By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Taking a stand
In a recent long-winded column, the publisher of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Arlington edition explained the paper's refusal to take NC-17 movie advertising, an issue that came to a head with the opening this week of MGM's Showgirls.
Mac Tully explained the difficulty a bastion of free speech like the S-T has limiting anyone's freedom of expression. "After all, that is how this country was founded," Tully noted.
He argued, as well, that everyone is entitled to his personal beliefs and should be free of the imposed standards of anyone else. "That's very scary to people who value their freedom," he wrote.
Then Tully stood up to be counted: "I believe that people are intelligent enough to make up their minds and don't need someone else to decide for them."
Give 'em hell, Mac! Buzz was, quite frankly, astounded. A Star-Telegram editor taking a tough stand--one in defiance of his boss' call, not to mention one that could get him four, maybe five, angry calls from geriatric bluenoses?
Unfortunately, there was one more sentence left in Tully's column--enough for him to reverse his field: "However, I also believe we are a family newspaper and we need to provide a product that basically the whole family can enjoy."
Buzz especially loves it when daily editors refer to their newspaper as the "product."
Big mother is watching
It's no news that paranoid yuppie parents have created a lucrative sales market for baby safety gadgets. But the exploitation of this demographic mother lode has reached a new level with the introduction of video crib monitors. Now you can visually check on your li'l angel's sleep habits--without having to leave poolside.
One of the more sophisticated units is marketed by SmartChoice of Carrollton, a subsidiary of a national video surveillance and security equipment maker. With SmartChoice's $350 BabyCam, when you warn the kids, "He sees you when you're sleeping," you'll mean it. BabyCam has an infrared sensing capability that allows it to see in the dark, just like a spy satellite.
Sure, it all seems a little creepy to be spying on the little tyke with a wireless television camera. But Buzz figures, why resort to trust that the kid hasn't wet his diaper when you've got this kind of technology?
And this is bigger than peeping at sleeping babies. As SmartChoice spokeswoman Melinda Conkling helpfully pointed out, you can connect the BabyCam to a VCR and record your babysitter's activities while you're out. (That'd get an NC-17 rating for sure.)
But why stop there? With BabyCam's infrared capability, why not monitor the kids through adolescence? Next time young Eric or Kyle retires to his room to "do his own thing," you'll have it on tape for corrective purposes.
If you've done some surveillance that Buzz should know about, you can call us at 757-8439 or fax to 757-8593 or E-mail to observermcimail.com. Or send that incriminating video to P.O. Box 190289, Dallas, 75219.