A Collection of
comments on the state of Entertainment.
A wounded man startles awake in an outdoor lounge chair, and before he dies he gapes in terror at the fresh, oozing sutures on his exposed abdomen. Damn! Some psycho has carved out his liver, but the organ is still nearby - and it's cooking on the grill!
No, this isn't a deleted scene from the director's cut DVD of Hannibal - it's just a random moment from Killer Instinct, one of Fox's new shows. Welcome to prime-time-network TV! (Rolling Stone, Oct. 20, 2005)
"The first step is to understand that TV is just a delivery system for ads. The only programming that really matters to those in power is the commercials (except on pay cable channels like HBO, where nothing matters except how many people subscribe). The success of a show is not measured by how good it is, or who says they loved it, or even how many people watch. A show is a success if the people who watched it go and buy the products that were advertised during the commercials. It is all about what is being sold and (just as important) who is doing the buying. That is why shows like 7th Heaven - which was the highest rated show on the WB network for years - was never considered as much of a success as Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Dawson's Creek, two lower-rated shows on the same network. The perception was that the audience for the latter two shows had more money to spend, so advertising rates were higher, and therefore the shows were more profitable. It might not seem fair, but viewers need to understand that the most-watched shows aren't always considered the most financially successful." - Dean Batali, lead writer for That '70s Show and former writer for Buffy the Vampire Slayer [Behind the Screen, a book about Christians in Hollywood]
"I'd like to be even more brutal and more weird. In our show, the sex scenes are very particular to what the characters are going through. I feel very lucky that we've gotten away with what we have, but I'd like to go even further." - Actor Julian McMahon discussing his role as a plastic surgeon on one of the most sexually explicit, profane, and violent television programs in the history of American television - Nip/Tuck on FX, NY Post.
"...Generations of viewers are accustomed to new fall lineups containing shows that might easily be considered horrors, but the 2005-6 season is dominated by a new brood of a relatively new breed: shows that are horrific on purpose, with gore as graphic and grisly as in many a monstrous movie." (Washington Post, September 18, 2005)
"'This year, I've heard less from standards and practices than ever before,' says Ryan Murphy, creator of FX's sexually precocious plastic-surgeon show
Nip/Tuck. 'I'm surprised. I thought the climate since the election was more conservative, and would turn into this big battle.'"
(Entertainment Weekly, Sept. 16, 2005)
"Children learn how to deal with
relationships by what they see on TV. They see people having casual sex and
using obscenity-laden language... I don't see how it could possibly be good for
- Faye Steuer, professor of psychology at Charleston College
and Courier, August 25, 2005)
"We played the game by day and lived the game by night." - an anonymous,
incarcerated Oakland, Calif., gang member who says he and his friends used the
Grand Theft Auto games as a kind of virtual reality training. His gang has been
linked to car thefts and at least seven murders. [Reader's Digest, 8/05]
going to collect a lot of money when some of these TV shows are
still on. " - President George W. Bush answering a question from
C-SPAN Interviewer Brian Lamb about pending legislation that would increase FCC
broadcast Indecency fines ten fold from 37,500 to 375,000 per incident.
"Copycat pranksters could
face serious injury or death from electrocution." - U.S. electric utility
companies in a letter to NBC warning them about an upcoming episode of "Fear
Factor" which featured couples shocking themselves using high-voltage
electricity for money and prizes.
"You don't understand how many places I go and the
movie will come up, and they'll say, ‘My kids want to see that.' I'm like, No no
no, it's not a kids' film'." - South Park co-creator Trey Parker speaking
about their Team America: World Police movie, Entertainment Weekly, October 22,
2004, p. 61.
"It would seem to me that while we get a lot of
broadcasting companies complaining about indecency enforcement, they seem ...
willing to keep the issue at the forefront, keep it hot and steamy in order to
get financial gains and the free advertising it provides." - FCC chairman Michael Powell, chastising ABC for opening its Monday Night
Football broadcast with a racy ad promoting the series Desperate Housewives.
"I have been to something like 50 gang funerals
where the guy in the coffin was no more than 20. The game companies don't see
the family crying and the people in the coffin. They don't see the impact this
has on our culture. They make or play their games in the studio, but for kids on
the street it's a real life."- Terrance Stone youth leader and former gang
member on how violent video games such as Grand Theft Auto has glamorized the
"Just take a
look at what Disney's The Incredibles
did its first weekend. In two days, it grossed $70 million, and yet a family
can't find a half-hour of programming in prime time they can watch together."
- Steve Farella, president and CEO of media agency Targetcast TCM speaking about
the disconnect between media buyers and voters.
"I find today's remedy totally inadequate. After all the bold talk, it's a slap on the wrist that can be paid with just seven and a half seconds of Super Bowl ad time."
- Dissenting FCC Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein
New York Times, on the $550,000 fine against CBS.
"Regardless of which level kids were at the beginning of this
study, watching more sex on TV was associated with a much higher probability of
moving up along the continuum."
"It's social learning: 'monkey see, monkey do'. "If everyone's talking about sex or having it, and something bad
hardly ever comes out of it, because it doesn't on TV, then they think, 'Hey,
the whole world's doing it, and I need to.' "
"Just making small reductions to what kids are exposed to could
make a significant difference in how quickly they develop sexually." -
Rebecca Collins, PhD, senior author of
a new study called
Watching Sex on Television Predicts Adolescent Initiation of Sexual Behavior,
which appears in the September 2004 issue of Pediatrics.
