Bob Costas recently had a panel on his show which included Bubba the Love Sponge, talking about the recent uproar about indecency. There was a lot of talk about artistic licence, free speech, violence and so on and so on. But what I have not really seen discussed, and which I think is really at the heart of this whole backlash, is the realization that we’re all incredibly stupid. And we’ve been made that way by society. And rather than try and fix the underlying issues, we’d rather make a big stink, act like we’re doing something and then slip back into peaceful complacency.
In reality, society has used our id’s (you know id, ego, superego) to sell us products for so long that it now seems natural to be confronted with images and ideas that would have left us gaping not 10 years ago. While at the same time, cutting funding for education and legitimate arts. We no longer even exhibit our knowing winks when declaring that america has goals that supersede our lust for money and success. America’s hand-basket journey to the hot place has been on for a long time. Jerry Springer, Roseanne Barr, jackass.
We all know that sex sells, violence sells, shitty fatty food sells. Why? It’s built into us. It’s at the core of our selves. Howard Stern appeals to us at a very base level. He acts in ways that many of us at some level would like to in the absence of other social constraints. There is a certain amount of catharsis to scatological humor. There is a titillating excitement to almost seeing that breast on TV. But when this becomes the norm, when we have to push further and further to achieve the same levels of interest, what does society become?
This is an issue in any society. The constant struggle to battle social entropy. What prevents it? Value. Genuine value. The problem is, that things which are of genuine value to society, often do not sell well. Or certainly not as well as things which appeal to our baser natures.
By exposing people non-stop to stupidity, we ingrain it. Our culture IS TV, Radio, Magazines. Fining Howard Stern won’t fix the problem, TV on delay won’t fix the problem. Bleeping one word in an entire fucked up context won’t keep kids from going wrong. Thinking that these things will solve our issues does nothing more than illustrate the issues themselves. Our solutions to the problems are as fundamentally id based as the problems.
Want to prevent titties on TV? Bring back Futurama, or Farscape, or any number of other shows that are intelligent, funny, thought provoking, or challenging. Drop fucking sensationalistic crap like fear factor, and cops. Report news that actually is news. Spend money on schools and arts. Get people reading again. Supervise your children’s media consumption, and educate them. Simple solutions that take a differnt set of core values: More work, more value, less money.