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Friday, October 24, 1997


By Mac McKinnon

New ratings system similar

to movie rating system

Have you been noticing the new tv ratings?

The new ratings system was put into affect several weeks ago, following close behind another ratings system that was similiar to the movie rating system.

NBC is the only commercial television network that has refused to go along, citing constitutional conflicts. Now that network is in hot water with politicians and possibly the Federal Communications Commission.

It seems that the entertainment industry is a convenient whipping boy for people looking for someone to blame for our moral decline and the increase in violence among our nation's youth.

Let me be quick to say I'm not particulary against any rating system but I believe the responsibility for the programs young people watch belongs to the parents.

There is a lot of violence in our society, even in cartoons, so it is probably impossible to completely shield youngsters from all of these bad influences but the main thing is to let them know that this is not reality.

I was recently told of a young man in Pecos - about 12 or 13 - who believes everything he sees in movies and television shows. He doesn't have a grasp of reality. It apparently was posing a problem for his teacher and classmates.

The new ratings are shown in the upper left hand corner of the TV screen when shows first start. In case you missed it, here is what it amounts to:

-V for violence.
-S for sex.
-L for adult language.
-D for suggestive dialogue that conveys sexual innuendo.

Those letters appear alongside age-based ratings similiar to movies which includes TV-PG (parental guidance), and TV-14 which flash for 15 seconds as programs begin.

Eventually, parents will be able to block shows from their TV screens based on their ratings. All new TV sets sold in the United States will have to be equipped with a "v-chip" that will permit parents to zap unwanted programs.

Personally, I don't find many shows on television that are not very suggestive, some of which are even embarrasing for me when no one else is watching with me.

I have a difficult time finding shows that I can watch with my 8-year-old daughter as many are very graphic in many areas, particulary language that I discourage and sexual innuendos that I don't want to explain yet.

While these ratings might be nice and convenient - unless you miss the beginning of a show - I don't feel it is up to some censor or government person to explain things to me. And I believe that's true for most people.

I suppose many young people will heed their parents' instructions not to watch shows that have particular ratings but many will be tempted just out of curiousity.

I understand that televisions shows in many other countries are more sexually explicit than shows in the U.S. but other countries also are very strict about violence.

If you have any feelings about these ratings, don't hesitate to contact your Congressman and Senators and the television stations.

Editor's Note: Mac McKinnon is the Editor and Publisher of the Pecos Enterprise whose column appears each Friday. He can be e-mailed at:

Our Views

Museum employee greatly missed by visitors

To the Editor:

My sincere gratitude to Mary Barfield for her unselfish assistance at the WEst of the Pecos museum.

I had volunteered to set up the displays for the Firemen and the Military rooms. Mary was the real "shaker and mover" in the successful completion of these two displays, on the newly opened third floor.

I have spent a lot of time lately at the museum and can attest to Mary's willingness and her excellent capabilities, bundles energies and desire to make this museum the best.

Since her resignation, Mary is missed by me, other volunteers and visitors to the Pecos Museum. She was a positive and absolute asset to Pecos and Reeves County.


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Mac McKinnon, Publisher
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