The perversion of cable television

The los angeles times told of an ironic situation when actor Paul Newman ordered his family TV turned off because his children were watching his own performance in the movie Slap Shot. He didn’t want them to hear such bad language.

But bad language is kindergarten stuff compared to the so-called adult movies now available on cable television. In New York City, there is a variety sex show on cable that features rape scenes and lesbianism, along with sex shop commercials and ads for pornographic books and a male escort service.

What is happening on cable TV requires Christian vigilance and concern. Lest anyone think the problem is limited to New York and Los Angeles, the Wall Street Journal featured a front-page story about citizens in the Bible-belt town of Monroe, Louisiana, who are paving $2.95 a month to watch soft-core pornography on their own TV sets.

A major topic at the recent national convention of cable TV operators was whether they should get into X-rated movies; R-rated films are standard fare, the only question being that of “proper” times to broadcast them. Two of the leading promoters of programs featuring nudity, profanity, and violence already have 150,000 subscribers.

Of course, cable television offers many potential benefits. Subscribers enjoy making choices from up to 60 channels, rather than from the limitation of the three major networks. But the market is highly competitive for programming, which is where the most serious problems arise. Concern is certainly not misplaced, if one looks at the booming market for “adult” titles of videocassette films.

It is possible for Christians to make a difference in what is aired on cable. For example, expressions of disapproval from the ...

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