What is Family Television?

My wife has always been a big ‘family television’ viewer.  She has seen every episode of The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, Touched by an Angel, and Highway to Heaven.  She still watches the Hallmark Channel on a daily basis, and if she is already watching one of the shows when I enter the room, I’ll sit and listen as if I am interested, but the whole time I am counting the minutes until it is over.

I, on the other hand, am no goodie-two-shoes when it comes to television, but I may be a nerd.  Most of the programming that I watch is on one of the channels owned by Discovery.  I watch a lot of sports, some reality based TV (Survivor, The Amazing Race, and American Idol), and a lot of the movies that are on the premium channels.  I watch very little scripted television mainly because the writing is usually not very good.  I watched the Sopranos religiously, but the dialogue on a show like CSI, for example, just hurts my head.

7th Heaven:

Several years ago my wife and I started watching 7th Heaven.  For the first few seasons, it was very enjoyable.  However, I remember a specific episode when one of the local elected officials was discovered having an affair.  Surprisingly, there was the reverend with as much angst as his character had ever shown preaching to the audience that it was ‘none of their business’ what the man was doing at home.  It seemed a little coincidental that President Clinton had just gone through the Monica Lewinski scandal.  At the time, I was offended that the writers of a show that purported itself to be a ‘family’ show about a minister and his wife trying to raise good kids, would slap their audience in the face in this manner.  I found myself watching it less and less, and pretty soon it was off my radar.  It was a good thing also, because the show devolved into an opportunity for the liberal writers to get their message out to a conservative audience, and later it devolved into one of the worst written soap operas on television.

The ABC Family Channel:

If you look way up in the numbers on most cable television plans, you will find the ABC Family Channel.  Don’t be fooled.  This is no more of a ‘family’ oriented channel than TLC is a ‘learning’ channel.  I just looked up tonight’s programming and found two episodes of That 70s Show followed by that wholesome movie Mean Girls (please read the last line with appropriate sarcasm).  There is nothing ‘family’ about any of this.  I don’t even give them credit for attempting to socially engineer their audience.  They are simply hoping that parents are letting their children watch this ‘family’ programming in order to get their ratings up.  I personally cannot think of a time when I will feel that slightly disguised sexual innuendos and drug humor are going to be appropriate for my daughter to watch before she is an adult.

This week, I was watching a movie that I can’t even remember the name of, and went to the ‘guide’ on my DVR.  I know I was on HBO, because I noticed one of the programs being offered for my viewing pleasure on the HBO Family Channel.  It was called All Aboard! Rosie’s Family Cruise.  Smelling a rat, I looked at the information on the show.  It said, “Feature-length chronicle of a precedent-setting 2004 cruise, in which Rosie O’Donnell and her family joined hundreds of other gay, lesbian, bisexual and straight families on a weeklong trip from NYC to the Bahamas and back.”  Holy Crap!  This is what HBO is passing off as ‘family’ programming?

Of course, this is not family programming.  It is a blatant attempt by HBO and the disgusting Rosie O’Donnell at social engineering.  Period.  This would not even be considered programming outside of the gay and lesbian context.  There are no other programs on HBO family chronicling the trips of say the Smith family to the Grand Canyon.  I was appalled.  I don’t mind the gays having their own programming such as Bravo or here! TV (heck, I even watch Top Chef), but this is a clear offensive (and I mean that in the military sense).

They would do well to remember that America does not support this type of thing.  It has already expressed its opinion in several state bans on gay marriage, and with the number of states involved, a national constitutional referendum is a real possibility.  People will simply not put up with this sort of thing, and they will vote with their feet.

 

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Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

I was reading a story today about an 89 year old lady who was arrested this week for keeping a football that had gone into her yard.  Of course, there was the requisite shaking of the head that was prompted by the words in front of me, but as I thought about it, I wondered “What was her motivation for keeping the ball?  What did she get out of it?”

I know some would like to turn this into a property rights issue.  Does she, as owner of the property, have the right to keep the ball when it comes into her yard uninvited?  Do the kids have the right to demand that she allow them onto her property to retrieve it, or do they have the right to compel her to retrieve it for them or give it back to them?  And, I’m sure the police did not go right to her house and arrest her upon receiving a complaint from a bunch of kids.  If any protocols were followed, they would have given her multiple opportunities to return the ball before she was actually arrested.  I’m sure she just refused to listen to reason or cooperate, and they were left with no choice.  Yeah, it’s pretty sad.

