Attempting to battle the empire in the culture wars

I was reading NVB the other day, and he talked about a conservative assault on liberal culture as being the 'culture wars'. I don't agree with NVB's assessment of "culture wars" as having more sinister orwellian overtones as a byproduct of the efforts of conservatives.

It got me thinking more about the cutural wars raging across the country. We read about them from time to time - crucufixes submerged in urine as art, Janet Jackson on the superbowl. Anything involving Paris Hilton.

NVB was probably referring to liberalism versus conservatism on a national scale, but as a red state Republican the "culture war" is much more personal to me.

I'm not in favor of out and out banning things because I don't want to hear it or see it, because to me, it's not republican. To me, my party stands for freedom and less government involvement in my life. But the 'culture wars' tend to bring a factor into it that give things a twist.

I want the freedom to read books and magazines if I so choose. I frankly enjoy the heck out of South Park, the Surreal Life and other examples of ribald humor. But the freedom for a legal adult to enjoy something if they choose also implies a freedom to not have to be exposed to Janet Jackson's breast during the superbowl if that's one's desire.

The culture wars are the result of two sides trying to find a balance between what is acceptable content for the masses and what infringes upon our freedom to not see certain materials. More importantly, the infringement upon my right as a parent to determine what my child is exposed to is what drives my opposition more than anything. And I'm pretty sure that's the motivation for most people (on either side of the aisle) who rail on about this stuff.

Unfortunately, it seems to me that the other side in the culture wars advocates an uninterrupted assault on my ability to act as a parent and mentor. It is a constant drumbeat of pornographic images and themes of a mature nature inflicted upon my progeny without my permission. It's holding forth people practicing materialism, hedonism, irresponsibility and illegality as role models to be emulated to a segment of our society that lacks the tools to effectively know that what these people practice is a bad thing.

I can't refer to it as an "assault on the family", because it's not an assault on the entire family. The parents, dogs, and cats are ignored. It's directed at children.

Marketing executives have looked at children closely for about a decade now - not with an altruistic motive in mind, but purely with an economic motive. They don't have cars, or bills, etc. But they often have disposable income from allowances, after school jobs, babysitting etc.

And as parenting skills have either waned or been replaced with "I don't want to be your parent, I want to be your friend," those marketing efforts have had better market penetration to teens and tweens - thier ideal target market.

Back when I was a kid, the worst thing of a sexual nature you might see is a discarded playboy magazine in all it's airbrushed glory (And it was pretty embarrasing to explain to your mother where you got it). Now, we have Girls Gone Wild commercials on regular television advertising the GGW videos, which are nothing less than hardcore porn. Yes, amidst all the flashing for beads are several scenes of hardcore porn.

And speaking of porn, we're faced with an internet that nobody can keep up with in terms of new and seriously deviant sexual practices. All accessible to children in their e-mail boxes. It's not that they want it - it's just blasted out on a random and undiscriminating basis.

So, liberal culture warriors on the opposite side; if you want my side to back off of the culture wars, stop marketing to my kids. Until then, I'm going to dig in my heels and be a parent. Most everything on MTV will not be allowed in my house, and the kids will be sent from the room when something comes on TV with regards to Britney Spears or Paris Hilton.

Unless I want to expressly view such materials - until I can turn on the TV without being exposed to Girls Gone Wild commercials, or use the internet without being e-mailed about hot singles in my area, then the culture wars are going to continue to rage unabated.

Another note on NVB - good post on writing.

I wish I had him as a writing coach, because I'm pretty self critical when it comes to my writing skills. I'm constantly misspelling their (or is it thier - thank god for spell check) and sometimes my grammar leaves much to be desired. I would like to hone my skills, and starting this blog was one reason.

I've had people tell me they like my writing. And that's ok for my ego. I've had people tell me they don't care for my writing style, and I beat myself up about it. Who knows. Either I'm nominally above medocrity, or I just plain suck.

So, I blog on. Practice makes perfect. Or it's just going to reinforce bad habits.


David Newquist said…
You make a point that everyone who has tracked people becoming competent and effective writers knows. It is best illustrated by an ancient story about the hipster sauntering down a street in Manhattan, instrument case in hand. Some tourists approach him and ask how to get to Carnegie Hall. He replies, "Practice, mother, practice."

When the Dakota Writing Project was in full operation in South Dakota, that rule was confirmed. While teachers may have techniques that elicit great writing performance from students, the biggest factor is keeping them writing. When computers entered the picture, they contributed to writing skills because they made it possible for students to write during every class session and get responses.

Those of us who have written for our livings know also how the trumpet players' rule applies to writing. If I miss a day of practice, says the trumpet player, I know it. If I miss two days, my fellow musicians know it. If I miss three days, the whole damned world knows it.

So just keep blowin', baby.

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