View Full Version : Are Your Kids Watching The Dystopia Channel?

12-22-04, 06:39 AM
Are Your Kids Watching The Dystopia Channel?

December 20, 2004

by Joe Mariani

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.

Joe Mariani

Joe Mariani is a computer consultant born and raised in New Jersey. He lives in Pennsylvania, where the gun laws are less restrictive and taxes are lower. Joe always thought of himself as politically neutral until he saw how far left the left had really gone after 9/11.


12-22-04, 07:24 AM
What is happening before our eyes, yet we remain powerless to do anything about it, because the liberal media is in control of the airwaves.

Had any nation in the world attacked us with these distorted values as their weapon of choice to destroy this nation from within, shows as are shown on our TV today we would have attacked their propaganda machine and exposed them for their corrupt nation and attempting to overthrow our form of government from within. Yet, we remain silent, laugh along with them and years ahead we will began to pay that price for this type of liberty, political correctness and tolerance.

Just my thoughts

Semper Fi (I guess I can still say that, the ACLU hasn't tried to make that saying as too patriotic)


12-22-04, 07:51 AM
For me, it all boils down to not only poor parenting, but this society as a whole.
You won't see it on the tube if its not in demand.
America wants it, so they get it.
In massive amounts.
Thats why folks like me need 150 channels.
Theres only a few worth watching.
Most of the TV programming I watched as a young boy had clean entertainment (ED Sullivan, Jackie Gleason, Sid Ceaser even the Sonny & Cher hour).
Or you watched a series that always had a good & moral message (Lassie, Father Knows Best, Leave It To Beaver).
Cartoons back then had violence but not as graphic or real as what is seen today.
I don't agree with the statement that .."we remain powerless to do anything about it".....
Just flip to another channel and do not do business with the sponsers of this junk.
Watch the program be pulled.
TV is really not so much about entertainment anymore.
It's about the bottom ($$$$$) line.