But the question of “Why?” still remains.  I think that I actually stumbled upon the answer on the way to work this morning.  It happened while I and everyone else on this particular road were being slowed down by unusually heavy traffic.  When the state authorities redesigned that part of the highway a few years ago, they did so with a view to the future.  There is actually room for four lanes (on each side of the road) to fit easily through this stretch of road, but unfortunately a couple of miles on either side of this stretch, there are areas that are still two lanes wide, and expansion would require massive engineering projects to ever get to the desired four lanes.  As a result, the area of the road that could hold four lanes, still has only two to keep from having a bottle-neck at the other end.  As I sat in traffic this morning, I saw two vehicles pull out into the huge shoulder area and simply drive about a mile down ahead of the other cars.  It was complete sorry-ness, and I found myself wondering “Why?” once again.  Why would they do this?  It shows a complete lack of regard for the law, and the other people who are being forced to wait their turn, and in the end, when they get to the point where they have to join the rest of the pack, they end up slowing traffic even further to let their sorry selves back in.

These people and the old lady from the first story reflect the attitude that they only care about themselves.  They have no regard for others around them or people that they might come into contact with.  Their greatest personal achievements involve elevating themselves above those around them (at least in their own minds). 

The answer is a reflection of the fact that there has been a removal of social mores, and it shows the death of the personal moral compass that has been encouraged by the cultural relativists in our land has begun to bear fruit.  People have been encouraged by schools, society, television, and psychologists to do what feels good to them regardless of how it affects other people.  There is no corporate desire to make our society a better, nicer place, and as result, it is not.

I finally got around to watching HBO’s John Adams this week.  It was great.  I noticed that there was indeed a corporate sense of honor and duty that led men to fight and to give their lives without pay, and without even being ordered or asked to.  During those times, a person could strongly disagree with another person.  He could even say that his ideas were ridiculous in print.  But, I also noticed that when they spoke face to face, they always spoke cordially to one another, and referred to the other person as ‘Sir’ even if they were skewering each other at the time.  They might question the man’s sanity or ability to reason, but they never questioned the motives of the other person because, if they did this, they might end up dead.  See Alexander Hamilton for a good example of what happened when people acted without decorum during this time.

People had expectations of other people during this time, and society reacted negatively when a person failed to live up to those expectations.  A good example of these attitudes could also be found in the Adams series.  In it he, John Adams, refused to help his son-in-law, and disowned his own son because they failed to live up to societal expectations.  Later generations still felt the pull of duty and a sense of corporate responsibility.  You only have to go back to WWII to find a time when Americans offered up their sons and themselves to fight in a war.  This was not a war where there might be a chance of getting killed by an insurgent (please do not think I am taking anything away from the bravery and sacrifices made by servicemen today).  It was a war where, if you were in the military, there was a strong likelihood of you suffering death or serious injury.  If you were able-bodied and you did not serve during WWII, you and your family were stigmatized by this decision.

During the 1940s and 1950s people were still expected to perform up to societal standards, and families that did not were also rightly stigmatized.  This corporate societal expectation motivated people to act in a way that was mutually beneficial to all.  It is not so today.  The adoption of the welfare state in cooperation with the elevation of the individual and the advocating of the ideas espoused by relativists have deprived Americans of the corporate disdain that would beneficially keep us all in line (sometimes literally).

Persons without a religion to assist them in attaining a moral compass today, often have no way of attaining any sense that they have a duty to the rest of the people around them to at least treat these people as they would like to be treated.

On this subject, I have no answers, only complaints.  Popular religions continue to cut off their collective noses to spite their faces (see the Baptists boycotting Disney for a good example, but they are not alone).  They seem to drive more people away with the self-serving rants than they bring in.  I believe many young parents would use a church as a good way to instill good morals and mores in their children if the churches would actually stay on message and not veer off to attack Miley Cyrus, for instance, whenever they get bored.  As far as society getting a handle on itself and reestablishing its own set of social mores to help encourage decorum, this would be impossible at this point.  Not only is that horse out of the barn, but that barn has long since burned down.

In the end, we are left with individual choices to do the right thing or not.  Those of us who choose to act with decorum and respect for others while teaching it to or children will be the ones that keep society from completely falling apart.

You still have a choice.  You can be the mean old lady at the end of the block that keeps the ball, and no one will mourn you when you die, or you can be the old lady who gets the ball for the kids along with a cookie.  Which one of these makes more of a mark?

Well, Well, Well. In your face Chaddick!

Every now and then a small person (and I mean small in character) finds himself in a position of authority.  These people tend to use their positions abusively and at their own discretion.  Nathan Chaddick, in his attempt to deal with an unfortunate situation at the high school where he is the Pricipal did just this.  The derogatory language that he used to characterize several young ladies and a mother showed the world the power that he felt he had in his position.  He forgot that his position is a public trust, but obviously the head of the school disrict did not.  Good for the superintendent, but I would have rather seen a little more public discipline of the Principal and the faculty sponsor of the cheerleading squad, since the Principal chose to denegrate the young ladies on school newspaper in public.

