Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Media Fire, Today's Men, and My Outlook


We rarely see the media fire that happened after the VMA's this year, with Miley Cyrus becoming some form of caged animal, and the many things that circulate around that. I have seen many articles that have lashed out at Miley's actions, which were out of control and atrocious- but only a few that have pointed at people like Robin Thicke- who are most likely to blame in this particular instance.

I just wanted to weigh in here, because I feel like I owe it to my children to at least have taken a stand. Here is my stand:

For years music has taken an artistic downturn. It's now becoming remixes of old time songs that are about fornication, lust, sexuality, homosexuality, clubbing, drinking, stripping, partying, drugs, or absolutely nothing. While I am not so naive as to claim that music has always been uplifting, or to beg for the olden days, I do pine for some form of quality in what we are producing in today's day and age.

Rap music is the bane of culture. It speaks often of the above mentioned categories, and objectifies women, often referring to them as "bitch", and many other degrading names that should never be sent towards a woman. The "unculture" that is cultivated by rap music (and its affiliated genres), I believe, has a strong trickle-over effect into the lives we see being lived today.

Somewhat related, we can look at how many years ago, a husband and wife weren't even allowed to be shown in the same bed on television. Now, almost every channel shows what is meant to be held in the highest regard as the highest form of love. Now it is used widely for entertainment- sexual intercourse has become as common as breathing in many instances. Youth use it to "experiment", and "explore"; affairs are rampant, and there seems to be no stop to this.

I am a religious person. I believe in God, and also his commandments which have been passed down from what I see to be the beginning of man until now. You may, or may not disagree. While I respect your opinion, I would like to point out why I think, regardless of it being a firm part of my belief, why our generation needs to push the stops back in, and calm down in not only our sexual activity (and I say our only because I am in the generation), but also in our media intake.

Reason #1 - The Children

Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a beautiful illustration of how important the basic needs for not just ourselves, but our children's especially. It shows the core of human development, and is often referenced in psychological profile studies throughout the world. Here is an illustration and a simplistic explanation of the theory:
To reach the next tier, one must feel they have, or have fulfilled the previous section

One of the largest and more prominent arguments in academia, is that the feeling of love and belonging is difficult to achieve in a split parent home. When parents split time with their children they tend to compete for who is the "better" parent. This causes a fixed feeling of contention, and can often result in the children being unable to feel the love their parents have for them because they are so focused on the parent they are with- and the comments made about how the other isn't doing x, y, or z.

How does this fit in to the mass media issue I have presented? Simple. In an article in the Huff Post, Vicki Larson explores the issue of pornography in marriage, and how it can effect both spouses. She then shows a statistic that pornography was an issue in 56% of marriages (a statistic from the family research council). While that number is most likely facing a 5% error, that still leaves it above 50%, which is staggering. 50%+ of all marriages end in divorce in the United States (and that number is climbing), If 50% of those marriages is a pornography issue, that is a stunning number.

And even if a man were trying to quit watching porn, how could he even attempt to begin with all the reminders sitting in the quiet corners of everything we do. Music, television, radio, internet, email, even phone advertising. Psychologists talk about trying to reset your life to avoid the activity, or representation of the activity you're addicted to- it's in the seven step program we taught while I served my mission in Houston, Texas. Any addiction is hard to steer away from. Cigarettes, Alcohol, etc. But when this is around you every day staring you in the face- it would be extremely difficult not to dwell on it, and be sucked in to it.

If everything we do talks about sex. If everything we see shows sex. That's the ultimate goal of life- that is the thing that everybody is now aiming for- striving for. Our children become caught in the crossfire. How many families are broken because of premarital childbirth? How are those children going to feel when they find out? That's not a slap at single parents at all! But wouldn't it be so much easier to have two parents that can help raise a child from two points of view- with twice the manpower, and twice the energy? I feel as though that would be an important part of any child rearing. Family support is great, but there is a real bond between a whole family.