"Simon is becoming a little
cooler because he's catching up with a lot of issues that all my friends are
dealing with or have dealt with, much more specifically. All my friends that
I've told, 'So on the show this year, I have sex,' they're all like, 'That's
awesome, finally!'" - Nineteen-year-old David
Gallagher, who plays Simon Camden on WB's famously family friendly
7th Heaven. While the show has dealt
with sexual issues before, this season's premiere featured a first: a Camden kid
having premarital sex
[New York Post, 9/7/04]
"The princess is the last
frontier of acceptable girliness. It points to how crazy our times have become
that I, as a feminist, am promoting princess culture because, hey, at least you
don't have a 12-year-old wearing a thong." -
Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl
Out: The Hidden Culture of
Aggression in Girls and staffer for Empower Project , on Hollywood's
recent spate of princess movies
[Los Angeles Times, 8/10/04]
"I think it's partly the listeners'
fault. Our people are not used to writing letters of complaint,
because in the countries they come from, they feel they don't have a
voice." - Jerry Velasco of Nosotros, an advocacy group for Latino
actors speaking about why Hispanics don't lodge FCC broadcast
indecency complaints against Spanish radio stations, LA Times,
August 23, 2004.
None of the industry members involved
in the study denied that TV affects young viewers. In the
past, the industry insisted that viewing had little or no effect on
youngsters. - Stanford professor Donald Roberts commenting on a
study conducted during 2001 and 2002 by researchers at Stanford
University in California and Lewis & Clark College in Oregon and by
independent researchers which analyzed how TV affects teens and
included data from interviews with 45 network executives, producers
The current skirmish between the FCC,
lawmakers and the creative community "causes me a lot of pain. I'm a
great fan of freedom of speech, but are Howard Stern and Larry Flynt
worthy of that protection? Yes, they are in the broader picture -
but worth listening to?" he asks. "I thought that Steve Allen's
heart was in the right place when he was trying so hard to get TV to
clean up its act in the years before he died." Dick Smothers,
"This culture is in big trouble. All
you see on television are debased images. Whether you believe it or
not, black people do not want to see pictures of people wearing
bulletproof vests." - Pop musician Prince, Rolling Stone,
May 27, 2004, p. 58.
"There's nothing wrong with adults
having access to adult entertainment, but there's a problem when
kids do." - Author Bakari Kitwana (The Hip Hop Generation), Vibe,
July 2004, p. 103.
"I find them too violent. And you'd
think sex had just been invented. . . . I don't approve of
censorship, but you've got to have stop signs at crossroads." -
Veteran special effects movie maker Ray Harryhausen speaking about
today's movies, Entertainment Weekly, June 11, 2004, p. 89.
that everyone notices, like the Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident,
tend to be overreactions to societal transformations that have
already happened. But things that sneak in under the radar,
deceptive events that not everyone pays attention to, can be
unsettling signposts leading to unsavory change." -
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times film critic, in his review of the R-rated comedy The Girl Next Door, which he describes as a "sanitized and exquisitely titillating portrait of the world of pornography in the cozy sheep's clothing of a teenage movie"
"Mr. Stern's show has created a great liability for us and other
broadcasters who air it," said Hogan, who suspended Stern in February from the
six Clear Channel stations that carried him. "The Congress and the FCC are even
beginning to look at revoking station licenses. That's a risk we're just not
willing to take." - President of Clear Channel Radio John Hogan commenting on
the decision to drop shock-jock Howard Stern from their radio stations
music has gone these days, it's really more about sex than it is about intimacy.
It would be nice to see us get back to being in love and being intimate as
opposed to just having sex."
- R&B producer/singer Babyface
"I know this
is going to sound cheesy and like I'm trying to be Miss America, but the most
important responsibility a celebrity has is to set an example and be a role
model. I want to make sure that no matter how long I go through this, I don't
fall into the trap of changing and modifying how I do things that aren't a
positive example. I want to remain somebody that the entire family can listen to
or watch." - American Idol TV show runner-up Clay Aiken, Reuters,
February 22, 2004.
"I do understand that there were a lot of people that were completely offended
by what happened, including my own family. And I think that's probably the part
that's frustrating the most for me and it's completely, completely, completely,
Justin Timberlake's responding about the Super Bowl incident, ABCNews, February
"We support the creative community, but we have to take into account what's in
the culture right now and be sensitive about that." - MTV spokeswoman Jeannie
Kedas speaking about the Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident, Associated Press,
February 10, 2004.
"The now infamous display during the Super Bowl halftime show, which represented
a new low in prime-time television, is just the latest example in a growing list
of deplorable incidents over the nation's airwaves." - FCC chairman Michael
Powell, Associated Press, February 11, 2004.
"Our culture is obsessed with the people we see on
television and watch in the movies." - American Idol host Ryan Seacrest,
Entertainment Weekly, January 9, 2004, p. 48.
cannot directly intervene . . . Everyone is allowed to say no to God, including
Joan . . . God can never identify one religion as being right." - Joan of
Arcadia TV show creator Barbara Hall's 10 commandments for Joan's God,
Philadelphia Inquirer, November 16, 2003, H10.
"Every Monday at my
high school, the girls in my newspaper class discuss the highs and lows from the
latest episode. Most talk about how much they want Big and Carrie to reunite;
others wonder what the heck Samantha was wearing. Not only do they talk about
the girls, some of them have started to look like them. Hip accessories from the
show lurk in the hallways at my school. ... I couldn't help but wonder: Where
will us teens get our new fashion trends, once Sex and the City ends its
six-year run on HBO?" -17-year-old Washington, D.C., high school
student Nadia Saah, writing for USA Today about how influential the sexually
explicit cable series has been for teens.
"I was doing all right
on 28 bucks a week as a garbage man," he said. "It doesn't matter, stuff like
that." - Mel Gibson when asked by Diane Sawyer about the $30 million of his
own money that he put into his controversial movie "The Passion of the Christ"
company won't be a poster child for indecency." - Viacom President Mel
Karmazin ( In a conference call to Infinity Radio Employees after testifying at
a congressional hearing on broadcast indecency.)
"...I rant about it in
the book, too, about the sort of 'Sex and the City' world. That really bothers
me that Samantha, who is one of sickest characters on television becomes a role
model...It's such a divorce from reality. I treat Samanthas all the time.
