Great Moments In Trumped-Up Outrage: PTC, CBS and ‘$#*! My Dad Says’
I keep looking for the objectionable expletive in the title of CBS’s just-announced $#*! My Dad Says, the one that has the Parents Television Council so hot and bothered. But I can’t find it. Can you? Or you? Or… you???
Sorry. I thought I was in one of those “Solve It Yourself” cartoons for a minute. Because honestly, $#*! like this can make you feel like you’ve stepped into a cartoon, or fallen through the crust of the earth into a place where logic and common sense don’t apply. So let’s take a deep breath and focus up here, shall we? Here’s the actual press release, because man, does the PTC loooove issuing press releases:
PTC Denounces CBS for New Show, “$#*! My Dad Says”
LOS ANGELES (May 20, 2010) – The Parents Television Council™ denounced CBS for choosing to insert an expletive into the name of its new show, “$#*! My Dad Says,” scheduled to air at 8:30 pm ET/PT (7:30 pm CT/MT) on Thursdays in the fall.
“CBS intentionally chose to insert an expletive into the actual name of a show, and, despite its claim that the word will be bleeped, it is just CBS’ latest demonstration of its contempt for families and the public. There are an infinite number of alternatives that CBS could have chosen but its desire to shock and offend is crystal clear in this decision,” said PTC President Tim Winter.
“I ask the defenders of indecency on the public airwaves: How does the v-chip block this one? Where does this figure into the absurd defense of ‘fleeting’ profanity? The title of this show is the opposite of fleeting – it is bold, shameless, and in-your-face. There is incredible irony that CBS made this announcement the same day that it submitted its legal brief before the Third Circuit Court declaring that there was no mens rea to air an indecent Super Bowl broadcast.
“The PTC will not stand silent and allow this program title to become the new accepted norm.
“As we did with the broadcasts of ‘Dexter’ and ‘Swingtown,’ the PTC will wage an unrelenting campaign against every network advertiser that chooses to support this program; and in this instance, we will wage an unrelenting campaign against every local advertiser sponsoring the program at the affiliate station level.
“We will challenge the broadcast license of every network affiliate that chooses to air the program before 10 pm or that chooses to air a promotion of the program before 10 pm.*
“We will also amend our federal court amicus briefs before the various pending court cases to demonstrate for the record the mens rea of the broadcast networks.”
(*That’s the other thing the PTC loves: Challenging the broadcast licenses of network affiliates. Man, they just eat that $#*! up. Things it doesn’t seem to care for include not standing silent and not waging unrelenting campaigns.)
The relevant part, it seems to me, is this: CBS intentionally chose to insert an expletive into the actual name of a show. It did? Where? Can anybody show it to me? Isn’t the whole point of the ridiculous typographic dodge that CBS has chosen not to insert an expletive into the name of the show? Which is, for the record, more than the creator of the concept, Justin Halpern, ever did with the original Twitter feed. (I tried to reach Halpern for a comment but was told by his representatives that he’s too busy lighting cigars with thousand dollar bills, like Scrooge McDuck.) If the PTC really wants to attack CBS’s “contempt for families and the public,” it should challenge the licenses of affiliates who carry the new “Hawaii Five-O.” Where’s the outrage over that? Where’s the outrage over the fact that $#*! My Dad Says is just a pallid excuse for CBS to grab some of that new-media flash before it all turns bad, and when you strip away the novelty of the Twitter feed the result seems likely to be indistinguishable from every other sitcom featuring a grouchy dad?
Of course, this isn’t really about outrage at all, unless you count the trumped-up, fraudulent kind. It’s about culture war, and about attracting attention to one’s side. In which effort, I guess, I have just colluded. Oh my God: I’ve fallen right into the PTC’s trap!