The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, November 18, 1991, Page 5, Image 5

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Urge to censor hurts everyone
I’ve got the feathers. Who’s got
the tar?
Yes, once again, someone
has dared to create that which is not
100 percent acceptable to 100 per
cent of the world.
The culprit is Michael Jackson, of
course, with his new music video,
“Black or White.”
Jackson’s 11-minute plea for ra
cial harmony is under fire for being
“tasteless,” “obscene,” “disgusting,”
“violent” and “inappropriate for chil
dren’s viewing.”
After Omaha’s KPTM aired the
video Thursday evening, hoards of
people— 18 to be exact—called the
station, most of them to complain.
The station has been apologizing
profusely ever since. It was duped, it
said. It didn’t have a chance to pre
view the video, which it surely would
have refused to air if it had.
The people complaining about the
video seem to be upset with Jackson’s
crotch-grabbing, and they arc more
than a little steamed by the way he
seems to encourage vandalism by
beating the hell out of a car with a
crowbar, then throwing its steering
wheel through a window.
It makes you wonder; doesn’t it?
For one thing, people should not
be surprised to sec Jackson grab his
crotch. It’s not like he hasn’t done it
before. And it’s not like it’s the first
objectionable thing to be shown in a
music video.
I know that a great many people in
Lincoln — including some of the
complaincrs, I’ll wager — subscribe
to cable television. And with basic
cable comes MTV, which has been
showing videos like Jackson’s latest
— or worse — during prime lime for
the last decade.
Second, I find it hard to believe
that Jackson’s video is the worst thing
these people have ever seen in prime
Why is the content of Jackson’s
video so emotionally disturbing to
KPTM? Is the station saying that it
has never aired anything that contains
violence or sexuality?
Let me grab the ol’ TV listing.
Lots of little children are home Satur
day, their eyes glued to the TV, so
let’s see what was on KPTM that
Starling at noon was “Three
O’Clock High”; “A bully challenges
a California high school student to a 3
o’clock fight in the parking lot.” Pretty
wholesome so far.
At 2 p.m., “Biloxi Blues.” The
1992 Video Movie Guide says the
film is rated PG-13 for “sexual themes.”
Of course, it’s sure to have been watered
down for television, but we all know
that it still won’t end up being any
where near the equivalent of a G
At 4 p.m. was the old family view
I have vet to meet a
pathetic, lowly, mis
erable. wretch at a
human being whs,
has, explained failure
in life bv saving. “It
all started when I
saw Michael Jackson
grab his crotch.”
ing favorite, “Mad MaxFor thoscof
you who haven’t seen it, “a leather
clad lawman with a sawed-off shot
gun hunts outlaw bikers in a barren
future.” Is it more objectionable for
Jackson to smash a car with a crowbar
than for a car and the man driving it to
be crushed under a semi?
As Jack Weston says to Alan Alda
in the movie “The Four Seasons,”
“Why can’t you listen to WHAT I’m
saying instead of HOW I’m saying
People arc so traumatized by
Jackson’s crotch-grabbing and car
smashing that they completely miss
the point of the song — skin color
should not keep people apart. I swear,
if one of our founding fathers had
grabbed his crotch during the signing
of the Declaration of Independence,
we’d still be part of Great Britain.
Whenever something on TV man
ages to send a few censorship-loving
people into a frenzy, the natural reply
of the sensible is to say “turn h off.
But the problem with that sort of
philosophy, people say, is that par
ents cannot always be watching their
children, controlling what they see or
don’t sec. So if something “bad” is
shown on television, kids are going to
see it regardless of whether their par
ents want them to. Therefore, the
only solution, they say, is to keep TV
But what is so bad about “Black or
Let’s consider the crotch-grabbing
first. If it’s so offensive, people
shouldn’t watch baseball. Let’s be
honest. We all have crotches. And
who doesn’t grab theirs from time to
time? Is it really so terrible?