They're horrible, miserable human beings who will suffer with their
behavior...Then to put her up as a role model becomes confusing, people start to
feel flawed. They engage in behavior that's supposed to be cool and good and
don't feel right..." - Dr. Drew Pinsky (Dr. Drew from Loveline)
"I'm not sure black
folks fully understand the power that media has in our life. We are becoming who
they portray us as being. We've allowed ourselves to become a collection of
negative statistics. Simon says dress like a gangster, and we do. I'm amazed by
what I see on television or in the movies. I'm saying, either I overslept or
someone stole my culture." - Actor Tim Reid ("WKRP in Cincinnati"), quoted by
the Associated Press on April 18, 2003
think that movies or other media may be able to provide the spark for anxiety
and consequent violent acting out by teens, although I'm quite skeptical about
movies doing this in the absence of other triggers." - Jay
Reeve, a senior psychologist at Bradley Hospital in Providence, R.I., on
how movies can contribute to (but not solely cause) violent behavior [ABC News Online, 7/10/03]
think we've just gotten rid of the whole notion of even a bit of responsibility.
You know, there's one thing to be artistic and stuff, but you used to have a
conscience about things and a heart about things. ... I'm almost frightened for
the kids of today, but I think everybody's kind of just thrown even a little bit
of conscience out the window for entertainment purposes." - P.O.D. lead singer
"I don't like the ones
that glorify antisocial behavior, like Grand Theft Auto and Vice City.
We actually had a rule at Atari, which seems kind of quaint now, that you could
blow up a tank, a plane, a car- but you couldn't do violence against a human."
- Atari creator Nolan Bushnell, when asked if the graphic nature of today's video
games bothered him [Newsweek, 8/18/03]
"TV is the most
powerful thing that has ever been invented."
Ozzy Osbourne, USA Today, June 10, 2003, D1-2
becoming entertainment, that's what's dangerous. And that seems to be the place
we're going. I worry about television." - George Clooney, quoted by
Reuters, February 11, 2003
[Davis] tried to tell me that saying certain words in a song- or as he says,
‘putting some balls into it'- isn't bad, it's just strong emotion. Well, there
are certain words and emotions I don't want kids hearing, and I'm not changing
because they think it's going to sell better. This is going to sound horrible,
but I got 12 million votes doing what I did." -American Idol finalist
Clay Aiken, describing pressure he got from RCA to "edge-up" his songs to boost
sales [Time, 10/5/03]
"American children, I'm afraid, are addicted to television." - First Lady
Laura Bush [Guardian Unlimited, 9/30/03]
has been erosion in respect for the media by its guardians, and the
proliferation of reality television is probably the best example."
- David E. Kelly,
creator and writer for ABC's The
Practice, discussing the invasion of reality television and
its effect on the overall product on television.
been fortunate. I haven't had too many auditions. I slept with all the
right people." -Pamela
Anderson, in People Magazine.
will never start shooting hookers!" --Nintendo Senior Vice President of Marketing George Harrison on the
"Nintendo Difference" (as quoted in the August issue of
Electronic Gaming Monthly)
following cartoon is rated CFFA, cartoons for f****** adults; not for
kids" -This is the
advisory that appears on the screen before TNN airs episodes of its
new stripper based cartoon
reality TV does is legitimates voyeurism. It allows us to really
indulge our prurient interests, our wish to be excited, to be
scandalized, to be shocked." - Media analyst Dr. Stewart Fischoff on
the 6/25/03 episode of Oprah.
putting something on because we want to be salacious. We're trying to
adapt a wonderfully intelligent, well-written piece of material,"
NBC executive producer Ben Silverman talking about his new fall show,
an interview with Variety.
This "wonderfully intelligent, well-written" production is adapted from
a BBC television program. Scripts have included characters having sex
in a bar bathroom, and lines like "one swallow does not a girlfriend
the problem is people see our logo, they see hazing. They think we're
involved in supporting hazing. We're trying to get the record straight."
Brett Radmin, a co-founder of Greek101.com, asking that his product no
longer be used on MTV's Greek Life.
reached a point where we would like to cancel cable and throw out our
TV, everything we really
like gets canceled." -Rose Marie Shema, 76, of Hendersonville, N.C., in the May 4th
"They are sending a message
that they don't approve of the content of those magazines. We defend
their right to do that."
constitutional law professor at New York Law School and the president of
the American Civil Liberties Union on Wal-Mart's decision to pull
Stuff from its shelves.
"Television exposure during adolescence has also been linked to
subsequent aggression in young adulthood. A 17-year longitudinal
study concluded that teens who watched more than one hour of TV a day
were almost four times as likely as other teens to commit aggressive
acts in adulthood."
The Kaiser Family Foundation, TV Violence Fact Sheet, Spring 2003
"Well, this is my answer and it is going to be very short: I always find myself
going back to the The Weather Channel."
- Bill Cosby when asked what he thought of the quality of television today.
I'm most proud of is the fact that there's a lot of sleazy shows on television,
reality oriented. I'm actually hearing from kids saying they enjoy this show.
And it's nice that you can actually have some measure of success without
compromising principles. I'm very proud of that."
- Talk-show host newcomer, Michael Essany on
The Tonight Show, discussing his new
show on E!
FCC take me off the air, I don't care. Foul language is all around us;
porno is rampant and, you know what? The country's running fine. Bleep the
whole g*damned show and get rid of me. My time has passed." -
Nationally syndicated shock-jock, Howard Stern, upset that the FCC is
considering strong action against radio shock-jocks who go too far.
