Sunday, February 16, 2003

Am I really that old?
For at least the past fifteen years, cultural conservatives have complained about the entertainment industry and its prurient tendencies. Now, for much of that time I let it go in one year and out the other and chalked it up to the groaning of a generation whose time had passed. But, over time, I began to wonder why there was so much gratutious sex and violence in movies and on television. I am far from a prude, as the bookmarks on my IE or my mpeg collection would show, but it seems to me that there is a time and place for certain things. I am not so naive as to fail to realize that sex and violence do not sell, either.

However, there does seem to be something awfully troubling about a society that airs such entertainment during the hours in which children would be watching. And I don't mean the kind of frank sexuality one would see on European television. I am talking more about the Jerry Springer, lowest common denominator variety of raunch. And what to me is sad, and what brought this on now, is that the sitcoms of the past were able to be uproariously funny without being sexual or debasing. Just now I caught an episode of Sanford and Son (one of my all time favorite shows) and realized that Red Foxx was funny without being gross. Just as the Three Stooges, MASH, All in the Family, etc.

Try this as an experiment at home. Watch just one hour of primetime television and count how many laughs are achieved without using sex as a tool.


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