Monday, December 01, 2008

Civility Amidst Barbarism

Jeffrey Rosen, discussing the high profile case involving the FCC awaiting a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court, argues that the federal government cannot legitimately enforce "community standards" when the culture has already been coarsened to a point where most people aren't' offended. However, he remains concerned about that coarsening, particularly as it relates to the raising of children:

My two-year-olds won't be allowed to watch any television until they're older, but I still find it difficult to keep them away from the relentless assaults of the screen in public places--on airplanes, in restaurants, and at the doctor. The experience has helped me understand that the debates we like to discuss in terms of indecency are really about privacy--namely, how to protect ourselves from the unwanted intrusions of an increasingly ubiquitous digital culture. The government has no business enforcing norms of indecency that actual American communities no longer embrace. But, at the same time, that leaves those of us who are trying to carve out enclaves of respite from the intrusions of the screen more vulnerable than ever. As Barack Obama reminds us, the only solution, however imperfect, is to turn the television off.

Hat Tip: World Magazine Blog

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