"They're great kids! That's the trouble, they're
great kids. If they were criminals like the kids on American Idol we'd get more
press." - Arsenio Hall, host of Star
Search, making a comment about why his show is not getting the
ratings Fox's American Idol is
"I turned the television the other night. I saw
these people in "Fear Factor" being put through torture for prize money. Flipped
the remote and I saw these has-been celebrities in a boxing match beating on
each other. Here is an idea. How about we find twenty women willing to chase a
man for his money, defraud them and then we watch them one by one get
rejected.... We all love watching other people suffer, don't we?" - Jeri
Ryan's character, Ronnie Cooke on the Fox show
Boston Public, where Ronnie is
defending two boys who paid bums to fight each other for a video they were
"Its sad to see kids today- they're sitting around
listening to hip-hop or new metal, with a Sony Playstation, and a bong. It's a
whole culture." - Jack White, lead singer of The White Stripes
"Considering that foul language is in most movies and music that teens listen
to, it doesn't surprise me if a girl swears. It's just a part of teen speak." -
Darren, 17 years old from New York, answering the question "How do you feel
about girls who swear?" in the spring issue of
"I'll take my clothes off for some chocolate and peanut butter."
- SURVIVOR: AMAZON
contestant Jenna Morasca, during an immunity challenge
shown March 26. Series producers happily obliged, producing a plate of
peanut butter and chocolate cookies. Jenna, along with fellow
exhibitionist Heidi Strobel, promptly stripped. (Editors blurred the
women's chests and pelvis) The show aired at 8:00pm.
"The game actually worked out better
than expected. We had the best time out there: naked chicks, yeah!
AMAZON contestant Alex Bell, not even slightly disappointed
that he hadn't won the challenge.
"When you act with your
clothes on, it's a performance. When you act with your clothes off, it's
a documentary. I don't do documentaries." -Julia Roberts, on
why she will not do nude scenes
"You want (him) naked?" He pressed a button to record, then said,
"You've got him."
- producer Jamie Schutz, of New Line Cinema's
The Real Cancun, asking head
editor Ben Salter, as a cast member stepped from the shower if they
wanted a naked shot of the cast member.
"We worked really, really hard to make it incredibly realistic… So
hopefully the audience will think it could happen to them or that it
could be your neighbor who could, you know, be a psychotic maniac."
star, Jessica Biel, describing her new movie, titled
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
"Well here's a nice story. Our good friend, Mel Gibson building his
own Catholic church, building a Catholic Church in Malibu...I'm coming
in this morning, they were talking about this on one of the talk radio
shows, about Mel Gibson building this church, and one of the guys on
the talk show said, 'Mel must have lost his mind.' Don't you love this
town? You drug an underage girl, you have sex with her, you flee the
country, you get an Oscar. You build a church, 'What are you nuts?!
What, are you out of your mind, pal?!'"
Jay Leno, in his
monologue from 3/25/03.
"My mom wouldn't even let me sing 'Strawberry
Wine' because it said 'wine' in it and I was this little kid. She protected my
image. And that's not the only reason why I don't dance around like a ho
onstage, but it definitely has something to do with being brought up with tons
of morals. And I'm not saying I'll never write a song with a curse word, because
there's definitely been times when it's like, 'Aww, man, "f---" would sound so
good there!' But then I think about my mom, and how it would probably hurt her.
So I just say 'frig' instead." - teen rocker Avril Lavigne on the influence
of her mother [From Rolling Stone, 3/20/03 -- quoted in
Ms. Heaton will be seen
as very uncool, but it's nice to know that someone in Hollywood has the guts to
speak up for some minimum public standards." [Wall Street Journal,
1/20/03] The article discussed Heaton's exit from the American Music Awards
because of the "onslaught of lewd jokes."
"The wonderful thing about the American public is that they'll make a very clear
choice whether they want to watch Ed playing what may be the most iconic
cop in the history of television- or a warm family drama about the drug dealers
killing your children." [Dick Wolfe, creator of
Law & Order,
Washington Post, 1/18/03] Wolfe was referring to NBC's Kingpin that
is set to debut on February 2, 2003. The drama focuses on a Mexican drug cartel.
"We watch [reality
TV] to see people suffer
excruciating embarrassment. In the still-new multichannel universe, many kinds
of cruelty are passed off as entertainment; perhaps if this were ancient Rome,
the feeding of Christians to lions would be televised so as to make it available
to a wider audience." [Washington Post,
the single most significant factor contributing to violence in America." -Ted
"The only people who dispute the connection
between smoking and cancer are people in the tobacco industry. And the only
people who dispute the TV and violence connection are people in the
entertainment industry." -
TV researcher Dr. Leonard Eron of the
University of Michigan
I'm getting conservative in my old age, but I think a lot of what's on
television is worthless…The reason I come to this conclusion is because I
have an 8-year-old girl, and my whole outlook on life has changed…My
daughter is on lockdown. There are certain stations she can't even turn on."
-John Tesh, former host of Entertainment Tonight
one thing you learn over the years with broadcast standards is there's no
such thing as broadcast standards. The standard is anything you can get them
to let you do." -NYPD Blue producer Steven Bochco [Hollywood
"Also, [I got to see] the impact the show has
on young people, which can be scary. One of the most terrifying things I've
had happen was meeting a 7-year old girl in a grocery store who said, ‘I
thought it was so funny when your roommate danced naked on The Real World.'
Until you experience that, you really don't understand the impact that
television has on kids."- Matt Smith, of The Real World New Orleans, on
phoenixnewtimes.com August 29, 2002
"We thought it was high time somebody in the
family make television appropriate for children." -Sarah Jessica Parker,
on The Late Show with David Letterman, July 17, 2002, referring to husband
Matthew Broderick's starring role in ABC's remake of the classic musical,
The Music Man
"My wife and I went to see We Were Soldiers,
the new Mel Gibson movie. It's not very good, I'm afraid, and it is
probably the most graphically violent film I've ever endured (having been a
professional film critic for most of my career, I've seen quite a few).
The most grotesque moment was probably seeing a soldier's head illuminated
from within by burning phosphorous, and his GI buddy having to knife the
burning flesh away from his face to put out the fire. Trust me, there's 90
minutes of gruesome material like this. And in our theater, there was a
woman sitting near the front row with a three-year-old girl, taking it all
in. As we left the theater, my extremely distressed wife asked the idiot
woman if she thought it was a good idea to take a young child to that kind
of movie. ‘No,' the fool said, ‘but the other movie I wanted to take her to
was sold out." And some people wonder why kids these days are so messed
up.' - Rod Dreher, in National Review Online.
