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Author Topic: cencorship -- for the 'kids' sake'
auron
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Just wanted to express my frustration at the latest news commentary show drivel, the head of some organization or other decrying the amount of sex in the media, citing the effect it has on children... So, naturally, their first instinct is to form a group that tries to stop the media from showing sex, or sexual situations. Maybe you don't want your kids watching it, okay; so take away the remote. Watch the Family Channel. If you don't want your kids getting in to R-rated movies, know where they're going. If you don't want them to buy explicit CDs, know what they're buying. Know what they're listening to. Know what video games they're playing. Know who their friends are.

It's called 'involvement.' It's the opposite of 'neglect.' And it works better than rating labels, better than 'R-cards,' better than checking licenses, because contrary to popular belief, children really are quite clever when it comes to finding ways to do what they want to. But when you know what they're doing, you can punish them, or if that doesn't suit your fancy, at least stop them.

And it's certainly better than censorship -- because why should anyone's lousy parenting stop me from watching Nip/Tuck?

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Zyne
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Playing d's advocate... Why should anyone's lousy parenting force you to put a fence around your swimming pool? Or put your dog inside your fence?
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EDanaII
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Ummmm... Consideration?

Ed.

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towellman
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For the good of society. I think that it is the right of the majority to decide what is and isn't for the good of that society. If they decide that 78 murders and 45 extramarital sex scenes on TV per weekday night are not for the good of society then that majority has a right (if not responsibility) to impose restrictions on what is broadcast over the airwaves.

*My statistics are made up, but you get the point*

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auron
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Zyne -- I'd do those things so that I didn't cause the death of someone else's children. And to not get sued. Good example, but it differs in that 1) I directly control what goes around my pool; and 2) An actual life is at stake. As in living/dead, not 'just saw someone's bare buttocks and is now scarred for life.'

Towellman -- How would a society define its 'good' in terms of what is shown on TV/not shown on TV? And, according to that definition, can (should, would, could) the government enforce that definition without compromising its own principles?

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Pete at Home
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I can't drive my kids to the grocery store without driving past large fliers visible to the road that advertise whores for sale. I can't watch the a regular TV news channel without getting ambushed by some semi-censored display from a strip club or some other pimpery, masqarading as news. I don't want this sh!t in my face, let alone in my children's faces. Find a way to get it that doesn't require putting it into other people's homes.
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Slander Monkey
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quote:
Originally posted by towellman:
For the good of society. I think that it is the right of the majority to decide what is and isn't for the good of that society. If they decide that 78 murders and 45 extramarital sex scenes on TV per weekday night are not for the good of society then that majority has a right (if not responsibility) to impose restrictions on what is broadcast over the airwaves.

*My statistics are made up, but you get the point*

It's interesting that you bring this up, because there was a link to a related article recently posted on slashdot: Public Outrage?

Basically it says that a single group, Parents Television Council (PTC), has been responsible for the (vast) majority of complaints to the FCC over the past couple of years -- and the complaints have increased dramatically as of late. The key numbers 99.8% in 2003 and 99.9% of all complaints in 2004 came from PTC. I don't know whether they represent the majority, but it would appear that they have been generating some serious influence, and may help to decide what is too risque for people to watch.

Relevant excerpt:
quote:
The number of indecency complaints had soared dramatically to more than 240,000 in the previous year, Powell said. The figure was up from roughly 14,000 in 2002, and from fewer than 350 in each of the two previous years. There was, Powell said, “a dramatic rise in public concern and outrage about what is being broadcast into their homes.”


What Powell did not reveal—apparently because he was unaware—was the source of the complaints. According to a new FCC estimate obtained by Mediaweek, nearly all indecency complaints in 2003—99.8 percent—were filed by the Parents Television Council, an activist group.

This year, the trend has continued, and perhaps intensified.

Through early October, 99.9 percent of indecency complaints—aside from those concerning the Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction” during the Super Bowl halftime show broadcast on CBS— were brought by the PTC, according to the FCC analysis dated Oct. 1. (The agency last week estimated it had received 1,068,767 complaints about broadcast indecency so far this year; the Super Bowl broadcast accounted for over 540,000, according to commissioners’ statements.)


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SpencerHR
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While I'm certainly all for freedom of speech, I feel that with that freedom must come responsibility. You can't emphasize rights enough, but I think as a society we're so hung up on rights that we neglect the responsibilities that come with those rights. I'm not saying that we should restrict free speech (I don't know yet what I think we should do about this problem), but something has got to give, or society will keep going down the tubes faster than any of us would like to admit. It's a sad state we're in, indeed, when so many people throw responsibility to the dogs and abuse their sacred right to free speech that we even have to have a conversation like this.
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Adam Masterman
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quote:
. If they decide that 78 murders and 45 extramarital sex scenes on TV per weekday night are not for the good of society then that majority has a right (if not responsibility) to impose restrictions on what is broadcast over the airwaves.


