Sunday, March 21, 2004

Stern reproach

Good grief:
Howard Stern accused Oprah Winfrey of being a fellow potty-mouth yesterday, saying the afternoon TV queen has aired the same kind of kinky sexual material for which he was being pilloried.
Being employed and oh-so-manly, I don't see much of Oprah. I don't listen to so much of Howard Stern, either - that stuff stays funny only so long once you get past junior high school. But surely he's not comparing the two shows...

Well, I could be wrong. Ladies, tune him in to see what you're missing! You're definitely missing from his demographics. I guess Howard thinks this arises not from content and presentation, but marketing failures.

Oprah can get explicit for sure. I happened to see one telecast about women who had really screwed up, and they had some doozies. The one Howard would like the most would be the 50ish woman who posed for a very explicit men's magazine.

It didn't show on TV of course, but supposedly some of the pictures were shown to the audience on monitors. The cameras panned the mostly-female audience as they about swallowed their tongues. Oprah made it sound like the woman's Fallopian tubes were showing - she kept saying "You spread your vagina!" (which reminds me of a bad joke involving an echo, but this isn't the Howard Stern show).

Anyway, that impressed Oprah as it was. But the best part was that our model was a guidance counselor at a high school, and someone there got hold of the magazine. Whoops. Her conduct was found to be inconsistent with her responsibilities.

Now suppose this woman had appeared on the Howard Stern show. Do you suppose he would have handled this differently?

Should he be disciplined for his show? Good question. He uses the public airwaves, and it's entirely appropriate for the govt to regulate them sensibly as a finite resource that crosses state jurisdictions. And I would think that there ought to be standards for what is broadcast in public just as we have standards for what is done in public. If Howard Stern can't understand that, then maybe too much masturbation does damage your brain.

OK, then what should the standards be? Like about anything else at the federal level - to the least common denominator. Just like with pollution of other forms.

How much should it cost him? He's a multimillionaire - anything less than 6 digits probably wouldn't even register, and the whole affair is giving him all sorts of valuable publicity whether he actively sought it this way or not. Maybe the Finns have the right idea...

It's not as if he has nowhere to go. Let him move to satellite radio. Maybe he can be the "killer app" that will make that technology take off.

But in the meantime he sounds like a big crybaby. And if he believes his own propaganda and thinks what's happening to him is political, maybe he should take a look at what's happening to Rush Limbaugh.

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