Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My local PBS station

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.


juliana said...

i quite enjoy your photos - they are always interesting and pretty.

irritating thing, this with the tv show... perhaps just a threat with a lawsuit was enough to make the tv change the time slot. i suppose something could be found in the content that would violate the rules, and we all know the lawyers...

Dr.John said...

At least we know your photographs stay within the guidelines of the FPTA ( Fall Picture Takers Association) No nude trees were featured though in a few cases some were in the background and you came close to a violation.

Dee said...

Yes, that is baffling about the TV show. However, I impressed by their prompt response. Perhaps no one on staff never watched the show - just heard through the grapevine that it was objectionable and changed the airing of it. Who knows? I doubt that if you'd emailed a regular TV channel and not the local PBS, you would never have gotten a response.

jmb said...

Isn't that interesting? I have never heard of any channel doing such a thing. Of course it doesn't matter when they are it, lots of people have Tivo or whatever they call it there.

I read right through and then had to go back to look at the photos.

Anonymous said...

oh another set of lovely photos! very vivid shots indeed!

Rambling Woods said...

I like Dr. John's comment..LOL..You should report that to your local TV news station. Maybe it would make an interesting story..

New Rambling Woods Site

Cloudia said...

I love your wonderful photos. They transport me. Ducks! Leaves!
Nice- Aloha from Waikiki-

Sidney said...

Gorgeous nature images.

I am not familiar with the show so I will not comment on it.

mommanator said...

I love the little house next to last pic- it looks like it is in hiding! and sneakinga peak? crazy me.
Who knows why stations do what they do I am glad you were able to view anywho!

Theresa said...

I like your photos intertwined through your story. My favorite was the path through the woods.

Yes -I totally agree that it is amazing what they allow on tv, and then they cut something for questionable content.

I did like Dr John's comment to you- better watch it or you might become sensored!