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Sunday, July 17, 2011

TLC'S Lobbying Show. "Sister Wives"

Some "reality shows" are designed to advertise wanton misbehavior and stupidity for its own sake. There's no "life lesson," just an exercise in how you can grade your own moral worth on a "Jersey Shore" curve.
That is not the case with TLC's "Sister Wives." For TLC (The Learning Channel, a misnomer demanding initials only), it was the usual slam-dunk oddball premise: Won't people be curious to see how four wives -- married to the same man -- get along in the same house? The show's stars, Kody Brown and his wives, want much more than fame and fortune. They want to make polygamy respectable, even legalized. The show was a surprise hit for TLC, drawing an average of 2.2 million viewers over Season 1 last fall. The polygamists have recognized the power of pop culture -- particularly television -- and are pouncing to normalize this abhorrent behavior.
If this was in any doubt, it was removed when Brown and Co. recently hired hotshot Washington lawyer Jonathan Turley and sued in federal court in Salt Lake City to get Utah's polygamy law voided. Brown and his four wives knew they were taking a risk of being prosecuted when they signed the deal with TLC, but it was all calculated, with an activist motive. Brown proclaimed, "While we understand that this may be a long struggle in court, it has already been a long struggle for my family and other plural families to end the stereotypes and unfair treatment given consensual polygamy."
Robyn Brown (wife No. 4) also said they wanted to make a political point. "It's OK for us to live this way, honestly. I'm sorry, but this is a nation of freedom of choice," Robyn Brown declared on National Public Radio. "We should have this choice, and I want my kids to know that."
Turley denounced Utah's law as an injustice: "There is no allegation of child abuse, no allegation of child brides, no allegations of so-called collateral crimes, but prosecutors have stated publicly that they believe the family is committing a felony every night on television."
Actually, "Sister Wives" isn't on TV every night -- thankfully, it's only a Sunday night show. But is TLC concerned? Hardly. It feels the Brown family's legal peril and courtroom activism only add a layer of "edginess" to the show. It doesn't matter one bit to TLC that it is the showroom for a campaign nuking the nuclear family. It felt no need to comment on the Brown lawsuit. All is fair in love and television.
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, whose office would defend the statute, is skeptical. He called the lawsuit "somewhat of a PR ratings stunt for their show." That's an understatement when you consider that the polygamy law hasn't been used to prosecute anyone in eight years.
Local police in Lehi City, Utah, launched an investigation last September after "Sister Wives" made its debut on TLC. How could they not? They were dared to do so on national TV. Then they turned their findings over to the Utah County attorney to determine whether charges are warranted based on the state's bigamy law. Charges were never filed.
What's sad about this whole exercise is that media chroniclers of the Browns, from network TV to Oprah to blogs and wire services, routinely treat them as sympathetic figures. Every exotic alternative lifestyle is assumed to be progressive and therefore admirable and is not only to be tolerated, but welcomed. It's rare that anyone appears for five seconds on TV to protest the Browns and TLC. NBC's "Today" show has lent them two sympathetic interviews without opposition, and even allowed news anchor Natalie Morales to moonlight and interview the Browns for their own TLC special last fall.
It's even sadder that the political world would take this TLC show as an opportunity to propose further shredding the institution of marriage. On the liberal website Slate, blogger Jessica Grose blithely proposed, "Perhaps the best way to keep polygamous practice consensual and the power equal (between husband and wives) is not to just decriminalize it, but to legislate it ... polygamous couples could enter into contracts that are less like marriage contracts and more like commercial partnership contracts." Or, if we could borrow the TLC metaphor, like television contracts.
It is somehow not enough that the entertainment media would try to undermine traditional marriage and the traditional nuclear family in their bed-hopping soap-operatic scripted dramas. Now it's also the role of "reality" television to suggest that a man with one legal wife and three "spiritual wives" is exactly the same as you and me, and that perhaps our legal boundaries against polygamy are unwarranted and archaic -- as long as it scores 2 million in the Nielsens.
What about the 298 million Americans not watching?
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(Courtesy of : L. Brent Bozell III / Politics / ArcaMax

L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center.

