Diatribe: Censoring Dialogue But Not Images.
This is the time of year when television watchers have little to get excited about. The major networks are saving their new shows for the fall and cable seems to be airing “filler”. Fortunately, most cable and satellite providers have begun to offer “on demand” services which, along with Netflix, etc., allow us to “binge watch” television series that we’ve heard about but have never seen. A recent discovery at our house is Criminal Minds.
The CBS procedural drama made its debut almost nine years ago as part of the 2005 fall lineup and follows a team of FBI profilers from the Behavioral Analysis Unit. Unlike other crime dramas, this one focuses on the criminal rather than the crime itself. The writing is great and the cast is engaging. Rather than watch the old episodes on DVD or via a streaming service, we’ve been watching them on basic cable network ION Television.
Sadly, ION doesn’t appear to have many advertisers, as the commercials that air during Criminal Minds always appear to be for other ION programs, but using a DVR usually lets us avoid them anyway. The network, however, does something else that really grates on my nerves. They randomly censor the episodes for language that someone, somewhere, deems unsuitable for us to hear, but not for the often extreme violence and gut-wrenching reality that we see as the Criminal Minds team address as they solve crimes.
While allowing viewers to watch brutal murders take place, gun fights resulting in lots of blood and many deaths, dismemberment and various types of torture, ION chooses to censor language deemed objectionable, for example, “This case is going to be a pain in the [SILENCE]”. It seems to me that dialogue deemed suitable to air in prime time on a major network should be fine in re-runs on a basic cable network.
I’ll never understand why the powers that be find it necessary to censor language but not images. Is it unreasonable to assume that the same viewers, probably children, that A&E doesn’t want to hear the word “ass” shouldn’t see blood, guts, torture, dismemberment and bullets flying like it’s perfectly normal? As a parent, I’ve always felt that SEEING something objectionable was more damaging to a child than HEARING a “bad word”. We can teach our children not to say things but we can’t teach them not to see things. A mental image can last longer than a sound and kids rarely have nightmares about words that they hear.
I think censorship is wrong … even more so when it’s inconsistent.
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