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“Zombie Rattlesnakes”: Infected Boy Scouts and Chinese Television

July 17, 2013

The China Post: “TV stations fined for embedded commercials, violence” by Lauly Li, explain fines for video of beheaded reptiles (snake and frog) and for a news show promoting a restaurant:

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday fined cable news channels CTi Television (中天), ETTV (東森) and CTS (華視) for explicit content that violated the TV rating system and for airing embedded commercials. The NCC said an episode of CTi TV programming on April 22 showed a “zombie rattlesnake” feature… [read the rest at China Post]

Recall China was implicated in censorship of the Brad Pitt movie World War Z.

Also for cultural contrast, consider the incredible saturation of modern American media with embedded advertising. The so-called commercial break during network television is really just a myth to make the audience think that the rest of the show content isn’t itself all advertising. Making television is expensive and advertisers don’t want to pay enough for the segments most people fast-forward so producers have become forced to sell advertising in their scripts. It’s like the Rob Lowe scene in Jason Reitman’s “Thank You For Smoking”. Maybe it’s always been like this but recently it’s become more obvious and pervasive.

Meanwhile, speaking of using stories to educate morality, in other news, Bluefield Daily Telegragh: “Virginia Tech researchers to track ‘zombie virus’ at Boy Scout Jamboree“:

BLACKSBURG, Va. — If researchers from Virginia Tech’s Virginia Bioinformatics Institute have their way, thousands of Boy Scouts might turn into zombies as part of an educational game called Virus Tracker during the National Boy Scout Jamboree … [read more at BDT] … From the data collected at the jamboree, researchers will create an infection tree to show how individual scouts spread the zombie virus within their population. The zombie virus infection will provide a teaching tool for showing how diseases such as flu can become pandemics, organizers say.

Recall previous ZombieLaw Boy Scouts
zombie boy scout zombies code

Zombies are a natural fit for Boy Scouts because of the implications on both emergency preparation survival skills and on morality.

Spoiler Alert: By the end of “Thank You For Smoking”, Aaron Eckhart’s character is (metaphorically) a good Boy Scout. But that industry of persuading the public using violent images and embedded advertising continues without end. We are under a constant barrage of surreptitious advertising, snake oil salesman pushing their zombie fallacies and we are all being infected.

This is unavoidable and desirable for American life under the First Amendment. We do not want to go back to a time of government censorship of bloody comic books and we see the value of fictional stories for education. Everyone must be free to tell their own political stories and we don’t force private citizens to reveal every detail of their funding (See Generally, Citizens United and more generally, freedom of association). But how are we to evaluate what is a good useful story? If we don’t want government to censor, how can we protect society from dangerous ideas? First, how can we even be sure they are dangerous?

My suggestion might be to increase Federal funding for things like NPR and/or somehow (legislatively/administratively) require Cable companies to put more money into CSPAN. But even that’s not enough. With the proliferation of ever more media, the only solution is to have even more. We need more private organizations like Boy Scouts spending their money to advocate their views of the world. Even when we disagree with them (perhaps most when we disagree with them), we need private organizations to lobby government for their perspective, and we must assume that everyone is doing that all the time, we need more organizations, more citizens united by their stories.

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