Eating crow, on a satellite dish

Uncle. OK, Hollywood, you win.

After more than two years without cable - in a futile effort to keep reality TV and other such delights out of my son's life - I'm throwing in the towel. I can pinpoint the moment I realized I had lost the pop-culture war.

It was before ABC turned into the Live From Neverland Network, before "Fear Factor" contestants passed cockroaches from mouth to mouth as if in some demented party game, and before a character got hacked to death with a chainsaw on "24." My crushing defeat also predated the apparent decision by the "Gilmore Girls" - one of three dramas I felt comfortable watching around my son - to have the teenage daughter have sex as a sweeps ratings stunt.

The awful realization that I couldn't purify the airwaves coming into our house came during Super Bowl Sunday. Not during the big game or the half-time show (Can someone please hire Shania Twain a wardrobe consultant?) but during the commercials. A Budweiser ad starring a clown featured a sight gag so tasteless I can't describe it here. And then came the ad for "Are You Hot?" A woman wearing only a very small pair of leopard-print underpants suddenly popped on the screen before my very startled grandmother and my very small son. As my mom dived for him to shield his eyes, I realized two things: 1) I'm too much of a wimp to throw out my television and 2) If we had Disney and Nickelodeon, I'd have more than one safety option (PBS).

So, we're going shopping for a satellite system - one with a hefty blocking feature. At least this way he can watch "Bob the Builder." Motto: "Can we fix it?"

I'm beginning to wonder.

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