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Tony and Tacky
November 12, 2004

Good taste or bad is revealed in everything we are, do, have. Emily Post

Verizon Ad Chill Pops
Which is worse, your dad looking over your shoulder when you do homework or a stinky dog distracting you from your studies? Neither, says Susan Lee, who reserves her tacky award for the national advocacy group Dads and Daughters who objected to a Verizon ad which depicts a father watching as his daughter does a school project online. His wife suggests that he had promised to wash the dog and tells him to leave her alone. Dads and Daughters, along with male-defending His Side with Glenn Sacks, say the ad degrades dads. "I could give them a tacky on the grounds that they're working with a really outmoded notion of patriarchy," says Lee. "Or I could give them a tacky on the grounds that they are demonstrating extreme paranoia. But I think really the problem is a radical lack of sense of humor."

Welcome Baaaaaack! Howard Dean
Daniel Henninger gives a tony and hearty welcome back to Howard Dean this week. "He wants to possibly become the chairman of the Democratic Party," says Henninger. "I think it's a great idea to bring some vitality back into that race. By contrast, the Clintons are thinking of nominating a New York union lawyer named Harold Ickes. I think what's going on here is that a lot of Democrats would like to prevent Hillary from accomplishing a fait accompli and capturing that nomination. Let the revels begin. I'm going up in the stands to get a ringside seat, and Howard Dean's going to be the ringmaster."

Saving Private Ryan Reality on T.V.
As a nation obsessed with reality television, Dorothy Rabinowitz finds it ironic that 20 ABC affiliates refused to air an unedited version of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN on Veteran's Day, due to obscenity. "The first 30 heart-rending minutes of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN introduces one of the most extraordinary depictions of the D-Day landings on Omaha Beach. It introduces a film that really ignores and manages to go past all of the cliches of sentimentality, of GI's telling a joke a minute, as they face the enemy. These GI's facing death pray and they utter four-letter words." These 20 station audiences, says Rabinowitz, could choose sanitized, other-reality fare such as CBS's SURVIVOR or Donald Trump. "You compare those choices with the story of the men on D-Day and you find yourself reaching for words a lot stronger than tacky -- maybe the kind of words that could get you a fine from the FCC -- to describe those station owners."