"...there was no music to
inspire Cain killing Abel, and that kind of set the tone for the rest of
mankind. Man is violent by nature, and he doesn't need inspiration for what he's
going to do...For me...if I have aggression, I'll put it into a song. I think
that's a good thing. That's what art is..."
-Shock rocker Marilyn Manson in response to people tying him to the Columbine
At a London press
conference, Grammy-winner Lauryn Hill said her fellow musicians should
clean up their lyrics. "I have a son who is coming up on two, and he repeats
absolutely everything we say. Parents don't want their kids to hear bad
language," she said.
Rachael Leigh Cook (She's
All That) is concerned with the responsibility Hollywood studios have when
making films. In an interview for this Sunday's USA Weekend, she asks Hollywood
"to make scripts with a moral storyline. If you show irresponsible characters
doing terrible things, get the repercussions in there."
"What is inexplicable to me
is how anyone with a brain would write, direct or participate in a film that
promotes violence. They have a clear image of what a civil society is like. Why
not spend your career promoting that vision rather than working against it?…The
tragedy is it's the irresponsibility of artists that invites the government to
take a position on artists. Freedom from censorship is very recent and fragile,
and if you abuse it, you lose it." -David Puttnam, producer of Oscar winning Chariots of Fire, in the
July 11 Los Angeles Times.
"I'm telling you there are
children who are affected by those images, where those images take root and bear
bitter fruit and change them, and desensitize them to the consequences of
violence and make them more likely to commit it themselves…It is time for
parents to reclaim the living room, the neighborhoods, the schools, the lives of
our children, and the culture."
-Vice President Gore, in a July 15 speech to the NAACP's annual national
"Frankly, we're in a
profane world… I may have lost focus a little bit. I have kids. I have Hollywood
kids. I mean, a Hollywood eight is 23 in Minnesota years…"- Chris Thompson, excusing the profane and offensive content in his Fox series
"I think there's no doubt
that music is a great emotional companion and when you introduce words into a
person's psyche - with all the emotion that music can bring - you're affecting
the human condition." -Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul, and Mary, speaking of the power of music in
reference to the musical preferences of the Columbine killers, from a story
posted on CNN.com.
"Who knows what will happen
by the time this movie comes out in the year 2001? Maybe it will seem tame." -Universal studio executive musing on his studio's reportedly ultra-gruesome
"When I invented [the movie
ratings] system…it was not to placate [movie] critics - it was to protect
parents. I haven't heard from a single parent who said, ‘Gee, I wish you'd kept
that orgy in there.'"
-Motion Picture Association of America president Jack Valenti, on those who
have assailed the ratings system for its "deeply chilling effect" on artistry -
specifically, for causing Warner Bros. to edit a sex scene in Eyes Wide Shut
so that the film would avoid an NC-17 rating.
"Anyone who thinks the
media [have] nothing to do with [youth violence] is an idiot," said CBS
President Les Moonves in the May 19,1999 Washington Post.
"The evidence is
overwhelming. To argue against it [the link between media violence and teen
violence] is like arguing against gravity," said Jeffrey McIntyre,
legislative and federal affairs officer for the American Psychological
Association, in the May 9, 1999 New York Times.
"That's why we have
parents. Otherwise, kids would be saying, ‘Oh, The Matrix- I'm going to
watch that over and over.' It really is up to them to decide what their children
go see, because it's up to the adults to decide how their kids will turn out and
how they should teach their kids what to do." - Phantom Menace star Jake Lloyd to E! Online when asked how
kids would know what they should watch.
"I told the director,
‘Don't hold back,' when he shot [the two violent] scenes. I thought it would
sell better if it pushed the envelope. Today, I certainly wouldn't have done the
same. Violence doesn't sell."
-Mark Johnson, producer of the CBS mob
drama Falcone, left off the fall schedule because of post-Columbine
concerns over media violence. The show reportedly will debut at midseason.
(August 30, 1999, Electronic Media)
"The one thing Hollywood
never shows, is the aftermath of real violence- when someone gets shot, that
someone is paralyzed, that these people have families. There's no one, unless
they're totally isolated, who isn't affected by that." -Robin Williams in E! Online
"The obsession to reach
younger people at the expense of all others is killing network TV and it's
killing advertising… This entire scenario is probably based on a phony premise -
that it's too difficult to influence older people's buying preferences. So
advertisers don't even try. They're willing to bet the ranch on an unproven
theory. It's not exactly 21st century thinking." -Advertising Age editor in chief
Rance Crain, in the September 13 issue of his newspaper.
"Now the reason is my
children, but back then it was my father. He would have disowned me. My dad
would have killed me." -Michelle Pfeiffer on her policy of not appearing nude in films in the
Hollywood Reporter weekly.
"What amazes me is that HBO
is more [sexually] explicit with its show Real Sex than we are in
anything we have on Playboy TV." -Jim English, president of Playboy
Networks Worldwide, in July 30, 1999 Cablevision.
"As the envelope is pushed
further in the pursuit of ratings, audiences demand redder and bloodier meat."
- University of
Pennsylvania professor Larry
Gross in the September 1999 Details
"If a connection can be
made, say, between crime and certain movies or between fatherless children and
certain music, must society just bear it? Does artistic expression or aspiration
or pretension trump every social calamity?" -New York Times critic Walter
Goodman, in his review of the American Movie Classics documentary Censored!
"The real impact is not so
much that violent images create violent behavior, but that they create an
atmosphere of disrespect. The kid who sees a violent movie and imitates what he
sees is very unusual, but we're seeing pushing, shoving, and hitting among
children occurring with increasing frequency. It's a subtle shift, from 'Have a
nice day' to 'Make my day.'" -Dr. David Walsh,
president of the National Institute on Media and the Family, on the consequences
of media violence.
