Morality! Virtue! These are concepts that seem abstract, antiquated. What value can words like these hold when placed alongside the chaos of other terms we so often hear, like: rape, murder, child abduction, child molestation, pornography, divorce, disease, famine, terrorism, credit card debt and worst of all politics? With all the fun we’re having, who has time to contemplate words like morality and virtue?
So what about these strange old words anyway? What do they mean? Simply put morality is the name for the principals of right and wrong. Virtue means to conform to the standards of morality. Sounds beautiful, but may be a bit idealistic. Most certainly, they are not what you could call practical.
We live in a world where a man like Marilyn Manson can tell us he’s the Antichrist and say it like it’s a good thing. Okay I know this guy is extreme, but isn’t it just an example of what’s going on everywhere on one level or another.
Morality and virtue are being systematically driven from our hearts and minds, They are being replaced with new values. You know the ones without any right or wrong, no absolute truth. How is this being done?
The New American dream
Or, maybe I should say the new American nightmare. Whatever we call it, we are built to learn it, and we start young. Here’s what I mean.
Take a child, three or four years of age. Put him or her together with children of the same age. Now you must teach that child to share toys with the other children. If however he breaks something or hurts one of the other children, Lying about it will come natural. Fear not however, there is a savior; someone who can show us the way.
Enter the television. Most of us view the TV as a form of entertainment. The average person spends three to four hours per day watching it. That equals twenty eight hours per week, 112 per month, bringing us to a grand total of 1344 hour per year.
When you spend that much time concentrated on streaming video, you cannot help but learn something. But how does television teach; and what are we learning?
When we watch TV most often we begin to quickly identify with one or more of the characters. It is usually the main character. After we make a connection with them the plot thickens and trouble comes their way, and on a subconscious level our way.
We don’t want them to get hurt because we care about them. We want them to win because we are on there side. The trouble is often so overwhelming that they must take extreme measures to succeed.
Our hero’s kill lots of people and we not only accept it but cheer him or her on. We are being saturated by these kinds of images on a nightly basis. Finally we have become desensitized to the point that when it happens for real, it doesn’t affect us at all. Murder isn’t the only thing we’ve learned to accept.
Television teaches us what is cool and what is not, what to wear and not. It even gives us our idea of what our heroes are supposed to look like. As the action movies of the past two decades show; we live in a time when technology lets any nondescript, physically uninspiring person have the power to annihilate many.
There is some nostalgic satisfaction in seeing the correlation between body and violence, action and personal will, where the hero–Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jean Claude Van Damme has access to both the most advanced technology and his own cuirass like bare chest and muscled arms
Our heroin’s are 34-26-35 with big lips, big tits, all the newest fashion, killing anyone who deserves it, fucking anyone they please, and we suck it up like a big strawberry shake. These are our heroes, but do all programs have heroes?
In fact, a lot of television doesn’t have a clear cut hero. Consider for a moment the soap opera. In these tangled webs everyone is the spider and everyone is the fly.
When we get involved with this type of programming, we are pulled into a world where everything is life or death and everyone is cheating on everyone else. Who the villains are and who the good guys are depends on circumstance surrounding the episode. Sexual immorality runs rampant giving us the message that everyone is doing it.
Since they all eventually land on their feet or in bed with someone else, how can it be so wrong? While all this is going on we wonder why the divorce rate is so very high.
We all love Bart Simpson right? No other television character before him has ever been so disrespectful to his parents, as well as every other figure of authority. We think it’s really funny.
So do our children. While we and our kids are being entertained by Bart and the gang, we and more importantly our children are learning that it is cool to show disrespect to others. It’s so funny when our kids imitate Bart’s speech, but how about his attitude?
A teacher of mine spoke of a situation with his grandson where the child showed him disrespect using a line from a popular cartoon. Because he knew it was from the cartoon he thought it was funny. I however, have to wonder if disrespect copied from a cartoon is not just as disrespectful as if it had been original thinking.
Most people feel that television is just entertainment and they are not being affected by the violence, sexual promiscuity, and disrespect portrayed all day every day, but one of the main ingredients in brainwashing someone is that the idea must be repeated constantly until the recipients behavior begins to change.
I submit to you that our behavior has been changing. Children are shooting up schools. Rape and murder abound. Men and women commit adultery, while their children are having sex and state paid abortions.
Morality and virtue are being phased out and replaced by the new American dream. It’s the one where pleasure is our highest goal and murder can fix our problems, or at least buy us fifteen minutes of fame. I guess chaos really is our god. Now excuse me, I want to go watch Buffy. I’m at the end of season six, and I think Tera is going to die.