Beware the Booby

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Beware the booby. The Parents Television Council (PTC) recently released a study claiming full-frontal nudity is up a whopping 6300% on network shows airing in prime time. That’s a lot of T&A squeezed into the 3 hours of prime time per night. I’m not sure you could find that much nudity, full frontal or otherwise, watching pay per view at the Econo-Lodge every night for the rest of the century. Clearly, I’m watching the wrong networks.

Of course, you can’t. The council neglected to mention the Full Montyage was pixelated, bar covered, implied, or any number of other ways to not qualify as actual “full-frontal” anything – unless, of course, by full-frontal you mean sorta facing the camera and being able to imagine dangly bits if you look real hard and pause the Tivo repeatedly to see them.

The Gigantic Wardrobe Malfunction of 2004

The nation still reels from the Gigantic Wardrobe Malfunction of 2004. Luckily, we were saved from certain Biblical annihilation by Colin Powell’s son, Michael, then Chairman of the FCC. Powell stamped his wingtips, slammed his gavel, and handed out fines for the next few years as a sign there would be no nudical shenanigans on his watch. He surely made Tipper Gore’s swoon with his sexless manliness.

But when Justin Timberlake “accidentally” ripped the tear-away cup from Janet Jackson’s weirdly pierced nipple for a nanosecond, America was scandalized. The rest of the world just chuckled. America is an anomaly in how it treats sex in general and public nudity in particular.

With the exception of Taliban-controlled scrub brush posing as nations, where they use burkas as a sort of mobile pixelation, most of the world yawns at TV nudity. Rare is a bath soap or shampoo advertised that doesn’t contain a shot of one of the beautiful people partially covered in bubbles and wholly uncovered by black bars. Sex sells, except in Europe where the populace has become so used to seeing bare flesh the sales numbers are no higher than in the U.S. – French bathing habits being accounted for. The banality of blasee.

I’m with the rest of the world when it comes to TV nudity, but you can’t expect much from a country whose leaders don’t know you can get pregnant from rape. Except for Catholic priests, wayward fundamentalist televangelists, and 15-year old boys, no one titters about tits much except the moral guardians of everyone else’s morality but their own.

But, unborn baby steps, unborn baby steps.

It’s not as if the PTC’s concern is completely without merit. If you have an aversion to fuzzy junk, you should be able to avoid it – or at least until after the kids go to bed. There is a fail-safe tool for this, it’s called an “Off” button. However, you have to see smut hurtling at you before you can use it. And if you’ve seen it hurtling, it’s too late. After all, you can’t shove the Johnson back into the Levis once it’s out.

WARNING: DefCon Smut!

There is a warning system, a sort of DefCon Smut if you will. It’s a system of letters and abbreviations only marginally less confusing than the DHS color-coded system for terror activity. I have no idea what TV-MA LMNOP means, but apparently someone does, because that is what outfits like PTC asked for and got. The PTC is free to use it at their discretion.

Of course, they could punish the peep shows they don’t like. They could boycott Two and a Half Men, but I don’t think the general public is all that worked up over John Cryer’s ass anyway.That might not do much good.

But better yet, they could reward shows or networks they like. They could organize Chick-fil-A picnics at the Disney Channel’s offices. They could buy advertising on America’s Funniest Home Videos, where the smut is limited to baskets of kitties and an other-worldly high number of crotch kicks that apparently don’t count on the sex scale.

To their credit, the PTC didn’t pressure anyone to do anything particularly draconian about Nudes-a-Poppin – though they do urge people to use the prominently featured link to the FCC for complaints on their website. Uncharacteristically, they chose a somewhat reasonable live and let live path. However if I were them, I’d expect a pissed off Rick Santorum or Michele Bachmann to come knockin’ when the TV starts rockin’. David Vitter might even tag along if he can tear himself off his trollop du jour.

I don’t have a problem with PTC here. They aren’t bothering me and I’m not bothering them. To each his or her own. But I do have a word of advice regarding their credibility in all things naked.

Sixty-three hundred percent. Really? Come on.

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