YOU KNOW, EVERY TIME THERE'S A NATIONAL TRAGDY, I end up feeling like Kevin Bacon in Footloose--and not because I'm a terrific dancer, either! See, whenever a teenage geek goes off the deep end (like at Columbine High), normally rational Americans suddenly transform into the town elders of Footloose. But instead of condemning teen dancing, they point their bony, accusing fingers at my television! To tell the truth, it happens so often I've almost come to expect it, but lately I've spotted something even more disturbing: television shows censoring themselves. Dig these grievous examples from just last week!

Grievous Example #1! Rosie O' Donnell: A dyke everyone likes! But ever since the Columbine tragedy, someone has unscrewed her cap and filled her noggin with Froot Loops. You heard about her on-air snit with NRA poster boy Tom Selleck after he refused to talk about gun control, right? No problem there; if she wants to put her foot up Tom's ass for being a gun-totin' Hollywood hypocrite, then huzzah for her.

However! Just a few days later, after inviting Bernadette Peters (currently starring in Annie Get Your Gun) on the show to sing "Anything You Can Do," rumor has it Rosie turned into an anti-gun zealot, asking her to remove the line "I can shoot a partridge with a single cartridge" from the song! Bernadette, noting Rosie had purchased a one-way ticket to Looney-Land, naturally refused, and fellow cast member Tom "Dukes of Hazzard" Wopat was forced to come on and perform a different Broadway standard--one that presumably wouldn't send high-schoolers across the nation on a killing spree. (I'm assuming, then, the song wasn't from Cats.)

Grievous Example #2! There are many crimes one can commit against humanity, but there is none so horrendous as screwing around with the season finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer! Nevertheless, due to the Columbine shootings, the WB network decided to delay the smash-bang finale of Buffy (where the senior class battles a 60-foot-snake at graduation) till later this summer. Network CEO Jamie Kellner says, "Given the current climate, depicting acts of violence at a high school graduation, even fantasy acts against 60-foot serpents, we believe, is inappropriate." Hey, pal, I don't know about YOU, but inappropriate or not, if I ever meet a 60-foot snake? I'm gonna go Columbine on its ASS!

Grievous Example #3! Not only did Studio USA (the national distributors of Xena: Warrior Princess and Jerry Springer) recently cave in to Hindu protesters by yanking an episode of Xena off the air, now they're pulling episodes of Jerry Springer because of potential reactions concerning teen violence. Now, if one of the episodes was called, "My Principal Won't Let Me Marry My Horse, So I'm Going to Shoot Up the School" then maybe I could understand their concern. But the two episodes are entitled "Guess What? I'm Bisexual!" and "My Daughter Wants to Be an Adult Film Star!"

Oh, please, people! This kind of self-censorship is not only idiotic, but insulting to everyone involved. Do they really think that banning two shows is going to stop a single psychopath from killing, or bring back the lives of those who died? Besides, I believe it's important for our youth to watch Jerry Springer and these two banned episodes in particular! Kids need role models (especially if they want to grow up to be porn stars or bisexuals), and besides, it's a scientific fact that nothing keeps kids away from firearms like getting laid. As I always tell teens when I'm touring high schools: "Shoot sperm, not guns!" Hmmm... waitasecond! You know, that would make a great bumper sticker!

(As you can tell, unlike the networks, self-censorship is not one of my strong suits.)