"People fear power when
they don't have it or don't have as much of it. And this fear is why governments
put restrictions and quotas on American films, and why Congress blames the film
industry for violence in the country. In reality, it is not possible to
influence good people to do bad things and it is probably easy to influence bad
people to behave more badly." -Hollywood
Reporter editor-in-chief and
publisher Robert J. Dowling in the December
1999 Hollywood Reporter Influence of
"Klebold and Harris do not
seem to have been inspired by Hitler, as early theories in the press suggested,
but by a desire to see their stories told in a Hollywood movie." -The Washington Times on the
motivation for the Columbine killers.
"The only thing that seemed
to grow out of the ‘60s was the vulgarity of humor. That vulgarity has crept
into the movies, and they would love to have it on television if they could get
away with it."-Charles Schultz,
creator of the Peanuts comic strip, in a 1984 Milwaukee-Journal
"If you want your kids to
be more sarcastic, more aggressive, more disrespectful, there are plenty of
shows to teach them that. But what if you want your kids to be more forgiving or
more kind? That's what motivated us...If you can tell a story that improves
people's lives and cracks them up, you can get people to pay for things that
make them better people. That's an amazing business model."-Phil Vischer, creator of
VeggieTales, an animated children's video series that teaches moral and
Biblical lessons, in Entertainment Weekly.
"Sometimes I get asked, 'Do
you feel responsible about what you put out lyrically?' or 'What are your
thoughts on censorship?' I've always said, based on my own head, 'Give people
the benefit of the doubt. Give them credit to think for themselves.' Nobody has
the right to say, 'Hey, I'm telling you what you can and cannot see, because I
know better than you.' That's ridiculous. I feel, 'Yeah, empower the
individual.' And then you turn on the news and you see some new idiot who kills
kids in a church, and my argument goes out the window. It's troubling." -Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails in the
12/30/99-1/6/00 Rolling Stone.
"[Sex scenes] always really
disgusted me. I mean really disgusted me. But I loved this script, so I went and
did a nude scene...It's the '90s - everyone's seen a pair of tits."-Actress Thora Birch on receiving her
parents' permission to shoot risqué scenes for American Beauty when she
was 17, in the December 21-27
Hollywood Reporter weekly edition.
"I cannot smoke, drink or
go to the karaoke. I must present a good image. I want to be like John Wayne
-[a] film person that people admire and respect."-Jackie Chan, in the November
30-December 6 Hollywood Reporter.
"The evidence shows that
consistent exposure to stories and scenes of violence and terror can mobilize
aggressive tendencies, desensitize some and isolate others, intimidate many and
trigger violent action in a few."-George Gerbner, Violence and
Terror in the Mass Media, reprinted in the Vancouver Sun.
"I haven't been hooked on
any sitcoms lately. They're kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel for
material."-Ninety-one-year-old Buddy Ebsen, best
known for playing Jed Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies, in an
interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The heads of major
corporations will have more impact on the values of people worldwide than the
heads of government."
- TV producer Norman Lear on the
influence of media in the future in the January 25-31
"As documented in [Robert
Bork's book] Slouching Towards Gomorrah, those who suggest there's
no connection between what our kids see and hear and how they act are dead
wrong. Studies show a direct, causal relationship between the violence portrayed
in movies, magazines, and music and violent behavior. However, common sense
"Billions of advertising dollars are spent each year on the premise that
behavior will be impacted. As noted by Bork, music 'is being used everywhere to
create attitudes - armies use martial music, couples listen to romantic music,
churches use organs, choirs, and hymns. How can anyone suppose that music (plus
the images of television, movies, advertisements) about sex and violence has no
effect?'" - Hank Hanegraaff, writing on "America's Media Culture Breeds Dangerous Youth
Cults," in the January issue of
Christian Research Report.
"With so much pop culture
aberrance, so many conflicting signals, so much hypocrisy, so much public and
government endorsement of same and so few willing to do anything about it, how
in the world are parents supposed to raise decent, fair-minded and respectable
virgins in this country?
"If you complain about
these things to the media or the entertainment industry, they shove the First
Amendment in your face. They may be right about the freedom of expression thing,
but I don't want to hear these hypocrites on national TV complaining about
violence, hedonism and cultural rot if they're not willing to accept at least
partial responsibility and tone their messages down. . .
"Too many parents are
willing to be scapegoats for this rotted cultural sewer we live in. We shouldn't
accept that, especially when we know we're trying to do a good job with our
kids, but get slapped down at every turn by officialdom and irresponsible,
hypocritical people." - Jon E. Dougherty, writing on "How Can
Parents Raise Virgins These Days?" in WorldNetDaily.
"I've always felt that, as
an entertainer, my job is to tell a story and make people feel things, which may
not always mean taking the moral high ground. If a teenager can't discern right
from wrong or fiction from reality, I'm pretty confident that it has little to
do with whether he or she watches Buffy or plays aggressive video games and more
to do with the fact that society has failed to teach him or her how to make
-Sarah Michelle Gellar, star of
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, rejecting entertainment's role in youth violence,
in an editorial in the March issue of Cosmopolitan.
"...If you're going to be
on television, since it is such an influential medium, I think it's very
important that you set a good example and be responsible."-Jenna Elfman, accepting
her award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series at Sunday night's TV Guide
"...It's a thrill, and I'll
tell you what else is a thrill... to have families watching television together
again in the same room."
-Regis Philbin, accepting the award for
best TV Game Show for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire at the TV Guide
"One serious question:
Should ABC have scheduled this at 8 o'clock? [Shannen] Doherty attracts a
youthful audience, and the film deals with student cults in a way that some
impressionable young minds might find enticing. The production company is
Spelling Television, hardly known for high moral standards, but still, you'd
think ABC programmers would have thought twice."- Washington Post
television critic Tom Shales, in his review of the made-for-TV movie Satan's
School for Girls.
