Blake Lawrence (Point of View, July 28) argued that the FCC should ease the rules on indecent speech for TV broadcasters, noting that these rules aren't imposed on cable networks, and asserting that this gives cable TV an unfair competitive advantage. I disagree. Content and variety, not indecent speech, have made cable TV popular. The excuse for lowering standards is always the same: “Everyone else is doing it.” And when applied to television, what follows is the predictable “If you don't like it, just change the channel.”
But eliminating FCC rules on broadcasters' indecent speech means, inevitably, every channel will become “more of the same” — hardly a recipe for making broadcast TV more competitive. But competition isn't the most important aspect of this argument. The more pertinent issue is this: What kind of culture do we want to encourage or condone?
We outlaw environmental pollution because it can harm the body. Yet we accept, even demand tolerance of, cultural pollution, which can warp the soul. Hopefully, we aren't the last generation to attempt to teach our children manners, respect and civility, but it gets harder to do that every time the culture is debased. I'd like at least one small corner of the popular culture to remain, if not decent, at least a bit less indecent. After all, those who have a greater appetite for indecent speech can always subscribe to cable.
James Gauldin, Midwest City