The List

Always angry kids

Stupid, out of touch parents

Rampant drug use

Language and manners

Normalizing deviant behavior

Hollywood is against guns and violence, but when was the last time….

OK, what I’m going to say now is probably going to go over like a lead balloon, and more than that, going to make me a member of the  Ok, Boomer club for sure. I’m ready. I’ll suffer the slings and arrows, donning my medieval armor in preparation for such an attack. I’m primed, I think. No…I’m ready (he said after a big gulp).

Television and movies, in all it’s iterations, has not only unduly influenced our behavior, it’s unduly influenced our society in ways that cannot be undone.

There, I said it. Now, as some of you prepare your bows, sharpen your arrows, and take aim, at least give me a moment to explain before my execution, for even prisoners get last words.

It seems, and not without reason, our society has lost it way in both manners, what’s considered acceptable behavior, and general “goodness”. This doesn’t mean that everyone is at each other’s throats everyday, all the time, but it does mean that things once considered out of bounds are now not only in-bounds, but encouraged. The more “edgy”, the further out of bounds, the more notoriety is garnered. Historically, societal norms don’t remain stagnant, for no society in the history of the world has remained as it was in the past, save a remote jungle or island people who’ve not had contact with the “civilized” world, and change is a good thing in many cases, but….

When a society loses its moral compass, embracing norms that are simply not within reason, said society begins to decay from within, leading, eventually to a reckoning of sorts, sometimes an irreparable reckoning. When that happens, as so many in our society wish for these days, what follows is chaos, degradation of the individual, and eventually, some form of authoritarianism in order to incite a course change. History is replete with such examples, most especially, Western societies.

One example of this pervasive decay is the depiction of drug use. Once considered taboo, at least in most quarters, drug use is not only glorified on television and in popular culture today, it’s making its way into the mainstream with celebrities, those with outsized influence, among many others, openly advocating for drug use. Aaron Rogers, he of the Green Bay Packers, along with Joe Rogan advocating for mushroom use, just about everyone advocating for cannabis use, and libertarians not caring who uses drugs, as long as it’s in the privacy of their own home. There’s also  a significant movement throughout the nation to legalize drugs so as to “decriminalize” them, in an attempt to take away the crime element and tax it (that notion doesn’t seem to work well as the imposed taxes keep the prices high and the drug dealers in business). 

What’s funny about this is, again, historically, drugs were legal in this country, until the 1920’s wherein so much societal damage was being done the government felt they had to step in (as did women who advocated for temperance). For the historians in the crowd, China faced the same problem in the 1830’s during the Opium Wars with Great Britain…whether to legalize it or not, pondering the same questions about legalization (they chose not to legalize it).*

 See? There I go again, sounding like the “get off my lawn guy”, the old coot at the end of the block sitting in his summer chair, shooing the pain-in-the-ass kids away as I contemplate what once was. That’s ok…I digress…

There are more television shows than I can count wherein teenagers are not only blatantly disrespectful to their parents or the parents are portrayed as simpletons, barely able to function while the teenager is worldly, all-knowing, and beyond reproach. Yet, those same teenagers, you know, the ones with all the answers, can’t seem to pay any bills in those shows. 

Anyone that thinks such depictions do not seep into the reality of life is delusional at best. Want to know why schools are having issues with unruly students, other than overly permissive parents, and school policy that does little to nothing to control it? What kids see and are exposed to each day is as influential as ridiculous school policy that fosters such nonsense, not to mention the politicians who create laws that do just as much damage in the classroom. 

Yes, yes, I know, there I go again…showing my 50’s mentality in the 21st century.

Ok…how about this one…

Vulgarity as normal speech in places wherein it once wasn’t. 

Listen, I’m no saint when it comes to “salty” language. In this day and age, no one is. However, there is a time and place for the use of such colorful metaphors, but we don’t seem to have those boundaries any longer. Words once thought unspeakable on television are now used with regularity. Remember George Carlin’s 7 bad words you can’t say on television? That list is down to zero. You can say anything you want. No filter…none. Gratuitous sex, for no other reason than to titillate is the norm, even on “family friendly” shows (whatever that means nowadays). It’s as though television, movies, and music have become the Wild West, and should anyone challenge that mentality, you’re made fun of, told to just “turn the channel”, or some other nonsense like that. 

