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Articles Previously Published at
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- When Good Liberals Go Bad - 05/29/03
- How Stupid Do Democrats Think You Are? - 05/31/03
- Who Are These 'Rich' Getting Tax Cuts, Anyway? - 06/02/03
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- Whining of Mass Distraction: How To Discredit A President - 06/05/03
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- Liberalism: Curable or Terminal? - 06/14/03
- Filibustering Judges: Hijacking Presidential Powers? - 06/17/03
- Is Hamas Exempt from the War on Terror? - 06/22/03
- How Malleable Is The Constitution? - 06/26/03
- Rejecting Our Biological and Cultural Heritage - 06/30/03
- I Need Liberal Assistance, Now! - 07/02/03
- Bring Them On - 07/03/03
- We Need You Arrogant Warmongering Americans...Again - 07/09/03
- Much Ado About Nothing, Again - 07/13/03
- Double Standard: Blindly Blame Bush - 07/18/03
- Was WWII Also Unjustified? - 07/20/03
- Clinton Backing Bush? Don't Bet On It! - 07/24/03
- How To Be A Hypocritical Liberal - 07/28/03
- The Clinton Legacy: In Answer to Mr. Stensrud - 07/30/03
-What Is 'Good News' To Liberals? - 08/02/03
- Bush's Big Blunder - 08/06/03
- The Meaning of Right - Why I Supported the Iraq War - 08/10/03
- More Liberal "Rules" for Arguing - 08/14/03
- You Can Have Cary Grant; I'll Take John Wayne! - 08/19/03
- Where Is The ACLU When It's Actually Needed? - 08/25/03
- Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Ten Commandments? - 08/28/03
- From The Weasels: Thanks For Nothing - 08/30/03
- The Liberal Superfriends - 09/02/03
- Liberal Superfriends 2: The Sequel - 09/05/03
- Saddam and 9/11: Connect the Dots - 09/08/03
- Throwing Away the Southern Vote - 11/02/03
- Libya: The First Domino Falls - 12/20/03
- Is the UN Playing Games with American Politics? - 03/04/04


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Sunday, December 19, 2004
Are Your Kids Watching The Dystopia Channel?

For decades, television has been our main portal to the world, though that's slowly beginning to change. We're primarily visual creatures, and an image we can see has far more weight and impact than words on a page -- or a computer screen. (A picture is worth a thousand words...) As kids have spent more time passively watching the tube in place of interacting with real, live people, they've come to rely more and more on what they see there to provide a baseline for their views of reality.

Like it or not, American children generally spend more time sitting in front of the TV than doing nearly anything else. The Media Education Society states, "Children spend more time viewing television than engaging in any other single activity besides school." Television is America's biggest babysitter. As anyone who's ever even met a child knows, they're like little sponges, soaking up everything they see, hear and feel. As adults, we process what we see on TV differently. We filter it through the view of the world we've acquired through years of living in it. We already have an idea of how the real world works, what's true and what's false, and how things are supposed to be. When we see something radically different from what we know to be real, we can either laugh at it or ignore it. We formed those views as we grew up -- from books, teachers, and yes, television -- and modified them according to our own experiences. But what's on television right now is affecting how kids are forming their views of how the real world works that they will have as adults. They don't have the experience necessary to challenge the views presented to them. Jane Brown, a University of North Carolina researcher who studied the effect of sexual content in the media on teenagers, said, "[T]he more you see the same thing over and over again, the more likely you are to believe that this is how the world works."

Television during the fifties, sixties and seventies had a huge impact on our present view of the world. Television helped us, as children, form an impression of How Things Should Be that reflected the values of mainstream society in general. What we would call "dysfunctional" elements today were usually meant to induce humor or pathos, precisely because they weren't normal; people could recognise a bit of themselves in them and laugh or cry about it. Nobody is perfect, but at least we knew what "perfect" was. Television helped set a standard to work towards.

