Art Talk

There are 8 comments on the The Capital Times story from Apr 15, 2008, titled Art Talk. In it, The Capital Times reports that:

Art Talk: Should PBS have blurred naked men's heinies in Forster novel-film? Jacob Stockinger - Sunday night I saw "Masterpiece Classic" - the former "Masterpiece Theatre" repackaged, with spacey host Gillian ...

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Studio City, CA

#1 Apr 15, 2008
I favor censorship
Oh Marianne -

Madison, WI

#2 Apr 15, 2008
Those that haven't anything sensible to say really shouldn't say anything at all.

Madison, WI

#3 Apr 15, 2008
I do not favor censorship, especially when it comes to art and essential human expression. I find the trends of bleeping certain words or images absolutely chilling in terms of the future of freedom of expression. Aren't we fighting costly wars in other countries so their citizens can express themselves freely???
Dr Paul Rapoport

Tecumseh, Canada

#4 Apr 15, 2008
I am not interested in seeing art brought down to the level of the fearful and manipulative prudes, bigots, and anti-human hypocrites. Furthermore, blurring, pixellating, and the like infantilize viewers, ruin artworks, and draw more attention to something than would otherwise be drawn. So it's both destructive and self-defeating.

PBS ought to be the leader in the English-speaking so-called free world. It must not give in to anti-freedom bullies and tyrants like the FCC.
Dr Paul Rapoport

Tecumseh, Canada

#5 Apr 15, 2008
Sorry, "it's" should be "they're."
Garry Denny

Madison, WI

#6 Apr 15, 2008
In the interest of full disclosure I am the Director of Programming for Wisconsin Public Television.

The "censorship" of nude male buttocks in Masterpiece Classic "A Room with a View" was done by PBS at the national level, acting on behalf of the welfare of local member stations (we are not affiliates). You could have easily answered this question by taking the time and effort to make one local phone call to Wisconsin Public Television.

In the current climate of FCC sensitivity to what the agency considers "indecent" language and imagery all commercial broadcasters must be particularly careful in our programming choices. In fact, an FCC decision to fine ABC for the appearance of a naked butt in an episode of NYPD is exactly why "Room with a View" was visually obscured for broadcast. A local public television station simply cannot afford to risk a minimum fine of $325,000 per instance for broadcasting what the FCC has already judged as indecent; nor can we afford an expensive, protracted legal battle to defend the broadcast. There are public television stations in this country that would be have to close shop if faced with a $325,000 fine.

To answer one of your overreaching questions:

Should they lose viewership and even support "from viewers like you" because of it?

No, of course we don't think we should lose the valuable viewership and support of people in the Wisconsin communities we serve. The services we provide to Wisconsin communities goes beyond 90-minutes of television. Should children, parents and educators who count on us to provide commercial-free, high-quality educational children's shows lose that service because a small group of viewers wanted to see naked butts? Should the viewers who called our resource hotline for information about caregiving during our broadcast of "Caring for Your Parents" not have the valuable service because we risked showing naked butts?

While I appreciate your central point about censorship of art and literature, our responsibility at Wisconsin Public Television and public television nationwide is to provide our viewers and supporters with continuity of service. We can't and won't put our service at risk in order to wrestle with FCC guidelines.

Next time you have any questions about Wisconsin Public Television and our programming feel free to call.

Middleton, WI

#7 Apr 17, 2008
I appreciate Garry Denny's remarks. Perhaps the real question is why would Masterpiece Classic waste time and money on a second rate remake of the excellent film starring Daniel Day Lewis, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Simon Callow and other award winners?
Dr Paul Rapoport

Tecumseh, Canada

#8 May 14, 2008
While I appreciate the comments from Madison, one does not fight repression and evil by simply agreeing to it with an explanation.

The FCC will be defeated in its insanity and harm. It would be helpful if PBS joined the fight.

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