I was listening to NPR yesterday morning on my drive to work and one of the headlines briefly touched upon had to do with professional wrestling – specifically that girls who tended to watch it were more likely to take it seriously and re-enact what they were seeing. Well, that’s what I got from it, but I admit to my brain almost immediately shut down while loudly singing Mary Had a Little Lamb followed by a la-la-la-I’m-not-listening-to-you chorus (if you’re Anna, you cover your eyes and not your ears for this, but that’s an inside joke). It was a defense mechanism to protect my brain from idiotic research produced by people short on mice and desperately in need of a dissertation topic. Later on I was reading MSNBC looking for the latest cheery news about Hezbollah and the headline “Raunchy Song Lyrics Can Prompt Early Teen Sex” leapt out at me instead.
I was reminded of the documentary “Dream Deceivers” that came out in 1992, which told the tale of two Nevada teens who attempted suicide after receiving the subliminal message “do it, do it” from a Judas Priest album. Who knew “it” was really code for “commit suicide” and not “join the Peace Corps”. Armed with that knowledge, I think we should now cast a wary eye towards Nike and their “Just Do It” mass genocide campaign. Doesn’t it make you wonder what exactly it is that your IT department is up to? That’s a capital “IT” in case your naïve eye didn’t catch on. Are these truly harmless, anti-social misfits? HAH! I contend they are modern day technical jihadists who will readily sacrifice you on the altar of indirect answers for a barely noticeable bump in speed to their CPU. Try to overclock that chipper!
About the only thing I’ve even been tempted to do after viewing a movie or hearing a song was to leap off the jungle gym holding an umbrella at the ripe old age of 6. Hey, it worked for Mary Poppins! That was the same day I learned one of my first lessons about physics, wind drag and umbrellas. My parents were able to keep a level head and didn’t seek damages against Disney or Julie Andrews. There was another embarrassing incident involving vitamins, being told I’d be stronger and thinking that I should slam back a couple of those before carrying on with my fist fight. I learned a valuable lesson about which pharmaceuticals won’t help you in those situations of course, later I learned which would.
I guess I’m getting a little tired of these types of headlines. I’m tired of hearing society make excuses for people’s behavior and pointing a nasty finger at the entertainment industry. Sure, I believe that the entertainment industry can have an impact and influence a society socially and politically, but I see it having a broader impact and not singling out troubled teenagers with the message, “y’know, today would be a good day to grab up the family’s shotgun, head down to the park and see what you can do about redecorating the playscape with your gray mater.”
Of course, I’m coming from the viewpoint that Nancy Griffiths “Making Pies” has never inspired me to bake, Iron Chef has never made me want to go to Kitchen Stadium, slap down a turtle and challenge Morimoto, or take the blue pill to see if I can jump up in the air and freeze in place. About the only thing a movie has convinced me of is that bad things live under your bed or in your closet and my next door neighbors are all part of a relocation program, sexual deviates and serial killers. I mean c’mon, what are the chances that 50 people named Julie live in one neighborhood? That’s an exact figure, honest! John Nash helped me arrive at that figure.
I guess I want people to take credit or blame for things – to own up to them if they did them and not say “well, Michael Eisner said I should… not directly… but he implied it Aladdin. Can I have my magic lamp back?”
In the future I’ll hit on my other excuse peeve, the phrase “that’s just the way he is”.