7.25.2009

Funny Thing About Pop Culture


Its a strange thing growing up, then looking back on the things that influence our decisions on everything from why we chose to scrunch 2-3 pairs of colorful socks all at once (or our hair with Aussie Sprunch Spray for that matter), or why we wanted our ears double-pierced, or why we wore various headbands & hair bands in the most hideous styles, or sang the "Babysitting Blues," or why we wanted to kiss a boy so badly(since it was always momentous, magical & safe on TV)...or why we wanted to try different careers out...
Maybe I'm the only one who was somewhat molded by the sitcoms I grew up with, but while revisiting some old scenes from "The Facts of Life," "WKRP," "Punky Brewster," "Blossom," "Out of This World," "Solid Gold," and favorites from TGIF like "Just the Ten of Us" I realized what an impact media had on my life. I wouldn't say my parents allowed the TV to babysit me, or raise me, but it was a tool which was occasionally used to spur conversations with my parents. Other times it seemed simply for entertainment, but subconciously TV helped me make my mind up along the way as well. For instance, below are 3 parts to a single episode of "Just the Ten of Us" that started something big for me:



After seeing the conclusion of that episode I specifically remember for some reason or another thinking, "If Cindy can do that, so can I. I can sound intelligent & I wish I could connect with people the same way. Someday I want to be a radio DJ." That thought was quietly placed somewhere in the back of my mind, not to surface until again for a decade in my life when I stumbled into a career in radio. It was a fun experience in my life, but what if I'd never seen the episode? Would I have ever thought it was REALLY a possibility in my own life? Perhaps yes, but quite possibly not. On the same note, had I not seen Blossom sporting some cRaZy bucket hats & double-piercings, would I have ever tried to pull 'em off too?
Another realization I had was that as I cruised from one series' episodes to another, what a shame how the quality of sitcoms deteriorated in the last few years. I have memories that dated clear back to "Full House" when my mom used to tell me not to be a brat like DJ Tanner. At the time I thought she was the cat's meow and she was in NO WAY a brat like my mom thought. Funny thing is, she TOTALLY was. I can see that now. There were PLENTY of things that slipped past me back then, but did wind up affecting me in the end. As parents we have to remember that kids will be influenced by things outside our control as they grow up, and we can insert our counsel over and over, but it won't be until many years later that our children will look back and recognize the truth in our words.
I loved my childhood. I love my parents. But I wish my daughter could know what I know without having to repeat this pattern to gain that education (especially NOW when TV, radio, & the rest of the media world is SO MUCH SLEAZIER)! Think of how "innocent" sitcoms seemed 10-15 years ago. The edgiest TV appeared to get for kids was with ABC Afterschool Specials or CBS Schoolbreak Specials cause they taught lessons with morals (and snazzy 80's dance numbers). Sitcoms then wouldn't have DREAMED of using the vernacular found on the air today, let alone the immodesty & immorality. Even beyond that, not far in the distance were the syndicated reruns of classic sitcoms on Nick @ Nite & TVLand. However if you go back and revisit those things that seemed so harmless back then from your point of view today, you may be surprised to realize there were some inappropriate gems which were more evident than we remember.
Perhaps this all sounds like a whiny diatribe, but I know without a doubt that these are truly the Last Days. The decline of our society has escalated before our eyes. But the questions remain, are we recognizing what we're witnessing for what it really is? Are we preparing ourselves & our families for what's to come? Are we protecting them & our homes from what has been designed by the Adversary to ultimately destroy us & our hopes of obtaining our Salvation?
Satan's slick; undetectable even. Would I have ever thought double-piercings glorified in my mind by my hero Blossom would've ever opened wide a door to the idea of a naval piercing down the road (which is disrespectful to my body which is a temple & a gift from God)? I tell ya, no way. Didn't see it back then, but it's plain as day now, in looking back. Plenty of things I remember thinking were just plain funny, directly opened similar doors which I would later walk through. There were topics presented & ideas that had no business being in my head to begin with, let alone at such a young, impressionable age when it all seemed glamorous cause my favorite characters were experimenting & going through them---and they all seemed to come through it unscathed. This same lesson stands especially true for all of our children today when things are so much worse! Despite what I thought, most of the time I didn't know what was best for me back then, and children today most definitely don't know what's best either. Simply put, children are children for a reason, to learn & be taught by those who are wiser in their lives. You can't drive the car safely & obtain a license without the hours of proper instruction beforehand.
Today I take a firmer stand, to not only teach my child, but to protect her from dangerous, & intentionally evil designs (even more vigorously than my parents did).
We already do not watch TV in our home, but I pledge to be even more selective of the movies she sees. The pressing need for better choices of movie experiences comes on the heels of seeing "My Sister's Keeper" earlier this week. Sure it was a touching story, however the language was appalling! In addition, just because you go to the theater to see a heartfelt, family story, that DOES NOT mean the trailers for other movies are for the same types of movies! There's no controlling that. While waiting for our movie, a trailer for a gruesome horror film (toted to be more terrifying than the Exorcist---which I never saw---or the Texas Chainsaw Massacre---which I also never saw), about cannibalism came on. One cannot shut their eyes or plug their ears tight enough to overcome the spiritual assault that trailer was! So, from here on out...there will be a lot of renting & previewing of movies on my part instead of trusting theaters to have our best moral interests in mind. And as for rented movies, we won't even be merely trusting our viewing to ClearPlay. Anyone ever heard of "guilty by association" and "avoiding the appearance of evil?" For a studio to earn my money, their product will have to be virutous on its own, not altered to virtuous by some device. I don't want my family or my Heavenly Father to think for an instant that I've let my guard or my standards down. IT'S NOT WORTH IT.
Moral of the story: Be extremely careful. Follow the promptings of the Spirit, even if it means leaving a theater before the feature presentation even starts (because of a trailer for a different movie). If the Spirit is ignored and offended, then the Spirit cannot remain, therefore it cannot help us in our decisions. The absence of the Spirit is a powerful message which we should not take lightly.
Anyone else been feeling this way, especially lately?
Excuse me while I go back through our family's DVD collection with a fine-toothed comb!

1 comment:

Cherie said...

You nailed it! Great post.

Along these same lines I think over decades marraiges have failed because women watched Soap Opera's and nowadays we have You Tube everywhere with some pretty strange stuff on it.

Oh my. This is why we are constantly warned.
I applaud you for being such a great mom and thinking these things through for your family.

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