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when the price is right

By Diogenes (articles ) | Sep 09, 2005

If you haven't already thrown out today's paper, open the entertainment section and count how many movie ads depict -- together, within the same montage -- a firearm and an incompletely-costumed young woman. The Weekend Arts section of this morning's New York Times has four.

This core-sampling experiment was provoked by the Parents Television Council's Brent Bozell, speaking about advertiser hypocrisy:

"Even though blame for television's increasingly offensive programming is often assigned to producers, writers, networks and even viewers," he said, "sponsors supporting shows with graphic sexual content, foul language and violence share responsibility."

Bozell said many corporations that enforce strict sexual harassment policies turn around and underwrite broadcast material which would violate that same harassment policy if the material were communicated by one employee to another.

Mining a parallel vein, your Uncle Di has been desultorily tracking the remarkable frequency with which the firearm-plus-sex image is used to sell movies -- even films that are pieces of Left-wing propaganda. My interest is not in the allure as such, but in the fact that the papers in which these ads appear -- without exception -- have no editorial objection to sexual indulgence but are vehemently opposed to private ownership of handguns and other repeating arms. Unless you live in Nebraska or Uzbekistan, this is probably true of your local newspaper too.

Movie ad hypocrisy is the flip side of that mentioned by Bozell -- here it's the guy who pockets the bribe who sells out -- but just as duplicitous. Consistency requires that the editors either keep mum about guns or refuse ads that use them as enticements. Yet movie ads bring in a nice chunk of change, perhaps enough to let the publisher vacation yearly in Cannes instead of Palm Springs; clearly their principles have a for-sale tag. Good to keep in mind next time the word "sanctimonious" appears in an editorial.

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