Vail Valley Voices: Some must-see TV laws
There’s a bill pending in Congress that would prohibit commercials from being louder than the TV shows they accompany. Even those enthusiastically in favor of it concede it is a dumb law in the grand scheme of things compared to some of the truly serious issues we as a nation face. But I think it’s great. It should have always been illegal for Billy Mays to scream at us. Not that I wished him harm, but I did think once he died that my ears would stop bleeding. No such luck. OK, I’m a TV addict. I admit it. I watch way more of it than I should. My tastes are disparate, though: from PBS and The History Channel to “Law & Order” and “Family Guy.” In my defense, TV is always on in the lobby at work, so curb the “Get a life” cracks. And having fought a lifetime battle with insomnia, it helps to fall asleep watching TV. It keeps my mind from wandering and lulls me to Slumberland. But there’s nothing worse than finally drifting off only to be thrown from my bed by some earsplittingly loud TV commercial. I hate things that are annoying. So I don’t think it’s a dumb law at all. If it passes, I will be one happy camper. In that spirit, I have a few more suggestions for TV reform bills. Similarly, they don’t have a tremendous impact on world affairs, but they would make life much less aggravating. n No more reality TV. It’s time for this hateful fad to die a long overdue death. Being a writer, I generally support writers’ causes, but this is one blight you can blame on the “Let’s-shoot-ourselves-in-the-foot” idiots at The Writer’s Guild. In 2001, they threatened to strike and, fearing the crippling financial effect it would cause, the networks scrambled to fill their schedules with shows that didn’t need writers. Thus, the reality craze began, showcasing the worst of humanity where the more disgusting, worthless, despicable, obnoxious or stupid you are, the bigger a celebrity you can become and that has to stop if we are ever going to be truly civilized again. If a law doesn’t pass eradicating these heinous shows, I propose a runner up legislation dictating that if these nobodies want their 15 minutes of fame, that’s all they get. After 15 minutes of air time, it will be illegal for anyone to ever mention their names again. n To be on TV, you have to have talent, skill, knowledge, looks or some other compelling or inspirational endearment that makes you watchable. This would preclude the freecreditreport.com wonk and car dealers and their annoying children — who possess none of these — from ever darkening our airwaves again. We have, of course, always let certain personalities slide in one department because they have it in spades in another, but the law would be that you have to have something to offer. Consider Vanna White: She walks and turns letters. Taken at face value, if she makes more than $12 an hour, she is overpaid. But people think she’s sweet and looks pretty good doing it all. So she gets a borderline pass. But Steven Seagal does not. In his heyday, he was a nothing. In his current bloated, has-been incarnation, he’s a huge embarrassment. n Eliminate the obnoxious promos. Networks could cover about 15 percent more news stories if they quit all the teasers of what’s coming up after the commercials. And since they all speed up or do split screens during the closing credits of shows already, do we really need all the scrolls and promos on the bottom of the screen during the shows we are trying to watch?n Ad agencies must follow certain guidelines regarding taste. Commercials featuring ordinary people singing off key is not charming. Ads showing crusty or fungus ridden feet don’t sell products; they make us sick. And we don’t need to know about anyone’s erectile, jock or feminine hygiene challenges or have “Diarrhea!”yelled at us. On this I am very firm.n Ban prescription medicine ads. Enough already! Let’s leave the medication recommendations to our doctors. I’m sure they don’t need their patients all becoming armchair pharmacists, and I know I am sick to death of those long lists of awful side effects, some of which are truly disgusting. I mean, “anal leakage?” Are you kidding me? Some of us are eating. Many pieces of legislation don’t really have much of an effect on the quality of everyday life. But TV reform would and, as such, it would get my complete, unbridled support.David Dillon lives in Eagle.