Censor? I Barely Know Her!

May 12, 2005

Modern televisions can actually block certain television shows or even whole stations. I never thought much about this technology, mainly because I’m an adult and most of the time can be bothered to lift my fingers just enough to reach the remote to change the channel from a program I don’t want to watch to another program I don’t want to watch. I can understand why this technology is good for parents who often go out for a night on the town leaving little Johnny unattended, and when they come home not only can little Johnny not read but he has the wrong idea about what plumbers do for a living.

But I digress. This technology is very easy for parents to use once they’ve completed an advanced degree in electrical engineering, and only needs to be applied to the television in the family room because children would never watch anything inappropriate in their own rooms. (Seriously, Mom, I was not staying up late to watch Benny Hill. That snapping noise that sounded like a television being turned off whenever you came to check on me was just my lips popping in my sleep. Also that eerie blue glow was my night light. And the sound of "Yakety Sax" was just your imagination. You probably have that song running through your head right now just from me saying "Yakety Sax, don’t you?) If you’re concerned that your children might see something inappropriate on the televisions in their rooms buy a satellite dish.

According to commercials made by cable companies satellite dishes will actually hunt down and eat all televisions in your home. This will save you from having to watch the Discovery Channel’s series on the cycles of life and death in the telecommunications veldt. But I digress. Although I have a knee-jerk reaction to the mere idea of censorship of any kind, I’ve been thinking about blocking some of the programs, or even some stations. I’ll start with the religious programming networks. It’s not that I’m bothered by what they say; it’s just that I can’t look at those people without wondering how much food for the homeless they could buy with the amount they spend on mascara and blue hair dye. And then there’s all those cable news channels. I think they’re all biased. They’re biased against information that’s actually important to me. I don’t care what Hollywood celebrity gave birth while getting married in the same courtroom where her trial is currently taking place, the eight-hour coverage of which is usually followed by, "And today on Capitol Hill there was a bill passed that will affect Social Security or Medicare or clean water or something. And now back to the Hollywood Trial of the Century!" I’ll also block any program that has gratuitous high-speed roller-coaster shots inside a tin can, into a wall socket, or down a person’s alimentary canal to show exactly how they contracted ebola or were killed by a thimble. What I really want, though, is the power to block commercials. I don’t know whether the technology for that exists yet, but when it does I’ll start with all "male enhancement" commercials. These drugs get enough free coverage from stand-up comics and news programs that they don’t need commercials.

Next I’ll block any commercial which includes either the phrase "side effects include" or "ask your doctor". If it has side effects I probably don’t need it, and the pharmaceutical companies already spend enough convincing my doctor to push unnecessary drugs on me that I barely have time to ask him if it’s normal for me to bleed from my toenails. Then I’ll block any commercial for toilet paper. The last things I want to think about in the bathroom are angels strumming harps, ladies’ sewing circles, or porcupines. Finally I’ll block all commercials that are trying to sell me something. Or maybe I’ll just find some way to muster the strength to change the channel.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.

Fifty-one years ago Herman James, a Tennessee Mountain man, was drafted by the US Army.

On his first day in basic training the army issued him a comb. That afternoon the Army barber sheared off all his hair.

On his second day the Army issued Herman a toothbrush. That afternoon the Army dentist removed seven of his teeth.

On the third day the Army issued him a jock strap. The Army has been looking for Herman for 51 years.

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