Variety is a Hollywood trade publication, but it can be hard to figure out where the entertainment industry ends and the industry's journalistic apple-polishers begin. Exhibit A is a commentary by Brian Lowry trying to compare the news media's current hate objects -- the tea party tax protesters -- with the entertainment media's hate objects, the activists opposing Hollywood-distributed vulgarity.
Lowry dismisses both movements as hopelessly lost in the past, insisting the tea parties "sound strangely familiar, mirroring increasingly futile attempts to arrest changes and recapture simpler times in television -- an ongoing Tea Party on the tube. In spirit and tone, these criticisms in the political arena sound very much like those leveled against network television by the Parents Television Council and other lobbying groups pushing back against a perceived erosion of broadcast standards."
A "perceived" erosion in TV standards? Is there anyone on Planet Earth -- or on Planet Hollywood -- willing to argue that standards of decency haven't eroded? Even Lowry cannot avoid the truth. "There's no question," he admits, "that networks and movies have become more permissive through the years." But he mocks any criticism of this as a negative development. "This powerful nostalgia for a family hearth and a return to 'Bonanza' tends to ignore the difficulty squeezing a genie back into the bottle."
Elites like Lowry simply ignore facts. What endless polling data showing vast majorities of the public calling for a restoration of decency? What endless evidence showing how family-themed entertainment (especially movies) consistently stomps raunchy fare at the box office?
Parents today shouldn't allow themselves to be cartooned as vainly wanting TV to be frozen permanently in 1965. Is it ridiculous and futile to insist that network executives shouldn't be so enthusiastic in offering teenaged orgies, vomitously graphic violence, "wardrobe malfunctions" and unbleeped profanities during live shows?