You know the old fable about the frog, don’t you? How it got tossed into a vat of warm water and thought it had gone to heaven?
But as it swam around, marveling at its good fortune, it scarcely noticed the water getting hotter, finally beginning to bubble and boil. By the time it panicked and tried to escape – it was too late. He became somebody’s dinner.
Well, have you not detected the water getting hotter and hotter in virtually every form of entertainment? Are you becoming numb to the profanity erupting in every prime-time drama and even comedy show? Words that were always not only forbidden but censored and likely to get the offending speaker fined heavily are now heard so frequently that they seem commonplace.
Late-night and “reality” shows may bleep out the most foul profanity, but the live audiences and even attentive kids know exactly what’s being said. And there’s usually a shocked but approving reaction, so it’s not edited out, oh no.
Violence? Sex, in its most depraved forms? Corruption and bestiality? Demonic, Satanic ritualistic behavior? Depictions of sadistic gang violence, rapes, hangings, flesh splattering as bullets slam into human bodies? Car chases speeding into multiple wrecks and exploding in flames? Police and crazed criminals shooting it out with automatic weapons in public places, while frantic passersby dive for cover, screaming in panic? Hey, you can get your fill of all these things any night of the week, not just on cable but on broadcast TV, in prime time.
The same goes for more and more video games, where our kids find ways to virtually live all these things, over and over and over. Oh, many of these games are supposedly for “adults only” – but in 2008 the Federal Trade Commission found that fully “20 percent of underage teenage shoppers were able to buy M-rated video games.” The Parents Television Council recently conducted a “secret shopper” tour of 109 local stores in 14 markets in 11 states: California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia. During each visit, a youth between the ages of 12 and 16 attempted to purchase an M-rated video game, and they were instructed not to lie or misrepresent themselves in any way. Out of the 109 stores visited, 21 sold the games to minors – a 19% failure rate by the video game retailers.
Now get this picture. All over the country, impressionable young kids are being assaulted continually on TV, even in what is euphemistically called “The Family Hour,” with crass profanity, ugly behavior, crazed violence and depravity. Even in homes where parents try to enforce TV viewing rules, the kids can always find ways to see the forbidden programs at the houses of friends, or even on somebody’s iPhone the next day.
Add to this the countless hours too many kids spend glued to a video game, in which they are the virtual participants in the very behavior – and worse – they’ve been seeing on sponsored TV. Is it any wonder that, in more and more incidents, underage kids are obtaining guns, bringing them to school and bragging to their friends that they could do the same things they saw on TV or already “did” in the video games?
It would be miraculous if it didn’t happen, more and more!
I’ve been dumbfounded in the last few days to hear liberal talk-show hosts actually blame conservatives for some of the outbreaks of violence in Arizona and California and other places. Supposedly respected news anchors and talk hosts have inferred that Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh and other conservative radio voices may actually have created an environment that influences mentally unstable people like the young Arizonan who shot 20 people and nearly killed Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
The liberal media, the producers of hundreds of TV shows, of vile and violent video games, the sponsors who pay for all this decadence, the writers and studios who rush to make ever more decadent and prurient movies … these are the poisoners of our moral and emotional environment. These are the corrupters of the minds and stability of our young.
Kids don’t listen to Rush Limbaugh. They don’t care a whit about Sarah Palin or anything she says. But they’ll tell you everything Snooki said last night on “Jersey Shore.” They’ll be laughing together about the sexual escapades of Charlie Sheen on “Two and a Half Men.” They’ll be swapping stories about what they saw and heard on shows like “Gossip Girls” and “Blue Mountain State,” in which a brother and sister are induced to have sex with each other in front of their classmates.
I promise you, they’re much more influenced by what they see in “The Walking Dead,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “Ugly Americans,” “South Park,” “Family Guy,” “The Cleveland Show” and even the very popular music show “Glee” – featuring talented high school singers who interact sexually, even getting pregnant – than they are by all the talk-show hosts put together!
The family’s best friend, Parents Television Council, monitors almost everything broadcast on America’s networks, and their latest findings report that the use of profanity across all channels in prime time went up by 69 percent between 2005 and 2010.
And worse, it’s the harshest profanities, like the F-word, that have seen the greatest increase in use, and particularly during the 8 p.m. “Family Hour,” when children are most likely to be in the audience! From 2005 to 2010 – an increase of 2,409 percent!
Fellow Americans, we need to identify the real culprits who are creating the environment of profanity, violence and depravity in the country … and do something about it, while we can. The PTC has research papers to share with you like “The Sexualization of Teen Girls on Broadcast TV,” a report called “Habitat for Profanity: Broadcast TV’s Sharp Increase in Foul Language” and “Online Video Providers: a Report Card for Parents.” Please go to ParentsTV.org and see how you can do your part.
For our children’s sake, and for the future of our society, we’ve got to get the “F” out of media.