Reason #2 - Lower Risk

A study was done on 522 African American girls aged 14-18 in lower socio-economic neighborhoods. While this particular study isn't incredibly bulky in its participants, I would submit that the findings would be similar anywhere we were to look. For the article containing this study, click here. The study looked at their rap music to at-risk ratio, here's the results:

  • Three times more likely to hit a teacher
  • Over 2.5 times more likely to get arrested
  • Twice as likely to have multiple sexual partners
  • 1.5 times more likely to get a sexually transmitted disease, use drugs, or drink alcohol.

What we fill our minds with really does have an effect on our actions. If I spend all day thinking about doing drugs, I most likely will not do it. However, when I here someone else talk about it, and then continue to repeatedly hear it during the day; and then also begin to consider it in context with what I'm hearing, I am more likely to spend my day searching out the behaviors I condone by accepting them in my listening.

Rap music references sex, drugs, drinking, jail, and other high risk behavior in 72% of it's published "music" (if you can call it that). The music videos also tend to be very graphic, and can heighten the risk for youth that are watching it. For those of you Darwinists out there, that would be "monkey see, monkey do".

Reason #3 - Sexually Transmitted Infections/Diseases

HIV is often spoken of, and is a dreadful infection that can occur from sexual activity with a partner that already is infected. Because of the recent rampancy of sexual activity, HIV is continuing to boom. The World Health Organization presents this data:

Results of people living with HIV per year increases every year except 2009. 2009's death toll of people living with HIV was the highest on record.

HIV has continued to ravage the population of the world over the last 4 years as well, with death tolls reaching staggering rates, especially in well populated first world countries. The rates for all infections are continuing to increase, with approximately 1/4 of the population of the United States suffering from Herpes.

I'm not going to sit here and harp on sexual activity. My religious belief is that we should keep this sacred part of our lives sacred until marriage, and hold to that marriage forever. For those of you that don't, fine- but it is a fact that 80% of club-goers are looking to "get laid" when they go to the club, and even a higher rate (couldn't get a number) of young adults 18-24 use internet sex sites with paid subscriptions to find "lonely" partners to hook up with 4-5 times per week. This casual response to sexual activity (outside of my afore-mentioned spiritual realm) is unnecessary- instant gratification, as offered by the PEW foundation, often results in higher levels of anxiety in young adults, but also lowers their IQ and problem solving capabilities by 50%. Young adults who are able to wait for things, save for things, and focus analytically on any given problem, without oft being gratified in the instant have more meaningful relationships, careers, families, and are able to feel more efficacious about their role in society and the workplace. This constant pandering causes far too much damage, and not enough good.

My final thoughts are this. A phrase that I hear yanked around often in today's day and age is "YOLO", meaning of course that "You only live once". While that is a lovely sentiment, and surely what is oft accepted to be true- the world doesn't need YOLOers. The world has many future generations to come- our grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and all of their children. If this world is to continue to adopt "YOLO" as it's anthem, people like Hitler, Sadaam Hussein, Fidel Castro- those who tear freedom out of the throats of those they are around, they will rise and drag this world down. If George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and all of the other founding fathers had drunk and clubbed their lives away, and sent their problems down to the next generations, the United States may very well still be an addendum to Great Britain. If Martin Luther King had started rapping obscenities, and accepting the fate that fell on him and his people because of overconfident pricks that felt like skin color meant anything, he simply would have proved them right. Instead, these men realize there was change to be had, and took out to do it.

All I am saying is this. Young people. WAKE THE HELL UP! It's time to stop partying every night, getting high, and surfing facebook all day. It's time to turn of the xbox (talking to me mostly), the computer, and get out into the world, find what needs changing and change it. Stop whining on facebook. Stop telling us what you're doing on twitter- find people. Find interests. Work for what you want. Stop frivolously pittering around with your lives, and let's find a common goal to advance for. Let's not only live once, but make a mark on society that helps us become immortal for the things we were able to do. We have so much power at our fingertips- but we waste it away on things that can never do anyone any good! Let us stand up, become men and women and not simply usernames and hashtags! This is my plea, and I beg for you all to join me in this endeavour. I'll see you making your differences. Thank you.

-Bracken Funk

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