AS I SEE IT
by: Bob Magee
This Thanksgiving weekend, AS I SEE IT goes international, as the folks at The Lion's Den over in the United Kingdom have been nice enough to add the column to their website. Stateside, the Ringsider and Pro Wrestling Headlines have added the site this week.
I hope all of you in the United States have had a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving weekend.
This week's column takes on an attempt by a right-wing United States organization calling itself the "Parents Television Council".
For those who aren't aware of this situation, let me explain. Many of you who watched WWF programming over the last few weeks have noticed references to Wal-Mart (and other stores, which the WWF hasn't mentioned) pulling the Al Snow "Summer Slam" action figure.
This past week on RAW in North America, Jim Ross made reference to the Parents Television Council. They object to some of the angles that I'VE objected to, such as the Paul Wight cancer angle. But there's a major difference between the way these people think and the way I think.
I objected to the ANGLES. But, as we can do in America...I expressed my viewpoint. The vast majority of those who wrote me in reply to my AS I SEE IT column agreed at least with the inappropriateness of using a ten-bell count in the angle. Some didn't go as far as I did that the whole angle was wrong.
But I NEVER said say that WWF programming should be pulled so that NO ONE could make that choice for themselves. Not even WWF critic Bob Ryder went that far, in one of our rare examples of agreement. He thought that the angle was as horrible as I did. But even he never called for the banning of all WWF programming.
Now, let's say you read this column and say "I'm not a WWF fan. I'm a ECW fan. They're just copying what ECW did first."
ECW fans, do you think that the international coverage that the fan-based STRICTLY ECW group, and those within the company worked so hard for two years can't disappear? Do you think if these right-wing zealots get a good look at ECW, either on TNN or the syndicated version, that they won't go berserk? Hell, TNN was barely tolerating ECW only weeks ago...
WCW fans... just remember if censors attack the WWF's product on UPN and USA...with the recent hiring of Vince Russo and Ed Ferrera and their TV-14 content, WCW's programming on TNT and TBS can just as easily be targeted by this group, if not more so.
Why would it be more easily done with WCW? Don't believe it...think it's me just going off on WCW again?
I have two words for you: Lenny...Lodi. GLAAD, a gay rights organization undertook a similar lobbying campaign, which claimed that the Lenny and Lodi characters added to a climate of hate against gays and lesbians. It resulted in the always politically correct Time- Warner-Turner corporate empire to kick their characters off the air, and keep these two workers sitting home.
It's not just the companies that own the WWF, WCW, and ECW. Do you think advertisers can't be pressured by even such a small pressure group? With this "Parents Television Council" alone, the Defense Department has pulled recruiting ads from Smackdown. Coca-Cola has pulled its ads from WWF programming.
Do you STILL think this won't happen? Do you STILL think it's a bunch of people on the Internet running around half-cocked? Go ahead and believe that.
Suddenly, you'll see that someone who has appointed themselves your moral guardian will have told you what you can watch. Suddenly either one or more major promotion's wrestling shows will not air, at least in any fashion recognizable today.
Your wrestling will have been "sanitized for your protection" by a right-wing front group run by a man named L. Brent Bozell III, whose father wrote speeches for Joseph McCarthy, the United States Senator responsible for creating a generation of political cowardice and fear during the 1950s. L. Brent Bozell who worked for the Unification Church, better known to all as the "Moonies" religious cult.
According to the WWF website, Bozell has "attacked programs like the
cartoon show Captain Planet and the Planeteers because it 'seeks to indoctrinate children and scare them into leftist political activism', has stated that the media panders to gays, that Bryant Gumbel is an
'insufferable leftist', and that Nelson Mandela is 'the leader of a terrorist movement".
Let me get this straight. The Captain Planet TV show is a "little red school house of the air"? Corny, perhaps...but indoctrinating children? C'mon....
CBS morning anchor Bryant Gumbel is a "leftist"? Yeah, you'll see see him hanging out around the local Socialist Workers party office every day. Right.
Nelson Mandela, the George Washington of South Africa is a "terrorist"? Give me a damned break.
Listen up, readers... reading this kind of right-wing garbage should scare the hell out of you. Suddenly the potential exists for those who would only see the kind of TV programs that their own extreme political views deem appropriate to pull your favorite programming from TV. It's time to challenge them.
Contact the sponsors of WWF you see listed at the end of this column; AS WELL AS the sponsors of WCW and ECW programming. Tell them you appreciate their advertising support of programs you enjoy. The STRICTLY ECW people have been doing this for 2 years, calling it "preventive maintenance". Those of us who work in business call it client/customer relations. It's real and necessary, especially now.
The flagship site of this column, PWBTS, has established a site at which you can get information regarding the "Parents Television Council" censorship issue at http://pwbts.com/censor.html.
You can find information regarding the issue in question, as well as numerous contact addresses for this Parents Television Council, as well as a list of WWF licensees. Anyone who would care to send us a list of WCW or ECW licensees can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PWBTS has also created a banner, which webmasters and fans are more than welcome to add to your websites; in order to show your support for freedom from censorship and freedom to choose what YOU watch on television on Monday and Thursday nights. The banner is at http://pwbts.com/noptc1a.jpg.
See if you buy a product from any of the following World Wrestling Federation domestic licensees: Adorable Kids, Advanced Sports Concepts, American Marketing Enterprises, Berkshire Fashions, Carolina Manufacturing, Changes, Cranstow Consumer Products, Drew Pearson Marketing, Freeze, Happy Kids, Impulse Wear, Mr. Tees, Ocean Atlantic Textile Printing (Wild Oats), Ralph Marlin, Ramatex International, The Andover Apparel Group, The Home Game, The Rainbow Connection, Trau & Loevner, Trinity Products, Vida Shoes International, Bakery Crafts, Daily Juice Products, Good Humor Breyers, Oddz On, Sound Bites, Toymax, Cardinal Industries, Cuddletown Friends.
Others include: DSI Toys, Game Day Enterprises, Intervisual Books, Irwin Toys, Jakks, Just Toys, Larami, LA Toy Zone, Micro Games of America, Protos, Placo Toys, Planet Toys, Ringside Supplies, Spin Master Toys, Sports Fun, Top of the Line, Toy Island Manufacturing, Toys ‘R’ Us, The United States Playing Cards, Bev Key of Canada, Franco Manufacturing, GMZ Associates, Holiday Fair, Jay-Gur International, Technicraft Industries, The Northwest Co., Another Line, Buy-Rite, Lawrence Eyewear, M.Z. Berger, Next Millennium, Pan Oceanic Eyewear, Cesar, Disguise.
If you buy products from a similar sponsor of ECW and World Championship Wrestling, contact them. Tell them the same thing.
On Thanksgiving weekend, be thankful for the right to choose your own forms of entertainment. Don't take your freedom to enjoy what YOU choose for granted. It's time to get to work.
Until next time.....
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If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com