Wednesday, April 18, 2007

So What are Tampons Really For?

This is a bit of a ramble because I haven't really got these ideas clear in my head so there's a bit of cross-pollination and mental confusion. I hope you can make sense of it.

Here we have extremely relaxed censorship laws. Our TV stations have a code of conduct in terms of advertising and explicit material which cannot be played prior to 8.00pm with the exception of video clips showing bags of booty and sexually explicit posturing - Damn those Pussy Cat Dolls (but that's a topic for another blog and the Bratz brigade). Apart from that, we have a variety of TV stations, some more 'liberal' than others, particularly the public stations ABC and SBS and similarly radio stations which are explicit, particularly in terms of politics, sexuality and language. Similarly, pornography is easily accessible via DVD or magazine and of course the net and indeed, we have a whole suburb in Sydney dedicated to the sex industry.

Funnily even before the 8.00 curfew I know that to get an erection, all I need is a nasal spray and to get pregnant I just need to call a certain fertility clinic. Although apparently if I use a tampon it will enable me to get the hunky guy, enjoy the outdoor life, look good in a g-string (thong for yous foreigners) and a slinky dress but nowhere in the advertisement are they allowed to tell me where this little stringed pellet goes or what on earth it is for! I digress.

Political censorship is rife on commercial channels who rely on sponsorship deals to survive and constant US feeds of biased republican reporting via CNN and friends that shows only one side of every story. (Not to mention the barrage of nasty US shows such as CSI, SVU, Greys Anatomy, Oprah, Dr Phil, Jordan's Crossing, Bones bloody hell the list goes on - why pick on the US, theres also The Bill, The East Enders, Miss Marple et al - thank God for The Simpsons, House, MythBusters, Black Books and Smack the Pony!) And I'm not even going to get into the abject lies often told by tabloid journalists - I've touched on that before.

The one jewel in the crown is single free to air multi-cultural channel and it's fantastic and presents a balanced world view from many perspectives.

I'm talking free to air here - I don't have Foxtel or Sky or any of the other cable TV packages.

I've never believed in censorship other than hard core porn and violence. If you don't like something, walk away, turn it off or don't read it.

Even when my family was young, they were permitted to watch videos beyond their age and were exposed to current affairs and the news providing there was parental supervision and the opportunity for explanation (although I found one way to clear a room of youngsters is to put on a current affairs program or a bloody horror film) and apart from washing my six year old's mouth out with soap for swearing at me and confiscating a couple of those awful porn magazines gleaned from an adjacent building site (you know the ones with shots of skanky girlfriends in compromising positions) . . . censorship at home has been loose. This has led to broad discussion on a wide range of topics, an incredible openness in my relationship with my kids and the devlepment of well adjusted young adults who are comfortable in their own skins.

This having been said, censorship exists in a far more insidious way - it has now been disguised as political correctness and has in many cases been legislated via anti-vilification laws and the establishment of tribunals for media whereby just one complaint can shut down a show, remove a billboard or cause the demise of a TV/Radio personality.

How we describe people of different race, colour or sexual orientation is a very sensitive issue, particularly in relation to the Aboriginal and Middle Eastern community. The recent American sportscaster's demise due to naming a basket ball team 'nappy headed hos' is a perfect example of a silly man making a silly comment that has blown into global proportions. How we represent children and women in public advertising is another touchy subject, yet we will repatriate a released paedophile with a new persona just 200kms from a primary school and advertise Lee jeans with an obviously underage provocatively posed girl sucking a lollipop! Explain that one to your tween.

This I find in my neck of the woods is exacerbated by the pentacostal and Anglican 'rightwing' who are having a greater influence on politics and policy. Without offending the Irish Catholic contingency who review this blog . . .my ethics are fine. Yes they probably are grounded in my early Christian upbringing but I am an atheist - I still have principals and a moral code and good manners without these religious ratbags or conservative policy makers trying to tell me how to live my life, educate my children, modify my lifestyle or 'serve' my husband (if I had one) and I refuse to take the good book literally or revert to the precious days of "Good Housekeeping" and misogynistic practices - sorry I told you it was a rant.

This now brings me to the blogstory that was bandied earlier in the week and the idea of not just establishing but possibly legislating a code of conduct for bloggers. Good bloody luck. To me the beauty of blogging is the lack of control and censorship and while I'm sure there are a whole bunch of weirdos out their spruiking their perversions, I treat it generally as a way of communicating with electronic pen pals. It's far more anonymous than actually using snail mail and if people want to be known to you, they can reveal their details. It all boils down to one basic dictum "Common sense" which is of course unusually uncommon. And, I agree with others, the minute you force me to do something, the hackles rise up and it's game on.

I agree with my fellow blogpals that I am capable of self regulation, I won't write anything that hurts others physically or emotionally (unless it's intentional). I just want to vent a little of myself, make some political and social comment, meet some new friends and generally be a bit funny as often as I can. My BCC (Bugger the Code of Conduct) logo is under development.

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