Adelphia Family Censors


Adelphia Family Censors


Transcript of

by Susan Block, Ph.D.

So… did you dump your Adelphia stock like I told you to? No? Didn't take me seriously last year when I said SELL, huh? Thought I was just some distraught public access pornographer, and that ADELPHIA, overseen by those fine upstanding censors John J. Rigas & Sons, was as sound an investment as woolens in winter… or g-strings at spring break. Well… think again.

Hi. I'm Dr. Susan Block, and no, I'm not a stock market psychic. I'm a sex therapist and public access TV producer and my public access show was censored by Adelphia Cable TV. See, way back when I was telling you to dump Adelphia stock, I didn't know that Adelphia's owner, founder and Censor-in-Chief, John J. Rigas, was COVERING UP the fact that he and his boys had used the balance sheets of Adelphia, a public company, as their own personal piggy bank. I just knew he was COVERING UP various body parts on my show. I just knew that this strange little old religious fanatic has-been billionaire had taken over three of my local public access stations and was illegally censoring my show and other shows with sex-related content, thereby violating the covenants of his broadcast license.

So… what was a frustrated sex therapist to do? Why, put the Block Curse on him-what else? Now, I'm no Harry Potter, but I must say the Block Curse has done some pretty serious damage to various enemies of liberty. Though this time 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 because they failed to report that they had used Adelphia to guarantee as much as $2.7 billion in their own private FAMILY-incurred debts. Now that's Family Values. $2.7 billion! As Arianna Huffington said, "that's three times what America is currently giving in foreign aid to all of sub-Saharan Africa." Now THAT's obscene.

But what's it got to do with censorship? What's the big deal? Stuff is censored all the time on commercial TV stations. And since when does some horny housewife like me "have a right" to produce my own TV show? 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 American TV. It is not the voice of the community. It is the voice of individuals in the community. Public Access is the People's Broadcasting System. And the People have different points of view. It's like talking over the fence with your neighbors. Howdy neighbor!

Now, when a company like Adelphia owns a cable station, they owe it to the community to provide a PUBLIC ACCESS to the airwaves so you and I can express ourselves. 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 want, now did it? Oh, yes: This pious Church-going Family Values family follows 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 SEE them masturbate. I didn't even hear them. They wouldn't even return my phone calls, let alone have phone sex with me, like everybody else does. 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 there's the kind you do with figures-financial figures. The books…

So the Rigas Boys censored me, or rather YOU. That is, they wouldn't let you see The Dr. Susan Block Show. Of course, you could always see it on my website which is also transmitted by Adelphia cables. And you know that even if you can't SEE the show, you can always CALL the show at 213.749.1330, since it still airs live Saturday nights on other cable stations & the Internet. And yes, since I will be doing a show and taking calls when this show airs, you can call me now at 213.749.1330. And no, you don't HAVE to see the show, if you don't want to. See, there's a fantastically effective personal censorship device that I recommend to everyone. It's called the remote. Click! You've censored me. Go ahead. Turn me off. Change the channel. I don't mind.

The point is that you have the right to make that decision for yourself, and for your children. The government shouldn't make that decision for you. And the cable company certainly shouldn't make that decision for you. Especially when you live in a cultured community like West LA, and the cable company is based in a tiny backwater town called Coudersport, Pennsylvania which, according to the New York Post, is the next possible home of the Aryan Nation. You heard me: The projected new home of the Aryan Nation is deciding what you can and can't see on your TV.

Aryan Nation or Taliban Christian Homeland, John Rigas & Sons rule Coudersport like a feudal kingdom. Or like a Greek Orthodox Mafia, surrounded by lawyers. They don't just tell the folks in Coudersport what to watch on their TVs, they tell 'em what to eat for breakfast-literally (they own the main restaurants there, not to mention several stores which I heard they may have obtained through genteel loansharking). In general, they tell 'em to FEAR GOD and ADELPHIA, His prophet. Their dream was to extend that power and that FEAR throughout America, as they hungrily swallowed up cable stations across the country, yea, even unto the flesh pots of LA, unto the wild hills of Hollywood, even unto the Valley of Porn, lo they went with censorship as their sword and sanctimony as their shield and greed, greed, greed in their hearts and calculators… These holy-rolling high rollers behaved as if nothing could stop them…gobbling up our beloved Century Cable in West LA and Buena Vision in East LA and TCI in the Valley of Porn and-basically, they took over the televisions of the greater part of Greater Los Angeles in their greed and their lust to baptize the world in their image.

