Thursday, June 17, 2010

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: A message about the messages on T.V.

by Lillian Zepeda,
  
Those who watched the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday can agree with me on this, Television and entertainment have come a long way since Casablanca’s controversial “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” …ahh, the good ole days. I’m convinced MTV's program was split into three main parts - exaggerated Twilight hype, the cast of Jersey Shore  and cleverly disguised insults to Snooki (Sway mentioned what a lady she always is after she…well you remember), and an incessant amount of censoring; some bleeps coming a few seconds too late. This probably took me by surprise more so than others because of my 3-year television hiatus. None of the other people I was watching with seemed to notice.  Nonetheless, it doesn’t make it okay just because the audience has become immune to profanity. Where’s the entertainment value in cursing? I would walk past a corner full of foul-mouthed drug dealers if that’s the kind of entertainment I was looking for. Yes, we’ve all heard this argument before, but when will we start listening? I remember when I would make a mental note not to miss the MTV Movie Awards because it was an award show for me; the teenager - the hip consumer. It was bold, the performances were fresh and visually appealing, and it had imagination and focused on congratulating the celebrities other academies didn’t take too serious – the people whose fan base is twenty-five years old and younger.  In the audience that night was 11-year old Jaden Smith and what I want to know is how Will Smith felt hearing what his child was hearing and having to tolerate it because it was at an accredited award ceremony. Furthermore, it aired on a Sunday night; the night we in America consider a family night, and during regular broadcasting hours. But the worst was yet to come. Just when it hit a break and I was able to take a breath, an Orbit gum commercial came on which was completely unintelligible. The entire skit was a sequence of bleeps; the punch line, their famous “Dirty mouth? Clean it up with Orbit!” It’s clever, however is it appropriate?
Yes, there were other scenes during the show that were much more inappropriate, but those are obvious. I hope all parents agree that Sandra Bullock and Scarlett Johansson kissing is not something a pre-teen should see. Yes, it would have been okay for “RPat” and “KStew” to kiss and two women kissing is not disturbing to me because I’m a homophobe, it’s quite the opposite. These two women are not in a romantic relationship. This was done purely because of its awe factor, to raise eyebrows and ratings. I understand that this is the network’s goal, but it crosses a line when it compromises the way children see love and interpersonal behavior. Two women kissing because they are showing affection is different. It’d be difficult to explain to an adolescent, but we can point at their commitment to each other to justify their behavior. Try explaining a pay-check behind a kiss between two people of the same-sex, not so easy. It’s deteriorating the moral value of the next generation. Neither Sandra nor Scarlett would kiss a female acquaintance that way in front of her grandmother.It wasn’t all bad though. I have to admit Les Grossman was brilliant. His dancing was genial, particularly when he jumped off the trampoline stage. He displayed his usual misanthropy and the elaborate offenses he became famous for. The difference here is we’ve never expected anything better from him. 
In essence, the MTV Movie Awards proved that as a society we’re becoming increasingly irresponsible in what and how we choose to communicate. I can picture the executive producers saying “Why did we do it? We’re allowed to, so why wouldn’t we?” And needless to say, it’s disappointing to see America’s Sweetheart behaving the way she did. It’s frustrating to know how years of advancements in communication and television have lead to the loss of courtesy, professionalism and consideration for the future. Then we wonder why teenagers develop I-don’t-give-a-damn attitudes.

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