As long as we're talking Viacom, let's switch from MTV to BET in discussing the utter lack of civic responsibility or taste, whether the matter is sex or violence. After rejecting several of Rihanna's videos," BET accepted the graphically violent video for "Man Down," which begins with a man getting a spurting hole blown in the back of his head.
In a statement, the network declared "BET has a comprehensive set of standards and guidelines that are applied to all of our conduct. The Rihanna 'Man Down' video complied with these guidelines and was approved for air. At the same time, it is clear that the 'Man Down' video has sparked a passionate dialogue."
That's true, because it's obvious that BET either doesn't adhere to standards or just doesn't have them. Critics were passionate in their opposition. Paul Porter, a former BET program director now with the watchdog group Industry Ears, smelled a deal: "It's pretty obvious what is going on here. BET said no to Rihanna's 'S&M' and 'Russian Roulette,' but cut a deal to support 'Man Down' for a performance at this year's 'BET Awards' show."
The Rev. Delman Coates of the Enough Is Enough campaign added: "In a letter to me, Debra Lee, the CEO of Black Entertainment Television, stated, 'BET does not air music videos that contain graphic or excessive sexual activity or violence' ... The network says one thing to the public, but does another thing in practice."
Once again, Rihanna is milking her domestic-violence history with pop star Chris Brown to make that infamy into money and buzz. Given her history, you might think she would try not to encourage other women to "solve their problems" by glamorously committing murderous revenge. But she went on Twitter and protested she didn't have to be a parent.
"The music industry isn't exactly Parents R Us" she proclaimed. "We have the freedom to make art."
Perhaps that's what Anthony Weiner should have tried as an argument. His vulgar tweets weren't aiming to be moral lessons. They weren't a sign of cultural decline. They were "art."