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March Newsletter

Janet Breast Begets Stern Boot

By Marty Klein, Ph.D. Reprinted with permission from Sexual Intelligence,

9/11 occurred over 2 years ago, and we still don't have a report on the most dramatic intelligence breakdown in American history.

But only days after Janet Jackson revealed her breast for a second (a second!) during the Super Bowl halftime show, the government began convening hearings on this threat to the republic. Only a month later, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to increase the fines for broadcasting "indecent" material from $27,500 to $500,000 per incident. For full shock value, read those numbers again.

The FCC is being urged--by people from adulterous Congressmembers to anti-liberty "decency" groups to selfish Religious groups--to "protect children" from savage things like images of breasts and certain combinations of our alphabet. Over and over, they hide their terror about sex, disgust at diversity, fear of competition in the marketplace of ideas, mistrust of their fellow citizens, and simple anxiety about the unfamiliar in the standard cry of "protecting the children."

Your elected representatives and non-elected nosy neighbors are demanding that the FCC must eliminate "indecency"--i.e. any references to sexuality--from the electronic media. Graphic images of mayhem, newsrooms tormenting us with meaningless "information" about isolated crimes, and endless exhortations to buy stuff that's destroying our kids’ planet are not considered indecent.

Global warming si, bosom warming no.

Huge corporations that normally gallop like snails are now scurrying to enact hypocritical "zero tolerance of indecency" policies. The latest step in protecting America's children from consonants, glands, and orifices is Clear Channel's firing of Howard Stern. The nationally-syndicated radio host invariably indulges in bad taste and the most boring kind of leering, adolescent humor.

Now follow the math for a second: Stern is syndicated by Infinity, a unit of Viacom, which also owns TV networks CBS and MTV. MTV: the people who produced the Jackson peek-a-boob. And CBS, who said MTV was ruining America.

Viacom and Clear Channel claim to be running away from "indecency." "Indecency" is not a legal category, it's just anything that someone with power doesn't like. Across America, "they" are trying eliminate "indecency" in bars, nightclubs, radio, TV, the internet, newspapers, books, colleges, movies, CDs, plays, textbooks, magazines, and, ultimately, our bedrooms. In an America where even the physically handicapped are mandated access to Yosemite, California ballots are printed in Spanish, and learning-challenged kids get special, tax-funded classes, is there to be no place in this great country where adults can have access to "indecency?"

Rush Limbaugh, that paragon of liberal free thought, said of Stern's firing, "I oppose it. I've never heard Howard Stern, but when the federal government gets involved in this, I get a little frightened...What happens if a whole bunch of John Kerrys start running this country and decide conservative views are leading to violence?"

And that's the point that censors--and frightened parents--forget over and over. Americans have made a unique deal with each other: I won't try to shut you up, you won't try to shut me up, and we'll let the market decide if either, or both of us, gets any airtime.

Contact Sue Richards at [email protected]

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