Friday, November 17, 2006

A Blow to Freedom of Speech

Today, Ofcom (which stands for Office of Communications...isn't that clever?) announced that TV advertising of junk foods would be banned from all children's programs, plus adult programs that appeal to those under 16. The purpose of this bit of censorship? To combat the growing obesity of British children. Unlike America, Britain has no constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech. Britain doesn't even have a written constitution. This latest piece of "nanny state" regulation is expected to cost broadcasters an estimated £39 million in lost revenues.
What's particularly distressing is that I saw one poll, today, in which 66% of respondents thought this was a good idea. Not only is it NOT a good idea, and probably won't work, it's not necessary. Most children don't have very large incomes, nor do they control the family purse. It's not children who buy junk food, it's their parents. If these parents don't want their children to eat junk food, they simply can chose not to buy it. It seems as if many parents in the UK have a problem saying, "no." Instead, it's easier to abdicate from their parental duties and let the nanny state do it for them.
When I was a kid, I used to ask my folks for cereals that advertised great toys inside. We ended up with about two dozen boxes of uneatten cereal, of various brands, sitting on the top of the refridgerator. After trying a bowl of each, I found that I didn't like most of them. I was a fussy eater, as a kid. No one said anything to me about this situation, I just figured it out for myself. The toys never ended up being as good as they looked in the advertising, or on the picture on the box. I concluded that it was useless having my folks buy cereals that I don't like, just for some rubbish toy inside. So, I stopped doing it and concentrated on the one or two brands I really liked. Instead of banning things, people should take the opportunity to teach children to think about the choices they are making. In the end, you can just say, "no." If you don't like saying no, you can use an alternative strategy that I used, at times, with my step-children. Say, "yes," but... When the kids asked me for things, I would say, "yes, you can have soon as you figure out how to pay for it." They never managed to get around that one. Eventually, they stopped asking me for so much. It's great fun, as well. When little master or madam corners you in the supermarket, with some sought after swag in his or her hot little hands and gives you the old, "can I have this..." whatever it is, give him or her an enthusiastic, "sure," followed up by, "how are you going to pay for it?" The looks on the little cherubs' faces are just...priceless!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Joe! In my opinion, there is nothing wholesome about Britney Spears. She wears too many masks!
Interesting blog!

7:47 AM  
Blogger JosephintheBracknell said...

Thank you, abby. Not sure why you put this comment here, under teh "freedom of Speech" article, instea dof teh "Britney" one, but hey, I'm still happy to receive a comment.

I won't pay money to see the videotape, because..."I'm not that in-ter-ested." (sung to tune of, "Oops, I did it Again")

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Joe, I've been reading your blog, commenting, and just realized that I DID place this comment under the wrong title.
Sorry for the confusement!!!

Hope you had a super Thanksgiving and your having a great weekend!!

6:37 PM  

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