I have been working on a very serious and very well thought out article for the web site. I am not quite finished yet, and need to put it down and come back later to proofread it. I had to take a break to think about something else for a while so I turned on the TV. And here we go…
Television has changed a lot since we were kids. I have written a little about this before, but this is getting serious. You know I am conservative in my beliefs and life, so this won’t come as any great shock to you… Television is scaring me!
I can remember when the family was glued to the television when Little House on the Prairie was on, or the Waltons. I even remember being able to watch M.A.S.H., which I thought was incredible, since it was kind of racy and I was a young kid. I do not remember ever seeing a “reality” show where a house full of female contenstants all competed for the attentions of one man, or a show about several college age kids who lived and partied in one house for six months. They simply weren’t fit for broadcast television.
So why now? What has changed that allows us to broadcast this type of television show and accept it as the standard for entertainment in our current society? Is it lack of creativity on the part of those who are responsible for the programming? Nope, It’s the train wreck effect. We can’t look away, we watch in awe, and it sells.
If you have ever wondered why the most expensive commercials air during the super bowl, I am about to remove the mystery for you. Because they can. Because everyone is watching, even me. Especially me. We watch what we want to watch, and we turn the channel when we don’t want to watch something. Most people now have cable and they make their decisions on what to watch by parsing through hundreds of options (well, I usually watch about 3 channels, but I am not most people). So the proliferation of these shows that push the boundaries of what the FCC will allow are doing what they do because that’s what we want. Right? If you don’t agree, then why are you watching?
I am not immune, I have watched these shows myself from time to time. But I am an adult, and will watch mostly out of shock and horror (the train wreck). The parts that scare me are the ways in which television creates a world that is almost believable for the younger generations. The media has made divorce, infidelity, sexually active teens and many other departures from what I will call “Christian values” seem like they are normal and acceptable. The magic of television.
Why do I care? My kids watch this stuff, even if they only see the commercial “teasers”, and it concerns me.
We won’t get rid of the shows that scare us. They are here to stay. The best thing we can do is make sure our kids are reigned in to shows that we approve of for the age group they are in. But, eventually, they will watch something that scares us. It’s just a fact of life. Just as my mother didn’t want me to watch The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson (they never missed one of his shows), so goes the progression of each generation.
Sadly, I do not have a solution to this, and I won’t be able to change a world that doesn’t want to change. So I will just give my two cents and move on, back to my other article, and turn off the TV, unless football is on, which is the single greatest reason to own a television (Americas Funniest Videos is a close second).