Well, the battle is joined – for the American presidency. John Sidney McCain and Barack Hussein Obama will pick running mates and be officially launched into their campaigns at their conventions. In November, Americans – at least the ones who do care enough to vote – will give us our next president.
Meanwhile, there’s another campaign in full swing, one perhaps even more crucial, one that will certainly determine the future of our country. One that will determine the direction and morality of our young. One that quite possibly will cost America its soul.
It’s the campaign, in the world of entertainment, to absolutely throw off every restraint, abandon every moral guideline, exploit every taboo and be free to portray and present anything human beings are capable of. In prime time and full color and without any regard for the sensibilities of parents or ministers or censors, or anybody else. On TV, in movies, in music, even and especially in video games.
Target? Our young, virtually every age from grade school through college. The next generation – our future.
Many adults, fed up completely with the content, exploitation, and crassness of TV fare, are doing the logical thing: tuning out and turning off. My friends Ed and Jean Lubin, whose three kids are mostly grown and on their own now, just told me they’re spending their evenings out on their patio listening to old radio shows! Classic shows like “The Green Hornet,” “The Lone Ranger,” “Fibber McGee and Molly,” “Abbot and Costello,” “Jack Benny,” dramatic and comedic and music shows from a time when entertainment was just that – entertainment. Not titillation, not shock for shock’s sake, not seamy, forbidden sex, not obscene violence, profanity and depravity.
And other old friends, Jimmy and Carol Owens, wrote me this:
“We’ve just been reading our e-mail from Parent’s Television Council and wondering why the reported ’79 percent of all Americans’ who oppose the moral sewer shows on TV don’t stop watching them, permanently, and support the other channels by viewing them instead.
“Yes, we support sending out e-mails, letters, phone calls, etc. In fact, I just received a letter from the FCC today saying they ‘share my concerns about program material, and that if my complaint contains sufficient information to suggest there has been a violation of indecency laws, the Enforcement Bureau will start an investigation … etc.’ Right, sure.
“We also believe in giving advertisers a hard time. But what if that 79 percent of the viewers truly tuned out – and made their kids tune out – that would leave the offending stations with a tiny viewing audience. And that don’t sell soap. (On the other hand, do parents have any kind of influence or control anymore?)
“We haven’t watched a recently produced sit-com or TV film in years. (And very few movies. We read the reviews first.) One half hour example of a TV show pretty much tells you where they’re coming from and if you find it entertaining. Are the characters people you want to watch committing adultery and spewing their junior-high-school obscenities all over your living room? Night after night?
“We watch news and commentary shows, Masterpiece Theater and other good drama, concerts, science and history channels, sports – oh, yeah, and ‘Mash’ reruns. And we read! What a concept! And listen to music while we do it.
“Old fashioned and un-hip? You betcha. But you know what? We’re not as old fashioned as God – and He scares me.”
“Old fashioned and un-hip,” that’s the mantra being drummed into our kids 24/7. If they’re not watching and approving the very latest shows aimed at them by the calculating producers and sponsors, they feel square and “out of it.” It doesn’t take much coaxing to lure kids to shows like “Gossip Girl” and BET’s “Rap City” and “106 and Park” and MTV’s “Sucker Free.” The Parents Television Council found that children were exposed to adult content every 38 seconds on some programs.
And of course, the industry pours awards and accolades on blatantly sexual and morally reprehensible TV shows like “Sex and the City,” “Weeds” and “Nip/Tuck.” TV Guide puts their stars on the cover, selling the idea that these shows and stars are doing something grand and worthy of praise – and lots and lots of money. The worse they are, the more taboos they defy … the more the praise and reward.
The producers accept it with glee. “Gossip Girl,” the CW network’s top-rated new show among teens aged 12 to 17, glamorizes wealthy teenage girls who smoke marijuana, drink and have very casual sex. No surprise, they advertised the show with a clip in which a teenage boy is kissing a girl’s cleavage behind four huge letters spelling “OMFG!” – which is teen text-message slang for “Oh my f—ing God!”
You think it’s not an actual campaign, a purposeful strategy to undermine and destroy traditional morals and restraints? Think again.
Brent Bozell, founder of Parents Television Council (on whose board I serve) quotes Alan Poul, producer of “Swingtown,” a raunchy, cheap new CBS program focusing on “open marriage” or wife swapping: “We’re able to be more groundbreaking and more culturally subversive by putting this on a network, where more people will be exposed to it.“
Yeah, Alan! Post-modern “deconstructionist” impulses for the masses! Culturally subversive!
Right! Get the big networks to participate in glorifying adulterous lifestyles, undermining our fundamental components of society – known as families – and corrupting the morals of our young married couples, the parents of our nation’s kids. What a brilliant plan!
I serve with Brent and Tim Winter and a lot of other caring and concerned parents on the PTC, determined to expose this carefully coordinated and callous campaign – and rally Americans to take back our airwaves and promote the best of America, instead of deliberately selling our birthright for a mess of ratings and money. The PTC deserves the help and financial support of citizens who care; in fact, without a consistent stream of contributions from people like us, its very muscular opponents in the industry will discredit and crush it.
It’s up to us.