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Censorship is berated and attacked verbally by proponents of freedom of
expression. Yet these same individuals seek solutions to the problems needling
society. A cause is always sought after and more often than not one of its
causes, “the freedom of expression,” particularly in television, is not
given enough consideration.
Our “free speech” and our decisions to act and behave according to how we
see fit is covered under the (#) Amendment(s). However, the First Amendment is
not an excuse to allow networks and their show’s writers to pass on just
anything to the viewing public. Andrew Carnegie himself was a patron of the arts
and thus said in his dedication address at the library of Pittsburgh:
“There is no class so pitiably wretched as that which possesses money and
nothing else…My aspirations take a higher flight. Mine be it to have
contributed to the enlightenment and the joys of the mind, to the things of
spirit, to all that tends to bring into the lives of the toilers of
sweetness and light. I hold this the noblest possible use of wealth.”
Imagine the look on Mr. Carnegie’s face if he were to witness the “noblest
possible use of his wealth” going towards not the high-minded art of producing
noteworthy things, but to the production of such adulterated shows as Temptation
Island or the tasteless jokes told on late-night television.
An argument frequently made that it is the parent’s responsibility, and not
a government to impose on the public what is good and bad to watch. The
invention and introduction of the V-chip wrenches the control from parents and
places it into the television set, an already untrustworthy source of images
prone to create more of a harmful dependence than enlightened independence. The
V-ship, in its technological glory, is supposed to “read” a program and
search for the very things the parent has dictated to be unsuitable, and then
filter out those images. Unfortunately, the coding of ratings is voluntary, and
though compliance is progressing or has progressed, it still remains to be seen
whether information of the V-chip itself will be made readily available to the
parenting owners of television sets. The July 5, 1999 deadline for half of all
TV sets to be installed with the new technology has since been past and met.
Most major companies (Philips, Sanyo, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, Thomson and
Zenith) have fully complied, with the hope that the remaining companies fall
readily into compliance.
Last but not least is the trumpeting cry for the children. When learning
tasks, skills, and non(acceptable) behaviors, children take a monkey see, monkey
do approach. Perhaps the reason why Sesame Street is so popular is because
children are allowed to imitate the Count counting or repeat the sound of words
being sounded out from the television screen. In the same way that television
can aid in the learning of young children, it can also help foster within them
aggression. : The average American child will have watched 100,000 acts of
televised violence, including 8000 depictions of murder, by the time he or she
finishes sixth grade (approximately 13 years old). These acts of violence that
flash across the pupils of the young does harm from the fact that children
Category: Social Issues
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Censorship, Freedom of expression, Parenting, Television technology, V-chip, Freedom of speech, First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Monkeys in Chinese culture
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