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Bluenosing busybodies know what kind of entertainment your children need

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A group calling itself the Jerks Who Want to Tell You How to Raise Your Kids Because Your Kids are Obviously Too Stupid to Think for Themselves Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission complaining about a new show called “Zevo-3,” which is about a bunch of superheroes who wear shoes.

They’re not complaining about the fact that the show promotes an unhealthy view of the world by suggesting that all kids need to succeed is superpowers (think about what that will do to the self-esteem of the literally thousands of children who go without superpowers every day); no, what they’re in an uproar about is the fact that these totally unrealistic superhero characters wear a specific brand of shoe.

The Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood is urging the Federal Communications Commission to block Nickelodeon’s plan to launch an animated adventure program called “Zevo-3″ based on characters used in Skechers shoe ads, contending the show amounts to a program-length ad.

“It’s clear that Skechers and Nicktoons are flouting the policies established by Congress to protect children from excessive commercialism,” said CCFC’s Director Susan Linn in a statement. The group filed an 18-page petition with the FCC, urging the agency to act.

18 pages is a lot of pages. Imagine having to read that. How many times and how many different ways can you say “children too stupid, need protection, commercials evil”? Maybe they spent some of those pages defining exactly what is excessive commercialism. As opposed to just the right amount of commercialism.

Anyway, it seems to have gotten the attention of the FCC, which is taking time out of its busy schedule of announcing approval of “Super Wi-Fi” (by the way, that sounds like a cool title for a children’s TV show, just so long as it doesn’t promote anything) to actually review the complaint.

The Federal Communications Commission is examining whether an animated television show featuring characters created to market Skechers shoes violates rules limiting advertising to children.

Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) filed a petition with the FCC regarding the show “Zevo-3″ set to begin airing on the cable channel Nicktoons on October 11. According to the complaint, the show features three superheroes named Kewl Breeze, Elastika, and Z-Strap, who battle a villain known as Dr. Stankfoot.

Yeah, let’s protect our children from programming that teaches them about shoes. They’re too stupid to see through that, the mush-headed little dummies. Instead, let’s target them with programming that reminds them of how fat and lazy they are.

First lady Michelle Obama  will symbolically pull the switch turning Nickelodeon and its sister networks off for three hours Saturday, part of its annual effort to encourage children to go out and play.

In a taped message, the first lady tells Nick viewers to “get ready to shut down your computers, put down your cell phones and turn off your TVs.” The tape will air at noon (Eastern time) Saturday. Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, Nick Jr. and TeenNick will then go off the air for the “Worldwide Day of Play.”

Nick has contributed time for public service announcements for Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign to combat childhood obesity, and is donating $50,000 to schools and community groups.

Just so we’re clear on this: These busybodies from the Campaign to Teach your Kids How Stupid They Are are complaining about what they consider to be a half-hour advertisement for shoes, while at the same time the very same network is planning a three-hour stunt advertisement for a group called “Let’s Move.”

And “Let’s Move” is supposedly trying to force children to go outside and play, by limiting their entertainment options.

And what do children wear when they go outside? That’s right. They wear shoes.

Don’t we all want our children to go outside and play? Haven’t we all decided that’s a more worthy goal than having our children sit inside and watch television cartoons? And don’t we want them to wear shoes when they do this?

For all we know, Skechers might be the absolutely best brand of shoes for children to wear outside. It might be the Serious Materials of shoe brands; something government officials might actually want to promote.

(Aside: How many lawsuits is Nickelodeon opening itself up to by encouraging children to go outside? Last time I checked, there are lots of things outside that can hurt children.)

Moreover, and I’m no expert on this — not like the busybodies at the Center For Protecting Children From Threats Real and Imagined — but it seems to me that the “Let’s Move”/Michelle Obama Turn-off-your-TV-set stunt might actually be a violation of FCC rules in itself:

The FCC’s rules limit the amount of commercial matter which may be aired in certain children’s television programming to 10.5 minutes per hour on weekends and 12 minutes per hour on weekdays. These requirements apply to television broadcasters, cable operators, and satellite providers. These limitations are prorated for programs that are shorter than one hour in duration. The programming at issue for the commercial time limits is programming originally produced and aired primarily for an audience of children 12 years old and younger.

Commercial material includes more than advertisements. For instance, where a commercial announcement is primarily for a product otherwise unrelated to a program, but that announcement also includes references to or offers of products that are related to the program, then the broadcast of that commercial announcement during or adjacent to the program will make that program a program-length commercial. In such a case, the entire duration of the program-length commercial will be counted as commercial material. To avoid being considered a program-length commercial, commercial material related to a children’s program must be separated from that program by intervening and unrelated program material.

Nickelodeon’s stunt is three hours long. And it is being used to promote “Let’s Move,” which is a private organization with a specific agenda. The Coterie Devoted to the Annihilation of Anything We Disagree With might think that “Let’s Move” is a great organization with a worthy goal. But this Nickelodeon shutdown is still an insidious piece of advertising that is specifically aimed at OUR PRECIOUS CHILDREN.

Who will step up to file a complaint with the FCC over this subversive publicity stunt?

By the way, how unworthy a goal is a “commercial-free childhood”? My own childhood would have been immeasurably poorer without this:

Just to name one.

Ricky Sprague occasionally writes and/or draws things. He sometimes animates things. He has a website and he has a blog. He is the author of this recent novel about a horrible fanboy. He is really, really good at putting links in bios.
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One Response to “Bluenosing busybodies know what kind of entertainment your children need”

  1. This has nothing to do with thinking children are “stupid” as you say, but they are very impressionable and are heavily influenced by advertising propaganda. They are not critically minded enough to see through the absurdity of advertising, why should this be surprising, and why should not parents and people be concerned with this? Skechers already has made themselves known to my first grader through their comic books, and he has already seen fit to nag me for the “right” shoe brand.

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