I had a classmate at Princeton named Richard Land. In the years we were at the University, from 1965-1969, we lived in a world of constant ferment: from the civil Rights demonstrations of '65 and '66 to the anti-war protests that lasted right up to our graduation. During all that time, I never saw Richard Land. The moral crusades of my generation: rights for blacks and women and the opposition to a war in Vietnam started under the false pretenses of the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, passed him by but now he's got a real moral crusade. Richard Land is now President of the Southern Baptist Convention and as his bio cites “Dr. Land has represented Southern Baptists' interests in the halls of Congress, before U.S. Presidents, and in the major media.”
Yesterday, at the behest of Land and his brethren, James Dobson and Tony Perkins the Senate passed the Broadcasting Indecency Bill that makes sure that if Bono uses the F word in celebration on NBC's Golden Globes again, every one of their hundreds of affiliates will get slapped with a $300,000 fine. But guess what? The 300 cable networks of this country from Spike TV to E! are exempt from this legislation because of “free speech concerns.” In other words, like the anti-gay marriage amendment, this is a fig leaf for political posturing in November and nothing else.
If I saw Richard Land at a Princeton reunion I would tell him that I would like to have a serious conversation about the Pornoization of American Culture. I would like to know why Rupert Murdoch publishes trash like Jenna Jameson's “How to Make Love Like a Porn Star”. I would like to know why some of America's largest media and hotel corporations are making billions on XXX porn video. I would like to know why teenage girls think the route to their 15 minutes of fame is removing their shirt on “Girls Gone Wild”. I would like to know why the magazine stands seem to be filling up with Maxim and Penthouse clones. But we won't hear any conversation on those topics in the chambers of the Republican leadership, because they involve major corporate sponsors of their lower taxes and no regulation agenda. Money trumps morals every time.