Patterico's Pontifications

6/6/2005

Warren Bell Tolls

Filed under: General — See Dubya @ 1:19 am



Warren Bell, of both NRO and ABC, took the time to respond to my rant about prime-time condom ads below. Check what I said. Here’s his response, from the comments section:

If your response to network policies is using the “off” button, I wholeheartedly applaud. Vote with your wallet — what could be a more classic conservative response? They’ll get the message quicker that way, and we (the Right) are spared the accusation of “censorship.”

As someone who I suppose you are describing when you say “network hotshot,” I can tell you that my attitude is not “you’re the one with the problem.” My attitude is that this is a business, we have a choice to run it a certain way, and then you have a choice to respond. My choice as an adult is to not care a whit about condom ads, except if my kids see them. And my choice as a parent is to get proactive about protecting them with every means possible.

I’m not sure how that qualifies as “arrogant.”

First of all, Warren, thanks for stopping by. Second, since the new ad policy appears to be only advanced by NBC and WB, and you’re a hotshot at ABC, I don’t think I would have any reason to include you on the arrogant hotshot list.

Third, it’s not just a matter of turning off the TV when the kids are around. I’m not going to have those networks on when my parents or my inlaws or my pastor come around to visit. Or in the future, when my daughter’s friends and boyfriends come around. (Although that may provide a teachable moment: “Hey, Scotty, that commercial reminds me. You know what a Colombian Necktie is? No? Then keep your hands off my baby and you won’t find out.”)

Fourth, it’s not only your choice, but your responsibility–or more precisely, the NBC and WB execs’ choice and responsibility–to run the business in a way that will maximize return to your shareholders. But there’s a diminishing return there. You can squeeze out an extra windfall from the Trojan people, but it’s going to hurt the network’s brand in the long haul. It eats into the longterm goodwill.

As I noted below, the Internet hotshots are busily trying to insulate the skeevier part of the web from people who want nothing to do with it. You guys in TV are moving in the opposite direction–moving the two together. Microsoft’s Windows XP incorporates anti-virus and pop-up blocker software that used to be third-party software. NBC and WB are now! With extra prophylactics! unless you go buy the TiVo add-on from another vendor to make the product usable during prime time. Microsoft puts up new patches every day to keep people from selling me the Cheep V1@gra!!! . You guys are giving me rubbers in prime time. They want credibility for their new medium as a source of entertainment. You TV guys are selling off yours.

Remember how Bush included that great line in his stump speech about how “John Kerry thinks the true heart of America is in Hollywood. Well, I think it’s right here in (e.g.) Altoona, Illinois”? Well, that kind of grumpery didn’t just happen overnight. It’s the result of hundreds and thousands of economically defensible (but tin-eared) business decisions, just like this one.

Let me be clear: I’m not some highfalutin’ cultural critic here who wants Masterpiece Theatre 24/7. TV is TV. And it’s not the sex that has me upset. Go ahead, tell stories that are sexy when you need to; run sexy ads when you need to. The girl eating the cheeseburger on the mechanical bull? Have mercy. I’d Tivo that. I’d write a grant. But these are not ads for something sexy. Oh, the Trojan people may dress it up as something sexy, but condoms are not sexy. They are awkward, ridiculous latex bags for holding ejaculate when concerns about nasty venereal diseases or pregnancy mandate their use. They are the blasted things that never go on quite right when you really, really, don’t want to think about suddenly testing your eye-hand coordination. The slimy husks that litter alleys and beaches and motel parking lots and frathouse washrooms. Not sexy. No sirree. Everybody knows they’re about as sexy as tampons.

I don’t want your shows selling them to me. And you don’t want your fine prime-time shows on ABC to be associated with them.

10 Responses to “Warren Bell Tolls”

  1. AMEN! Preach on, Brother!

    Cliff Autry (9674c2)

  2. We’re gonna do more than just turn these greedy good-fer-nuthing networks and their rancid programming and advertising off at the tube.

    We are the public, we own the airwaves, and we are gonna tell’em what they can and cannot put on our bandwidth.

    To ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and the rest: you are stinkin’ up my country, man!

    Time for you to get right or get gone!

    ttyler5 (77d0e0)

  3. Go ahead, tell stories that are sexy when you need to; run sexy ads when you need to. The girl eating the cheeseburger on the mechanical bull? Have mercy. I’d Tivo that. I’d write a grant.

    Heh. The decision to keep the guest bloggers going for a few more days was quite clearly the right one.

    Patterico (756436)

  4. I don’t know, not having kids I have difficulty becoming incensed about this.

    That, and the only ad campaign for condoms I’ve ever encountered was the “Trojan Man” series of radio and television ads, which were fairly humorous and not all that bad, unless you consider hearing the word “condom” pretty bad, in which case you’ll probably want to steer clear of network news these days too.

    Angry Clam (f05866)

  5. “I’m not some highfalutin’ cultural critic”

    I love when consveratives want to run my life. They’ll never take the liberal stance of “I know so much more that you…” They take the “Oh I’m just a normal average guy who really doesn’t want to control you BUT…” The end result is the SAME.

    No you’re not “highfalutin’ “just plain ignorant and very uptight! If you can’t handle a condom ad or a condom for that matter then God help you, your STD’s and multitudes children.

    The guy from ABC’s got it right if you don’t like it TURN IT OFF or TURN THE CHANNEL, go for a walk around the block!. I’m sure the very popular PAX network would love to have your viewership.

    We all vote much louder with our WALLETS than with our BALLOTS! Believe me if there is money to be made off of the uptight crowd then someone will….it’s what makes this country great.

    LibertarianLarry (71cab3)

  6. I’m glad folks are finally hopping on the Hardees Girl bandwagon. I only wrote licentiously about it back in October, for cryin’ out loud.

    But more than just simple self-promotion, I want to refer back to something I wrote on that occasion that rings topical today:

    The commercial is suggestive. It’s suggestive as hell. It’s probably the most suggestive thing I’ve ever seen.
    But that’s all it is. It’s only suggestive.

    To be suggestive is not, in my opinion, a mortal sin. It’s when the advertisement or program crosses the line from merely suggestive to actually explicit that I start to get a little funny. Those commercials where the attractive woman talks about how the little pill made her happier? No problem. But if they start showing charts and graphs describing the size and rigidity of patients’ members, that’d be going too far.

    For me at least, it’s less about subject matter than it is about presentation.

    Jeff Harrell (a5b150)

  7. Bit sore about the Raich decision, are we, Larry?

    See Dubya (13ab1e)

  8. F’n A right I am.

    And to make myself feel better on the way home tonight I’m going to pick up a dime bag of weed (available ANYWHERE …”war on drugs conservatives?), a box of condoms and a hooker!

    LibertarianLarry (71cab3)

  9. Larry: Great! Mind the failure rate on those things. It’s under ten percent for the good ones.

    Oh, and Jeff? You could at least leave us a link to the Hardee’s commercial.

    See Dubya (a5db1c)

  10. I don’t care about Networks or the government censoring stuff to protect children from condoms. What I want is to watch CSI:Miami and 24 Hours without advertisements containing sick people begging me to buy products to manage my genitals or my butt.

    Ladainian (91b3b2)


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