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Lou Pickney's Online Commentary

Censoring Private Ryan

Sunday
November 14, 2004

I hope you all realize what happened this past Thursday night. In many markets across the United States, ABC's broadcast of the movie Saving Private Ryan was pre-empted due to fears of potential sanctions by the FCC. This included WFTS Tampa, which David Caton, head of the Tampa chapter of the Florida Family Association Inc., threatened to file a complaint against with the FCC had the station aired the movie. Nevermind that Saving Private Ryan aired uncut on Veteran's Day on ABC in 2001 and 2002. These are different times.

You see, Bubba The Love Sponge and Howard Stern were the thin end of the wedge when it came to the erosion of broadcasting freedom in this country. Even the holy rollers are torn now; Brent Bozell of the Parents Television Council (who's one of the worst) spoke out (at the behest of ABC) in favor of affiliates airing the movie.

For me, it's personal. Both of my grandfathers fought in World War II. My great uncle, Johnny Pickney, died fighting in Germany in that war. And now this most powerful portrail of that movie, of the hell that is war, is kept from the air from the likes of groups like the "Florida Family Association". It makes me extremely angry. I just hope that the rest of the country is aware of what is going on with all of this.

Wu-Tang Clan member Ol' Dirty Bastard has died. Here's the story, from MTV's perspective.

I do find this line from that article a bit outlandish: "Through Wu-Tang and his own solo career as an artist, songwriter and producer, ODB came to not only define a generation, but a musical movement that continues today."

I liked the song "Got Your Money", and his work with Wu-Tang was great, but defining a generation? I mean, he did have a bunch of illegitimate kids, so I guess in a way he did, but I don't think that was what the guy who was quoted meant.

How can college football (on the Div. I-A level) not have a playoff system? It makes me mad every year. Like clockwork. It's possible that we'll have four unbeaten teams: USC, Oklahoma, Auburn and Utah. Because Utah is not from a "BCS conference", they won't be given fair consideration for a bowl game (which is horrid -- this is the same team that whipped Texas A&M earlier this season). But forget them for a moment: USC, Oklahoma and Auburn are all from major conferences, and all have very good shots at running the table. That Auburn team is something special. I've felt that since I saw them destroy Tennessee earlier this year, and last night's beating of Georgia on national TV helped to cement that line of thought in the minds of many others. But what makes them more or less deserving that USC or OU? Because USC won last year, they should be #1 this year "just because"? What an ass-backward system. I've written about this before, but the big conferences won't let go of the 5 pound moneybag to grab the 50 pound big box of cash, lest they have to actually share the wealth (even though they'd make more in the long run). Those selfish bastards.

I DVRed the movie Midnight Express on Cinemax and watched it this weekend. I see why it received a *** ranking by whomever it is that gives star ratings to cable movies. With the exception of one very uncomfortable scene that came out of nowhere and went unexplained, it was a good movie. It was cool to see how they worked in the "Theme From Midnight Express" during the chase scene toward the beginning of the movie (which later became the theme song for the wrestling team of the same name that hit it big just a few years after this movie's 1978 release). Between that and Road Warrior, I've managed to see a couple of classics in recent weeks. Though the only downer is that the audio isn't that great from those older films, though the nice thing about that is that closed captioning is there as an option...


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