What's Going On?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has just released its year long study showing how Hollywood's film industry, the music industry and the video game industry has been deliberately targeting and marketing all manner of filth and violence to America's children. No less an expert on filth and violence, President Clinton ordered the FTC study after the deadly spate of school shootings over the last few years. Clinton said that the entertainment industry's targeting America's children with a barrage of violence blurs, in their young immature minds, the distinction between "fantasy and reality violence."

Here's where I'm confused. What Big Entertainment has done to America's children makes what Big Tobacco has done pale by comparison. When Big Tobacco makes one of our children smoke a cigarette, death is not immediate and there's just a chance it might come forty or fifty years later. But, when Big Entertainment tells a child to pick up a gun and shoot a playmate, death or injury is immediate. I'm wondering why the White House and Congress are not calling upon Attorney General Janet Reno to sue and try to reach a multi-billion dollar settlement with Big Entertainment like they did with Big Tobacco.

About thirty big city mayors have either brought suits, or are contemplating suits, against gun manufacturers. The FTC report suggests that these mayors are mistaken and misguided. It's not Big Gun that's responsible for causing all the murder and mayhem in their cities; it's Big Entertainment that tells both children and adults to shoot up neighborhoods and schools. I'm guessing that we'll see no government suits against Big Entertainment. Why? Big Entertainment and Big Government are allies; they both contribute to one another's agenda.

Here's another puzzlement: For the past couple of nights, I've been watching television programs featuring the nation's new supermax prisons such as California's Pelican Bay. I've also watched the History Channel's series "The Big House" featuring notable prisons such as Sing Sing, Leavenworth, and Louisiana's Angola prison, aka The Farm. Feminists have called for and succeeded in ending a lot of sex segregation in the military, even aboard combat ships and in combat units. Women have integrated the nation's police and fire-fighting forces. Women even serve as guards in male prisons. Women have fought to be admitted in organizations where they're unwanted such as all-male country clubs and sweaty male locker rooms. I'm wondering why feminists haven't called for prison inmate integration so that female criminals can take their rightful place alongside male criminals? What possible excuse can be given as justification for one of the last bastions of sex-based segregation? Don't say anything about physical differences between men and women. America's male chauvinists tried that argument and lost when they tried to keep women off combat ships and out of combat units. We who care about justice and equality ought to demand answers from sentencing boards and prison authorities.

There's something else on the sex front I find a bit strange. Companies face lawsuits and fines for not having a certain percentage of women in their work force. One problem is that in some jobs women don't apply according to their numbers in the population. For example, I've seen zero to none female garbage collectors and female jack-hammer operators, just to name a couple of occupations. If a company can be sued for not having enough women, then companies ought to be able to protect themselves. How about allowing companies to draft women, force them to join their work force? You say, "That's wrong, Williams." Why? If the army is able to draft men when they don't have enough soldiers, what's wrong with companies being able to use a draft when they don't have enough women?

Walter E. Williams
c43-00
September 18, 2000
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