Sunday, February 19, 2006

Mixed Messages

"The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions." ~ Alfred Lord Tennyson

I had an early day yesterday because of my special trip to Pennsylvania, so I went to bed early. I woke up about 30 minutes ago, and couldn't find the remote for the TV. My son was watching TV when I went to bed last night. When my son watches TV, the remote always seems to end up in interesting places.

Anyway, my point is, I had to turn the TV on manually, and MTV burst onto the screen immediately. Has anyone watched MTV recently?

The show that is on as I type this is called "Room Raiders". It is a kind of blind date show, in which contestants decide who to date, based solely on the contents of their bedroom.

The whole point of this show seems to be choose which date would most likely be willing to have sex by finding telltale signs of promiscuity in their rooms.

Another MTV show is called "Next!" . MTV's synopsis of this show reads, "Ever wish you could bail in the middle of a bad date? Well, NEXT is the MTV show that lets you do just that. We'll set you up on 5 dates. The minute you get annoyed, angry or just plain bored, simply kick 'em to the curb by saying "NEXT", and start over with someone new. Don't feel too bad for the ones you give the boot. They'll get cash for every minute they last and the one who makes it to the end gets a chance to turn the tables. They can choose to go on a second date with you or take the money and run. So be careful what you do, because sooner or later you could be the one hearing the word "NEXT."

This one has a unique twist. Sometimes the choices are of the same sexual gender. That's right. There are "Gay" episodes.

In keeping with MTV's values, the dates that appear likely to hop into bed most readily usually wins.

"Date My Mom" has corralled a few brave guys to each take out three moms. The guys will then decide which of their daughters will be the right love match for them.

Of course, the guys decide which girl they will date by how permissive her mother is.

Other shows on both MTV and VH-1 focus almost completely on sex. I think this kind of attitude being foisted upon our children is highly destructive.

Then, between the shows, they have Public Service Announcements encouraging the viewers to practice safe sex, and get tested for STD's. Even, in some cases, promoting abstinence, which is a good thing, but don't you think it smacks of hypocrisy?

The sponsors and the people who produce these shows and the Hollywood stars who act in them, often get actively involved in campaigns to stop AIDS and eliminate Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

I see a disconnect here. They spend all their time and efforts promoting indiscriminate, promiscuous sex, and then attempt to lend themselves credibility by stressing sexual responsibility. I find it disingenuous to say, on one hand, sex with multiple partners as often and as much as you can get is the only important goal in life, and on the other hand, make PSA's warning us about the consequences of promiscuity.

And sadly, it's not only MTV and VH-1. It's everywhere in the media. Television, Movies, Magazines, and even video games.

You might say, "Well, if those shows offend you so much, why do you allow your kids to watch them?" And truthfully, I have considered banning The watching of certain TV shows.

But you cannot completely isolate your kids from the influences of the media without blindfolding them and plugging their ears, and then chaining them to the toilet. What they aren't exposed to at home, they will be exposed to elsewhere. It is unavoidable. Even grocery shopping is provocative. Just walk by the magazine section in the market sometime and glance at the pictures and headlines on the covers.

No, I think the best course of action to protect your kids is to talk to them. Explain to them what is appropriate, and then live your life in front of them as exemplary as you can. Kids are not stupid. They see and notice all.

Often I have seen my convictions manifesting themselves in my kid when I wasn't even aware he had been paying attention. Conversely, I have seen my mistakes being repeated by him in some way.

The solution is in being consistent and continually vigilant. We have a lot to lose if we fail.


Poison Pero said...

Parenting is the greatest thing in the world, and the hardest.......That and spoucing. LOL!

All you can do is your best, Mark, and we both know the deck is stacked against you with the Mom situation.

You said "kids aren't stupid"........That is correct. If we work hard at parenting they notice.

Sure they notice our flaws, but they also notice our efforts and when we do a good job........Keep this in mind.

Even though the little SOB's don't thank us for it........LOL!

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

You make some good observations, Mark. Although that show Next sounds like it could be a hoot for a laugh.

Am I sending you mixed messages here?

Gayle said...

I can't even get MTV here yet, but we are having direct TV installed as soon as the weather clears up. However, I've already got three children in their late 30's and early 40's, the only one at home is already 18 so can pretty much watch what she chooses. I have raised her with values though, and am not worried about Hollyweird corrupting her.

Like you said, the only way to totally protect our children would be to chain them to the toilet! Oh, here's another way; throw the computers and tv's out; make them dress in Burkas and don't let them leave the house unescorted! :)

Zeeshan Suhail said...

Mark, you have an interesting blog.
Gayle, being Muslim, i'm slightly offended at your comment about having children wear burkas to protect them.
You may want to see a recent blog entry I posted about veils and their historical and religious significance in Islam (and even other religions).
I'm not a religious scholar, but I do know of women who have adorned the burqa or hijab just for the purposes of liberation and emancipation.
You will be better off understanding these people, as opposed to making fun of them.

old soldier said...