And, I want to take a moment to praise Mollie Garrigan, Katy Rushing, Suzanne Choate, Harry Duncan, Hannah Frizzell and Nicole Wilson.  They are the ones who stood up and told the truth on this, and they should be commended.  I’m sure they will have a great future in journalism.

Skit Portaying Executions is Inappropriate

After Reading an article that I found off of Foxnews this morning, I am now insane…

 

I usually only link to articles that spark my interest.  Today, however, I am going to place the whole text of the article on my post because I do not think I can effectively comment upon it without having it here for you to read.  So, to give appropriate credit, I will tell you that this article was published at dailysentinel.com and can be found here.  The Article was written by Tyesha Boudreaux.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

A performance during a Nacogdoches High School pep rally last month has created some controversy between students and the administration over the appropriateness of a skit that included the executions of rivals and toy guns.

Some students say the skit was inappropriate and are circulating a petition — which currently has 122 signatures — protesting “gun promotion” at pep rallies.

 However, NHS principal Nathan Chaddick contends that the skit was a “simple, innocent satire” aimed at boosting school spirit, and with the exception of one complaint from a parent, Chaddick said “everybody enjoyed it and had a good time.”

Laughter from the crowd of spectators, which includes several adult voices, is prevalent throughout a video of the skit, which was performed during a Sept. 5 pep rally.

The skit opens with a few cheerleaders dressed to represent that week’s opposing team, the Center High School Roughriders. Wearing cowboy hats and carrying toy pistols, the “rivals” run into the gym to take the NHS mascot hostage as the theme from the movie “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” plays in the background.

As the Center team scuffles with the mascot, NHS cheerleaders run to the rescue, freeing the mascot. They then force the Center team to kneel as they stand behind them with guns.

The music shifts to a popular song which includes the sound of gunfire. As the NHS cheerleaders hold the guns to the back of the kneeling “prisoners'” heads, gunfire is heard. The “prisoners” fall over, dead.

The victorious NHS cheerleaders then toss what appears to be fake money into the air in celebration, then drag the bodies representing Center into a pile, whereupon the NHS mascot holds up a tombstone over the executed “prisoners,” to the sound of clapping and cheering from the spectators.

But not everyone found the skit enjoyable or appropriate.

Soon after, a petition “against gun promotion at pep rallies” was circulated, and an article and two editorials on the subject appeared in the student newspaper, The Dragon Echo.

The editorial defending the skit, written by an NHS cheerleader, was published in its entirety. An editorial critical of the skit, written by two students, was edited — by Chaddick — to eliminate three paragraphs that questioned the administration’s support for the skit.

In addition, a news article detailing the skit as a whole was moved from the front page to the third page of the Echo, at Chaddick’s direction, because he felt there were more important issues at hand.

“We just had the hurricane going on and people without power in their homes and homeless,” he said. “And there’s just more important things going on than a personal agenda of three little girls. I don’t think three girls and one mother have the right to make this a top story for our school newspaper.”

However, Mollie Garrigan, who wrote the editorial with fellow student Katie Rushing, denied that the motives were personal.

“In no way are we against cheerleaders,” Mollie said. “We are against gun promotion.”

Chaddick said he didn’t believe that using a toy gun in a skit promoted the use of guns.

“In any school district, there’s a zero tolerance regarding illegal weapons, certainly,” he said. “But this was just a simple skit done by our cheerleaders just to promote some school spirit and motivate the football team at a pep rally … they were doing like a little country, cowboy-type skit.”

Although the NISD Student Code of Conduct and Student Handbook says that “using or possessing a pellet gun, air-powered rifle, toy gun, or any other instrument that may be perceived by a third party as a firearm” is a prohibited conduct, Chaddick said it didn’t pertain to a toy gun used in a skit.

He compared it instead, to the use of a prop in a play.

“What do they want us to do with Shakespeare when kids have swords stabbing each other or plays with some shooting?” Chaddick asked. “It’s the same thing. It’s the same little skit. But because these three girls have a personal thing going on against some cheerleaders, they feel they have a right to use this venue for their personal agenda or purpose, and I’m just not going to allow that.”

In addition to the title of the editorial “Fearleaders,” Chaddick also eliminated the following paragraphs:

“We realize it was intended to raise school spirit, but it is inappropriate to allow such a display of excessive violence in a high school. This is not only unacceptable in a school environment, but also from a moral standpoint. This skit did not portray the other team as our opponent in a sports game, but as an enemy.