"It was a disaster. They
had these kids drinking down in Jamaica, girls drinking beer out of guys'
bellybuttons, many of them looked underage - and, OK, so there were no drugs,
but please. Then they said, 'Brought to you by the Partnership for a Drug-Free
America.' It was almost like they were trying to get us. It was that bad."- A staffer at Ogilvy & Mather, the ad agency handling the media campaign for
the government's Office of National Drug Control Policy, on why MTV no longer
runs their anti-drug ads.
"You can only control it to
a certain degree, because parents have kids sleep over and some parents aren't
as watchful. It's not only from the standpoint of R-rated films or sexuality.
It's for presenting things in a way that is insensitive: the lack of compassion,
the lack of generosity...I just don't want her to see films where the sexual
situations are cynical or where women are demeaned."- Candice Bergen, on her
fourteen-year-old daughter's exposure to today's movies, in an interview with
"Blaming Hollywood is like
taking a high-powered rifle out to a field and shooting a cow. The cow is just
standing there - mooo! - and bam! I mean, we're just trying to make money,
trying to get people to see our product by giving them a good time and they take
that rifle and say, 'It's your fault,' and shoot us."- Producer Joel Silver (The Matrix)
attempting to absolve the entertainment industry of responsibility for what it
produces, reprinted in the April 25-May 1 Hollywood Reporter weekly edition.
"By exaggerating problems instead of illuminating them, television makes the
solutions harder to find and risks creating a society that is more afraid of its
children than concerned for them." - TV critic Robert Bianco on television's neglect of appropriate
programming for children, in the May 12
"Well, you certainly have a
point when you talk about a censorship that seeks to 'prevent your thoughts'
from getting out. But what you want to do on our message board is not give us
your thoughts but give us your vulgarity. It may come as a surprise to you, but
you can express a thought on any subject, including sex, without spewing forth
the 'F' word. Now, on your message board or Web site or soapbox you are free to
use those words...But you cannot do it on our message board any more than I
would allow you to do it at my dinner table. There is no First Amendment right
that says people must listen to your use of vulgarity if they choose not to. We
choose not to. Have a good day." -
ABC's Sam Donaldson, in response to someone who used profanity on Donaldson's
message board at ABCNews.com.
"Although we can dismiss
such pseudo-reality shows as nothing but commercial entertainment, there lurks
in them a ubiquitous dumbing down of taste as well as moral judgment. We rely
not on suspension of disbelief as we would in theater, but on a suspension of
moral awareness as life passes before us."- Syndicated columnist
Suzanne Fields on the problems of current reality-based TV, in the
"Number one, they're hot.
Number two, they don't talk sex or drugs. Number three, they don't use swear
words. They're good, clean fun."- Sixteen-year-old Kori
Koppany on why she likes 'N Sync, to the Washington Post.
Roger Ebert, one of
the country's best-known film critics, recently accused the Motion Picture
Association of America of treating parents unfairly. The following is an
excerpt from his discussion with Charlie Rose (The Charlie Rose Show,
8/7/00) on the merits of summer success Scary Movie: "What I was a little
startled by was the fact that it was really a raunchy, raunchy movie. It was
really hard R, and a lot of parents, I think, were kind of surprised when they
got their kids in there. And I mean, you know, theoretically with an R-rated
movie you're not supposed to take kids in. And there were genitals and other
stuff in there. I mean some of the little six-year-olds were kind of startled
by some of the stuff they were seeing on the screen…[T]he MPAA will not come
through with a genuine ‘A' rating for adults only, and so we have more and more
of this stuff being put into the art category, and that's not fair to parents, I
"It stands to reason.
That's what R means, restricted. You're restricting the audience. But I'd hate
for this somehow to cause a chilling effect on the artistic process."
-Movie-industry analyst Paul Dergarabedian, reacting to a finding that
the average PG-13-rated summer '99 release made $35 million while the average
R-rated summer '99 release made only $20 million, to the New York Times.
"Then there are…questions that the program doesn't raise but somebody ought to
ask: What is the link between violent lyrics and sales? And isn't it odd
that MTV is producing a program on this subject? After all, like many
recent pop superstars, Eminem owes much of his success to MTV's endorsement,
which comes in the form of much airplay." - Alona Wartofsky, on the hypocrisy of an MTV special report,
When Lyrics Attack, which addressed the connection between violent lyrics
and violent behavior, in the Washington Post. (If you didn't know, on
his album Eminem fantasizes about raping and killing his mother and murdering
"We were there to make a TV
show--sex and violence! Duh! They want it, they got it."
- Survivor contestant Greg Buis, when asked by Bryant Gumbel if his on-screen
relationship with fellow contestant Colleen Haskell was real or not.
"I know the ludicrous
search for the edge that seems to obsess all of Hollywood today. My joke is,
what do you have to do to have edge credentials anymore, die? Is
snuff the only thing left?…If there's a battle of filth going on right now- and
there may be- I'm not against it, but I'm not a participant. There are no
more sexploitation, gore, or blaxploitation movies…The reason you had those
movies was because Hollywood wouldn't do them. Well, Hollywood does all
Director John Waters (Cecil B. DeMented) voicing his disdain for
Hollywood in the September 8th issue of Entertainment Weekly.
"There was a time when the
airwaves were a public trust, and the television code was enforcing it. People
were worried about losing their licenses. Today, if there's a real difference,
the line is being drawn almost exclusively by the advertising industry. [If]
advertisers are willing to buy time on shows with more risqué content, they will
go ahead and [sell] it." - David Stanley, producer of Comedy Central's The
Man Show, in the Los Angeles Times.
"I don't think it's the
government's responsibility to regulate what's made, it's the parents'
responsibility to regulate what a child sees or does. We took Nintendo out when
we realized Tom was up to level five on Star Fox. I made the decision to take
the Eminem album out of the house after I listened to the whole thing....I have
chosen not to let my daughter have the Internet in her room -- if she wants to
go online, she has to come downstairs into a common room so my husband and I can
see what she's doing....Is my daughter allowed to see horror movies? Absolutely
not." - Actress and parent of two Jamie Lee Curtis, on parental
responsibility, as reported by IMDb.com.
