The photographs in this post are ones I've taken within the past month or so but most of the trees have dropped their leaves over the past few days. I used to use photographs as a way of making it easier for me to talk about what was on my mind on my blog. My blog has increasingly become more about the photographs but for this post I'll go back to a chit chatty post and throw in miscellaneous photographs I haven't posted yet. Sunday night I was looking forward to the PBS Masterpiece production, Mary Waterhouse: Filth. I was shocked that it wasn't aired on UNC-TV at 9:00 pm as scheduled, and was re-scheduled to be aired this coming Saturday at 2:00 am. It wasn't a big deal since I was able to go to the PBS site Monday and download Filth and watch it on my computer. If anyone hasn't seen it and wants to, you can follow the link and during this week it will be available for download. Since I missed most of the announcement about why it wasn't being shown as scheduled on my local PBS station, I emailed UNC-TV.They replied promptly and following is the relevant part of their answer. I am breaking up the answer with photographs. Thank you for your message to UNC-TV. In response to your inquiry, UNC-TV had originally scheduled the latest PBS episode of Masterpiece Contemporary: “Filth” – a dramatization of the rise of British media activist Mary Whitehouse, and her persistent battles with the BBC which began in the mid-1960s.
Upon our review of the film, UNC-TV found objectionable content that prevents us from airing the program at 9 p.m. This is due to strict regulations which impose severe fines for violating FCC safe harbor rules. UNC-TV regrets we were not informed of the problematic material with sufficient notice to make this decision earlier. However, UNC-TV will air the episode of Masterpiece Contemporary – “Filth” – in its entirety Saturday morning at 2 A.M. Again, we apologize for any inconvenience caused by this scheduling change.The response to my email has left me almost more baffled than I was before I emailed. I watched Filth online and compared to shows they have aired at 9:00 pm, it was very tame. For one thing, it was a comedy about an historical time. Having lived through the changes during the 1960s, it was fun for me to watch. I also thought is was a balanced parody. Mary Waterhouse came off as a caricature, in a way, but so did the head of the BBC.
Even comparing this production with the recent Masterpiece one they did air in the 9:00 pm time slot, The Last Enemy, this one was tame. The Last Enemy had plenty of sex and violence, and although not offensive, it seems a little whacky to me to air that and not Filth. I am well aware that the reason they didn't air Filth is bound to do with complaints by someone or a group of people that have above average enfluence in my area. UNC-TV airs the same PBS programs that are aired accross the U.S. and they deal at times with tough subjects. This program was basically a comedy and did not have explicit sex or violence or any of the other fare that are routinely a part of televised drama and documentary.
I may be cynical but I find it hard to believe that the average person who saw this production in advance of it being aired in the regular time slot, and complained, would have managed to get it pulled from the 9 pm time slot. I equally don't believe that UNC-TV staff viewing the show would have decided it was too provocative without getting a push from someone.
I wish I knew what actually went into having the program pulled. That's the issue I am the most bothered by. I want to know who pushed for the change, what reasons they gave, and why UNC-TV gave in to it.
In my imagination, I see someone or a group who give a lot of money to UNC-TV and possibly see themselves in Mary Waterhouse. I could be way off base but if pressure was brought to bare based on those kinds of consideration, then what's the point of public television. Commercial television, to an extent, has to deal with paid advertisers and occasionally pressure can be brought from them. Public television should be beyond that, or it would be in my utopian imagination. Oh well, I'll probably never know why they made the decision they did. Note- all the photographs except the last two were taken in Raleigh or Durham. The last two were taken in the NC mountains.