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Tony & Tacky
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November 12, 2004



PAUL GIGOT: Winners and losers, picks and pans. We call it Tony and Tacky, our choices for the best and worst of the week. We begin with this TV commercial about a dad who tries to help his daughter with homework on the computer and is encouraged to go do something else by the daughter and the mom. Susan, how does this become a tony or a tacky?

SUSAN LEE: Well, the ad itself I think is a tony, because it's quite funny. The tacky is the response to the ad by a national advocacy group called Dad's and Daughters. Dads and Daughters objected to the ad because they saw it showed dads as second-class parents. And the president of the group said that ad agencies are targeting dads, because they can no longer offend women and minorities. Okay, so I could give them a Tacky on the grounds that they're working with a really outmoded notion of patriarchy, 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. So that's why I'm giving them the tacky.

PAUL GIGOT: I think that is the problem, Susan. Thank you. Dan Henninger takes note of the possible return to the political stage of Howard Dean, last seen by most Americans in this famous bit of video tape.

HOWARD DEAN: -- Michigan. And then we're going to watch it in D.C. to take back the White House. [SCREAMS]

PAUL GIGOT: Dan, take it away?

DAN HENNINGER: How can you not give a tony to the return? Welcome back, welcome back, Howard. He wants to possibly become the chairman of the Democratic Party, and I think it's a great idea to bring some vitality back into that race. Howard Dean says they don't have to move towards the center because they already occupy the center.

By contrast, the Clintons are thinking of nominating a New York union lawyer named Harold Ickes, which would be interesting. Now 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. So it's going to be interesting. 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.

PAUL GIGOT: Dan, I'll make a prediction. In a fight between Bill and Hillary Clinton and Howard Dean for the control of the party, I think I know who has most of the fire power on their side, and it isn't Howard Dean.

DAN HENNINGER: The people with the money. PAUL GIGOT: Exactly. Thanks, Dan. And finally, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. ABC commemorated Veteran's Day by showing the unedited version of this Oscar-winning movie on Thursday night. But the unedited version contains profanity, and these days nothing's simple. Dorothy, who gets the Tacky?

DOROTHY RABINOWITZ: Well, 20 ABC affiliates get the tacky, because they refused to air SAVING PRIVATE RYAN on the grounds that the film contained obscenity. This film was being shown in honor of Veteran's Day, and the station owners complained and worried that they would terrorized that the FCC might fine them in some way because of that 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. And it introduces a film that really ignores and manages to go past all of the clichÈs 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 a minute. And that is what got the station owners.

The FCC didn't help, because they refused to clarify their decency standards. But of course, you can say that those station audiences could have found a lot of other things to watch. They could have watched CBS's SURVIVOR and other such soul-nourishing stuff as Donald Trump. And 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.

PAUL GIGOT: All right, Dorothy, you get the last one. Thank you.

That's it for this edition of THE JOURNAL EDITORIAL REPORT. Thank you from all of us. We hope you'll join us again next time.