Life imitating farce

| June 26, 2018

We’ve been hearing cries for ‘culture change’ from all directions following a series of terrible crimes. I think it was John Milton who said something like ‘example is the schoolhouse of humanity’.

I contend that in our society, the influence and authority of parents has been challenged and weakened directly and indirectly by the mass media, backed by very powerful commercial interests.

Visual images and other subliminal messages devised by very clever but unscrupulous people, are being transmitted by means of ‘devices’ that seem to have addictive qualities. It is a serious criminal offence to offer or sell substances with similar effects to anyone, let alone children.

How many assaults, murders and criminal acts are children exposed to on TV and other online media even before they reach school age? In early adolescence when role models and supervision are critical, especially for boys, many are left to their own devices and free to become whatever they see.

I recently saw an extremely violent movie showing in a hospital waiting area with children watching. It included assault, rape, murder and animal cruelty.

The bad behaviour of some, apparently unsocialised, people in public has become almost to be expected.

Not all of this can be blamed on the media, but poor behaviour is increasingly tolerated as trivial or, worse, it has reached what sociologists call ‘normalisation’. In other words, we have virtually ‘given up’ on upholding the things that shape and bind our society.

We have special laws to deal with ‘one-punch’ assaults because such attacks have caused serious injury and death. But those on the receiving end of aggravated assaults on TV and movies usually get up and walk away.

All this is presented as ‘entertainment’ and transient ‘news’ to anyone looking on whether they be children or adults who, because of mental illness or substance abuse etc, may not be able to distinguish reality from fiction.

‘Reality’ television, most advertising and the great emphasis places on ‘celebrity’ tend to generate personal dissatisfaction. Is it any wonder that some unhinged and deluded individuals seek to distinguish themselves by ‘starring’ in their own sad little production?

The media have an important responsibility to society beyond presenting concocted outrage to the community and then returning to business as usual, aided and abetted by compromised governments.