August 13, 2004

PURITANISM AND A COLD ONE (via Charlie Herzog):

GOP Values -- and Those Twins (E. J. Dionne Jr., August 13, 2004, Washington Post)

The Coors-Schaffer primary went to the heart of the core contradiction in American conservatism.

Conservatism is a noble tradition and an intellectual mess. Conservatives say they revere both traditional and market values. But those two sets of values so often contradict each other that conservatives have to cover their eyes -- from the twins ads, for example -- if they are to pretend to be consistent.

What is the most powerful force for permissiveness in the United States? It is not liberalism. It is the free market's use of sexuality to sell products. Children in our country are exposed to many more sexual images in television ads -- especially those selling beer -- than in raunchy magazines sold under the counter. The beer ads run heavily during sports broadcasts watched by sports-minded kids who love healthy competition, achievement, discipline and victory. Rather "conservative" values, no?

By running for the U.S. Senate, Coors put himself in the cross hairs of the conservative contradiction. He had to try to be as conservative as he could to win a Republican primary, even as his own company was anything but conservative on the social issues. Hey, he had to sell beer. [...]

Do conservative politicians who care primarily about taxes and the interests of big business merely use "conservative values" as a slogan for attracting votes from the less well-off who gain little or nothing from their economic programs? Are conservatives perfectly happy to condemn liberals for being "permissive" but unwilling (especially after a primary) to say a critical word about their business allies when they use sex to sell products and increase profits? If Bill Armstrong thought Pete Coors's values were so defective before Tuesday, why should he think they are fine now that Coors is the Republican candidate?

What do conservatives really care about -- their values or their incomes? The Colorado Senate race gives them an excellent opportunity to show what matters most.


Having Michael Powell at the FCC so we can control what appears on tv.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 13, 2004 8:48 AM
Comments

Considering the crap that appears regularly on TV, I'd say beautiful women in advertisements is rather far down my list of damnable items. Hell, you can trace that particular idea to ads from the 1940s. Horse flatulence and "wardrobe malfunctions" are, on the other hand, rather new trends.

Come on, E.J. We're grownups.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at August 13, 2004 11:34 AM

Liberals aren't.

Posted by: oj at August 13, 2004 11:38 AM

Here's what I don't get: spending millions on televised horse flatulence on the theory it will sell more beer. "Eh, whaddaya think - a nice IPA, or maybe the one with the farting horses?"

Either I'm nuts, somebody else is nuts, or there's a failure of corporate governance here - personally, I'm guessing the latter.

Posted by: mike earl at August 13, 2004 11:47 AM

There are at least a couple ways you can control what appears on TV without having to become a statist about it.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at August 13, 2004 12:25 PM

But no way you can have tv without the state.

Posted by: oj at August 13, 2004 12:56 PM

What is the most powerful force for permissiveness in the United States? It is not liberalism. It is the free market's use of sexuality to sell products.

What nonsense. Advertising is necessarily extremely sensitive to the moods and beliefs of the audience; it must appeal without offending. It can't really be used to drive basic attitudes like "permissiveness."

And why can't you have TV without the state? Other than the minimal aspect of needing property rights to channel positions to prevent interference/jamming, what else is needed?

Posted by: PapayaSF at August 13, 2004 2:01 PM

"other than"?

Posted by: oj at August 13, 2004 2:09 PM

But no way you can have tv without the state.

So, even if true, what? That doesn't seem to mean you can't use the power or channel buttons without the state's help.

Well, it doesn't mean that for non-statists, anyway.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at August 13, 2004 3:28 PM

If you depend on the state you don't get to whine about depending on the state.

Posted by: oj at August 13, 2004 4:08 PM

"What is the most powerful force for permissiveness in the United States?"

The VCR & Cable TV.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at August 13, 2004 10:04 PM

The state forced Coors to become a billionaire, and he's never forgiven it.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at August 15, 2004 1:59 PM
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