No offense, but this is a frighteningly fascist idea. I thought that the principle of liberty dictated that my freedoms are only curtailed as much as is necessary to preserve the freedoms of others. Since when do other people have the right, or God forbid the responsibility, to decide how I live when it doesn't effect them?
Adam

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Zyne
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While you may not be able to (reasonably) prevent your young'uns from seeing a billboard on the side of the road, nobody accidentially owns a television.
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EDanaII
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The problem is, Zyne, you can't control what your kids watch at _someone else's_ house or what they see and here at school.

A certain amount of censorship for the sake of families is just _good society._

Ed.

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Zyne
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Agreed on school, but a parent has control over the people their child visits.

If we are going to accept that some regulation of TV is necessary to keep children away from sex, drugs, etc., then which channels and at what times?

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towellman
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quote:
Basically it says that a single group, Parents Television Council (PTC), has been responsible for the (vast) majority of complaints to the FCC over the past couple of years
I've never thought to make a complaint with the FCC, I've always sent mine to the network that aired the show. After that I'd find out the advertisers that support the offensive prime-time show and let them know I wouldn't be using any of their products.

If you're implying that there is only a small group that feels TV has gone way too far, your implication is flawed in that you assume that all people that find TV content too explicit will choose to express themselves by making complaints to the FCC. Just because one group realized the FCC is a good place to target their energies to the FCC doesn't mean that there aren't millions of others who have acted through other channels.

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TomDavidson
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"After that I'd find out the advertisers that support the offensive prime-time show and let them know I wouldn't be using any of their products."

Did you mean it? Because I find that absurdly silly.

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towellman
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quote:
I thought that the principle of liberty dictated that my freedoms are only curtailed as much as is necessary to preserve the freedoms of others.
How is regulating what a corporation puts on the airways an impingement upon your freedoms? Has your personal speech been restricted? Have you been prevented from gathering? Have you been forbidden from bearing arms?

I may be wrong but I don't remember seeing "unlimited access to boobies and blood on TV" in the constitution.

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towellman
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quote:
"After that I'd find out the advertisers that support the offensive prime-time show and let them know I wouldn't be using any of their products."

Did you mean it? Because I find that absurdly silly.

Why is that, Tom? I'm just a little consumer, I really don't have that much power to influence what a national TV network does. Heck, they never even respond to my emails. But if an advertising exec knows they are losing SOME customers because of their financial support for an offensive show and decides to move their ads to another network then maybe the TV network will pay attention.

Restrictions on TV and movie producers are just like the kids with rules. The push the limits to find out what they can get away with and break them when they can. But if pushing those limits and sneaking by rules starts to backfire and it starts to hurt maybe they'll change.

I think change will have to come not just from the majority forcing regulations down Hollywoods throat, but also from that same majority being active consumers, supporting good quality media content as well as letting everyone involved in the production and distribution of smut know of their dissatisfaction.

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TomDavidson
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"But if an advertising exec knows they are losing SOME customers because of their financial support for an offensive show and decides to move their ads to another network then maybe the TV network will pay attention."

No, it's not silly because they'll ignore you. It's silly because you're refusing to buy a product you'd otherwise buy not because the vendor is doing something harmful, or the product is in any way flawed, but because they're buying time on a network that is, of all things, showing a television program you don't appreciate.

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towellman
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quote:
Towellman -- How would a society define its 'good' in terms of what is shown on TV/not shown on TV? And, according to that definition, can (should, would, could) the government enforce that definition without compromising its own principles?
It shouldn't be that hard to come up with standards of decency that represents what a majority feels is for it's "good". They send letters and emails to their representatives in government, the reps listen and make decisions on what that standard should be.

How is maintaining a decency standard compromising America's principles? Individuals and the press still would have the freedom to critique the government and individual leaders, to call for change--they still have their freedom of speech. We're talking about regulating what corporations, not individuals, put on public airways for entertainment. And like I said in a previous post, government has shown it's rights to regulate corporations in hundreds of different ways. Why not a decency standard for public entertainment over public airways?

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The Drake
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I think that it is all going to become irrelevant over the next decade, as more and more content will be delivered over cable and satellite as subscriber services - both in radio and television.

That is to say that it SHOULD become irrelevant, but the basic cable guys will start getting the treatment next.

As far as banning content entirely as described by towellman, I think that is what Madison would have called a tyranny of the majority - at best.

