Not sex ’n’ violence again! But they’re so boring! Or at least the endless, po-faced discussions of how or whether they may be kept off television would be boring if it were not for the ludicrous public spectacle they afford. On the one side is the inevitably comic Grundyism of those who devote their lives to counting up the number of times someone says the word ass in the family hour of prime time (twenty-nine times in the month of February, according to Thomas Johnson of the Parents’ Television Council); on the other side is the nauseating hypocrisy involved in the cash-engorged television networks’ striking attitudes as idealistic defenders of free speech. It is a farce which pushes that of the complementary priggeries of pro- and anti-tobacco forces off the stage.

Now, however, all the huffing and puffing have produced a concrete result. As of October 1, the voluntary...


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