- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 19, 2001

Cutting classics
"In a 'Mary Tyler Moore Show' episode titled 'The Dinner Party' there's a famous scene where Mary Richards nervously berates Lou Grant for taking three of the six available portions of food at her latest disastrous party. The scene is often regarded as one of the funniest in the whole series. But if you watched this episode on the cable network TV Land, you didn't see that scene at all; it was cut to make room for more commercials.
"That older programs are heavily cut in syndication or on cable is hardly a secret, but it might as well be for all the coverage it gets. TV critics routinely announce the latest acquisition by Nick at Nite or the Sci-Fi Network without bothering to mention, or even check, how heavily it will be edited. Older shows that ran three to six minutes longer than today's shows suffer the most; a 25-minute episode of 'Mary Tyler Moore' is usually cut to 21 or 22 minutes in reruns.
"Such cuts are bad enough when shows appear in local syndication, but at least there is a legitimate — if irritating — reason for such cuts: Local broadcasters depend entirely on advertising for revenue so they need to squeeze in as many commercials as possible. Cable stations, on the other hand, have no such excuse; a good part of their revenue comes directly out of the viewers' pockets in the form of cable fees. So why can't a cable service like TV Land — which calls itself 'a network created by TV fans for TV fans' — take shorter commercial breaks and show classic programs as they were meant to be seen?"
—Jaime Weinman, writing on "Mary Tyler less," Tuesday in Salon at www.salon.com

One-way ticket?
"Married men who pursue young girls are not after love, they are after conquests. They may be successful or have powerful positions, but they are in some ways insecure. They are out to prove they are still attractive and there is no better way to do that than to win the adoration of unsuspecting young girls.
"It's a lot easier for anyone to impress a perfect stranger than it is to impress one's spouse.
"Certainly, there are some young girls who go after older, married men looking for trouble. Monica Lewinsky was from a broken home. She had been looking for love in all the wrong places. Monica snapped her thong at President Clinton, and he was only too happy to respond. She was young and irresponsible. He was old enough to know better.
"However, a young girl — any young girl — is no match for an older man.
"Up until a few weeks ago, Carolyn Condit thought [Rep. Gary A. Condit] had been a good husband. It is completely unrealistic to think that a man who cheats on his wife and puts his very own family at risk will put his constituents above his own self-interests.
"It is time that we rise up and demand more of our elected representatives. An affair with an intern or young staffer should be a guaranteed one-way ticket back home."
—Jane Chastain, writing on "Young girls and older, married men," Tuesday in World Net Daily at www.worldnetdaily.com

TV families
"Television shows oriented toward families often favorably represent children when they are overindulged, are disrespectful, or are acting out. Often they behave in a more adult manner than the parents.
"What we see on television today actually, at best, models for us inappropriate behavior, and in worst-case scenarios, unloving behaviors. A great example of this is a movie like 'Home Alone,' which celebrates disobedience and violence.
"But television can portray caring, loving family interaction. There are whole generations of adults who talk nostalgically about how they wanted their families to be like the fictive portraits of family life portrayed on 'Leave It to Beaver,' or 'My Three Sons.'"
—Bell Hooks, from her new book, "All About Love"

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