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towellman
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"It's silly because you're refusing to buy a product you'd otherwise buy not because the vendor is doing something harmful,"

Hit the nail on the head there, Tom, good job. I do see the financial support of smut on television as harmful. Just like PETA folk see animal testing as a reason not to buy a perfectly safe and effective skin lotion. Just like human rights advocates won't purchase inexpensive products that children in sweatshops produce for multinational corporations. I believe it is my responsibility as a socially-conscious consumer to sacrifice purchasing what may be the best, cheapest, product available in order to not support corporate practices I see as harmful and wrong.

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philnotfil
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Should cigarette ads come back to television?
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TomDavidson
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"I do see the financial support of smut on television as harmful."

But this ignores the simple reality of the situation, which is that most advertisers don't take the content of the program into consideration beyond its demographic. If their demographic info says that fifteen-year-old boys watch the program a lot, and they want to sell to fifteen-year-old boys, they'll buy time on the program.

If you don't think fifteen-year-old boys should be watching the program, the problem is NOT with the advertiser but with the boys.

------

BTW, phil, the situation's not analogous, in that cigarettes are inherently harmful, while a Swiffer, even if advertised on "Desperate Housewives," is not. (Note, however, that I don't think we should ban cigarette advertising, and regret that we're mommy-and-daddying the airwaves.)

[ December 07, 2004, 11:49 AM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
How is regulating what a corporation puts on the airways an impingement upon your freedoms? Has your personal speech been restricted? Have you been prevented from gathering? Have you been forbidden from bearing arms?


This argument is particularly specious. To answer your questions in order:

1. It infringes on my right to free access to information. Freedom of speech means freedom to express as well as freedom to recieve.

2. If I am a broadcaster, obviously my speech has been restricted.

3. Yes, see answer 1
4. ???

as for:

quote:
I may be wrong but I don't remember seeing "unlimited access to boobies and blood on TV" in the constitution.
give me a break. If we want to make useless, juvenile arguments, it also doesn't say "moralists will be able to dictate behavior for everyone." What it does say is that government (i.e. the majority) will allow free speech and not actively curtail it. If you can't see how that principle applies here, you need to think more carefully.
Adam

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towellman
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"As far as banning content entirely as described by towellman, I think that is what Madison would have called a tyranny of the majority - at best. "

That's what we have right now! I can't buy a 30 second commercial slot on TV and put naked women strutting around and then a corporate logo. There are already regulations and it is just a question of whether those regulations should be tighter or looser. If you feel the current system is really a "tyranny of the majority" then you should be out fighting for full nudity and child porn to be allowed on prime time television, it may take the networks a few years to catch up to your vision, but they will if the "tyrannical" regulations are lifted.

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JLMyers
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IMO
quote:
So, naturally, their first instinct is to form a group that tries to stop the media from showing sex, or sexual situations.
This is wrong!

quote:
The problem is, Zyne, you can't control what your kids watch at _someone else's_ house
You better.

quote:
or what they see and here at school.

That's true, so you better prepare them to deal with those kids with irresponsible parents, by not associating with them, and in some case toughening up.
quote:
A certain amount of censorship for the sake of families is just _good society._

This might not be technically wrong, but it's scary! Talk about a slippery slope.

quote:
If they decide that 78 murders and 45 extramarital sex scenes on TV per weekday night are not for the good of society then that majority has a right (if not responsibility) to impose restrictions on what is broadcast over the airwaves.

This is wrong. If they could prove that X number of murders etc. Not if the just decide .

quote:
Since when do other people have the right, or God forbid the responsibility, to decide how I live when it doesn't effect them?

Like I said; if it was a proven scientific fact that after seeing X amount of murders any person will murder someone. Purely hypothetical.


quote:
I can't drive my kids to the grocery store without driving past large fliers visible to the road that advertise whores for sale.
This is wrong! Because in this situation you can't control what your kids are being exposed too.

quote:
and abuse their sacred right to free speech
How can you abuse your right to free speech?

quote:
If we are going to accept that some regulation of TV is necessary to keep children away from sex, drugs, etc., then which channels and at what times?
Hasn't this already been done? Public air waves, particularly before ten at night, and never during a Super Bowl.

quote:
"After that I'd find out the advertisers that support the offensive prime-time show and let them know I wouldn't be using any of their products."

Did you mean it? Because I find that absurdly silly.

Why Tom? I don't find it silly.

quote:
How is regulating what a corporation puts on the airways an impingement upon your freedoms?
How about impinging on my pursuit of happiness. [Smile] Like I said; slippery slope. But the way you were protesting seems perfectly legitimate, especially in our capitalist society.

