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Boob Tube

by Stephen Lautens

March 26, 1999

I'm worried I'm getting too much sex.

That isn't a statement that usually gets a lot of sympathy, but let me warn you, it's not what you think.

A few Sundays ago I was flipping through the TV channels. It was during that period between "I've seen everything worth watching" and "I'm too dumb to go to bed".

So it was once more around the dial before heading to bed.

I started with PBS, figuring they're always good for an old British murder mystery. Instead, it was showing a documentary about lesbians. Most of it was pretty scholarly - historical figures, repression in the 50s, the Stonewall riots.

And then without warning, I'm looking at a screen full of wiggling pink flesh. I guess it was for the benefit of anyone who wasn't quite sure what the qualifications for being a lesbian are.

The next channel had a rerun of Jerry Springer. I don't know why they even pay the guy in the sound booth. After Jerry said: "Welcome to the show," I think I only heard maybe two more words that weren't bleeped out.

I didn't think that the same swear word could be used as a noun, verb, adjective and proper name, all in the same sentence.

And then people started showing off their body parts, sometimes as an insult, other times as a point of pride. It was like being in front of the baboon cage at the zoo. That kind of animal behaviour is proof of evolution right there. Come to think of it, maybe it proves we haven't come that far.

At least we haven't lost the use of our opposable thumbs so we can use the remote to change channels.

On the French channel further up the dial I found a movie about the life of Picasso . After about six seconds he had his model naked and posed in ways that make you think seriously about taking up art.

Next was a late night call in show with a sex therapist. She was showing off techniques to add spice to a marriage. Using a wooden male facsimile as a prop, she was demonstrating how a string of pearls could be used as a marital aid. What she did I can only compare to pull-starting a lawn mower.


Please keep in mind I don't get any specialty channels. None of this is pay-per-view or satellite TV. All this skin is coming into my basement at no extra charge.

A final flip of the channels finally took me to a show called Sex TV. At least here was truth in advertising. It's essentially a leering look at the sex industry, with the obligatory visit to the adult toy store, "hands-on" sex therapist, and cyber-sex web site.

It's produced by the same people who make MuchMusic and Fashion Television. They were the pioneers of racy television. Back in the liberated early 70s they played the "Baby Blue" movies every Friday night.

They were on well after midnight and the station broadcast so high up the dial only spaniels could pick it up. To qualify, a movie only had to have one feature to be a "Baby Blue" - at some point a woman had to take her shirt off.

So Gwyneth Paltrow in "Shakespeare in Love" would qualify. But what they broadcast sure wasn't Shakespeare


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