Setting reasonable boundaries and following up with appropriate punishment when violated is a key. You cannot expect a child to willingly set a boundary short of where their curiosity would take them.. That is the parent's job. Punishment and reward is also the parent's job. And most significantly, love is the paramount parent's job. That love is most strongly emphasized by the boundaries not being moving targets.

zs, if you were offended by Gayle's comments; you may want to review why that mindset is becoming prevalent today. It could be related to the Muslim propensity to be intolerant of non-Muslims (specifically Christians, Jews and the West in general) while demanding unconditional tolerance of Islam? I find that one-way street extremely offensive, myself.

rusty shakelford said...

I too have had a run in with "popular" culture. My five year old niece is entering ballet next month so we all decided to take her into the city to see Swan Lake. It turns out this is the gay version. The swan is some guy that wants another guy and in the end they get to hop in bed together. Lucky we found out from some other parents who had to walk out on the show. No where did the advertisement say it was different from the original but never the less this version would lead to questions that my brother or myself don't want to answer. I felt like we were almost the victim of a bait and switch

Erudite Redneck said...

Also, Zeeshan, some of us are equal-opportunity offenders. I make fun of myself and my own culture and beliefs sometimes. And so, I feel free to poke at others.

In other words, if you're "offended" by reading something a stranger wrote on a blog, then lighten the hell up.

'Cause bein' easily offended will always be part of the problem in this country, where freedom of expression rings, and it will never ever be part of the solution.


Goat said...

I agree, Mark, it is so pervasive, from the covers of Cosmopolitan, Glamour and tabloids in the grocery store aisles to MTV and advertising because sex sells. It always has and always will and the best defense is as you say teaching the children, not easy in todays society of instant gratification.

Zeeshan Suhail said...

Old Soldier,
Thanks for your comments, but guess what? I take offense to what you say as well.
Muslims dont have a "propensity" to be intolerant of anything in particular. That's like saying Muslims are by nature, or by habit, intolerant of others. Quite the contrary, you'll notice, if you read the Quran with an open mind.
As for the US in particular, the intolerance goes both ways. From the side of Muslim immigrants, it's cultural (more often than not), and the same goes for Caucasian rednecks who think the US was God given territory. Muslim immigrants dont want to lose their cultural values, so their assimilation and integration into society is difficult, and rednecks dont want them around because they think the US is theirs only. So it's really not a one way street when you speak of intolerance.
In one sentence, where do these problems stem from? The rise of the United States as a world superpower that thinks intervention in every country of the world was their God-given right and duty.

Erudite Redneck said...

Anyone who takes offense with every breath should also take some gates and raise some cattle.

Toad734 said...

You think that’s too sexual wait until you read this. We have sperm play, homosexual relationships, homosexual demands, incest, adultery and lust. Maybe we should censor the Bible.

Genesis 38:9 But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he lay with his brother's wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother.

II Samuel 11:2 One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, 3 and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, "Isn't this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" 4 Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then [a] she went back home.

Genesis 19:4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. 5 They called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them."

Genesis 19:8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them.

Genesis 19:33 That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and lay with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

34 The next day the older daughter said to the younger, "Last night I lay with my father. Let's get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and lie with him so we can preserve our family line through our father." 35 So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went and lay with him.

Leviticus 15:1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 2 "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'When any man has a bodily discharge, the discharge is unclean. 3 Whether it continues flowing from his body or is blocked, it will make him unclean.

I Samuel 18:4: And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.

1 Samuel 18:21: Saul thought, "Let me give her to him, that she may be a snare for him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him." Therefore Saul said to David a second time, "You shall now be my son-in-law."

II Samuel 1:26: I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathon: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.

Thanks for the idea, I think I will do my own post about this.

Mark said...

One very big difference there, Toad. In the Biblical accounts that you pointed out, the sexual atrocities were presented as examples of SIN, according to God. Except for the accounts of the friendship between David and Jonathon. No where in the Bible does it say their relationship was anything other than close friends, as in brothers, not lovers.

On MTV, they are definitly about illicit immoral self gratifying sex, and they glorify it.

Your examples prove nothing but my point.

But nice try! Keep researching the Bible and it will change you. Good work!

Mark said...

Toad, you didn't go far enough. If you continue to read the story of David and Bathsheba, you wil see he later murdered her husband, so he could have her. Then, he was punished by God for both the adultery and the murder. His first born son died as a result of his sin.

Toad734 said...

Maybe MTV is teaching us a lesson too. Maybe 10 years from now those peoples first born will die.

Wait, that doesn't make sense because my cousins first born died at the age of 4 yet they didn't commit adultery. Maybe David’s son had what my cousin had and it had nothing to do with God at all.

And as you pointed out, David’s son died, so David wasn't punished, his son was. Wow, what a rational thinking God. And David’s other son was Solomon whose descendents later spawned Jesus. So again, not much of a punishment.

And who said that all this sex and or violence described in the media is always glorifying it? So are you saying that as long as bad things happen to homosexuals and fornicators at the end of the show that it is ok to show it?

Toad734 said...

Oh, and yes it does say that they loved each other more than they would love a woman. That is pretty clear to me. Or at least as clear as when Jesus said to vote republican, gay marriage was wrong, and that poor and sick people should starve and die.

Erudite Redneck said...

Arrogance used when discussing the Bible, "God's Word," suggests that the discusser hasn't actually meditaed on "God's word," and that, as it has applied to me in the past, would seem to appy to both discussers in the comments immediately above this one.

ER said, trying not to be arrogant.