I don't consider myself a prude, especially when it comes to broadcast television. My favorite shows are some of the most graphic (see for example The Wire). But I'm beginning to develop a sensitivity to the things my boys might be exposed to. We do not intend to let them watch that much TV. Their screen time is and will be pretty limited. But every year about this time you can be sure that our TV will be on more than at any other time of the year. I come down with a case of March Madness every year, and I don't see a cure in the foreseeable future. The boys, of course, quickly turn their eyes to the TV anytime its on. Surprisingly they seem to like the basketball action. Alexander the Talker goes on at least a five-minute string of "Ball, Ball, Ball..." Oliver the Walker toddles right up to the TV, which is on a table higher than he can reach, and looks up at it mesmerized for 30 seconds or so. Eventually they go back to their own devices, but I'm kind of happy to see them show some interest. I imagine the three of us all with a case of March Madness in a few years. I'm excited to think that we can watch some games together.

But, what am I going to do about the commercials and promos? On the first day of the tournament this year I must have seen the ad for Resident Evil 5 at least a half dozen times. Even with the sound muted the screen was filled with guns, fire, monsters, axes, chainsaws, and other murderous things. I DO NOT WANT MY BOYS SEEING THIS CRAP!!! And I do not think it is necessary for me to have to turn away during commercial breaks and then try to guess when the commercials are over to make it back to the game in time. On one level I think video games like this are just plain stupid. I realize, however, that I will not be able to eradicate the world of Resident Evil 5, though given enough guns and chainsaws the game leads me to believe that I can eradicate the world of biohazardous creatures. I simply want to keep these images from the eyes of young boys, who I hope will develop a love for basketball like their papa. CBS is much to blame. They are sure to know that dads (and moms) and their sons (and daughters) stay up to watch their favorite teams. They are sure to know that Resident Evil is rated for mature audiences. They are sure to know that young boys and girls watching the game will be affected by the images in the advertisement. But, I am sure to know that they are getting a pretty penny for the air time. What is maybe even more disturbing is the promo for one of CBS's own shows. I saw the promo for CSI:NY about as much as the Resident Evil ad. The promo is filled with images of messages cut into human parts. Again, muting does nothing. These grotesque images are there, sound or not.

It's enough that we will have to combat the constant message of consumerism. I'd like to not have to guard against gratuitous violence as well.

Maybe I am a prude.

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