Whew! Now I feel better. I haven't talked that much in a coon's age. [Smile]

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towellman
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"1. It infringes on my right to free access to information. Freedom of speech means freedom to express as well as freedom to recieve."

1. It's on the internet and cable if you want it. The supreme court has defended your right to get whatever you want there. But network television is different from the internet in that almost all homes have a television with an antenna and therefore broadcasts are considered a "public place." As Phil pointed out, the government is well within it's rights to regulated content in public places.

Once court ruling I found related to the matter: Anheuser-Busch, Inc. v. Schmoke, (banning billboard advertising of alcoholic beverages in parts of the city). In a second commercial speech case, the Supreme Court declined to review a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that upheld the constitutionality of a Baltimore ordinance prohibiting billboard advertising of alcoholic beverages in certain areas of the city. In its opinion, the appeals court observed that the "ordinance was designed to promote the welfare and temperance of minors by banning such advertisements in particular areas where children are expected to walk to school or play in their neighborhood." Then, applying the four-part Central Hudson test for evaluating commercial speech the court concluded that "the ban directly and materially advances Baltimore's interest in promoting the welfare and temperance of minors . . . [and] the regulation of commercial speech is not more extensive than necessary to serve the governmental interest." For more of the circuit court's opinion, see Anheuser-Busch, Inc. v. Schmoke, 101 F.3d 325 (1996), 65 Law Week 2340 (1996); cert. denied, 65 Law Week 3727 (1997).

The last line is the kicker "the regulation of commercial speech is not more extensive than necessary to serve the governmental interest." So it is fine for the government to regulate commercial speech (from corporations) in public places (TV) in the interest of minors as long as they don't go overboard.

2. If you're a broadcaster, you're a corporation using a public space, not an individual.


Edited to add: You're right, the last bit about constitutional rights to "boobies and blood" was a flawed argument, but it sure was fun to put in.

[ December 07, 2004, 12:10 PM: Message edited by: towellman ]

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Zyne
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But billboards aren't televisions. You can't avoid billboards without being a recluse. You can avoid teevee, particularly having one in your home or allowing your children to be in a home with one. The analogy does not hold.
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towellman
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Sorry, I've gotta leave this discussion for a while, I really need to study today.
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TomDavidson
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More important is this distinction: that banning the advertisment of a harmful product is not equivalent to banning the advertisment of all products on a harmful show.
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Zyne
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Don't have too much fun. We'll all be here when you get back. [Smile]
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Gaoics79
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"I can't drive my kids to the grocery store without driving past large fliers visible to the road that advertise whores for sale"

Where do you live Pete? [Smile] I come from Quebec, home of the G-rated porno, and the 10$ all you can touch lapdance, but I've never seen a billboard for whores...

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JLMyers
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Pete is in Vegas, I'm pretty sure.

All you can touch? That's it, I'm moving.

KE

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Gaoics79
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Oh wait, you're from Nevada, aren't you, the land that law forgot. Oh well, look on the bright side Pete, at least you can enjoy the simple pleasures of a monkey knife fight [Smile]

"Furious George! What have they done to you?!"

[ December 07, 2004, 12:30 PM: Message edited by: jasonr ]

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Zyne
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Um, what is a G-rated porno? I am having images of Smurfs and Carebears...
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Gaoics79
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Oh, and I forgot: one more advantage to living in Nevada: as a law student, you get to skip criminal law. No point in studying a blank page [Smile]
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Gaoics79
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"Um, what is a G-rated porno? I am having images of Smurfs and Carebears.."

Actually, I exaggerated, Quebec does not have G-rated pornos. Indeed, pornos are the only thing in Quebec that AREN'T rated G.

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JLMyers
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Is it true that you can't import porn from us?

KE

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philnotfil
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This is my biggest problem with Libertarians.

Objective Harm.

If it doesn't cause objective harm than it should be legal.

Does violence on TV cause objective harm? Does advertising cigarettes on TV cause objective harm? Does [insert activity that causes spiritual/emotional harm, but hasn't been proven to directly cause objective harm here] cause objective harm?

No.

Is it still bad for our society?

Yes.

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Gaoics79
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"Is it still bad for our society?

Yes."

If it is not objective, then it is subjective, meaning the answer to the question depends on who you ask. If we ask YOU, then it is bad for our society, but not if you ask me, or others. Why should your opinion matter more than mine? And before you try to invoke a majoritarian argument, just keep in mind that the Jerry Springers and Temptation Islands didn't magically come into being because no one was watching. Sex sells. It is POPULAR.

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Zyne
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"Objective"? We can prove that cigarette advertising increases cigarette use, and that cigarette use increases lung cancer rates, and that lung cancer causes death. If that's not objective harm, I don't know what is.
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