The Post-Crescent from Appleton, Wisconsin (2024)

A TV set is much, much more than furniture with pictures; minHctkinhnms told him hp admired Mr. but denounced Michael I BY BOB LOWE TV has more influence on vouna minds than home. told him headmired Mr. but denounced Michael PoM-Crwcenl Half writer Warren's churflctci By contrast, 29 of 31 sixth graders whom the reporter talked toat Burnside Elementary School in Chicago (where Mr. grew up) said they watched "The A-Team" because "Mr.

is tough, he can beat anybody, he talks cool and he wears a lot of gold." That says something about the values TV is communicating to our kids. "The A Team" is a bad show, for blacks and whites alike, because it perpetuates Reactions from my column two weeks ago on the depiction of blacks on TV prompted several comments from readers and friends. Using Mr. of "The A Team" as an example, I lambasted the networks for glorifying violent programs and the negative portrayals of blacks as brawn-but-no-brains brutes, comedic sidekicks to white actors and one-dimensional supporting players in serious church and school combined. Statistics show that 98 of U.S.

households have at least one television set and most children under 5 spend some 24 hours a week watching it. By the time a ch ild has finished high school, he or she has spent 15,000 hours in front of a TV set, compared with 12,000 hours in a classroom. Many children and adults, for that matter devote more time to TV than to any other activity except sleeping. Given this enourmous exposure to TV in our culture, no one would ever convince me that this powerful influence does not exert a profound influence in the way people think. It was also pointed out to me that whites are also negatively stereotyped in TV programs such as Archie Bunker in "All in the Family." Iagree.

The difference is that for every Archie Bunker, there is a Trapper John For every air-headed Laverne and Shirley, there is a "Cagney and Lacy." For every Fonz, there is a "Newhart." If all the programs about white people on TV were variations of "HeeHaw," "Laverne and Shirley," and "The Dukes of Hazzards," would white people sit around and tolerate it? Now you know how black people feel. A Neenah woman called to say she thought it curious that I didn't mention the portayal of blacks on "Hill Street Blues." She said blacks on that program are generally well presented and that whites are poorly depicted. I confessed that I hadn't been a regular viewer so couldn't respond appropriately to her comment. From what I have seen, however, there are enough black lawyers, middle-class black characters and a progressive black cop (played by talented Michael Warren) to offset the black criminals and other negative types in the plot. Interestingly enough, though, a reporter from the Washington Post recently wrote that a black youngster The Saturday column communities over the past 1 3 years have taught me that TV programs, in subtle and insidious ways, exert an enormous influence on people's thinking and attitudes toward blacks.

This same person told me, for example, that a brother lives in a small community in northern Wisconsin where there are no blacks. Yet, he said, his brother is prejudiced against blacks, thinking they are shiftless, lazy and dependent on wel fare. Could it be that he was influenced by the TV news networks, which any time there is a story about public assistance, send their TV crews to Detroit, Chicago or New York to videotape blacks standing in the welfare lines? The created impressi on is that blacks are the primary beneficiaries of wel fare assistance and areprobably overcrowding the welfare rolls with their illegitimate children and able-bodied men who prefer a cheap handout and crime to productive jobs. According to government statistics, 51 of the 11 million recipients of AFDC, one of the largest public assistance programs, are white. Of the 22 million people receving food stamps, 57 are white.

Of the 23 million people receiving Medicaid, 55 are white. Somehow, I don't get that impression from watching television news. The TV is more than furniture with animated pictures. It is one of the most influential media ever invented. It informs.

It communicates. It educates. It influences. It shapes attitudes. And it creates lasting perceptions of the people it features.

stereotypes, glorifies violence and communicates the wrong values to impressionable minds. To end on a positive note, I was asked by another friend tocitesomeof theexisting characters on TV, both fictional and non-fictional, whom I felt were posit We depictions. My response is that a character does not have tohave black skin to please me. A lot of positive role models on TV are white. Among them, Hawkeye from "M'A'S'H," Clayton Farlowand Bobby from "Dallas," and Art Donovan, the assistant city editor on the now-cancelled "Lou Grant" show.

But even in their limited roles on TV, there are still some good black characters. I previously cited Michael Warren. Debbie Allen on "Fame" was excellent. I was also informed that there is a black physician in the emergency room on "Trapper John." As far as non-fictional characters, my favorites are Bryant Gumbel of "The Today Show," Ed Bradley from "60 Minutes," Carole Simpson, the NBC Capitol Hill correspondent, and Charlayne Hunter-Gault from PBS's "The McNeil Lehrer Show." Max Robinson of "The ABC News Tonight" has a good delivery but he comes across as a little too serious. One program I think shows a special sensitivity toward blacks is Charles Kurault's "Sunday Morning" on CBS.

