Sudden Death Playoffs

I watched an NFL playoff game_-Quoth the Ravens: Next year–to see how much violent TV programming would be promoted during the game at a time when my 10-year-old daughter, and lots of other people's children, would be watching with their parents. I threw the football with her at half-time, by the way, and she's got game.

Anyway, Tim Winter the new presdident of the Parents Television Council, had suggested last week that one of his concerns about violent 10 p.m. dramas was their promotion in the afternoon in sports telecasts.

Frankly, I share his concern if not PTC's eagerness to blame the messenger.

Networks can't help but use the NFL playoff games as a promotional vehicle given their stellar ratings, can they? And advertisers need to plug their products, even serial killer movies,  don't they?

So, my daughter and I were bombarded with talk–and video–of maniacal hitchhikers, psychotic, ruthless hit men, and my least favorite, a Criminal Minds spot pointing out helpfully that "they were stil alive when he severed their limbs."

My daughter turned away, troubled, then asked me why I was furiously taking notes during the commercial. I said I was trying to record how many violent shows and movies were being promoted…she finished my sentence unprompted with…"while little people might be watching?" Yes, I said, exactly. While little people might be watching.

I will defend artistic freedom until they cart me away.It's not just my job, it's my passion.

I believe the country's greatness is rooted in its tolerance of diversity–in people and politics and entertainment–but prime time TV is too violent, and we, all of us, need to think about why that is and how healthy that is.

Obesity is a growing threat to our national health, but I wonder if our appetite for violence doesn't also need curbing for the sake of, not just the children, but all of us.

By John Eggerton