Saturday, April 30, 2011
News Opinion Letters Sports A&E Spartan Daily
American culture: A race to the gutter
The Real Deal
By Melissa Sabile
One thing I've noticed lately is that the state of American culture is getting more and more absurd as the days pass.
If you look closely at the entertainment in our country, the majority of what you will find is outrageous amounts of trashy, semi-pornographic displays of pop culture, urging the people of our nation to be just as asinine.
It's everywhere: music, television, movies and magazines.
We can't escape it.
Both Lady Gaga and Ke$ha's first singles and music videos were songs about partying and getting so drunk they couldn't function – like it's the cool thing to do.
TV shows, such as "16 and Pregnant" and "Teen Mom," are essentially showing that teen pregnancies are played up and you just might become a star if you become a young mother.
Sadistic horror films show gratuitus amounts of violence, blood and gore, yet we still line up and spend a ton of money to watch them on the big screen.
Magazines and tabloids expose the lives of celebrities and we can't wait to see whose relationship is about to come crashing down or what secrets of theirs we can expose to the world.
Then there's reality TV, which is a category by itself and the epitome of trash on television.
Reality TV shows, such as "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" and "Jersey Shore," glorify specific groups of people who are famous for nothing other than simply being famous – and for some reason, we yearn to look and be like them.
It seems that the more sick, stupid, out-of-control train wreck a person or group is, the more we love to watch them.
A few years ago, I was coaching summer camp and we had kids between the ages of 5 and 13 enrolled in gymnastics camp for weeks at a time.
A 7-year-old girl was jumping around singing a song and dancing some pretty risqué dance moves.
When I asked her why she was dancing like that, she said to me that she wanted to be like Paris Hilton when she grew up.
I quickly explained to her that she really shouldn't want to be like Paris Hilton, and told her to pick a new role model like Shawn Johnson or Nastia Liukin, because they were Olympic gymnastics champions.
It is disappointing to me that we idolize these people, and these shows take precedent over what really matters in our country.
In 2007, Jordin Sparks won American Idol with more than 74 million votes tallied. Overall, 609 million votes were tallied for the entire season – about 10 times as many votes as President Bush received in the 2004 presidential election (62 million votes), according to CNN.
Granted, a person can only vote in an election if they are registered and 18 years or older and to vote on American Idol you only need a phone or the Internet. But the fact of the matter is more people cared about who would be the next American Idol than who would be the next president of the United States.
What we should be doing is focusing our time and energy on things that can make a difference in our lives.
If you want to listen to music, find something classical or songs without derogatory lyrics.
If you must turn on the TV, turn it to PBS, the Discovery Channel or the History Channel.
If you're going to read a magazine, pick up Reader's Digest or National Geographic.
If you're going to watch a movie, find a documentary about the earth or technology.
All this money we are feeding into the sleazy entertainment business is one of the reasons our nation is going to hell in a hand basket.
If we continue to idolize people like Lady Gaga, the Kardashians and the cast of Jersey Shore, it will only yield a society that is as mindless and ridiculous as the celebrities we see in the media.
"The Real Deal" is a weekly column appearing on Thursdays. Melissa Sabile is a Spartan Daily Sports Editor.
Sat Apr 30 2011
Meanwhile, the discouraged, defeated, despondent, disheartened, disillusioned and despairing youth of America who failed to respond to their call sank back in total hopelessness into the slough of the same System from which they had tried to rise, the mud and the mire of America's manmade miseries, and were lost--"The day the music died!" But let us renew a new generation of the lost and the last, and a happy, joyful, exuberant and totally effective alternative to youth's drugs, vice, crime, violence and hopeless despair.
Ted Rudow III MA
Class of 1996