Culture WarsWednesday, August 17th, 2011
Life in These United States (with apologies to Readers Digest)
Cell Phones, laptops, video games, televisions. All hardware devices that enable “entertainment”.
Until that entertainment becomes a felony.
And yet, the response is “I wasn’t completely naked in that picture”, and, “it wasn’t that bad!”
By whose standards? By the standard of popular culture? Or by the standard that one is attempting to teach the children in your home? By your standards?
I am not going to discuss whether the action should or should not be a felony, however, I am going to discuss the fact that the various “popular” stores, and yes, even to some extent, J.C. Penny and the rest of them, are undermining some parents efforts at teaching their kids, and most notably their teenage girls, modesty and appropriate dress and communication.
The reason a 16-year-old can state “it wasn’t that bad a picture!” is because in light of the advertisements in print ads, catalogues, on the internet, and even on TV, it really isn’t any different from an underwear ad.
That’s the popular culture these days. Anything goes. In music, in art, in advertisement, in video games, in tv shows. Wherever it’s possible, the philosophy of hedonism is pushed.
But call me old fashioned. I remember an ad for a bra on TV where the woman simply unbuttoned her top button and then exclaimed that she couldn’t show you but then told you about the bra. Now, we have soft porn in commercials (think the Victoria’s Secret ads).
“Oh, you’re just being a prude”, some may say. Perhaps I am, but I do believe that some things are simply not for public consumption. These include, but are not limited to, nearly all the skin that can possibly be shown to the world. Especially to minds that cannot possibly sort out the fact that these are images meant to titillate and “hook” people into buying something they may not want to even need. Minds that science has learned aren’t completely developed until the mid-twenties!
Even discounting the fact that it is not in-line with my own personal moral code – even if I were to take the position that “Oh, it really wasn’t that bad” myself, the mere fact that transmitting an image such as those we see in advertisements, over a digital medium is considered a felony is reason enough not to do so. Even if it is a picture of one’s own self. And especially if one is a teenager. And more-so if you’ve already been caught previously by your parents doing something similarly.
Felony. Registration as a sex offender. Up to five years in prison. Heavy penalties, whether you think they are appropriate or not. They are what they are.
These things, and a few more, are making me consider banning, removing, confiscating all types of these devices (phone, ipads, etc…) in my own home. Limiting computer time, and getting rid of cable TV are also under consideration.
Those that know me, know that I am a fairly laid back kinda guy. I don’t get too upset about much, and I generally parent by giving kids enough rope to hang themselves with. After they’ve hung themselves once, I have found they usually steer clear of that type of behavior.
This issue, however, is a bit more incendiary. And potentially addictive.
The fact that you were even partially naked in that picture speaks of a lack of moral fiber, self worth, a lack of shame, and no understanding of what types of messages that sends (that are different from the messages sent in an underware ad) to the male recipient of the picture.
So, I would ask… do you really want your defense to be “I wasn’t completely naked in that picture”?
Editor’s note: In line with our tradition, I found “Java Man” in my reader mail (on The Mesh Report) and asked him to write an article. He surprised me with this short piece on modern mores and “standards,” and while we don’t usually get over in this territory he reminded me, rather, of the late, great Bill Bennet. It takes a lot of moral–and, increasingly physical and judicial–courage to stand up and say, “No, this is wrong.”
Hurrah for him, and perhaps we ought to examine our own behavior and whether we have accepted “Dad-deee! ALL the girls do it!” or some similar wheedle or have kept quiet about other behavior that we certainly know that our parents would not have tolerated. That’s why we have “guard rails,” as Bennet put it, rules meant to protect the young and those older who never learn to judge independently and really need guidelines. Java Man is an engineer–and you know how I feel about those!–and leaves very perceptive political and financial comments on the Mesh Report. (Go thou and do likewise, please!) If he has the nerve to stand up and say, “This is wrong and not worthy of our children and our responsibilities as parents,” I’ve got the nerve to publish it.
I don’t know if we got around to a formal “Give the nice man a big ‘Texas Ring Howdy!’” but if we haven’t, it’s time. Welcome to the Ring, Java Man. The crew is going to like you, and I already do, and I’m with you about our teens running around in skin tight clothing, to say nothing of the Weiners of the world.
Regards to all, LBT