Most of today's television shows are a bit different. They no longer portray "mainstream" as "normal." They reflect the values not of the average American, but of the average Liberal. They are cynically meant to embarrass those who cling to "old-fashioned" values, even when being humorous about it. The last popular TV show to reflect the values of the average American was probably The Cosby Show, which ran from 1984 to 1992. Bill Cosby told JET in April 2000, "The problem with television programming today is that we are now in the age of stooping as in to bend down to make yourself lower. That bar is not being raised at all. There is too much focus on orifices and the size of organs and body parts. Many of the writers write like they never had a course in Western Literature. They seem to be taking their language off the street corners." Television has become a wasteland of pessimism, permissiveness and dystopian viewpoints -- in short, Liberalism run amuck. What are children learning from today's prime time television? What image of reality are they forming to get them through the rest of their lives?

In Prime Time Television land, fathers are generally bumbling fools trying to avoid responsibility. Mothers often express regret at having gotten married, as they're stressed out by the strain of raising a family. Kids are far smarter and cooler than any adult, except the occasional maverick teacher or other outsider type. Parents hold their kids back from all the fun they could be having. Everyone needs a gay friend -- they are invariably smarter, funnier, wiser and more caring than your other friends. (In the real world, friendship qualities are not tied to one's sexuality.) People who jump from relationship to relationship, or carry on multiple relationships at the same time, are often envied. Sure, people get hurt -- but they get over it by the end of the show. People are greedy -- they'll do anything for a buck. They're willing to lie, cheat and backstab their friends to gain a prize. No one can be trusted, especially those in authority over you. Even the news celebrates and promotes this cynical, Hollywood-centric perspective of society. Is that the image of the world you want your kids to carry with them, the baseline view they form of reality?

So what's the answer? More involved parenting will help. Don't let television be the primary place your kids get their understanding of How Things Should Be. Restrict their viewing, talk to them about what they see, and tell them -- SHOW them -- that real life isn't like that. Give them something better to aim for than being ruthless enough to stay on the island or get hired by Donald Trump.


Posted at Sunday, December 19, 2004 by CavalierX

Crazy8tz
December 22, 2004   09:54 AM PST
 
Our failing economy is to blame. Years ago, either the man or the woman would stay home and take care of the kids. Now, thanks to our horrific economy, both the men and women have to work. That makes it more difficult for either parent to be that "involved" with their kids.

Granted, parents could spend more time with their kids after work, but we all know how we feel after the daily stress from the workplace. It's time to unwind, and that means "shhhh, mommy has a headache!"

And actually, Television has excellent programming for children as well. In the least, parents need to be aware of what their kids watch.

My daughter gets 3 tasks each day, as does her sister. (1) Do something creative, such as drawing or coloring. (2) Book reading, a lost art. Even if your kids cannot read, you can. (3) Run around, either in the yard or the park. After those three things are done, she may watch as much TV we see as educational programming that she wants. She only gets an hour of "other stuff," such as Spongebob or Rugrats!
Crazy8tz
December 22, 2004   09:55 AM PST
 
And Cav, I must say that your output of articles is suffering since you went back to work. You see? This blog is your child and you are negelcting it so that you may earn a living. Haaa Haaa!
JM
December 23, 2004   11:50 AM PST
 
So I can get a tax deduction for my blog??

Seriously, high taxes is one of the biggest reasons both parents in a family are forced to work to make ends meet. The "horrific" "failing" economy you speak of has been growing every single quarter since the fall of 2001.
http://www.bea.doc.gov/bea/newsrel/gdphighlights.pdf
Raposa
January 9, 2005   01:19 PM PST
 
I will note that, when I have kids, I think most of the TV that I'll be encouraging them to watch will either be appropriate cartoons or shows like "American Choppers" that show real people working on real things for real reasons.

But then, I was a weird kid that preferred watching Nature, Nova, and Wild America to soaps and sitcoms.
 

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