of Those Who are Holier than Thou,
Often They Are Fleecers of their Own Flocks (and Stocks)...
a time, there was a wonderful little local cable TV company called
Century Cable that serviced the liberal, cosmopolitan, Blue State
community of West Los Angeles, California. Its public access station
featured a wide and wacky array of free expressionists, political
activists, wannabe TV stars, crazy kids, eccentric exhibitionists,
controversial poets, videographic artists, never-ready-for primetime
players, and horny housewives (like me).
My show, like others, ran for several years, without censorship,
happily broadcasting sex education to the good, famously open-minded
people of Santa Monica, West Hollywood and surrounding neighborhoods
who, if they didnt like it, could always change the channel.
came, he bought, he censored.
Not violence, just sex. A man used
to getting what he wanted if he
tried hard enough, John Rigas
tried mightily to make all of his
newly acquired cable stations over
into his image, or at least, the image
he liked to portray, that of a
"Family Values" man, a conservative,
God-fearing paragon of
day, sometime in the late 1990s, the Charles Keating of Cable
TV, John J Rigas, known for turning a US$300 investment into cable
behemoth Adelphia Communications Corp., swooped down like a hawk
on a lamb and snatched up Century, as well as several other cable
stations in Southern California and dozens more all over America.
came, he bought, he censored. Not violence, just sex. A man used
to getting what he wanted if he tried hard enough, John Rigas tried
mightily to make all of his newly acquired cable stations over into
his image, or at least, the image he liked to portray, that of a
"Family Values" man, a conservative, God-fearing paragon
of Christian virtue. In that
effort, he censored or took off the air Playboy, Spice, and any
other shows that included nudity (except those on HBO and Showtime
- money talks, of course), even the programs on Public Access TV,
Adelphia CEO John J. Rigas
just after his arrest.
the big deal? Stuff is censored all the time on commercial TV.
Since when does a horny housewife like me have a "right"
to produce my own TV show uncensored by the station?
The big deal is that THIS is Public Access. And yes, I do have
a right. And so do you. Public Access is the lowly but precious
alternative to commercial TV in America. It is not the voice of
the community. It is the voices of individuals in the community.
Public Access is the People's Broadcasting System, and the People
have different points of view.
$2.7 billion, stolen from their
stockholders and, indirectly, their subscribers. Now thats
also Family Values at work.
Family Values means family first,
and the Rigases certainly did put
family first. The Rigas Family, that is,
and screw the community.
to law, when a company like Adelphia owns a cable station, they
owe it to the community to provide access to the airwaves, so
you and I and our neighbors can express ourselves and air our
views through television. This is part of any cable companys
broadcast license. According to the US Supreme Court's 1996 decision,
Public Access programming must not be edited or censored by the
cable station. That's the LAW.
But the law
never stopped John J Rigas & Sons from doing whatever they
wanted. This pious, Church-going, Family Values family followed
their conscience - not the law - and it was their conscience that
told them to cover up the sex on my show, as they masturbated
their figures in their accounting office.
Now, I didn't
actually see them masturbate. I didn't even hear them. They wouldn't
even return my phone calls when I wanted an explanation for their
censorship of my programs. But I do know one thing: Everybody
masturbates. "If God had intended us not to masturbate, he would
have made our arms shorter" is my favorite George Carlin maxim.
Anyway, everyone does it; it's just a question of how and with
what. There's the kind you do with your fingers... and then there's
the kind you do with figures. Financial figures. The books
were big on morality and
small on ethics. Morality -
Family Values or Taliban Tradition -
really has no place in business
(like religion has no place in
government), especially not in
big business, which is supposed to
serve lots of different people,
many diverse families,
many varied communities.
Ethics has a vital place in business.
But I am
getting ahead of my Adelphia Story. At the time John Rigas and
his boys were covering up various body parts on my show, I didnt
know that they were also covering up the fact that they used Adelphia
balance sheets as their personal piggy bank.
I was handed my "censored" slips, calling my show "indecent"
and "obscene," I knew I had to fight back. Unlike Playboy
and most other content providers, I just couldnt slink away
with my tail between my legs. Though John Rigas wouldnt
let me show my tail or anybody elses on his recently acquired
public access stations, he couldnt stop me from airing shows
that had nothing but white letters on a black screen, saying stuff
IS WHAT CENSORSHIP LOOKS LIKE
TO FASCISM IN AMERICA
J. RIGAS, CEO of ADELPHIA, is ILLEGALLY CENSORING THIS SHOW
BLOCK CURSE IS UPON JOHN J. RIGAS
ADELPHIA STOCK NOW!
exhortation proved to be what the Wall Street Journal would later
tout as my "prescient financial advice," even though
I didnt know that the Rigases were not only covering up
my bottom; they were covering up their own bottom line.
what about the Block Curse? I'm no Harry Potter, but I must say
that The Curse has done some pretty serious damage to various
enemies of liberty. Though, in the case of John J Rigas &
Sons, the sheer force of its cursedness even amazed me, when Adelphia
stock (which I told you to dump!) plummeted into the muck as John
J Rigas & Sons were forced to admit that they were under investigation
by the Securities & Exchange Commission, and then taken away
in handcuffs, because they failed to report that they had used
Adelphia to guarantee as much as US$2.7 billion in their own private
family-incurred debts. Yes,
$2.7 billion, stolen from their stockholders and, indirectly,
their subscribers. Now thats obscene.
also Family Values at work. Family Values means family first,
and the Rigases certainly did put family first. The Rigas Family,
that is, and screw the community. Screw the community of stockholders
they screwed out of their life
savings. Screw the community of cable subscribers they screwed
out of their right to watch the TV shows of their choice. Screw
the community of their fellow Americans that they and their counterpart
CEO-banditos at Enron, WorldCom, Halliburton, Imclone, etc., screwed
out of multiple billions.
come in many colors,
from the Right, and the Left.
