable behavior, but just enough to draw viewers and yet fend off regulators. When they fail and cross the line too far, they play the victim. But the "Big Brother" makers put young adults in a house who know that outrageous behavior is expected of them. There are no victims in the executive suites -- just one pinned female and a disgusted audience.


Brent Bozell

Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.
 
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