July 30, 2006

Bring Back Melanie Martinez

Neil is right about this. This firing is shameful. It's not a First Amendment issue, I'm pretty sure, but it is a blow against freedom of expression.

And I can't help thinking:
a) that there's some backstory to Martinez's alerting PBS to the existence of the videos; surely someone was going to start complaining
b) whoever is offended is as offended by the videos' political content as by their (almost entirely verbal) sexual content.

Posted by Matt Weiner at July 30, 2006 11:25 AM

In 2004, Los Angeles public radio personality Sandra Tsing-Loh was fired from KCRW for saying "I guess I have to fuck him [her husband]" on the air. However she was quickly hired by crosstown rival public radio station KPCC.

I am not familiar with how public television production works, but it seems that what's needed here (if it doesn't exist) is an open market of program providers. If it's indeed true that Melanie Martinez has a loyal audience of millions of four year-olds, she should get a new program... then let the audience and/or local station managers decide.

Posted by: Richard at July 31, 2006 10:13 AM

This just in-- the host of Shining Time Station once sang about being offered a ten-pound bag of cocaine.

Posted by: Richard at July 31, 2006 10:14 AM

You'll know it's political if they hire Mel Gibson as a substitute host. (That's "host" with a small 'h.') Though I suppose the four-year-olds wouldn't know how to read the transcript with all the bad words in it.

Posted by: Matt's mom at July 31, 2006 10:36 AM

This just in-- the host of Shining Time Station once sang about being offered a ten-pound bag of cocaine.


About the open market for hosts, I don't think that solves the problem. If we could have a channel that would stand up to the prudes, there wouldn't be a problem at all. I also don't think it's a question of Martinez's loyal audience; perhaps her audience comes from a combination of her show and herself. Just because Hello, Larry! bombed, it doesn't mean that McLean Stevenson didn't contribute anything to M*A*S*H.

Anyway, I'm against her getting fired for past political speech even if she is a replaceable cog.

I figured a nice test for whether it's political speech is if people got all up in arms about the casting as Fleur Delacour of an actress who (so I'm told) has appeared in some films with sexual content, which did not make fun of abstinence education. Anyway, if 2- to 5-year-olds are doing unsupervised YouTube searches, the problem isn't Melanie Martinez.

Posted by: Matt Weiner at August 1, 2006 10:04 AM

Lord knows how anyone ever let Sally Timms star on a kids-TV show.

Next, the shocking revelations that Teletubbies and all those completely inexplicable Sid and Marty Krofft shows are WATCHED BY STONERS!

Posted by: Ben at August 7, 2006 12:43 AM

Sally Timms starred on a kids TV show? I want to know more!

You know about Druggachusetts?

Posted by: Matt Weiner at August 7, 2006 07:06 AM

My little boy started asking about her today while he was winding down before he his bedtime. I told him she was just on vacation and she’ll be back soon. I hope the people who are in charge of Sprout realize that what she did in the past has ABSOLUTLY no bearing on what she is doing now for our children.

I guess the corporate types who run Sprout and PBS do not realize that the narrator of Thomas the Tank engine have been an admitted drug and alcohol abuser, Ringo Starr. A man who came up with the “7 dirty words” that aren’t aloud on broadcast television and radio…George Carlin. And Alec Baldwin, a mediocre actor at best who has some political views some might not see eye to eye with.

It’s a dangerous and disgraceful way of doing business.

Posted by: renmat at August 8, 2006 08:48 PM

You know the Sally Timms "Cowboy Sally" record with the goofy picture of her in a cowboy outfit? She really was Cowboy Sally on a Chicago-area cable TV kids show, which I now know was named "Rudy and GoGo". No, I haven't seen it. Also, apparently Jon Langford guest starred as a pirate. This is clearly a job for Youtube.

Posted by: Ben at August 11, 2006 03:12 PM