Monday, March 28, 2011

What's Worse?

I've touched on this before, but it is hard not to revisit something that basically amounts to the world force-feeding my children its prevailing attitudes.

I'm constantly amazed at the things people worry about -- the things we think we need to protect our children from. Let's play a game of "What's Worse?"

Here we go:

What's worse? -- a child seeing a naked woman on television or a child hearing a song with the lyrics: "I'm not in love but the sex is good"? (The latter came on the radio while I was driving my kids to school.)

What's worse? -- a child seeing more nudity or a child watching two (fully covered) people panting, sweating and rolling around in a bed? (The latter is seen on afternoons on soap operas.)

What's worse? -- the F-word in a song or a song with the phrase "would she go down on you in a theater"? (Check this out any time Alanis Morrisette's "You Oughta Know" comes on the radio -- the F-word in the song gets "bleeped" but the lascivious question remains.)

What's worse? -- kids playing a video game with "violence" or kids hearing an "expert" on a talk show saying "Let's face it. Teenagers are going to drink and experiment with drugs"?
I remember watching an episode of Friends. (A show I saw about twice and during which I barely cracked a smile. Never understood what people saw in it.) One of the characters asked another if he had ever heard of "Gandalf" from the Lord of the Rings, the other character said no. The first character said, "Didn't you read The Lord of the Rings when you were in high school?" The second responded, "No. I had sex when I was in high school." Big laughs ensued. That's a fantastic message to have on TV during prime-time. Very responsible writing.

A WW II poster meant for security,
but the message resounds
And this is okay. Everyone at the network thought this line was fine. (And it was fine if only because it slipped under the superficial constraints for TV-PG. 

I have said in many forums that I am not a believer in censorship. I am, however, a believer in an artistic and in a media-oriented sense of responsibility. Maybe we need to worry less about "Oops, the kids heard a bad word" and more about how a phrase can open doors to immoral and damaging behavior, if only by convincing kids that these behaviors are perfectly normal.

Over time, we have progressed from "only have sex after marriage" through "make sure you are in love and it is the right time." Now we are onto "I'm not in love, but the sex is good" -- not just as a philosophy, but a stated-out-loud boast on morning radio.

I'm not one of those people who believes the end is nigh -- that the world is in an irreversible moral decline that will lead to the downfall of civilization. I just wish people would truly respect each other's beliefs. I want people to stop and say, "You know, there may be a mom in Iowa who might not appreciate my depiction of casual, cavalier, emotionless sex outside of marriage. Maybe I should rewrite this lyric." (Yeah, and while you are at it, learn to play your guitar. Start by looking up the word "chord," you rube. Sorry -- couldn't resist.)

Everyone is so open-minded, but everyone is so self-centered. Everyone "accepts" people's choices, unless those choices are inconvenient or make too many demands on party time. The people who chirp constantly about respect for others are the same people who will make off-hand, derogatory statements about the religious beliefs or the moral codes of others. 

There is one heck of a lot of philanthropic money being thrown at causes and a lot of lip-service being given to respect for our fellow humans. Why don't we save ourselves some trouble and just start watching what we say? A single, misplaced phrase can derail a life. I never heard of a life being ruined by a "bad word" or by a glimpse at the human body.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. We follow the letter of the law, but not the heart of it. Hypocritical perhaps, but we sleep better that way.