Marketplace Scratch Pad

Deep thoughts, by Chuck Lorre

Scott Jagow Aug 12, 2009

This is just one of those random things I wanted to tell somebody about. I was watching TV last night, and at the end of the show, I saw a flash of white. I rewound the DVR and there was a card telling me the show had been censored, and I should know where to look.

Well, I didn’t know where to look, except that producer Chuck Lorre’s name was on this white card. Lorre produces The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, Dharma and Greg and some other shows. Anyway, I found his website and apparently, he does this all the time. He slides little “vanity cards” into the end of each show, and you have to stop the DVR to be able to read them. The one I saw (#251c) led me to a card that said a joke had been taken out by CBS:

Now please understand, I’m not bringing this up because I’m upset about our show being censored. I’m way past that. Waste of time and energy. No, I just wanted my vanity card readers to know that they can influence the content of CBS, or any of the major networks, by simply making the appropriate executives unhappy. It’s simple: flood the network with angry form letters and/or emails, demand a meeting, threaten a boycott of their advertisers, then have fun making the creative choices that best suit your tastes.

Nice. Lorre has more than 250 of these cards on his website. Here’s one that really struck a chord with me because it’s one of my pet peeves:

More and more, it seems like people are yelling at me. This is especially noticeable on local and cable news, TV and radio ads, morning, afternoon and late night talk shows, religious channels, entertainment tabloid shows, and, NPR aside, radio.

It’s almost as if all the news anchors, reporters, product pitchmen, talk show hosts, politicians, sportscasters, DJ’s and preachers have forgotten how good modern microphones are. Regardless, the purpose of vanity cards is not just to point out the problem, it’s also to propose the solution.

And here’s one: The Whisper Channel. A cable news channel where everyone, including advertisers, speaks in gentle, dulcet tones. Our marketing tag line will be one word, “shhh.” Instead of grinning, shouting, overly-coiffed failed actors, our news anchors will be regular folks with beautiful speaking voices who, just to be on the safe side, have been heavily sedated…. ALTERNATE MARKETING TAG LINE:

the whisper channel…
where human civilization sliding into the abyss
is nothing to shout about.


This one’s great, too. It made me think of … well, I think you can figure it out:

The Buddha taught that the first principle of existence is impermanence.
Absolutely everything in this universe is impermanent.
Impermanence creates uncertainty.
I don’t know about you, but I have a very low tolerance for uncertainty.
Uncertainty causes me discomfort.
Discomfort causes me to think stupid things.
Stupid thoughts cause me to take stupid actions.
My stupid actions bring about unfortunate results.
Luckily, the unfortunate results are impermanent.
Is this a great universe or what?

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