This skit and all of its implications were approved by an authoritative figure with the power and responsibility to edit the skit.

Such an authority should certainly show more discretion in the future.”

When asked what he found inappropriate about the material edited from the editorial, Chaddick would say only that it was “obvious” that the comments were a personal grudge.

“They were calling the cheerleaders ‘fearleaders’,” he said. “That’s just inappropriate.”

“In a public school setting, you can’t just publish anything you want to,” Chaddick said. “There is going to be some censorship and some editing if there’s something that’s inappropriate.”

“I got one parent who thinks it was so wrong that we had some plastic guns in the skit here at the schoolhouse,” he said. “I let her know, you’re certainly entitled to your opinion and your personal own beliefs. One person’s personal agenda is not going to drive what we do here at Nacogdoches High School.”

Here is a link to the actual video of the skit.

 

It is hard to know where to begin with this one.  I guess I will begin by saying that I do not agree with anyone involved with this story.  I commend the students who saw that the skit was wrong for taking it upon themselves to say so when no one else was doing so.  Good for them.

They make a good point in their editorial that the school has been, at the very least, inconsistent in its interpretation of its own policies regarding guns and images of firearms, and more likely selective in its interpretations.

However, the fact that guns were involved in a skit is not the true and appropriate source of outrage here.  The true offensiveness of this skit is in the imagery of an execution-style murder.  The reaction of the students who were against the skit came across to me like a group of people who, after seeing a noose hung on a tree outside of the home of a black family, are offended at the blatant reference to capital punishment that they saw in the image.  The point that I am making is that the imagery of execution-style murders carries with it a stronger connotation than simply that of gun violence.  There is a stomach-turning feeling associated with this type of activity be it by Al Qaida in Iraq or some thugs robbing a Quick Stop, just as there is a stomach-churning feeling associated with blatantly racist images like the noose in the reference above.  Society has little patience with people who take it upon themselves to execute another human being in cold blood, more often than not giving the perpetrator the death penalty on states where it is allowed. 

I do not care what justification is given, the skit performed by the cheerleaders at this school was incredibly out of bounds.  They could just have well have marched the ‘cheerleaders’ for the opposition into an oven in the skit, and I would have been equally offended. 

There is no defense for this, and someone should have said. “No!”  As is true in most schools, there is almost always a member of the faculty that sponsors the cheerleading squad.  Both that person and the cheerleaders should be held accountable for this.  The students need some sort of reprimand to teach them and the other students at the school that this sort of activity is wrong, and the teacher/sponsor of the squad should be suspended or released depending in her track record.

The person that I have the biggest issue with in all of this is Nathan Chaddick, the Principal of the high school.  First, he is inconsistent and selective in his application of the printed rules of the school, and that is not right.  The students at this school are being sent the message that we see coming from many small town schools that cheerleaders are special and above the level of other students.  It is these same attitudes that have led to several recent incidents in which high school athletes think that they can sexually assault the younger athletes in the school and call it hazing.  These cheerleaders have to be forced to follow the same rules as any other student.

Second, Chaddick seems to be inappropriately making accusations against the students who have questioned the appropriateness of the skit by questioning their motivations.  This, once again, looks like they are putting the cheerleaders on a pedestal, but it goes farther when he accuses the other students of using the skit to promote their own petty “personal grudge.”

I would make the case that he does not reside inside the minds of the students who raised the objection, and therefore cannot and should not comment on their motivations, especially when they are making a good point.  There is nothing in their letter to the editor that is a personal attack on anyone.  He says that it was inappropriate for the students to call the cheerleaders ‘fearleaders,’ but is that so bad?  In fact, there was nothing to be offended by in the redacted material, unless he was simply offended by the fact that their argument was so much better than his.  Look, I am the last guy to say that students have the right to say anything that they want to in a school newspaper, but it is apparent that the only reason he redacted their editorial was because he did not like their argument (which was obviously better that the opinion that he and the cheerleaders held).  Giving the cheerleaders the forum of the school newspaper to print their opinion of the incident, while redacting a cogent, appropriate counterpoint is simply another example of the preferential treatment shown to cheerleaders in this school.

However, the biggest problem with Chaddick is not his treatment of the students in this matter (though it is bad enough), but it is the fact that he shows himself to be so completely out of touch with social mores in this matter.  His statement comparing this skit involving execution-style killings to a Shakespearian play with swords shows him to either be stupid or a liar.  His smug attitude shown throughout the story shows him to be both, and the faster this school district sends him packing and apologizes to these young women the better.