We are the product of our choices

Can someone please tell me how and why the exploitation of dysfunctional families and groups on TV shows is entertaining? First, to call these shows “reality” is disingenuous. Maybe just watching ignorant people involved in ridiculous situations somehow makes us feel superior? Answer this for me. How could anyone be entertained by a music producer berating and brutalizing a young singer on national television?

Look at the movie industry and the video gaming business. Have you seen what passes as entertainment today? The movies are blood curdling, vampire butchery and chainsaw massacres of the worst order. The video games all seem to be blood and guts. You score by killing and beheading. How is this entertainment?

Today both of these industries are under scrutiny by groups trying to figure out if this is one of the reasons nutcases are arming themselves and killing large numbers of people. The question is do these violent movies and games contribute to their craziness?

There seems to be a creeping coarseness occurring in this country. Manners are disappearing. Rudeness prevails. Cheating has become rampant. Respect for authority has all but vanished. What we used to call sass is now normal conversation.  Disrespect for parents seems to be a part of every TV show. Profanity can often be heard in public. Apparently the phrase “mixed company” no longer is allowable.

How and when did all this happen? Is it possible political correctness might be the genesis of this phenomenon? The PC police don’t allow you to judge. They deny you the right to decide right from wrong. There no longer is black and white, only gray. Nuance is the norm. What used to be normal child punishment is now child abuse. First-graders playing cowboys and Indians are now expelled. Identification of people somehow now has become a bias or a prejudice. And the worst of it is we have buried our collective heads in the sand refusing to acknowledge any of this.

Well, as I tell my grandchildren almost daily, we are the product of our choices. If we choose to watch these violent movies and TV shows, buy and play these video games, allow the PC police almost unlimited authority to determine right from wrong, then we deserve the outcome. We have stopped punishing lawbreakers. Most arrestees are multiple offenders with numerous convictions but are out on the street. What used to be shameful is no longer even noticed, let alone publicly ridiculed. There are no heroes anymore. What today passes as movie stars and sports stars are some of the most dysfunctional people on earth and their dysfunction is celebrated instead of scorned.

The question is, can all of this be turned around? Can we return to the more genteel America of the past? If we are to, it must start in the home. Sir and Ma’am must return to our lexicon. Parental respect must be insisted upon. Respect for law and law officers must be brought back. We have to cull the lawbreakers and scum from our midst. We have to hold our politicians, our movie stars and our sports stars to a higher standard. When they mess up, they must be publicly ridiculed, not rewarded. Athletes who cheat to win must be scorned and removed from the public consciousness. How about these words from my youth: “Winners never cheat and cheaters never win.”

Today we have to insist on better from our politicians and our stars. Adoration should be given where adoration is earned. Remember, it’s up to us. We are indeed the product of our choices.

Ron Scarbro

I am a retired businessman and I was a resident of Sartell for six years before moving to St. Simons Island, Ga to be closer to my grandchildren. I have offered opinion columns in the Newsleaders for the last five or six years. Those columns generallydeal with political issues. For additional commentary I post a weekly column at ronscarbro.blogspot.com.

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