Monday, April 19, 2010

The Quagmire of Flexible Standards

Recently, news has surfaced that MTV has visited Timberland High School.  Reportedly, the visit was to feature a THS student in MTV's show "Made", a show about helping teens learn what it takes to achieve their goals.

As altruistic as this show sounds, MTV is not exactly a network that promotes sound family values.  For example, here are some of MTV's other shows...
  • Jersey Shore: The current "standard" (should I say "sub-standard"?) in inappropriate role models.  Bar brawls, constant swearing, even more constant conversations about sex, cast members "hooking up", and excessive drinking -- which often leads to throwing up and/or promiscuous behavior.
  • 16 & Pregnant: This reality series attempts to highlight the difficulties associated with being pregnant and becoming a young mother. However, the show is light on education ("doing the hokey pokey" and other metaphors are used), while spending most of its time focusing more on relationship drama than issue-related content.
  • My Super Sweet 16:   The show highlights the "sweet 16" parties that are thrown by affluent parents.  Parents act like jerks.  Kids act like spoiled jerks.  This show sets unrealistic aspirations for teens.  The messages that this show sends to teens include; "my daddy will get me anything I want"; teen's goals should be to make their friends jealous; material rewards at any cost; feeling entitled is acceptable.
  • I Want A Famous Face:  What better message to send to your teen than, "if you don't like the way you look, then expensive and risky surgery is for you!"
There are numerous other examples of MTV's glamorization of teen angst and misbehavior, but I don't have that much time (or patience) to write about them all. 

So, here's the quandary - If a school district finds it so morally reprehensible to show a photo of a tattoo that memorializes someone that died from breast cancer, how can it then turn around and allow a TV network into the building that glorifies teenage misbehavior... including tattoos?  Even though the show "Made" has a positive message (that achieving any worthy goal takes commitment and hard work), it's aired between shows like "Is She Really Going Out With Him" and "Disaster Date".  To put it simply - even if you put healthy, lean turkey on a turd sandwich... it's still a turd sandwich.

So, if I might reference one of Winston Rogers's supporters that helped to silence the parents at March's Wentzville School District board meeting:  She thanked Winston Rogers for saving her child from having to view tattoo related material.  Now, I'd like to thank Winston Rogers and the Wentzville School District for exposing my children to an entire TV channel dedicated to the glorification of the worst influences of teen life... sex, drugs, and the pursuit of immediate gratification at any cost.