When did MTV die? When did television start to be so full of crap? Why in the world people watch dung anyway?
Back in time when I was in elementary school, around 7 AM, I was glued to TV screen dazzled by the beauty of Sailor Moon. At three in the afternoon I was admiring Batman The Animated Series or Pokemon and like an hour and a half later I visited my neighbor to catch up on Dragon Ball episodes. 7 PM was the time of ‘Dobranocka’, evening TV program slot for kids (pick one): Moomin, Gummi Bears, Maya the Bee, the Smurfs, The Adventures of Mickey and Donald etc. … Weekend days had morning cartoons as well. These ritualistic TV sessions were pretty darn swell.
When I was an adolescent there were music programs which featured normal music and TV dramas which were not completely bland or flat-out stupid. Hell, I was even watching Argentinean soap opera (Muneca Brava) and it seemed decent at the time (maybe not so much anymore, but I’m almost certain I’d get hooked up on it again if I were to see few episodes once again). I followed few game programs and talk-shows and they also were engaging and fun.
Ever since my PC received a boost in the form of Internet connection, the role of TV in my life began to diminish quite fast. Surely I was no longer bound by precise hours the TV shows aired at, as I could watch online or simply download most of the stuff I was interested in.
Yet something about television itself changed too. Less and less classic cartoons appeared, instead they were replaced by new productions whose quality left much to be desired.
More than ever before, political correctness began to intrude all areas of our lives and television reflected this transformation as well. ‘Free Hat’ episode of South Park tackles the issue nicely, as Parker and Stone parody Spielberg and Lucas and family-safe edits of their hit 80s movies (e.g. walkie-talkies instead of guns in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and replacement of the word Wookie with ‘hair-challenged animal’ in Star Wars). Darth Vader or Joker might give a little thrill to a kid, but it’s nothing a youngster cannot handle.
TV dramas remained on the same level I guess. There are good and bad TV series but I won’t go into much detail about them.
Entertainment programming is a whole different matter though. All sorts of reality shows started to flourish, promoting bunch of total no-brainers and sluts (male and female alike). Sex, cursing and binge drinking were aired just around the time the aforementioned ‘Dobranocka’ was. Kids these days are more accustomed to visual media like Internet and television than any other generation. And they mostly learn and absorb the patterns of behavior based on the stuff they see on screen…
I mean seriously. My peers at school did some sketchy stuff from time to time, but all in all I believe we were – and we grew up to be decent human beings.
On Saturdays I tutor my cousin’s daughter in English. And she told me about the boys from her class who just jumped on the other guy who tripped up and they nailed him to the ground, almost making him suffocate. Apparently they’re notorious for going as far as even swearing at teachers. What is more, I learned that even the first-graders curse these days! Back in my school days – which were not even that long time ago for Heaven’s sake – even the so called badasses would never dare to use foul language in the presence of the teachers or parents.
Moms and dads of today should be extremely wary of the amount of time their kids spent on the Internet and television. Until certain age the stuff kids watch should be constantly monitored. Unfortunately these measures can’t block the weird and the profane completely. But caring and strict (!) approach might at least help the kid to say ‘no’ (every now and then).
As usual my post got a bit preachy and the end. Nonetheless, I believe that the media have huge impact on our lives, especially the lives of the young people. When their ‘selves’ begin to form it’s important to literally tell them what’s wrong and what is right, they can’t make these choices alone.
Internet is uncontrollable to be honest, but television is something we can influence. Instead of watching brain-cell killers like Big Brother, Jersey Shore and the likes, look for programs which do not make one ashamed of being a homo sapiens.