12 comments:

  1. "Robyn Brown (wife No. 4) also said they wanted to make a political point. "It's OK for us to live this way, honestly. I'm sorry, but this is a nation of freedom of choice," Robyn Brown declared on National Public Radio. "We should have this choice, and I want my kids to know that."
    So she goes from abuse victim to standing up and fighting the law? She was not abused. She is a whiner. NO ONE with an abusive background would be physiologically ready to go into battle. I know Mr. Sister could tell you that if she ever told you her story. (sorry, MS)

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  2. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I started this blog for a number of personal reasons, and picked "Sister Wives" because I was intrigued by the show, yet bothered by the religion. That's not taking anything away from the Browns, I have friends of all religions, but this one is different. I was told by an extremely intelligent person they had an agenda, they were political, and I hesitated to think they were that "deep". But, I was WRONG. I've been watching each episode over again, watching how they suck us in and parlay their beliefs, you can see the whole lawsuit getting set up. That really saddens me. It's imperative to me to get the word out about how deep and dark this is. And the freebies! that's another bugger for me. They are bitching about a hospital bill, but have been on what, 6 vacations?

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  3. They portray themselves as wholesome, but a review of their history reveals otherwise. Serial bankruptcies, asset shifting, lying on bankruptcy court filings, fleeing Utah to relocate to Nevada due to an imaginary "persecution" and uprooting their distraught children in the process...the average citizen does not bother to investigate their background and thus it is assumed that the Browns are the all - American family they make themselves out to be. Most troubling of all - the Browns have Jonathan Turley representing them - a man who has previously defended the pedophile polygamist Tom Green. The "Principle Voices" also seeks to strike down Utah's child bigamy law, which prohibits an older man from taking a young girl as a child bride. One wonders what this is about, since they tell us repeatedly that they only favor consensual adult polygamy.

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  4. merisnewneighborJuly 18, 2011 at 4:01 AM

    Kody Brown is doing what he feels is right for his family. Do I agree? no. but if being Jewish was against the law, I would fight it also.
    A man has the right to stand up for what he believes in, and should. What kind a man wouldn't stand up for the religion they profess to follow. He's taking his cross and doing the best he can with it. He's not hurting you or I. I'm sure he knew nothing of his attorneys other clients. He offered himself pro bono, a big plus.

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  5. ....and how will Jonathan Turley afford the fees to take the case to the Supreme Court of the US without funding ?
    He cannot. Someone else is funding Turley, because the Browns cannot afford it.
    Turley's history of supporting terrorists and Tom Green the polygamist pedophile is quite well known to all, particularly in Utah.
    Note also that Kody Brown is not filing a suit stating that his right to practice his religion is being violated, he is stating that his right to privacy is being violated by the law.
    Can someone explain why they are requesting that ALL of the bigamy laws in Utah be struck down, including the law against taking child brides, in light of the fact that the Browns have stated that they do not agree with underage marriage ?

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  6. Good question, Annonymous. Who is paying him. If they are, I am sure they have some REQUIREMENTS of the Browns. Weren't the Muslims brought up in the lawsuit papers?
    I would be scared to death if I were the Browns.
    And this shocked me. "Robyn Brown (wife No. 4) also said they wanted to make a political point. "It's OK for us to live this way, honestly. "I'm sorry, but this is a nation of freedom of choice," Robyn Brown declared on National Public Radio. "We should have this choice, and I want my kids to know that."

    Robyn, little miss abused, now mking such a brave point? Makes you wonder if he other story wasn't a lie.

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  7. "merisnewneighbor said...

    Kody Brown is doing what he feels is right for his family. Do I agree? no. but if being Jewish was against the law, I would fight it also."

    Excuse me, but Jews have been subjected to genocide throughout the ages. Fundamentalist Mormons have never been executed for their beliefs, and there is no interest in executing them. I find your post to be insulting.

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  8. merisnewneighborJuly 18, 2011 at 8:43 PM

    I am sorry 1/8 Jewish, I didn't mean it like that, I meant I was 1/2 Jewish and I would fight for my rights, as Kody is, if it were against the law.

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  9. You're not half Jewish and the Browns are fighting to have laws which protect children and women from being coerced into polygamous marriages against their will. Coercion and marriage to children are the only indications for prosecution of polygamy in Utah, using the laws current on the books in Utah. Can you tell me why Kody Brown and his wives want those laws to be struck down ? There is no religious right to marry someone against their will, nor is there a religious right to coerce someone into marrying someone else. Don't compare the systematic destruction of the Jewish people with Kody's imaginary persecution.

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  10. Admin : Please alter the first sentence of my post above to read :...the Browns are fighting to strike down laws which protect children and women from being coerced into polygamous marriages against their will."
    Thanks -

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  11. 1/8 Jewish. I can't alter comments, i can only delete them. But I think you fixed it, we get what you mean. Sorry!

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  12. Lobbying is right. I just hope America flips and does the opposite, and LEARNS what horrible things the AUB does!

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