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Monday, November 22, 2004
I thought this article was going to be fairly retarded (I mean, c'mon, an article in the Times headlined "Many Who Voted for 'Values' Still Like Their Television Sin"--it makes me kinda embarrassed), but there's at least one good point.

The choices of viewers, whether in Los Angeles or Salt Lake City, New York or Birmingham, Ala., are remarkably similar. And that means the election will have little impact on which shows they decide to put on television, these executives say...


"It's entertainment versus politics," said Steve McPherson, the president of ABC Entertainment. He dismissed the notion that program creators might be developing ideas specifically to chase voters who claimed moral values as an important issue in this election. "I have not heard an idea of that kind,'' Mr. McPherson said, "none whatsoever."

(Emphasis mine.) I mean, OK, the devil has better tunes, granted, but nevertheless, I think it's abundantly clear that the vast majority of people functionally separate their values and their pleasures, and that's OK. Entertainment v. politics. Different things.

ADDENDUM: And arguably, this is why the fabled "9/11 effect" (or "Eminem effect" if you'd prefer) failed to emerge. Because they were presented in the form of a movie/pop song, people registered them as entertainment and not politics. The political messages they contained were absorbed as a form of entertainment, "Fuck Bush!" being the equivalent of "Let's get this party started!"

Now obviously the question, at least for me, is if all entertainment mediums are incapable of directly transmitting political messages. For instance, Garfield and Harry Potter books sell very well. Does that mean that books can no longer engage in unambiguous, effective political speech? Well, no. Movies and pop songs are constituted as wholly entertainment-based forms; books, as well as TV and other print publications, are still widely regarded as having at least as much informational value as entertainment. And I stress this for TV: despite the claims of some and the lamentations that the medium hasn't lived up to its potential, it's still widely construed to have, and is actually demonstrated to have, an informational componant. These mediums can transmit political messages; ones perceived to be concerned with entertainment have to do it in different ways, or about different issues.