Check it out someti me. dramas. The first came from a close friend who told me I came across as quite angry. She said that while my arguments were compelling, 1 may not have been as persuasive as I could have been because the tone was too militant. I agree a certain amount of anger was reflected in the piece.

But it wasn't an explosive, misdirected rage. It was a calculated anger directed at the TV programmers in New York and Hollywood who I feel are stigmatizing blacks as inferiors. Idonot have the luxury to dismiss "The Jeffersons" as "just entertainment" as long as there continues tobea lack of balance in black roles on TV. Blacks are already too severely oppressed socially and economically in this country. I( is asking too much of me to sit back and laugh while TV scriptwriters artistically oppress us as well.

Toa certain extent, my anger was also reflected at the wider TV audience whocontinue to show their approval to programs like "The A Team." Another friend told me that perhaps 1 wasn't giving enough credit to whites for having the intelligence to recognize that "all blacks are not that way." I wish I could believe that. But unfortunately, my experiences of living in predominantly white 'Establishment of religion still ambiguous V. I. Minohan, Pubtither John B. Torinui, Editor Donald Kampfor, EiecutiVe Editor Mary M.

Woller, Auociste Editor OpSmiBomi Saturday, July 9, 1983 The Post-Crescent Appleton-Neenah-Menasha, Wis. A-4 Americans begin to represent other faiths, will Buddists or Moslems be represented? And what of Native American and black tribal beliefs? Some time ago, the Supreme Court ruled that financial backing for church-related colleges was not unconstitutional but it drew back from prayers in elementary and secondary public schools on the grounds that youngsters could be "conditioned." President Reagan has supported an opposing view, holding that prayers should be permitted at all levels of public education. But this may be interpreted as primarily a political view. The distinction seems reasonable. Ambivalence about the impact of religion was obvious even in the Declaration of Indepedence with remarks about "nature's God" and being "endowed by their creator" and a "firm reliance on the protection of divine providence." There is not likely to be much disagreement about the Nebraska decision, but the question will come up again.

Exactly which establishment of religion can be publicly supported has not been determined. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." That's First Amendment dictum, but its interpretation is difficult, as demonstrated by a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. The high court overturned a Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that paying a chaplain for opening prayers in the Nebraska Legislature was unconstitutional. It was a 6-to-3 decision.

Chief Justice Warren Burger said for the majority that "opening legislative sessions with prayer has become part of the fabric of our society to invoke divine guidance on a public body entrusted with making the laws is not, in these circ*mstances, an 'establishment' of religion." Even the dissenters called the decision "little threat to the overall fate of the 'establishment' clause." In a way, the decision might be acknowledgement that if something is done long enough, even though it may be wrong, it is acceptable. Yet in the long run, the decision once again shows how difficult it is to interpret the First Amendment. Chaplains have been hired to open sessions of Congress, but they represent the Judeo-Christian approach. As more KPNAIP mi AIMS BY JOSEPH KRAFT WASHINGTON A lack of restraint marks the record of the Supreme Court during the term now drawing to a close. The justices have been casual about upsetting precedents, and deciding big questions by tiny majorities and elusive arguments.

Behind this performance there seems to lie the accumulated resentments of elderly jurists getting in last licks. After the 1984 Rush to judgment court cases material attained by unconstitutional means. This year, in Gates vs. Illinois, the court ordered watered down requirements for a search warrant. On its own motion, moreover, the court asked for arguments that seemed to foreshadow at least in drug cases total abandonment of the rule.

Third comes the application of the Eighth Amendment prohibition of "cruel and unusual punishment." Two years ago, in Rummel vs. Estelle, the court held that the length of a sentence was not a legitimate reason for invoking the ban. But last week in the case of a South Dakota man sentenced to life after seven non-violent felonies thecourt found the sentence "significantly disproportionate" and invoked the proscription. In all three areas, the decision came by 5-to-4 margins. Elements of the ruling overturning various state laws against abortion also came by that slim majority.

So instead of waiting for a broad consensus to develop over time, the justices asserted themselves as soon as there was a bare majority. They rushed to judgment. The nature of the inner a rugments tends to under! ine the ad hoc spirit of thedecision-making. Little effort goes to establish broad, neutral principles around which people of different social views can cluster. On the contrary, the justices often ground opinions in naked judgments of social policy.

Thus Justice Lewis Powell based the majority decision in one of the abortion cases on testimony that "a second trimester abortion costs twice as much in a hospital as in a clinic." Nothing very bad has yet resulted. Even the overthrow of the legislative veto and with it 200 statutes has not caused serious damage. Far more important, the country shows every sign of accepting the principle of judicial review. The Supreme Court remains the ultimate arbiter of legitimacy in the American system. Still, chopping and changing leave the state of the law uncertain.