"I think the thing that
comes across so often to our young people is the idea that if someone
disrespects you, violence is the best solution. By the time you're 21, 22 years
old, you've probably seen between 20,000 and 30,000 people blown away on your TV
set…. At some point, the tide needs to turn a little bit."
- Tom Osborne, former head
coach of the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers and current candidate for
Congress, on what he calls "the unraveling of culture," in the October issue of
"Television's ways are
often mysterious, so the strategy behind this anatomical orientation by NBC and
CBS -- on comedies highly accessible to the very young crowd -- is anyone's
guess. Especially now, just as the entertainment industry is being widely
pummeled again for its sex-and-violence behavior, this time by both major
presidential candidates, members of Congress and the Federal Trade Commission,
to say nothing of much of the public. How shrewd of the networks to rebut their
critics by validating them."- TV critic Howard Rosenberg, on the new sitcoms
Tucker (NBC) and Yes, Dear (CBS), in the October 2 LA Times.
"Despite all of the
posturing, nobody is addressing the real problem with Hollywood: It's not the
violence at all, but the message of moral relativism.... When Dirty Harry
killed, he may have been defying the legal order -- but he was still confirming
the moral order.... Action heroes from Perseus to Captain Kirk have always taken
the law into their own hands; they are men of action, with a well-defined sense
of moral right.... Violence in popular entertainment, then, has a complicated
history; it's neither new nor especially harmful. What really is new is the
trendy moral relativism that characterizes so many movies and TV shows."-Jonah
Goldberg, in the October 23 issue of National Review.
"It would be an odd
conception of the First Amendment ... that would allow a state to prevent a boy
from purchasing a magazine containing pictures of topless women in provocative
poses, but give that same boy a constitutional right to train to become a sniper
at the local arcade.'' - U.S. District Judge David Hamilton in his ruling
that Indianapolis' ordinance banning minors from playing coin-operated, violent
or sexually explicit video-games without parental permission could take effect.
"Entertainment moguls and
media mavens persist in producing 'product' that pleases few and turns off most.
The industry has convinced itself that the only appropriate marketing strategy
is one that taps into the lowest common denominators. Unable to grasp the full
spectrum of mass-market emotions, needs, and desires, it plays to the dark edges
of society's baser instincts with violence, vulgarity, action, fake sex and real
stupidity. As a result, there's little in the way of music, movies, and mass
entertainment for 'the rest of us.' And that's why people stay away."- Gerald
Clente, from Mass Market: They Still Don't Get It, in the fall Trends
"Of course, there should
always be guidelines to protect children. But the best guidelines should come
from the family. The best way to show disapproval is by not supporting bad
movies. Bad movies are made because they make money. If people stopped
supporting these movies by not going, they would cease being made." - Actor
James Caviezel (Pay It Forward), to Crosswalk.com, on movie studios marketing
violent movies to children.
"I feel television has
died. It's such a make-the-doughnuts mentality. It's about finding 48 minutes of
material so you can have 12 minutes of good commercials. If they thought they
could get good commercials out of 10 people being naked and spinning on their
heads in the middle of an island, that's what they'll do."- Hill Harper (City
in TV Guide Online, about the current quality of television programming.
"Kids today. So
desensitized by movies and television."
-The Grinch (played by Jim Carrey) in the movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas,
after unsuccessfully trying to scare a small child.
"Isaac Hayes has banned his
fourteen grandchildren from watching
South Park. The soul legend fears his
sex-mad character Chef will be a bad influence on them." -Dominic Mohan, in
the British newspaper, the Sun.
"This is the first PG-13
movie I've done and I do have this following of really young girls… I've done
some movies where there's heavy sexual content and it's nice to do something
less so. Also, it's good not to feel like you're contributing to the poisoning
of youthful minds."- Actor Ryan Phillippe about his current movie, the
thriller Antitrust, in the Toronto Sun. Phillippe was the star of
the sexually charged Cruel Intentions and last year's ultra-violent The Way
of the Gun.
"Television, with [the racy
NBC sitcom] Just Shoot Me and with all these different shows, it's really
a divisive tool in my household, so I'm very thankful that there are people…who
are willing to take the gamble…and put things forth in front of my family that
we can all watch, hopefully, together one day."-John Schneider, who played Bo
on The Dukes of Hazzard and now is one of the executive producers of ITV
during the recent television critics' tour, as quoted in the Washington Post.
"Having a fourteen-year-old
sister, I see what she's watching - all these teenyboppers portrayed as
promiscuous and their parents are fools, idiots. I don't understand the argument
that it has no impact. I don't know how anyone can say that. Because you're so
impressionable. I still am." -Twenty-one-year-old Broadway actress/singer
Laura Benanti, a Tony award nominee last season, on today's TV and movies, in
the New York Times.
"Hey, you know what? Thoughtful and quality didn't pay off second season. You
know, let's just..."
GG: "...bring out the sex and violence."
AF: "Bring out whatever you can."
Amanda Foreman and Greg Grunberg, to TV Guide Online, on what it takes to
get good ratings.
"His schedule revolves around his [television]
shows. When I put him to bed at night he has to have the TV on…I am concerned
because he's five years old and he'll be starting kindergarten in September and
I worry that we won't get him to bed on time because he's obsessed with his
shows." - Robyn Minnette, on her
five-year-old son Dylan, on
The Oprah Winfrey Show.
"I really believe that we do damage children by the messages we show them when
they're too young."- Marshall Herskovitz,
co-executive producer of Thirtysomething
" I do believe that network television does not need to join that bandwagon [of
striving to mirror cable programming], we need to put on good quality shows with
interesting characters that have surprising stories."- Ted Harbert, President NBC studios
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