Sex, Media and a Sign of the Times
Some of us are old enough to remember the shocking nature of Barbara Eden's showing her navel on "I Dream of Jeannie" in the '60s and how the revealing one-piece bathing suits on "Charlie's Angels" in the '70s were considered scanty.
Compare that with today.
No one is shocked or surprised today to see several performers on MTV's award shows barely clothed and parading like dancers in a strip joint. Yesterday's wardrobe malfunctions are today's wardrobes (or lack thereof).
MTV's reality shows "Jersey Shore" and "16 and Pregnant" are only the beginnings of a television tidal wave of explicitly sexual content that is invading the hearts and minds of America's youth.
Here is a small sampling of other exposing moments that USA Today reported your child or grandchild might run into on television when you offer him or her some free time to channel-surf.
Spike TV's dirty college comedy, "Blue Mountain State," showed a masturbating school mascot on its premiere.
When it premiered, ABC's "Cougar Town" had a scene that implied Courteney Cox's character was giving oral sex to her date.
"Nip/Tuck" peaked its sixth and final season by highlighting sexually compulsive plastic surgeons.
On ABC's "Desperate Housewives," Julie Benz played a stripper for the series' fifth season.
VH1 offers the titillating "Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew."
Showtime's "Secret Diary of a Call Girl" highlighted Billie Piper playing hooker Belle, who was using her new sexual experiences with clients to write a book.
And do I need to say any more than just the title of Showtime's "Californication"?
HBO's "Hung" (as the title also implies) is about a well-endowed teacher moonlighting as a prostitute.
Has the escalation of sexual content over the past decade on television had negative effects upon our culture and younger generations?
Consider that in 2004, a national study of teens concluded that those who watched more sex-oriented scenes and programs were likelier than others their age to become sexually active.
In 2008, another nationwide study surveyed teens watching 23 sexually explicit shows and concluded that "by age 16, teens who watched a lot of sexually charged TV were more than twice as likely to be pregnant or father an out-of-wedlock baby as teens who watched very little."
And in 2010, the nation's leading group of pediatricians issued a strong warning to pediatricians, parents and the media about the dangers that explicit sex on television, the Internet and other media is posing to our children.
Is there anyone who can help?
Actually, a man who has been in show business for 40 years is fighting to hold a line on decency, respect and moral boundaries in movies and on television. His name is Dr. Ted Baehr. Ted and his wife, Lili, are Gena's and my dear friends.
Dr. Baehr is the founder and publisher of Movieguide ("The Family Guide to Movies and Entertainment") and chairman of The Christian Film & Television Commission, as well as a noted critic, educator, lecturer and media pundit. His website declares that his life's purpose is to be used of God to redeem the values of the media while educating audiences on how to use discernment in selecting their entertainment.
I encourage parents to check out Movieguide to see what movies currently in the theaters and on DVD are appropriate for your children to see. I also highly recommend Baehr's latest best-seller, "How To Succeed in Hollywood (Without Losing Your Soul)."
In the June edition of Baehr's newsletter for the CFTVC, he wrote that in May, the group sent more than 9,750 petitions demanding that ABC cancel the TV series "Good Christian Bitches," which is based upon Kim Gatlin's book of that name. Because of excessive negative feedback, ABC decided to change the name to "Good Christian Belles."
On the flip side, the CFTVC has aided the popularity of Christian-themed films this past year, such as "Soul Surfer," "Gnomeo & Juliet," "Rango," "Hop" and "Rio."
Friends, our society has become desensitized to immorality on-screen, and we're passing it on to our small children and teens by allowing them even to be exposed to such vulgar content and productions via our televisions, the Internet and our movie theaters.
We must embrace the wisdom of the great British orator Edmund Burke, who said, "Evil flourishes when good men do nothing."
If you feel the same, I respectfully plead with you to partner with Ted and Lili Baehr, my wife, Gena, me and a host of other patriots by doing three things:
1) If you consider television programming or a movie inappropriate for children, write the company and others and say so.
2) If companies refuse to respond and protect the children of our country, then inform them that you will be writing their sponsors and no longer using their products.
3) Lastly, arm Baehr to slay the corrupt giants of the Hollywood industry and redeem the values of mass media and entertainment by sending a financial gift of any size to continue the work of the CFTVC.
For more information, go to http://www.movieguide.org and http://www.cftvc.org or write to: The Christian Film & Television Commission, 1151 Avenido Acaso, Camarillo, CA 93012.
To find out more about Chuck Norris and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.