Friday, July 28, 2006

Censorship: The absurd and not-so-absurd

While purusing some news stories this morning, I stumbled upon a story entitled, "WWII documentary may incur indecency fines". This is the absurd part. Ken Burns is a master documentary maker and to edit the spoken word of our soldiers who offered their lives to fight for this country is just preposterous! Boooo, FCC! Howard Stern would have a fit if he heard about this and rightly so, boooooo!!!

OK, sorry about that. On to the not-so-absurd topic: DOPA, which stands for the Deleting Online Predators Act. At first I wasn't clear on what this Act was all about and just thought, "Hey if ALA says it sucks, it must suck." I read ALA's official stance on it and although I do feel it's redundant, I actually found myself sort of agreeing with parts of the DOPA. Here my two main reasons...

  • Contrary to popular belief, students WOULD still be allowed to view social networking sites, but they would be monitored to make sure they weren't "cybering" or posting inappropriate pictures (which is a 15-year-old girl's favorite MySpace pastime nowadays). Yes, this is a little "Big Brother"-like and it makes whatever adult present a baby sitter for someone else's kid, but sometimes you must admit defeat. If kids are stupid enough to become online prey, than perhaps they need a Big Brother. It's not like parents are actually going to TEACH their kids what they should and shouldn't do online; that would be crazy!

  • The filters can be turned off for adult use - nice!

  • However, there was a lot of grumbling from Democrats on the floor. Reuters reported that our own John Dingell, said "Like a lot of my colleagues, I'm going to hold my nose and vote for a bill that does nothing."

    In the same article Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said, "I'm voting for this bill to move the process along because protecting our children from online predators is a serious issue."

    He continued, "However, I don't believe it will adequately address these issues. It is overly broad, ambiguous, and the E-rate program was not designed to be the cop on the block."

    So I feel stupid now. I didn't think the DOPA thing sounded that terrible, but apparently it's a broad, noneffective piece of Senate Floor fecal matter. BUT IT WON by a vote margin of 410-15!!! I think next time Democrats don't like a piece of legislature, they should say what they mean and mean what they, rather then just oiling up the Republican machine with their own indecisiveness.

    Ah, to have only two parties, no genuine thinkers and no choices. This is American Democracy? Shoot me.


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