Uncertainty encourages grieved parties to think they have a shot at victory. Hopeful litigants build up the case load. The heavy case load makes justice lead-footed. Slow procedures bring mounting frustration and lack of faith in the system. Willingness to judge social policy encourages thepresident and Congress tounload their problems.

So the court becomes increasingly vulnerable. Ju st why the justices should now invite rouble is a matter of speculation. Hard cases count for something. But a look at age and health is also suggested. Only four justices Byron White, William Rehnquist, John Stevens and Sandra Day O'Connor can be said to be in robust condition.

Chief Justice Warren Burger is 75. Justices William Brennan (77), Thurgood Marshall (75), Powell (75) and Harry Blackmun (74) have been ailing. A widespread impression is that they are asserting themselves against time's winged chariot. Holding out until after the 1984 election makes a certain amount of sense. But after that there will come a big change.

Given what has happened this term, those who care about the court, and its role as the arbiter of legitimacy, can hardly feel easy about what lies in store. (c) Lot Anoelet Timet lyndkal Questions on science (c) New York Timet newt tervice elections, there will come wholesale changes in the composition of the court. Precedent normally carries heavy weight with the justices. They tend to change slowly, taking small steps by commanding majorities, with each advance being built upon the last. That way there is, at any given time, a widely accepted notion where the law stands.

But during the present term, the court changed basic rulings of recent vintage in three areas. Church-state relations is one. The Nyquist decision of 1973 drew a sharp line against state aid to religious schools. But last week, the court breached that line in sustaining a Minnesota law providing tax deductions which go, mainly, to parents of children in parochial schools. Then there is the exclusionary rule established in 1961 in the case of Mapp vs.

Ohio. It excludes as evidence in 'TTifllfl ilWYiKIIIiiM People's forum Writer would end presidential primaries Editor, The Post-Crescent: There need be no presidential primary, either open or closed. It is a beauty contest, a popularity contest. In Canada, Prime Minister Trudeau was chosen, appointed by the House of Commons. Prime Minister Trudeau is a member of the Canada House of Commons.

The Presiden of the Un i ted States hou Id be appointed, chosen by the House of Representatives. The president should be a congressman. The speaker of the United States House of Representatives is appointed. He is one of the congressmen. The United States House of Representatives has 435 seats, the Canada House of Commons has 265 seats.

There need be no presidential primary, either open or closed. The legislature should do away with, abolish the presidential primary. It is a beauty contest, a popularity Ralph D. Barnes Neenah Ride's ride emphasized sexual stereotypes liberation, the emphasis should be on human liberation. A person should be allowed toassumea role most fulfilling for his or her desires and goa Is.

This choice should be ree of coercion from the expectations associated with any gender-stereotype and raise no notice other than a well meant wish of good luck. The personal accomplishments of Sally Ride should be applauded. She has worked hard to achieve her goals. The fact that she is a woman is a secondary factor and should receive no more notice than the gender of her crewmates. The issue here is our failure as a culture todeal with the limitations and assumptions of sexual stereotypes.

Hopefully the media will come down to Earth and allow Sally Ride to pursue her career, but no doubt, within the next year some magazine will run an interview or a feature story to reveal the domestic side of Sally Ride. The article will probably be titled "Sally Ride Goes Home" or "Out-of-this-world Recipes of Sally These "womanly" skills are not negativeattributes but they do not deserve uncommon notice. Unfortunately, Sally Ride will probably be called upon to prove her domestic talent as well as her scientific skill. Charles Dahlen Appleton Q. Local electricians tell me a television antenna serves as a good lightning rod but no one seems to know what gauge of wire is required to transmit the bolt to the ground.

Wouldn't an antenna without a heavy-gauge wire grounding it simply be an attractive hazard? A. A television antenna could serve as a lightning rod if it is high enough, but it could also bring a lightning bolt right into your living room, your television set and -possibly yourself. A lightning rod should be grounded through a hefty wire, say three-sixteenths of an inch, and many other safety considerations apply. If you want a lightning rod you might do well to ignore your local electricians and look under "lightning protection" in the Yellow Pages. Two national organizations certify lightning protection equipment, Underwriters Laboratories in Chicago and the Lightning Protection Institute in Harvard, III.

Q. Are special lamps more effective than ordinary incandescent or fluorescent lights for Indoor plants? A. The short answer, according to the Horticultural Society of New York and several other authorities, is that special lamps work well and sodo ordinary fluorescents (generally speaking, incandescents are less useful). Special lamps, such as Vita-Lite, produce much the same spectrum as sunlight, but many authorities believe that a combination of warm white and cool white fluorescents oneor two of each, in pairs works as well as anything else. According to Ted W.

