Too much garbage is now acceptable

By Jeff Linville -

What the heck is going on in this country?

At some point over the past decade, a lot of questionable behavior has become socially acceptable, and I can’t be the only one who is upset about this.

These actions can be seen both in real life and as depicted in TV and films.

What kind of behavior am I talking about? Foul language, casual drug use, underage drinking, alcohol use in general and complete disrespect.

When I was a kid, I watched a lot of Looney Tunes cartoons. I loved the Chuck Jones features the best.

Some parents complained that Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd were too violent, but none of us ever took a shotgun to school looking for “wabbits.”

When my daughter was preschool age, there was a kids cartoon on TV that a lot of children were watching. I sat down with my kid to try an episode, and I said never again. The kids on the show were very disrespectful to adults and smarted off to everyone. I didn’t want my daughter acting like that.

When she got older, it seemed like standards just got worse and worse.

Seven years ago, I took my then 12-year-old daughter and 7-year-old goddaughter to see “Land of the Lost,” based on a low-budget TV show that was aimed at younger kids.

I was excited to see this movie and didn’t think twice about the what rating the show had. It was PG-13, even though the original TV show was on the verge of G/PG.

There was bad language, some sexual references and the main characters got high.

Same story two years later when we went to see “The Green Hornet,” based on a TV show from the 1960s that featured a young Bruce Lee.

Rather than the PG I expected, the movie was PG-13 — and I thought even that was really pushing it. My daughter was 14, and there was plenty of stuff I still didn’t like her seeing. There was frequent bad language and casual drug use.

There seems to be a rule in Hollywood now that every movie aimed at teens and young adults must have a stoner scene.

How did this become a socially acceptable thing to do?

I grew up in the 1980s when Nancy Reagan was encouraging kids to “just say no.” Sure, the 80s were a time when cocaine use was rampant across the country, but none of us kids knew about that because we were sheltered from it.

Watching reruns of “The Twilight Zone,” I could see Rod Serling smoking a cigarette on air, but in the 1980s, that was frowned upon, and few shows featured smoking.

Now that trend has flip-flopped again so that many shows and movies feature characters smoking.

A coworker once said that he didn’t see what was wrong with cussing in front of kids. “They’re going to hear it one day anyways,” he argued.

In child psychology classes we learned that kids struggle emotionally when they hang out with the wrong age groups. Girls who develop early might look like a high school junior in the eighth grade, but they aren’t mentally and emotionally ready for the experiences of teens that old.

These kids, as well as those who spend a lot of time around older siblings, are more likely to try underage smoking and drinking and losing their virginity.

The younger we expose kids to ideas like bad language, drinking, smoking, drug use and sex, the more likely they are to experiment.

We are supposed to set good examples for our kids.

Instead, we have parents who think that getting drunk on wine is perfectly acceptable — but would shake their head at a person drunk on liquor.

The city closed down a section of Main Street so people could drink wine and celebrate their choice of alcohol.

In the past few years, we have had some prominent high school athletes suspended from sports because they were caught drinking. Where do they learn this behavior? From adults and from the steady stream of beer commercials on TV.

Of course I wonder if parents would be as upset if the boys had been drinking wine instead of beer. I have heard of parents who think it is okay to let their children have a little wine with meals.

We have parents who won’t get their children important vaccinations because of fears that the medicine could harm the kids, and then we have parents giving their little ones alcohol because it is acceptable in the form of wine.

Many adults complain about “the state of kids today.” What should be drawing more of our focus is what society (and possibly us ourselves) is doing to taint their upbringing.

By Jeff Linville

Jeff is the associate editor and can be reached at 415-4692.

Jeff is the associate editor and can be reached at 415-4692.

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