I know, I know…I’m a prude, not living in the real world. Besides, “the kids are gonna hear it anyway, right? They’re certainly going to see it.” Maybe so, but at least they had to work for it. Maybe even felt a little guilty because of it. Not anymore. There’s nothing to feel guilty for. Besides, parents don’t seem to care. How many are busy being their kids’ friends rather than, you know, their parents?

Of course, there’ the argument what one person’s morality is, isn’t necessarily another’s. It’s a free society. Until you say something a certain group doesn’t like, then you get cancelled, or doxxed, or shouted down and called heinous names , and told free speech isn’t really free, there are consequences to said speech despite it’s protection…you can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theater, right?  (actually, that’s a mis-application of the statute).

I’m not saying “excuse me” if I bump into you. Why should I? I’ll just give you a look and you’d better be on your way. Manners are for suckers. Besides, if you don’t respect me, I sure as hell ain’t gonna respect you. Respect is earned…by the butt end of a gun. Prison? Well, that’s a badge of honor…street cred…and I don’t mind street cred. 

Authority? Yeah, don’t pay attention to that either. 

I recently read an article wherein the author stated using the terms “sir” and “ma’am” were degrading, and should not be used for fear of offending people. I wonder if said author ever considered people like me are offended with all that is now acceptable behavior? I wonder if my thoughts matter about the drivel that purports to be entertainment on television and in movies, or what is contained in popular music?

“But it’s art,” is a great way to hide the vulgarity, or the lack of art. It reminds me of the coach who screams and yells at kids in practice. In my experience, those coaches cover their lack of technical expertise by screaming. So it would seem with the claim, “but it’s art.” That phrase has become a great excuse for the anything goes mentality we, and our kids, are being inundated with each and every day. 

Even in literature, where creativity is meant to roam free we’re inundated with vile and vulgar images and language. But that’s ok…”it’s art.” Are there no standards? Do we need standards? Some of the greatest works of art flaunted the accepted standards of the day, but there’s a difference between artistic creation and rank vulgarity. How will I know? As Justice Potter Stewart once said regarding how to determine “hard core pornography,” I’ll know it when I see it. 

If you think Hollywood and television producers don’t understand the notion the more one is exposed to X, the more X becomes normal and accepted, you’re head is as much in the sand as mine is seemingly stuck in the past. There is a method to the madness. I’m not saying there’s a conspiracy at work or anything, just that there are very few rules, unless one deviates from the preferred political narrative, which, then, allows them to come for you, whomever them are.

We’re in a bad way. We’ve lost in so many instances and in so many places that sense of decency and respect that used to permeate our society. We weren’t perfect, but we were better than this. But then again, what the hell do I know. I’m just a Boomer…out of touch, not living in reality, and I just don’t understand anymore. Times have changed. Segregation is demanded now at universities, rather than shunned. Drugs are ok…legalize them all…forgetting we did that once, before. Say what you want, kids are adults, and men…well, men are the enemy of all…you know, toxic masculinity and all that. The very same illness that built roads, bridges, won wars, built national infrastructure…yeah, that stuff. 

Where men and women were once a team, we are now seemingly at odds with each other. There should not be a winner and loser, but it seems we’re going that way, with future generations becoming the losers. With kids, sometimes caught in the middle, the losers. With our society losing. 

Ahhh…what the hell do I know anyway. I’m just an old coot ranting and raving. 

Well…then…GET OFF MY LAWN!

*There is a long history of opium use in China with long lasting deleterious effects. However, there is another side to the story, one that contains the immense money/revenue that was being generated by opium’s sale providing much needed tax monies to both the government and local farmers. It was only eradicated by the Communist Revolution of Mao, starting in 1949. Drug dealers were executed as were habitual users, with many millions forced into rehabilitation programs. Still, opium persisted.