But one thing they all have in common
is that they try to
HIDE THE TRUTH from YOU.
Whether it's flesh or finances,
censors don't want you to see it.
the Rigas Boys labeled my shows "indecent."
were big on morality and small on ethics. Morality - Family Values
or Taliban Tradition - really has no place in business (like religion
has no place in government), especially not in big business, which
is supposed to serve lots of different people, many diverse families,
many varied communities. Ethics has a vital place in business.
But not morality, and certainly not moralizing. Fundamentalism
is fundamentally bad for business.
arent all fundamentalists.
Censors come in many colors, from the Right, and the Left. But
one thing they all have in common is that they try to HIDE THE
TRUTH from YOU. Whether it's flesh or finances, censors don't
want you to see it. Thus, it is not surprising when the biggest
moral censors turn out to be
the biggest fiscal frauds. Take Charles Keating, founder of Citizens
for Decency through Law before he turned into the Citizen-Poster
Boy for the American Savings & Loan Disaster. Then there were
the Hunt Brothers, those Texas oil-rich, John Bircher Billionaires
who went from being one of the wealthiest, most right-wing, Born-Again
Christian families in America to declaring bankruptcy and being
convicted of conspiring to corner the silver market.
Now come the Rigas Boys, the sanctimonious swindlers. Censorship
is one kind of cover-up; deceptive accounting is another. It's
all about covering up figures. In my case, it was about covering
up breasts, butts, vulvas and the occasional penis. They said
they were cleaning up cable TV. Guess that explains the money
of My Adelphia Story is: Beware of Those Who are Holier than Thou,
For Often They Are Fleecers of their Own Flocks.
In this story,
unlike so many stories, the criminals actually got caught and
punished for their crimes. Last week, after a jury had found John
Rigas guilty of bank fraud, securities fraud and conspiracy, U.S.
District Judge Leonard Sand sentenced him to 15 years in prison
(his son Timothy got 20 years). So goes the Fall of the House
of Rigas. A Greek tragedy of hubris, avarice and hypocrisy, with
my show as comic-erotic relief.
of two minds about the ending of this Adelphia Story. Is it happy
or sad? While a part of me is celebrating the final finish to
the Fall of the House of Rigas (and the fact that Im back
on the air - without censorship - on several Adelphia stations),
another part of me is wondering what good it will do our society
to put an 80-year-old, cancer-racked human into prison for the
rest of his life.
can be emotionally
satisfying, but has no tangible
What would be best
for society would be to strip
John Rigas of his wealth,
give his money to the poor,
and then make the old hypocrite
do "community service" in a lowly job
at one of Adelphias public access
stations for the remainder of his days,
scheduling shows like mine.
Oh, I chortled
along with Jimmy Breslin, over the internationally broadcast image
of the hoary old hypocrite, having censored my TV shows on bondage,
being handcuffed himself. And I gasped, along with the jury, at
the tales of the Rigas Family heists, involving hoodwinking stockholders
and stealing corporate funds to pay for fleets of fancy cars,
private golf courses, plane trips, Manhattan apartments, vacations,
Christmas trees flown from Coudersport to New York, and 100 pairs
of the same bedroom slippers. I despise John J Rigas for his greed
and his sanctimony. But I wonder what good it will do anybody
to put the old fart in jail now.
there is a law against imprisoning anyone over 80 years old. Why?
Because a) it would probably kill them, b) theyre not likely
to commit crimes at that age, c) theyre probably not going
to be "reformed" in prison at that age, d) theyre
only going to cost the taxpayers money with all their physical
ailments that would need to be taken care of in prison, and e)
its just unseemly (to the Italians) to lock up great grandpapa.
To most Americans,
this is a horrifying, immoral practice. How can you let a guilty
person not go to prison just because hes old? But then,
America doesnt mind locking up people for no good reason,
helping to create a situation in which we have more folks in prison
than any other country in the world. Our huge, burgeoning prison
system is built on principles of revenge and punishment (and,
increasingly, torture), rather than anything to do with reforming
the prisoner or whats best for society.
can be emotionally satisfying, but has no tangible social benefits.
What would be best for society would be to strip John Rigas of
his wealth, give his money to the poor, and then make the old
hypocrite do "community service" in a lowly job at one
of Adelphias public access stations for the remainder of
his days, scheduling shows like mine.
June 26, 2005, Dr. Susan Block.
Block is a sex educator, host of The Dr. Susan Block Show and
author of The 10 Commandments of Pleasure. Visit her main website
Send all comments, love letters, hate mail, questions, confessions
and testimonials to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Street Journal features Dr. Suzy, having won her censorship battle
with the handcuffed Rigas Boys. To read Sally Beatty's WSJ article,
Prize-Winning Commentator Jimmy Breslin writes about Dr. Suzy's
victory over the Rigas Family Censors. To read Breslin's nationally
syndicated column, "Aroused by th Thrill Of Arrested Censorship."
LA gives Dr. Suzy "The Last Laugh" on Rigas Censors-in-Thief at
Adelphia. To read Michael Gougis' "Last Laugh," click
here. Ha ha, hee heee, we're on laughing gas! This Rigas-in-Cuffs
drama is giving Block Stock quite a bounce...
+ + + + +
Read other articles by Dr Susan Block (click on the balls)
It Always Rains In California: All About Female Ejaculation
Springtime For Sex And God
The bigO Can Be Yours
Bush's P.O.W. Porn