William F. Buckley
If you see anybody around who predicts that life for the porn-types is going to be really tough six months after Al Gore is inaugurated president, move in. . Give him 10-1 odds. Seven months after the inauguration, find a 14-year-old and take him/her to an R-rated movie and see if somebody jumps out at you -- saying what? Saying, "Stop! Didn't you hear Candidate Gore's speech? He said six months after he was sworn in, Hollywood would have to yield or --"

Or what?

The Washington Post came up with a scoop from Daily Variety. There is a tape, said the paper, of a meeting in 1987 between Senator Gore and rock-music executives. It features an apology by Senator Gore for his role in Senate hearings on dirty lyrics. Then the Los Angeles Times reports that last year Vice President Gore told Hollywood big enchiladas that the Federal Trade Commission's investigation wasn't his idea; it was Clinton's.

That refers to the report filed on Monday, whose findings prompted Candidate Gore to swear that he and Joe, six months after they got into office, would end this effort to corrupt the young. The FTC alleged that Hollywood, whether pushing dirty movies or dirty music or dirty video games, was targeting very young audiences with some of its ads. So what is to be done about it?

Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission Robert Pitofsky said that surely one way to go is to enforce existing laws and conventions. If the movie is R-rated and the youngster comes up to the ticket counter unaccompanied by an adult, you're supposed to say, No, you can't come in. And there are laws of sorts that touch down on rap music and video games. The computers bringing in the Internet are supposed to have close-sesame chips that Dad can activate to keep Sonny from spending his time with naked ladies, an option which means Dad has to get his own set.

Now Chairman Pitofsky made an interesting intellectual point in his discussion of the report with Jim Lehrer. You cannot prove that a child who engages in violence was prompted to do so by seeing the incremental violent film, and you can't establish that the young man who impregnates the teen-age girl was prompted to do so by a libido activated by Sharon Stone on the big screen.

William F. Buckley

William F. Buckley, Jr. is editor-at-large of National Review, the prolific author of Miles Gone By: A Literary Autobiography.

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