Images Can Impact Reality
The media has it in for kids to judge by the avalanche of unfiltered images they are spreading over every medium. For many long years I have heard Industry professionals say that they are only doing their jobs when they disseminate these images, most without critical comment. In Show Business the most damaging images and dramatic sequences are produced using children with the defense that "This is Art, not Reality," or alternately, "We are only reflecting real Life."
This ranges from the tame ‘tempest in a teapot’ we just experienced with the two year-old on "Modern Family" dropping the F-bomb (but not really, of course)…to the overt sexualization of tabloid marketers pushing photos of Miley attacking a penis-shaped birthday cake to the new perfume being hawked by Dakota Fanning.
Into this ocean of imagery we must find some kind of contextual relationship to the ‘hard-news’ of the day; the multiple arrests of pedophiles tightly bound to the Entertainment Industry, the recent arrest of a schoolteacher who took deeply disturbing photos of his 3rd grade wards, to the death of a 9 year-old who, suffering from cancer, was bullied into her grave…not to mention the 3-to-5 children who are murdered every day by a close family member in this country, or the tens of thousands of kids who simply go missing every year.
The real and the pretend have gotten all mixed up in our media-saturated Society.
Discernment is not a trait generally applied to young people, especially those who have not yet arrived at puberty, yet these are the very targets of much of today’s advertising and marketing. On the heels of "Toddlers & Tiaras" we suddenly discover that push-up bras and bikinis are being shoved into the marketplace. Like it or not, these "dots" are connected in space and time.
Madonna is going to be the half-time attraction at the Super Bowl. In my mind I keep hearing her explaining, in her early 40’s, why "I never let my own kids see what I was doing in my 20’s." Who would know better than Madonna the impact of ill-considered imagery that never went away?
"Then why," I want to shout, "did you show it all to MY kids?"