Pardon my obsolete reference. I am asked from time to time (not often) about what was accomplished during the period I chaired the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Always I talk about encouraging and facilitating the transition from analog to digital communications. Not infrequently, however, the lingering historical connection is with Howard Stern.
Stern had a morning show on radio and failed to find anything humorous outside of sex. His best ratings came from pre-pubescent males. I initiated proceedings against him for violating anti-obscenity laws that were in place to protect children. I became a frequent target on his show; at one point he hoped I wouldn’t recover from cancer surgery.
Okay, I get it. This brief chapter is more interesting, if less consequential than technology transactions. Or is it? Did Stern’s sexual repartee with his fall girl, Robin, have any effect on male sensibilities?
Or, on Beto O’Rourke, who has lugged the F word into politics from somewhere. Or, on a culture that to Beto’s mind will find the adjective unobjectionable or at least non fatal to his political ambitions.
Before my knee talked back, I enjoyed downhill skiing. Then I took up the cross-country kind. I, of course, knew the characteristics of gravity, but got a lesson in the dynamics of pleasure. Downhill was more fun.
I am coming around to believing that contemporary culture is similarly affected. Comedy writers lead the way — politics follows. If there are serious philosophers today I wonder what they think? Or, will anybody care?
Al Sikes is the former Chair of the Federal Communications Commission under George H.W. Bush. Al recently published Culture Leads Leaders Follow published by Koehler Books.