January 12, 2011

Sympathy for the Dictator

Justin Katz

My, isn't that totalitarian hand attractive for reasons small and large. From Another RI Blogger:

Sheldon Whitehouse was a sponsor of S2847, Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (CALM Act), which has been a long, long time coming. What this bill does is finally requires the television networks to make the volume of the commercial advertising to match the programming. Hallelujah. This has been high on my list of irritants for many years.

I remember being a kid and watching TV in bed in my upstairs bedroom. The latest from Happy Days or Laverne and Shirley. All would be fine until the commercials would come on at an increased volume. My father would yell from downstairs "Turn that TV down!". So I'd get up and turn the volume down. Then when the program came back on, I couldn't hear it. So I'd get up and turn it back on until the next commercial break. "I said turn that TV down!" Back and forth we’d go.

Now a father, RI Blogger has had that familiar experience of loud commercial waking a light-sleeping baby.

Look, government regulation of television volume is not likely to signal the end of the republic, but the oppression of "there ought to be a law" is a patchwork, encouraging voters to acclimate to the big government mentality and investing them in its exercise of power. In both of RI Blogger's examples, the conspicuous factor is the willingness to deal with the supposed hardship for the sake of Happy Days. If loud commercials were apt to drive viewers away from television, then those who control programming wouldn't allow them. But television is apparently now a right and a necessity, so we get the U.S. Senate wielding its power to make it a more pleasurable experience.

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It is the volume increase which enables TV recorders to eliminate commercials. There may be other technology, or it may be a problem.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at January 12, 2011 3:28 PM

What a stretch! You are really reaching with this one.

If the advertisers were not convinced of the efficacy of increasing volume for commercials do you think they would have done so? It's damned intrusive, and I don't want anyone shouting at me, especially if it's some a--hole vendor trying to huckster me into buying something.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at January 12, 2011 9:39 PM

Justin and Another Blogger are both right...

The 'there ought to be a law' idea has gone too far, and our legislators ought to be busy doing more important work. On the other hand, commercials were too loud, and deserved -some- regulation.

This is where the FCC comes in. This should have been addressed by the FCC before it became an issue for the legislature. The FCC should have had a requirement that volume levels be somewhat consistent across the board... That's just responsible broadcasting.

Posted by: mangeek at January 12, 2011 10:21 PM

For every new law that gets passed, two should be eliminated.

Posted by: Bob at January 12, 2011 10:44 PM

I can't wait until Sen. Shelly gets around to banning the use of those damned bluetooth cell phone earpieces! They cause me distress when I realize that the person that I think is talking to me is actually on a phone call. And the embarrassment when I respond to their comments is unbearable. I need the junior Senator to save me!!!

Posted by: John at January 13, 2011 8:12 AM

"If loud commercials were apt to drive viewers away from television, then those who control programming wouldn't allow them."

Justin, are you saying that if there's a "service" out there that people find offensive, or simply don't like it for whatever reason, that it won't survive? I can't think of anyone who likes the commercials being louder, but advertisers have found it works. Are you saying that because the advertisers find that it works, even if people don't think they like it, then it should be ok?

If so, there is something else similar that no one likes and everyone tries to do something about, including passing laws. Spam. Should spamming be legal?

Thank you for the mention of my blog.

Posted by: Patrick at January 13, 2011 9:18 AM

Let's see warrentless wiretapping, dention without charge, torture, assassination of U.S. citizens - not a peep from Justin (or worse yet support for the erosion of liberty). But mess with a corporation? Watch out!

Posted by: Russ at January 13, 2011 11:06 AM

"If loud commercials were apt to drive viewers away from television, then those who control programming wouldn't allow them."

I call BS. When Justin is a parent, he'll see this one more clearly.

Question: does anyone actually want 24/7 marketing directed at their young children? I certainly don't, but you won't find much programming without it (PBS being the exception - not entirely without ads but better) and you simply can't find a DVD that's not front-loaded with ad after ad, as if anyone wants those.

But in the fringe-right fantasy, the market provides exactly what all individuals want. Because the marketers tell you it's true, it must be so!

Posted by: Russ at January 13, 2011 11:14 AM

Russ-you're parly right.
I don't like ads on DVD's or the aggressive ads directed at children-my "kids" are in their mid 30's,but I have grandchildren who are targets of this.
I do appreciate some corporate marketing-Amazon has a really good system of showing products available based on what you have been buying/looking at.I have discovered some really good books and DVD's via thaat method.They don't palgue you with popups -they dsplay what's there and you decide.It's pretty non-intrusive.
Recently I looked up a book on a very obscure subject and while I thought the one I looked at was overpriced for what it was,I noticed Amazon had a much more complete and informative book for about the same price-well worth it.

Posted by: joe bernstein at January 13, 2011 3:50 PM
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