They came, they bought, they censored. Not violence, just sex. No more Playboy, no more Spice, no more sex shows on Public Access--though they did keep the sex on HBO and Showtime, which just goes to show what hypocrites they are. And since I host Radio Sex TV on HBO, and from time to time I'm on HBO's Real Sex, I am in the odd position of being censored on poor public access, but not on rich HBO.

So, in a totally dictatorial decision, John Rigas and all his little Rigas apparatchiks in seven broadcast regions across the US took dozens of sexually oriented programs off the air. When questioned about it, Adelphia representatives lied and dissembled repeatedly to customers and commissioners, not to mention producers. Local Adelphia staff said they had "no control," each insisting he or she was not the censor. They said we had to "talk to Coudersport," yet no one in Coudersport took our calls except secretaries who said they didn't know anything. It was Kafkaesque: The people we talked to didn't know anything. And the people who were said to know something wouldn't talk to us. This is how a company behaves when it has something to hide. Something to censor. They just hunker down in the caves of Coudersport.

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 censors turn out to be the biggest fiscal frauds. 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, vulvas and the occasional penis. Any of my public access shows with naked breasts, with so much as a pubic hair shown for a nano-second, Adelphia refused to air. I guess they like things CLEAN. Yeah. That explains the money laundering.

Let me remind you that the Rigases come from a long line of pious crooks. 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 (virtually pro-Nazi), 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… What does this tell us? Beware of Those Who are Holier than Thou, For Often They Are Fleecers of their Own Flocks.

Of course, con artists come from both sides of the tracks, the rich and the poor, the self-righteous and the hedonist. And there are some non-fundamentalists whose hands have also been caught in cookie jars in the current telecommunications disaster, like Global Crossing's Gary Winnick and WorldCom's Bernie Ebers. BUT there are con artists and there are con artists. Some con artists we even kind of like--like Butch Cassidy or the guys in Ocean's Eleven, or our forty-second President. Sometimes we even LOVE con artists. But not THIS kind of con artist, not the hypocrite, not the moralizing con artist who stands above us, wagging his finger and telling us what we can and can't see on our TV, as he steals money from innocent stockholders.

And you, John Rigas, are just that kind of moralizing con artist. Sorry John. I warned you. You know I warned you. And you wouldn't talk to me, would you, John? You wouldn't take my calls. Whatsamatta, Johnnie? Afraid I might seduce you into a round of hot phone sex ? Afraid I might find out your fantasies? Afraid I might catch you and your boys in the backroom… fudging your figures, licking your chops, slobbering all over your stockholders? Ya shoulda let us show a little skin, John, like we've been doing on public access for years. What's wrong with showing a little real, beautiful human skin? Bet now you wish you'd let us do it. Bet now you wish you hadn't been quite so greedy, thinking you could buy up America for Christ and your beloved Rigas family. All resigning now, tails between your legs, in shame, utter abject shame. Just who did you think you were, the Aristotle Onassis of American cable? Bet now you wish you hadn't been quite so arrogant, thinking you could censor the people media's without being struck by the Block Curse, you and all your sons: Michael J. Rigas, Timothy J. Rigas, James P. Rigas.

The Greek word "Adelphia" means brothers, not sisters. That is, Adelphia was run by a barbershop quartet of Good Ol' Boys, and when I say "old," you know I mean old-style, 50s style, their aim being to push America back to the 1950's when Father knew Best and Mother took Valium. Yessiree, keep those wild WOMEN in the kitchen, and let the MEN go out to work and steal money from their stockholders, and let no one see a naked vulva or God forbid, a penis on public access. That's Family Values, Rigas-style. And it's a slippery slope. Censoring images leads to censoring words, which leads to censoring ideas and then actions, including unsavory business practices. When truth is censored, liars run the show.