I have yet to meet a pathciic, lowly,
miserable wretch of a human being
who has explained failure in life by
saying, “It all started when I saw
Michael Jackson grab his crotch/’
Crotch-grabbing looks rather crude,
but otherwise it is completely harm
less. No child is likely to be corrupted
by it.
And what about Jackson’s auto
bashing? I have to be honest. When I
saw the video, I thought, “That’s rather
irresponsible of him.”
After kids watch “Three O’Clock
High” and “Mad Max,” plus about 20
viewings of “Teenage Mutant Ninja
Turtles,” Jackson’s video may very
well be the straw that breaks the Yugo’s
windshield. Kids might get it into
their heads that vandalism could be
fun. But that’s where parents come
As afraid as some people might be
to admit it, parents do have responsi
bilities. I do not understand parents
who would rather scare television
stations into adopting censorship rather
than taking a little time to talk to their
One day on campus, I was walking
past that big, red, metal sculpturc
thing when I noticed a woman and a
small child coming toward me. The
woman stopped and looked at the
sculpture for a couple seconds. Then
she did something amazing. She said
to her son, “I don’t like it; do you?”
That moved me. An adult had
actually asked a child a question —
and it wasn’t, “Do you have your
homework finished, young man?” No,
it was a real question — a question
about nothing important.
Now, back to the Jackson video.
What would be so difficult about a
parent saying to a child: “Did you see
Michael Jackson’s new video? What
did you think about it? Did the vio
lence or the crotch-grabbing bother
you? Of course, you realize that Jackson
paid for that car so it was OK for him
to smash it up. And the same goes for
his crotch — it’s his, so it’s OK for
him to grab it.”
If parents would talk to their chil
dren like that often enough, children
might actually get the idea that their
parentsareOKpeopletheycantalkto I
now and then about important and
not-so-important matters.
And then parents wouldn’t have to
worry that if their kids watch the
wrong thing on television, they’ll turn
into foul-mouthed, Ninja-Turtling, car
smashing, crotch-grabbing fiends. And
then it would be OK for Jackson and
others to express themselves in what
ever legal way they wanted.
And then I and other responsible
adults wouldn’t have to be deprived
of everything but that which is suit
able for 3-year-olds.
Frederick is a senior news-editorial jour
nalism major and a Daily Nebraskan colum
nist and photographer.
UNL bungled Apollo 009 barter |
After reading the story on the swap
of the Apollo009 space capsule (“We
have liftoff,” DN, Nov. 14), I feel
compelled to respond. Do University
of Ncbraska-Lincoln officials have
any common sense? Being new to
UNL, maybe I don’t see the entire
picture. But it seems to me that trad
ing a piece of history like the Apollo
009 capsule for an assortment of triv
ial space junk would be like the Mi
ami Dolphins trading Dan Marino for
a bunch of 12th-round draft picks.
And just what is UNL getting in the
deal? Some old suits? (Who knows
where they’ve been?) An antique
Supposedly, the reason for the deal
has to do with the capsule’s deteriora
tion due to weather exposure. Now if
you had an old Model T Ford, for
instance, would you park it on the
street where it would be rained and
snowed on and eaten away by salt? If
you were the administrators, you
would. Hasn’t it occurred to them in
the last 20 years to move the capsule
inside? (My, oh my, what a novel
idea.) Or at least to put some kind of
shelter around it? It’s a shame that
UNL feels it must give away this one
of-a-kind historical piece for a few
trinkets. Just a thought.
David Davis
graduate student
animal science
Lisa Pytlik/DN
Got an opinion?
The Daily Nebraskan is seek
ing a broad range of viewpoints in
its columnists Tor the spring se
mester. Applications are now
being accepted.
Applicants must be UNL stu
dents and must show depend
ability and solid knowledge of
grammar and writing skills.
Stop by room 34 of the Ne
braska Union to pick up an appli
cation and sign up for an inter-,
view. Positions will be announced
Nov. 25.
UNLdoes not discriminate in its aca
demic, admissions or employment pro
grams and abides by all federal regula
tions pertaining to same.
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