candid thoughts on the issues of the day.
It's not racial, it's ratings
Published on November 22, 2004 By Robert Guinness In Sports & Leisure
I finally saw the clip from Monday night football where Nicollette Sheridan from Desperate Houswifes jumps naked into the arms of Terrell Owens. Now I can sort of understand why people made complaints about the seen being sexually explicit, seeing as how part of our population lives in a sexually-deprived, puritan culture. There is much more sexually explicit material already on TV that goes by unnoticed, but you've got to realize that something high-profile and high-rating like Monday Night Football is going to catch a lot of attention.

What perplexed me though was that some people made very public claims that this clip was "racial". I don't understand how people can respectfully make that claim. If anything, it shows that the person making the claim is still living in a racial mindset. I thought that we have moved past the point where popular culture sees bi-racial relationships as something strange and wrong. Apparently not.

Part of the racial claim comes from the fact that Owens sort of looks like a stupid guy that is only interested in sex. Well, yes. But most guys are mostly interested in sex. And the main reason he seems stupid is because he is a horrible actor compared to the professional actress Sheridan. What do you expect when you put a guy who has devoted his life to football, a sport mainly viewed by testosterone-overdosed men, next to a gal who has devoted her life to acting, appearing weekly in a highly-rated TV show with strong sexual content?

What is interesting to me, is that the networks that put this sort of trash don't seem to care at all about the potential slap-on-the-wrist fines that the FCC might impose. It doesn't seem that the FCC's enforcement mechanism is at anywhere near the level of money involved in prime-time television. It seems as though networks purposefully create scandal, that they know the media machine will go to town on, and they also know will create the highest amount of exposure per buck of advertising. The sad thing about all this contraversy is that our society has set up a system where it is easy to make a buck, if you just create a scandal by doing something immoral. Now we can count ABC, CBS, and a variety of other TV networks among those who have realized this.
Another aspect of this controversy that is interesting is the disconnect that it points out between how people in the U.S. vote and how the U.S. gets its entertainment. For an interesting discussion of that, see today's article in the New York Times.

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