Frequent contributor Steve O’Connor share some thoughts on Comcast, MTV, and that cable channel’s controversial new show, Skins:
I spent a half hour on the phone yesterday, half of that on hold, with Comcast. I had been watching a report on CNN earlier about a new drama called “Skins” to be shown on MTV. One sponsor, Taco Bell, I believe, has already backed out of advertising during the show, which apparently depicts sex, drug use, and getting drunk among high school kids. Some of the actors are as young as fifteen. Many of the viewers will be younger, I’m sure. Just when you thought the bar of American culture couldn’t get any lower.
MTV defended itself against critics by insisting that they were just reflecting the reality of young lives. They are misunderstood artists of course. Meanwhile, I’m a parent who is just fed up with the rubbish that MTV has been flinging in the faces of our young people for so many years. It’s been a battle getting my kids to turn the channel on shows during which every other word is bleeped out. The characters, in reality shows or dramas, are usually spoiled and self-obsessed, back-stabbing, gossiping, materialistic individuals who are only happy when they are admiring themselves in the mirror, getting drunk in a hot tub, or bad-mouthing some so-called friend.
The Comcast representative, an extremely polite woman who I understand is just doing her job, informed me that it’s possible to block channels. Well, we don’t have a box on every TV, so that’s not really an option. The V chip blocks by content, so in blocking MTV, I might be unable to watch Band of Brothers on the History Chanel, or movie that depicts a sex scene which is not gratuitous, but part of a story with redeeming value, maybe with characters who actually love each other and sacrifice for each other. I guess it’s the shallowness, the mindlessness, of MTV’s brand of sex or “hooking up” and partying that troubles me more than anything.
I’d like to suggest, if you have Comcast, that you take a look at the Digital Economy package. Half the price, and you get basic Service, plus the cable news networks, A&E, Discovery, Food Network, AMC, History, Hallmark, C-Span 2, Disney, and a lot of others, but no MTV. It’s time to send a message to this company that we’re tired of the “reality” they insist they have to reflect. I’m not bringing up my kids to be monks or nuns, but I am trying to teach them some values. Why would I want to pay to have “Skins” in my home?