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News Nots

New Chips Make Life Far Less Trying

News Nots Written by Timons Esaias

By now you've heard of the V-chip, which Congress has kindly insisted on having installed in all new TVs to protect our children from higher rated shows. But the V-chip, which blocks excessively violent programs from television, is only the beginning. "A host of new 'content-sensing-and-screening' chips are almost ready for sale," notes Mark "Wild Boar" Cato, President and CEO of Accucensor, Incorporate. "And they work on both TV and computer networks! Soon the American family will be able to watch television and drift around the Internet completely free of disturbing images or troublesome messages."

At the head of the list are the S- and R-chips, which are currently in prototype production. "The S-chip blocks anything of a sexually explicit nature," says Cato. "We've included some programmable options that will allow certain words or body parts, designated by the user, from appearing on your screen. So if Junior is showing an unhealthy interest in, say, feminine ankles...bang! They're out of there."

The R-chip (for Romance) aids those with an even lower threshold of offense. It screens out anything that shows kissing, hand-holding, or walking in the park. "We planned this chip for consumers with particularly refined sensibilities, and for families with strict views on dating and so forth. But our test-marketing indicated that this one is popular with males, who can use it to avoid chick-flicks on cable. It's also a reliable defense against email-pals who are starting to get too 'personal.'"

Another killer-application of the new censorchip technology, which should hit the market in time for this year's elections, is the P- chip. "The P-chip blocks C-Span; political campaign speeches; all appearances by elected officials on the local, state, or national level; Party conventions; and every form of political advertising. We expect six billion dollars in revenue this year alone." Wall Street insiders suspect that this may be a very conservative estimate.

There's also a B-chip in development that blocks all business news, including any mention of the Dow Jones Average. "I asked for that one myself," says Cato's mother-in-law. "When the Stock Market crashes next time, I just don't wanna know."

A TVR-chip, to block all sermons, revivals, and other materials of a religious nature had been expected to generate lawsuits and complaints to Congress, but besides some fulmination by televangelists this hasn't developed. The fact that the chip allows a certain amount of denominational selection has probably undermined any potential furor. As one woman put it, "I don't mind preaching and all that, but I can't stand all this Buddhism that's on TV these days. I'm willing to pay extra for a TV, if only it will keep me from seeing Buddhist stuff."

One item that has caused considerable controversy is an ESPN-chip being readied for market by Accucensor's main rival, Nanomellow Corporation. "Hundreds of thousands of sports widows across the country begged us to invent a way to block sports events and sports news," says spokesemployee Penelope Weaver. "But we've been inundated with threats of violence, lawsuits, and a brutal postal harassment campaign." The harassment comes in the form of well-ripened jock straps that have been being mailed to the Corporate Headquarters in Banthebomb, Vermont. Seven tons of them, so far.

Some investigators suspect this negative response is being orchestrated by rival Accucensor's workers. But Phil Mighours, who founded the grassroots protest organization Disgusted Unhappy Men Against the Suppression of Sports, claims no ties to that company. "It's just a completely Un-American idea. Without sports there would be no reason for State colleges and universities. Cities would lack all identity. Weekends would be a vast temporal wasteland, interrupted only by chores."

Another D.U.M.A.S.S. activist, Heraldina Dume, points out that the silent majority of women oppose the sale and use of an ESPN-chip for the home. "How the typical woman is supposed to find peace and fulfillment without televised sports is beyond me. If I couldn't park Oscar in front of the whateverball broadcast he'd drive me nuts. Televised sports is the only thing holding the American family together."

It's also the cornerstone of the nation's economy, according to sources at the Department of Labor Statistics. "Stadium building alone is a $5 billion chunk of the construction sector. Not to mention that the whole beer-beachbabe-drayhorse-sportsbar-buffalowings industrial complex is absolutely and completely dependent on sports- related advertisement!" Some experts warn that any cutback on sports on TV could cause basketball shoe prices ("sneaker markup") to collapse to the $40 level "or even worse."

The fading hope of Western Civilization could hardly survive such a shock.

"Rooting for one's home team," as Clinton put it during the third hour of his recent State of the Union address, "is the primary political act of the citizen, the fundamental exercise of our hard-won freedoms. To curtail this freedom, to discourage this act, would be a bad thing. We can do better than that."

Despite the fire-storm of criticism set off by the ESPN-chip, Nanomellow is working on other designs that should endear them to humans everywhere. "We will soon be marketing chips that can block talk shows, home shopping, infomercials, Zsa Zsa Gabor, colorized movies, and Sally Struthers. Our online customers have begged for chips that will block email flames, and unsolicited Internet advertisements. We will soon rescue them from these annoying aspects of connected life."

Utopia can't be far off.

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