Common Sense Media has issued a report claiming that one out of six ads featured during football broadcasts are inappropriate for children. The report breaks down the number of ads that feature violent content (probably promos for 24 run incessantly by Fox during football broadcasts), alcohol, sexual content and the uncomfortable subject of erectile dysfunction.
I guess they have a point but the one thing I don't get is who determines what is appropriate for children? CSM claims that they don't endorse censorship but at the same time they seem eager to put the onus on networks and, at least in the case, the NFL.
Look, I don't like those 24 promos either. It's not the violence, it's the Kiefer. It's great that Donald Sutherland's kid is back in the acting saddle but there's a reason he fell off of the A-list and you can see that reason in his movie Mirrors. I'm an 80s guy and I'm comfortable with admitting that I enjoyed much of what 80s pop culture had to offer. I don't hate Kiefer Sutherland because I got drunk one night and had "Doc" tattooed on my left bicep. Young Guns wasn't a great movie but it was good fun and a lot of guys called their social pack The Regulators. It's a little embarrassing but it wasn't his fault.
It might not even be his fault that he's not all that great an actor that doesn't mean we should create an entire franchise around his over-the-top interpretation of a super secret agent saddled with the burden of saving the world. We don't see D.B. Sweeney out there whoring himself, do we?
But are the 24 promos too violent? I don't think so. Kids enjoy destruction and tend to play violence out in their fantasies because it gives them a sense of power. That's why I got a hell of a lot more satisfaction stomping sand castles into oblivion than I did from building them.
I also grew up around alcohol. I can still recall beer jingles with greater consistency than I can nursery rhymes...From one beer lover to another Stroh's beer... but I'm not an alcoholic. I dabbled in underage drinking but that had nothing to do with commercials. It was a test of machismo. I was cool because I could buy beer when I was 16 and now I maintain my coolness by buying beer for 16 year-olds who aren't as...endowed as I was. Also, I get a lot of action that way. That's the thing about high school girls, I keep getting older and they stay the same age.
Now I am all for banning those damned Viagra/Cialis/Levitra commercials...especially the Levitra commercials that featured Mike Ditka. That should be in the Viagra disclaimers: If you experience an erection lasting longer than four hours just picture Mike Ditka with an erection lasting longer than fours hours. Mike Ditka gave me ED. He is just one of those people you don't want to associate with sex. I hope he doesn't have kids because then I would have an accurate count of how many times he's had sex in his life. Ick.
I don't want to see commercials about old guys who can't get it up. That never seemed to be a problem back in the old days. You know what men had before Viagra? Sexual Harassment. That's right, back in the day when you couldn't build up enough steam for your wife you hired a cute little secretary and you had her take dictation... from behind. And your wife? She screwed the milk man after you left for work. Everybody was happy. Now we don't even have milk men because bored housewives stopped screwing their brains out. Why the hell do you think they delivered something you could easily pick up at the store in the first place? It was always about the sex.
What about the kids back then? Common Sense Media wasn't running around worried about kids coming home from school to see their mothers getting plowed by the Maytag repair man, so what's the problem with a little T&A during a football broadcast? Grow up. Boys have a penis, girls have a vagina and they feel good when you stick them together. Big deal.
The thing of it is, Common Sense Media is pitching a bitch on a topic that is entirely subjective. For every parent who dreads having to explain what erectile dysfunction is, there's another who has already done it and the kids who are properly informed are the ones who can disseminate all of the content that Common Sense Media denounces. How hard is it to tell a six year old, not to shoot people for real and that old guys can't get boners. Man that's tough. Pour yourself a cold one.
I appreciate the CSM isn't organizing book burnings or marching on Washington to demand censorship, but they make the mistake of blaming the wrong people. We live in a multimedia society. Kids have access to a lot of information and some of requires a little parental guidance. Rather than taking the NFL to task, CSM should turn the tables on its members and challenge them to do a better job of educating their children.