Being t.v. - free for about two weeks, I am a little detatched from the cable news cycle, but two bits keep popping up in the great cultural American night:
The Monday Night Football Pre-Game Housewife Dropping Towel Promo and the Marine Shooting the Wounded Iraqi Insurgent in the Mosque. When I say popping up, I mean that no matter which radio station I listen to, these two stories float to the top.
Both are on tape and can be replayed ad nauseum. And both are about forms of warfare.
Football is the rule-based, male-played, struggle for land, and power, and one of the prizes, is represented by dancing women along the sidelines. But football, in which a bunch of gargantuan men try to knock each others heads off - (ouch, he seems to be shook up on the play) - is in fact All American.
At any rate, there are rules of conduct for both types of warfare, and when the rules appear to be broken, there is a big hubbub. On the marine side: we don't shoot unarmed, wounded, prisoners. We do. We have. We may or may not condone it. Fog of war and all that. But when it happens, we don't put it on tape and play it like an instant replay in football. Let's see that again in slo-mo. Did he do right? Can we see what happened before that play? No? Don't have that on tape. Let's see it again then. You be the judge.
And we don't have women dropping towels in the locker-room with football players before or in the middle of the game. I suspect that if this happens during a commercial break, or at the end of the game, it would be okay. But not in the beginning or the middle. So now we've had a touch of swarminess in the beginning, and some naughty bits at half-time. And of course the whole show is filled with erectile enhancing escapades and beer imbibing bathing bimbos. And that is okay because they don't break the reality rule.
On the tube, the reality rule says that so long as you label it a commercial, you can pretty much get away with whatever you want. Being a commercial lets the viewer know that what he is watching is probably a lie.
But don't blur reality and football fantasy.
And in war, don't show us actual people being actually killed. That's a little too much. You can show the bombs, and the smoke. You can play the noise. You can show people running for cover. But whatever you do, don't show actual soldiers, or even the enemy being killed - close-up. And especially, not in some sort of clip where the morality of it all is blurred.