31 October 2010

Why on Earth does the Media Glorify Bad Behavior?


Do you know what your children
are watching on television?

This evening I was watching one of my favorite documentaries, and they were talking about a late fisherman's life. Their description went well beyond his skills on the water. It talked about and showed video footage of him talking about how he took "every drug on the planet," was a hard-drinking, fast-living, strip club-going individual. They then called him an American hero.

No one is perfect. People make mistakes. People can grow. Yet, when dangerous and immoral activities are promoted in conjunction with someone deemed a "hero" by the media, there is a problem. This sends the message that it is "cool" to be that way. There is no message of "I made some mistakes, kids. Don't follow those practices." If it were that way, then there is a sense of social responsibility there. When the complete package is presented in a positive light, however, it is a case of a negative role model portrayed as a positive one. This is what happened in this documentary.

It does not stop here with American media. Look at Paris Hilton and Britney Spears as just two examples.  Children somehow are allowed to watch cartoons like South Park and Family Guy. Television dramas promote immoral behavior and lack of responsibility. Trash television has taken over.
A nation that tolerates media promoting what is base, immoral, and indecent as good, positive, and acceptable has lost its moral compass. "Oh, so he used every drug known to man. So what? He's a good person, so it doesn't matter," they might say. This was the gist of what the television documentary was saying as well. What total nonsense. This is a clear product of the age of moral relativism in which we rationalize and justify everyone's behavior by saying that they as people aren't bad. If we say what they are doing or have done is bad, then we are accused of somehow attacking them as human beings. This is not what we are doing, however, when we condemn their behavior. Condemning the sin is not condemning the person. (Read more about that here.) 

When we justify sin by making the excuse that the sinner is inherently good, we are projecting our emotions about the person onto their sin. Pretty soon all behavior becomes acceptable, no matter how bad, especially if we like the person. The more this goes on, the harder it becomes to stand against it. And there is the problem with these media portrayals of bad behavior in a positive light.

And how is it we are ignoring all of this as a society? Perhaps we have collectively taken the crucifix down from the wall so we aren't constantly reminded that Jesus is watching us. It makes us feel better as we are fed the over-the-top garbage the media corporations are putting out to win the ratings game and get more money. The trouble is, God knows all. We as a society are not fooling him. Society is only fooling itself. So, we might as well put the crucifix back up on the wall where it belongs. We might as well put God back in society. He is everywhere anyway. We might as well admit it.