Thursday, July 27, 2006

Ready Alert in the Culture Wars

by Tom Bozzo

I'm glad to hear from Ken that while preschoolers in Lebanon and Iraq live in fear of being blown up while minding their own business, and the unluckier of their American counterparts can look forward to careers trying to avoid being blown up while patrolling Middle Eastern war zones, they are safe from this (which is safe for work if your workplace culture would allow you to watch, let's say, Mr. Show in the office):

(The other video, here, is a little more coarse and not quite as funny in this blogger's humble opinion, though it remains, to paraphrase Manohla Dargis's ratings blurb at the end of the review of "Little Miss Sunshine," nothing any sentient adult hasn't chuckled at.)

Even though PBS KIDS Sprout president Sandy Wax turns out to be a cable industry hack rather than the former deputy assistant press director for Ohioans for Bush-Cheney '04, there is noplace to lay the firing of Melanie Martinez but at the conservative nanny state's Ministry of Truth.

Mere corporate cravenness doesn't explain Wax's facially absurd statement:
PBS Kids Sprout has determined that the dialogue in this video is inappropriate for her role as a preschool program host and may undermine her character's credibility with our audience.
The nexus between the Technical Virgin videos and the preschool program is solely the appearance of Ms. Martinez in each, since preschoolers are not yet experts at searching sites like YouTube — the controversy having overwhelmed the Technical Virgin site itself, leading to the posting of a buzz-off message there — and no sentient parent would do it for them. So it's not the credibility with preschoolers that's in question. And while the cable TV cobranding situation complicates identifying the audience, the adult PBS audience is not stereotypically likely to be outraged at spoofs of abstinence programs.

And since CNN doesn't report on the manufacture of outrage among the usual suspects that the wingnut watchers watch, we can only assume that the pressure to fire Ms. Martinez came from the Republican hacks who have been infiltrating public broadcasting.

Of course, the essence of the hackery is that they've helped accelerate a viral video sensation.
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