Tibbits, a horticulturist at the University of Wisconsin who has experimented widely with lamps of various wavelengths, photosynthesis is nearly indifferent to the color of light. The problems come in photomorphogenesis, the response of the plant's growing form to various parts of the spectrum. Letter-writer's name was misspelled Editor, The Post-Crescent: Thank you for publishing my letter (July 3) on indoor cats. I feel very strongly about this and am grateful for the opportunity tospread the word. However, I would like a correction of the spelling of my last name.

I am a member and Director of the Outagamie County Humane Society and want people to know who it is who takes this stand. The name is spelled "HARDACKER" not "Hardicer" as appeared with the published letter. I signed the typewritten letter and perhaps that is why this error occurred. Margaret Hardacker Appleton Protecting environment vs. keeping business Editor, The Post-Crescent: In my opinion your comments on acid rain are well taken.

Once again environmentalist pressures are resulting in premature regulations that is leading to theexodus of industry from Wisconsin. Granted that rain is naturally acidic with or without smoke stacks; granted that unknown substantial quantities of sulfur dioxide are spewed into the atmosphere by unregulated volcanos. Granted that acid-affected waters probably carved the magnificent Grand Canyon eons before the first white man. Granted that many bay lakes are naturally acid in their last years. Unfortunately overprotection of our resources coincides with stifling of industry and to unemployment.

J.C. Kurtyka Appleton Ticket is end of visitor's shopping in Appleton Editot The Post-Crescent I just wrote out a check for a $5 parking ticket and now I am writing a letter about unfair police ticketing. My family spent the4th of uly in the Fox Valley area Artgo Races in Kaukauna and motel, restaurants, and fireworks in Appleton. We were ticketed unfairly along with many others by the Appleton Police Department during the fireworks. were parked too close to a driveway (not blocking a driveway and barely touching the yellow line).

We walked to the park and watched the fireworks. During that time period which was less than an hour the Appleton police were busy writing tickets four to five per block for cars parked too close toa driveway or to a crosswalk. I feel it's a real shame that the police have to take advantage of citizens and visitors to Appleton with a ticket-writing revenue session during the fireworks. We saw four to five cars in each block near the park ticketed. What an immense revenue to collect.

How dispassionate of the police. Couldn't allowances have been made during that one hour of fireworks since the parking facilities were so inadequate and no driveways or crosswal ks had been blocked? As we drove away from Pierce Street I was, of course, irate about theticket; however, I also recall that there were no pol ice officers around to assist nor direct traffic. There was visible evidence on the many windshields, however, that they'd been around "doing their iob We frequently come to the Fox Valley area during theyear, we won't be visiting nor spending anymore money in the City of Appleton. Ruth Holm i Sparta recognized for her accomplishments, only minor notice would have been given to the fact that she is the first American woman to be launched into space. Instead of accurate newsworthy coverage of the Challenger's flight, we endured the banter of newsmen inquiring as to whether this mission was more enjoyable than previous flights because a woman was aboard.

In another example, an editorial cartoon pictured the shuttle orbiting Earth amid dialogue balloons depicting Sally Ride as a nagging back seat driver. The assumption, of course, is that women are lousy drivers and simple-minded nags. Our social expectations trap men and women into roles that often deny them the best use of their abilities unless they are willing and able to withstand an unfair amount of publicity about their endeavors. The same surprise shown at Sally's ride is also found when a man decides to become a homemaker. In our attempt to eliminate gender discrimination, we have inadvertently reinforced male supremacy by assuming the traditional male role of an aggressive career person is preferable to the nurturing, non-competitive roles traditionally assigned women.

Rather than promoting women's Editor, The Post-Crescent: In a celebration of one small step for womankind and one giant leap for woman, Sally Ride blasted our nation's mass media intonew heights of absurdity. For an entire week, mass media across the nation were agog at our nation's first woman in space. The mere fact that thepublic is impressed is an indication of the sexism in our culture. The crew of the space shuttle handled the situation admirably by acting professionally toward each other and ignoring the glib comments and questions of reporters. With all the legislative attempts to gain equality for women in our society, we still have not been able to shake our cultural stereotypes.

Men still cccupy dominant positions in our society; women, for the mo6t part, fill subservient roles. Any variation from these norms, such as seen in Sally's ride, causes a great deal of notice and celebration. We applaud ouraccomplishments of offering equal opportunity even as we fail to see how fa our actions are from our intentions. Proponents of a non-sexist culture agree that an individual should be recognized for ability and achievement without consideration of gender. If Sally Ride was really Readers are encouraged to contribute to the "People Forum." To do so, simply write your letter, address it to the "Forum" at The Post-Crescent.

Letters must be signed. Names will be withheld from publication ONLY if good and sufficient reason is given. Please keep letters short..

The Post-Crescent from Appleton, Wisconsin (2024)
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