You know, America is such an easy country in which to let your freak flag fly. If your two tickets to paradise consist of your boyfriend and a horse collar, Catherine the Great, then what happens in the bedroom is between you and Mister Ed. If the only way you experience that magic moment is to be swathed in Saran Wrap and hung from the ceiling while a midget in a clown suit throws pickles at you and yells "Verboten!", then get down with your bad self. In private. Please.
The remaining taboos are generally taboos for a reason. In light of this, NBC's success in bringing back the pillory in the form of the Dateline: To Catch A Predator series probably shouldn't come as much of a surprise. I mean really, after Disney cartoons, could there be more wholesome family entertainment than watching Chris Hansen grill these losers? Nuke some Orville Redenbacher's and watch a wannabe statutory rapist get proned out by the local heat; now there is a surefire formula for an evening's entertainment. Maybe it falls short of the old pillory in that you can't actually throw rotten fruit, but then again, no set of stocks in a New England village square was visible by the whole country, either.
Anyhow, as was bound to happen sooner or later, one subject of the show, after being busted cyberchatting up what he thought was a 13 year old boy, found out about his impending national humiliation and Did The Right Thing in the face of arrest. This being America, his next of kin sued.
What's amazing is that NBC settled out of court. We'll assume that the settlement was for considerably less than the nine figures demanded. A legal type I talked with off the record said he'd be surprised if it was high six figures, given the dead pervert discount.
What most surprised me was that the incident took place in Texas. Given the venue, NBC must have been sorely tempted to take it into a courtroom, if only for the satisfaction of seeing a jury say "Sorry about your brother, here's a dollar." Actually, given the venue, it wouldn't have shocked me to see a jury of Texans make the surviving family reimburse NBC's production costs for cleaning up their dirty laundry for them...