The FCC was swamped with indecency complaints over a recent Oprah show about teen sexuality. But a lot of it was instigated by Howard Stern and Jimmy Kimmel, in an attempt to show that a double standard exists about what the FCC considers obscene.
I recently finished rereading Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End. Classic sci-fi from 1953. It was a bit moralistic and philosophical but one rant showed how much things have changed. At this point in the story it is 100 years in the future, around 2050:
“Do you realize that every day something like five hundred hours of radio and TV pour out over the various channels? … Did you know that the average viewing time per person is now three hours per day? Soon people won’t be living their own lives anymore. It will be a full time job keeping up with the various family serials on TV!”
Well, there’s about 100 channels typically available now, that’s 2,400 hours per day. It’s almost funny that he gave as low a number as he did when you consider that radio isn’t included in my number. I’m not sure how old the statistic is, but according to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day. That’s 30% more than what outraged Clarke.
As far as people living other’s lives, there’s the current addiction to reality TV. And we’re only half way to the year he was talking about.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is working on a breakthrough way of digitizing and archiving old recordings, such as wax cylinders and traditional flat records, that are too far gone for a standard stylus.