Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Letting Jack Bauer and Tony Soprano raise your kids

Here's a fun and thought-provoking article I found on CHUD, regarding yet another possible governmental intrusion into our lives.

I've long gotten my hackles raised by the government attempting to "regulate" what is and isn't "good for you." A perfect example of this is the seatbelt law. Ever since I started driving, I've always worn a seatbelt. Why? Because it's common sense. If you get in an accident, you don't want to go flying through the windshield. However, if I choose not to wear a seatbelt, then don't I deserve what I get? And wouldn't this just be a Darwinian thinning of the heard, anyway, and benefit society? Has anyone ever been harmed by a body flying out of another car, through their own windshield, through my windshield, and into me? Wouldn't they be julienned by the time they got through both windshields and into my car? Other than the mess, who the hell would care?

So here we have a potential situation where some holier than thou politician will probably take this up as a "cause," and seek to eliminate "violence" from TV during main viewing hours. Will Jack Bauer (assuming he shows up regularly on his own show again, BTW) just use harsh language and mild discomfort to extract the location of the nukes? Will Tony Soprano just "ground" a capo who is disloyal? Will Sayid's backstory really have him being simply a sous chef? Will the gang on CSI or at the Jeffersonian just look at computer screens for 44 minutes? Was Aaron Sorkin really on to something (other than the devil's nose candy) when he offered us a ridiculous storyline about the nightly news being fined millions because a soldier blurted out a "bad word" when dodging missiles? If this potential censorship didn't seem like something some asshat in Washington might latch onto and champion, with a big "booyah!" from the snake-handling and carelessly breeding masses, then I would probably just let it pass with a chuckle, and go back to reading Orwell.

But the sad part is, many "parents" want the government and the producers of entertainment to wipe their ass, and their kids' asses, for them. If you're concerned about the corrupting influence of television violence on your kids, here are a few tips:

  1. Don't fuck. Don't have kids in the first place if you don't want the responsibility.
  2. If you do choose to breed, how about monitoring what your kids watch? Virtually every set top box from DirecTV or cable allows you to block channels or password protect them. Or, go a step further, and actually get involved in their lives. If you don't have the time for this, remember step 1, and the words from the theme song to Baretta: "don't do the crime if you can't do the time."
  3. If your IQ is so low that you might be influenced by what you see on TV, don't breed with someone of similar intellectual deficiencies. Your kids will have a better chance of developing the cognitive abilities to realize what happens on the screen or in the pages of a comic book is just entertainment.
  4. If you must watch violent TV shows with your urchins, have a conversation with them and explain the "context." I was very young when I watched "High Plains Drifter" and "The Dirty Dozen" with my dad, but didn't go out and gun down local townspeople or Germans. Nor did I run out into the street and decide to behead ugly kids that looked like Orcs because I read the Lord of the Rings.

The writer of the CHUD article sums it up nicely for parents: do your fucking job.

Granted, I don't know a lot about this whole "parenting" thing, as I only did it for less than a year, in the "special guest star" role of gold-digging target in a surrealistic nightmare. And the kids were handicapped from the beginning, given the genetic material they were working from (tax-evading, college drop out, criminal dirtbag and drugged out, college flunk out, town whore). But really, isn't a lot of this pure common sense? Watch what the kids do. Keep tabs on what they watch and who they hang around with. Monitor where they go on the interwebs. Talk to them. Have a conversation. Understand what "message" they're taking from the media they're exposed to. Clearly draw the division between "life" and "art." (Though in my case, it probably took more time to explain that the denizens of the Bada Bing weren't actually their parents and extended family). But it seems pretty simple, doesn't it? Still, it's difficult when the actual parents define responsible child-rearing to include:

  • Buying drop from the kids' grandmother.
  • Have the kids watch DVDs or go play in the yard so you can fire up a spleef in the bathroom.
  • Send the kids off for a weekend with a jailbird and his parents, who also happen to be harboring a fugitive from the law (their uncle!)
  • Point the kids to the pop-tarts and bus stop so you don't have to be bothered waking up from your drug and booze addled state until close to lunchtime.
  • Teaching the children the best method for conflict resolution: lying, cheating and running away.
  • Showing them fiscal responsibility by living off the government teet, stiffing legitimate creditors, always moving one step ahead of the bill collectors and fucking your way to a better lifestyle.
  • Making sure they learn to love the mistress as "mom."
  • Viewing self-sufficiency, cleaning up after yourself, making good grades and personal responsibility as onerous anchors that drag you down.
  • Letting somebody else take care of the kids, because you'd rather be chasing hippy stoner bands all around town, squeezing into outfits that would make Paris Hilton blush, smoking dope in the parking lot and dancing, er, grinding on strangers until they feel compelled to slip you a sawbuck. Or another in a long line of random cocks.

So some parents have a more difficult mission ahead of them than others. But is limiting the number of bodies that Gil Grissom can find or that Sylar can leave in his wake really going to matter in the big picture? If you choose to put yourself in this situation, or even if you find yourself in this situation, the solution to the "corrupting influence of television" is crystal clear. Do Your Fucking Job.

No comments:

Post a Comment