I was out for my evening walk (that I say is for fresh air but is really to avoid writing work) last night. When I stumbled upon several of the boys from Sketch22 sitting down and having a beer. Sketch22, for those who may not know is a sketch comedy group... a troupe... gang... here in Charlottetown. They are enjoying their third summer of fairly large and often sold out houses, but aren't without controversy. It doesn't seem to bother most of them.
Anyway, after they were gracious enough to invite me to join them, conversation turned to the shows everybody's been watching and in particular HBO's very fine Deadwood. Now not everybody had seen it, some had been meaning to watch it, some had only watched season one, some season two, and a couple of us have been enjoying season three, but we all agreed what a fine show it was and what a shame that HBO wasn't going to let them do a fourth season. But that HBO had a lot of fine programming.
This led to one of the guys to say: "Man, their shows are so awesome. They can say anything they want, they can show anything they want! I wish the world was HBO!"
And for some reason this got me all squawky. I started talking about how that's crazy talk and I don't want HBO programming all over. That I wanted HBO to stay on HBO, and many other things I just didn't believe.
It took me a day of rolling my eyes at myself, and working on another post about "branding" and story-telling (coming soon) to figure out what set me off.
It seemed to me that HBO was somehow being equated with freedom of artistic expression. Instead of a brand that stands for a particular kind of programming. Which led me to wonder: is showing sex and violence and using strong language freedom of expression when you HAVE to show sex and voilence and use strong language?
I would argue: It's not freedom, it's HBO.