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April 10, 2018 4:55 pm  #1


CBSC On CH’s Game Time, TSN’s Horror Ad & That Racist XM Song

I occasionally like to mosey over to the Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council website and see what viewers are wasting their time with. And so far this year, they haven’t disappointed. Here are three of the more surprising gripes they’ve analyzed to within an inch of their minutiae.
 
CHCH TV’s “GAME TIME”
  
I have to say I actually agree with this first one. It’s about that ridiculous leased time program “Game Time” that airs on Hamilton’s CHCH TV after midnight on the weekends. This so-called ‘show’ promises to give away hundreds, if not thousands of dollars if viewers can solve an on-air puzzle.
 
The problem? Each phone call costs $1 and there can be additional charges as it goes on, something that’s not easily made clear to viewers. And even if you call, your chances of actually getting on the air via one of the “Lucky Lines” are very slim. So you’re spending money you may not even be aware of for a chance not to get in on the contest you called in about.
 
A recent puzzle asking viewers to pick out some car makers was also cited, and the producers admitted that while the cherry-picked few that got on air had a proper answer, it wasn’t the three that the producer picked beforehand. So they won nothing.
 
Result: CHCH had to air an announcement explaining the lack of transparency. But the show is still on.
 
The CBSC has had a lot of complaints about this thing, and agrees it leaves a lot to be desired. But because it’s not produced in house by CHCH, and because it has no say over telephony, they insist they can’t do much else about it.
 
TSN’s HORROR AD
 
And now from the ridiculous to the even more absurd. A viewer in the Mountain Time Zone watching a TSN broadcast of a CFL game wrote to complain about an ad for a horror movie called “Annabelle: Creation.”
 
Because the game was live, the spot aired early out west. And that apparently upset one delicate flower, who argued it came on too early and could have scared kids watching the show. (As the late Maude Flanders of “Simpsons” fame would no doubt say, “Won’t somebody think of the children!”)
 
You gotta love the description of this thing, which involved a possessed doll, as cited by the CBSC:
 
“Additional scenes included a girl scratching her fingernails along a wooden floor as she is dragged across it, objects flying around a room, light bulbs breaking, and a nun being lifted off the floor and thrown into a wall by an unseen force.  The tagline for the movie was “Evil finds a new home”.
 
So what happened? The Council actually analyzed this spot frame by frame, and found that there wasn’t enough blood or gore in it to justify any response. Case dismissed.
 
SQUAW-KING ABOUT SIRIUS XM's MUSIC
 
I’ve definitely saved the best for last. It centres around a 1958 song I’ll bet most of us have never heard of called, “Squaws Along The Yukon,” by American country artist Hank Thompson. The idiotic lyrics talk about a “salmon coloured girl” and uses the word “squaw.” (It’s also probably the only time the words “Ooga ooga mooshka” have ever been considered by this august body. But I digress.)
 
Despite its obvious racist overtones, it was apparently once a huge hit, reaching all the way up to #2 on the American country charts. It was aired on a Sirius XM classic country channel and immediately offended the sensibilities of a Canadian listener, who called it racist and insulting to Indigenous women. And since the CRTC licences XM here, the CBSC got involved.
 
The Council agreed the lyrics were offensive, violated the Council’s codes as they presently exist and ordered an on air statement. And while I don’t disagree that the lyrics weren’t politically correct, it was the reaction of one of the adjudicators in this case that really caught my eye.
 
Check out what J. Medline had to say about using today’s standards to measure ones from the past.  
 
“I believe broadcasters and CBSC adjudicators should be permitted to heavily weight original and historical context in their respective programming and assessment decisions.  This song is 60 years old.  Before the CBSC or broadcasting Codes even existed.  Before certain broadcast media even existed. That has to mean something. 
 
“The song was relevant and popular in its day – a genuine hit…  We can’t (shouldn’t?) pretend past eras never existed; and retrospectively sanitizing the arts carries obvious dangers and slippery slopes.  Songs like this can serve to educate and inform current thoughts even without contextualization, no?
 
Most critically, I am concerned that this Decision could chill future broadcast of older songs, TV programs, and so on.”
 
Some food for thought in an era where most aren’t interested in digesting anything but their own outrage.

 

April 10, 2018 5:18 pm  #2


Re: CBSC On CH’s Game Time, TSN’s Horror Ad & That Racist XM Song

RadioActive wrote:

“Additional scenes included a girl scratching her fingernails along a wooden floor as she is dragged across it, objects flying around a room, light bulbs breaking, and a nun being lifted off the floor and thrown into a wall by an unseen force.  The tagline for the movie was “Evil finds a new home”.

I don't see anything out-of-sorts here -- this perfectly describes a "friend" of mine's usual Friday night.  Beyond that, a distant memory of mine flickers and remembers this is exactly what happened to me growing up Catholic.
 

 

April 10, 2018 6:39 pm  #3


Re: CBSC On CH’s Game Time, TSN’s Horror Ad & That Racist XM Song

Most critically, I am concerned that this Decision could chill future broadcast of older songs, TV programs, and so on.”
 
And boy, is he right about that. Consider all the songs and shows that couldn't be aired today if we judged that era as though it was our current time.

-"Running Bear," the 1959 hit by Johnny Preston wouldn't be allowed, because it evokes a racist stereotype of native Americans. (I hate the song, but it was a big hit.)

-Gunsmoke, Roy Rogers or any TV or movie western from the 50s, with its talk about "Injuns attacking." And forget about The Lone Ranger. He had Tonto, an obvious stereotype who couldn't speak proper English.  

-"Indian Giver" by the 1910 Fruitgum Company. Incredibly, this was an innocent bubblegum song that reached number 5 on Billboard in 1969 and sold over a million copies. But the title alone is enough to never let it get back on the airwaves on an oldies station. 

-"Indian Reservation," the song by Don Fardon and later by The Raiders, the latter a Billboard #1 hit. It uses the word "Indian" instead of "Indigenous," so even though it's the story of how white settlers stole their land, it might be considered offensive. Plus The Raiders weren't native, so that's a "cultural appropriation" strike against it, too.

-"Society's Child" by Janis Ian, a 1966 protest song about a white woman dating a black man and the troubles it causes in her family. Ironically, this was banned by many stations in the late 60s for being too controversial. Today it might not get played because it could imply to some misguided ears there's something wrong with the arrangement.

-Even "I Want To Hold Your Hand" by The Beatles could be misinterpreted since it's obviously about what the guy wants and doesn't ask for her consent. 

And those are just a few examples of what could happen if you try to apply modern standards to a very different and unenlightened era.

     Thread Starter