So: Wake Up and Smell the Censorship! Smells like books burning. Censorship is all around us, censorship of sex, censorship of business, news, war, terrorism, and the response to terrorism. It's coming from all directions, like the wind. But whether it's right-wing religious fundamentalist ranting or left-wing politically correct psychobabble, it all adds up to oppression, a fall back into the DARKNESS, tripping over our fears. What did we call the most repressed, most censorship-riddled period in Western History? The Dark Ages.

From the Crusading Catholic Church to the Nazi destruction of the Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld Institute to the mullahs' bounty on Salman Rushdie's head, the Freedom of Speech is the first sacrifice in the war against our liberties. Among the first victims in such a war are those who explore sexuality. Because you know what happens after the censorship of images: the censorship of words, the censorship of ideas, information, the censorship of life and death. The Nazis started their death march by censoring erotic art, explicit images, sexual science research and eventually just about any kind of art or literature, calling it decadent, degenerate, indecent, immoral, obscene. First they silenced the artists and the scientists, trashing their work, burning their books, then they imprisoned them, then they killed them, then they started killing their friends and relatives, people of their race or religion. Once that kind of killing was acceptable, all hell broke lose from the top down, and all kinds of innocents were executed, gassed, incinerated, you know the story. All for the sake of morality. Because the Nazis considered themselves very moral people. It was the artists, writers and sexologists that were immoral, according to the Nazis, according to the Rigases.

Censorship is easy, when you're in power. "I don't like what I'm hearing, so I won't let them say it. I don't like what I'm seeing, so I won't let them show it." And if we accept the censorship-because my God, I'm so busy, and I don't have TIME to talk to my kids about what they watch on TV-- then the people in power stay in power, and pass it onto their sons--from Bush to Bush, Hunt to Hunt, Rigas to Rigas. In the Information Age, censorship is the ultimate oppression of the Haves over the Have-Nots, because censorship means they won't let you have the information or images you need. Censorship means you only have the information they want you to have.

Way back in the Swingin' Sixties, Dr. Martin Luther King faced another oppressive, hypocritical situation in America, and he said "I have a dream." Part of his dream was that there would come a time when "we would judge each other not by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character." That dream seemed like a pipedream back then, but nowadays, despite the reactionary attacks of a few Aryan Nation types, that dream is coming true. So, with deep apologies to Dr. Martin-though I understand he was NOT a puritan in his private life-I'd like to say "I have a dream." Or perhaps, considering who I am, I should say: I have a fantasy...

I have a fantasy that there will come a time when a woman's genitals-open or closed-- will not be considered obscene.

I have a fantasy that there will come a time when a man's genitals-soft or at attention--will not be considered indecent.

I have a fantasy that there will come a time when sex will not be lumped together with violence as something base, something evil, something that children should never see.

I have a fantasy that there will come a time when we will judge people not by their sexual orientation but by their basic humanity, and not by superstitious, irrational religious bigotry but by simple ethics and decency.

I could go on. I have many fantasies, and I'm sure you do too. Just remember that the people who want to censor our fantasies tend to be the ones with something BIG to hide (and I don't mean their genitals).

And well, John J. Rigas, well, well, well… There are decent people in this great country of ours, and they routed you out of hiding in the Caves of Coudersport. Thus the Block Curse strikes another arrogant adversary of freedom who grossly underestimated its power: Adelphia Family Censors: John J. Rigas & Sons: Repent! Repent of your wicked attempts to blindfold your viewers and hoodwink your stockholders! Repent, or all the riches you have earned off the backs of the people shall slip through your slippery fingers like dust.

I'm Dr. Susan Block, your love doctor, taking your calls, questions and comments about sex, love, censorship and stock evaluation here at 213.749.1330. That's 213.749.1330 to call the show. You know I always love to hear from you. BUT maybe you don't feel like calling. Scared of John? Don't worry, he's gone. Relax… say a little prayer for freedom-Amen & Awomen too! and… Make love to someone you love tonight, even if that someone is you. I love you.

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