I'm no bluenose. I'm a liberal.
I support ERA, busing, abortion, pollution control, gun control and saving whales.
I voted for Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern and Jimmy Carter.
I've always considered myself a strong advocate of free speech, and more permissive entertainment on television.
Until, that is, the other night.
My 6-year-old son was watching "Harper Valley PTA," NBC's latest attempt to nose out "The Incredible Hulk," for the Friday Nielsen honors.
Stella, our heroine, was accused of making a pornographic film, wearing nothing but an apron.
Normally, such an insane plot wouldn't bother me. Not this time. My son turned to me and asked, "Dad, what's a pornographic film?"
I've read Dr. Spock from cover to cover, but he couldn't help me with that one.
I stumbled through a disjointed answer which didn't please me or my son. Like all perceptive kids, he knows when he's being fed a line.
I was saved further embarrassment when they broke for a commercial. Unfortunately, this only made things worse.
The commercial was one of the new genre of jean ads. With soothing tones and sultry voice, we're told how we, too, can look like this. Meanwhile, the models' fannies wave in our faces.
"Dad, why do they stick their butts out at us like that?"
How do you respond to that one?
As I groped for an answer, we switched back to poor Stella. One would assume she would be trying her best to convince the local constabulary of her innocence. But no, Stella doesn't seem to care and gleefully carries on as if she had made a "pornographic" film.
All this got me to thinking: Why do we have to put up with this junk?
The usual answer of the network bigwigs is we want to see it.
"Well, if you don't like it," the other network giants say, "turn off your television."
I have two responses to that one. First, that's what thousands of viewers have been doing.
Second, I don't want to turn my television set off. I like to relax in front of the tube, but I want to be entertained and informed, not titillated.
What's more, I don't like all those fannies, boobs and cute language bombarding my kids each night during the so-called family hour.
As I said, I'm a liberal. But even liberalism has its limits.
In the past, I'd have opposed any attempt to purge sexually risque material from television as a violation of free speech.
Now I'm not so sure.
The obvious answer is to turn off my set for good. But as I said, I like to watch television; I like to be entertained.
Therefore, I propose a one-day protest -- today -- against the T-and-A drift of television. The Great Turn Off on April Fools' Day could prove we're just the opposite.
When I first thought about this, I quickly dismissed the idea. "Things," I thought, "aren't really that bad."
Then I sat down to watch "Love Boat" with my kids. You guessed it. That evening's fare included a nude sunbather on the fantail ("Dad, what's a fantail?") and a man who's getting a divorce having his first affair ("Dad, what's an affair?").
Join me in the Great April Fools' Turn Off?