A few minutes ago, I had to get up and walk out of the room. I had to do it because of something my supply SGT was watching, which left me feeling spiritually violated.
This event brought to mind a few things that most of us don’t seem to consider. For one, what passes for entrainment in the media.
More than three years ago, I gave up television. My wife and I own one, though it’s for the kids. We simply don’t watch. It no longer holds any interest for us, though we do monitor what they watch very closely.
One part of the reason for this state of affairs is that it had begun to consume a huge part of my life. Like any average American, I would watch hours of tv each day, with favorite shows, channels, etc. I missed out on a lot of life, just by being absorbed in tv land.
Another reason is that I’ve begun to notice some rather disturbing trends in mass media these days. It isn’t just the blatantly authoritarian leanings of the Hollywood elites, either.
I’ve noticed the gradual erosion of the values this country was founded upon, through the use of tv dramas, comedies, etc. It’s so subtle, so insidious, that most don’t even realize it’s happening.
It seems like we’ve become immune to images of people being murdered or turtured in various and sundry ways, varying levels of nudity, the sight of good guys in tv dramas routinely violating people’s Constitutional rights in order to catch the bad guy, and many more examples.
Movies like SAW, Hostel and others show people being tortured, disfigured, dismembered and grotesquely murdered, all for the vaciarious thrills of audiences everywhere.
Shows like Law & Order and NCIS (one of my favorites) routinely show the good guys skirting the ragged edge of people’s Constitutional protections, when they aren’t blatantly violating them. I mean, each episode features at least one instance of someone’s 4th Amendment rights being trampled, not to mention the cases of blatant police brutality.
What’s worse is the way the private ownership of a firearm is treated in these shows. You would think that only cops, Soldiers and bad guys should own guns, because everyone always seems all shocked and shaken when the investigation shows some civilian bought a gun.
If you think for one second my concerns are unfounded, consider the following. Where do most people gain their opinions? How much of a role does the mass media play in forming people’s personal, religious and political opinons?
Trust and believe, there are a great many people out there who have traded their ability to think independently for the constant stream of opinion that’s spoon-fed to them by the media giant of their choice. It is sad, sickening and terrifying.
From a spiritual standpoint, this problem takes on a whole new dimension. As the old saying goes, “You are what you eat.”
In a very real sense, that applies to our spiritual selves, as well. You are what you consume. You are what you watch, listen to, and think as a result.
So, when you willingly subject yourself to a constant stream of pornography, violence, and the various and sundry other forms of slavery peddled by the mass media, you quickly change. You become immune to things that really should shock and sadden you, and slowly begin to lose your humanity.
The next thing you know, you’re watching things that should disgust you on a very visceral level. For example, my supply SGT was watching some Australian movie about android nannies known as iMom.
Apparently, one of them is accidentally electrocuted, goes nuts and cooks the baby it’s supposed to be caring for. My first instinct was to walk out of the room. I wanted no part of it.
His first instinct, upon realizing that was what was next, was to continue watching. How is that even an option?!
As a society, we’ve arrived at the point where we are willingly watching and listening to things our parents and grandparents would have turned off and protested against. We have begun to actively surrender our humanity, and it shows.
Stories abound of people pulling out their cell phones and recording as people are being harmed in various ways, rather than dropping what they’re doing and lending aid to the hapless victims. Stories of people dying in horrific motor vehicle collisions because someone couldn’t put down the phone and drive abound, too.
Even the story out of Chicago last year, in which four black teens kidnapped a special needs white teen and recorded themselves torturing him simply for being white. Those kids displayed zero humanity. They weren’t human, period.
All of this makes me wonder where our society is headed, and hope that I’m in the middle of nowhere when it gets there; preferably while sitting on my front porch, sipping on single-malt scotch.