Post # 1 Intro

Hello!  This blog is a continuation from this blog:

Same name, same rants and raves, different host.  Please see old blog for other rants and raves, which may or may not be repeated here.

Today’s rant:

What the heck ever happened to good behavior?  When did people stop treating each other politely and with some modicum of respect?  Look around anywhere and you’ll find one example after another.  People screaming at other people just they’ll get their own way.

I lay the blame squarely on television and the “entertainment” it provides.  Two generations ago, bored housewives watched soap operas full of bored housewives just like them.  The stories were full of intrigue, excitement, illicit sex and affairs, and filled long afternoon hours while chickens baked and roasts got tender.  Then the stories weren’t enough, and those same house wives went out and found the same kind of intrigue for their own lives.  Then came the “movie of the week”.  Fun stuff!  Now in two hour gulps, we could all see the drama du jour (mixed my metaphor but so what?) and taboo subjects were brought into the light to be discussed and eventually acted upon.

What really set the bar for bad behavior was “reality TV”.  It started with the show Cops where we could all “ride along” for thirty minutes and see what the police had to deal with.  Then came “Survivor” where people formed alliances to keep from being eliminated in a weekly competition.  It mixed a game show excitement with the worst of human behavior.  Suddenly, it was okay to blatantly screw your friends for a prize.  Then scream about it when it was done to you.

Talk shows jumped on the band wagon and Jerry Springer was bringing guests on to fight in public with words and fists about their own bad behavior.  The escalation was scary to watch.  But people tuned in and laughed and fed the flames.  One talk show was even obliquely responsible for the death of guest.  Judge shows suddenly proliferated where people aired their dirty laundry in public for an arbitrator acting as a judge berating all parties and deciding who was “right” based loosely on jurisdictional precepts.

Then came the worst, the so-called “unscripted” reality show wherein groups of people got together for a half-hour to an hour every week and we got a rare special glimpse into their lives as they did all they could to get their own way.  Shows like “The Real Housewives” of any city, Bridezillas, and Toddlers and Tiaras raised the bar for screaming fits and curse words flying and people not taking responsibility for their actions as long as they got what they wanted.  Bad behavior was suddenly glorified.  It was an old truism that “sex sells”, but now its “bad behavior” sells.

Pulling back from the television program for a moment, where do these people come from?  How do they learn to act like that?  That answer isn’t simple.  Television has always shown the Haves to the Have-Nots.  The Have-Nots really want the Haves lifestyle.  Anger is created.  Suddenly, programs showing the venting of that anger are in.  Suddenly, the Have-Nots have a way to become a Have.  Behave badly on television and you may get the opportunity to Have.  But going back several decades, moms and dads have always used television as the passive babysitter.  Kids are learning this behavior.  Adults aren’t taking the responsibility to raise their children.

So when will it stop?  It won’t.  Two things have to occur to make it stop.  First, it has to become unprofitable to create those programs.  That isn’t going to happen real soon because the shows are cheap to make.  So the only way to make it unprofitable is to stop watching.  I can’t see that happening.  Most people stop watching a show because they get bored, and to some people, these shows aren’t boring.  The second thing that has to occur is for parents to raise their children themselves.  Instill values, good behavior patterns, respect for others in their children.  I can’t see that happening because the current crop of children are being raised by the the current crop of parents who were themselves raised by the television and what they learned from it.

Finally, I know that some people are going to ask when I’m going to stop watching the shows that I’ve been talking about.  Well, let me just say that I don’t watch those shows.  I watch other shows that I like, and see the commercials for Bridezillas, Real Housewives, and I see enough in that 30 second bite to keep me from tuning in.

Peace out!


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