Monday, March 30, 2009

Are We Being De-sensitised? Are Teen Reality Shows Any Real?

Yesterday, in church, I heard a very good sermon which, somewhat, correctly mirrored what was happening around us. Hope this helps those seeking answers to one of the most vexing challenges of modern life. The speaker a teacher, a head mistress, nothing less, said that we (our children) have been de-sensitized by what is given out in the media – she means the electronic media – television, et al.

We think watching cartoon is harmless but that also desensitizes us to some extent. As for movies, MTV (all the crap like Roadies and Splitsvilla [yes, I have no alternative but to watch the girls screaming rotten cuss words at each other, in addition to, hitting, slapping, kicking, etc.]) these cannot be called harmless to youngsters. Makes me wonder when someone from the moral brigade will take action against these programs. Judging by the viewership of these programs, it’s really difficult for me (someone who grew up in more gentler times when reality was reality not just a show) to imagine why teenagers have to go through such violence and desensitization.

The premises are all wrong. The selection to the program is nothing short of hilarious. Two people (identical twins at that) judge who gets into Roadies. They say they are looking for character, attitude, moral strength, blah, blah, and are merciless when they think all these qualities are absent. A youth who ditched his girlfriend was given the short shrift. Then what do these paragons of virtue go and do? The terms roadie means: "The road crew (or roadies) are the technicians who travel with a band on tour, usually in sleeper buses, and handle every part of the concert." So are they training people to be technicians to pop acts, shows, what? I guess they named the program wrongly. By what goes on in the show they behave as if they are groupies: "A person who seeks intimacy (most often physical, sometimes emotional) with a famous person, usually a rock band member." The shows throws up a few aggressive Alpha Male types and the girls just throw themselves at them, so actually they aren't "roadies" (a pop band's technicians) but "groupies" (crazed fans of the alpha males). People who have read Jackie Collins' novel Rock Star would know these terms.

No they aren’t. They are choosing the virtuous citizens of the future and that too people who can swear, cuss, and hit, punch, kick and scream. Is this the kind of citizenry that India needs. Wake up, people.... We are rearing an impatient generation unable to judge what is good, honest, and scrupulous. Another reality show that got my gall was one that featured the moll of a gangster. I am not against her, but I wonder what sanctity can a reality show that features the moll of a known ganster have? If she needs to prove herself let her reform and demonstrate that she has reformed and is no longer a victim by doing something relevant to society and not a star in a reality show.

So this lady who gave the sermon said: we become so desensitised that we do lose our scruples and when man’s scruples are lost, he doesn’t hesitate to do anything, even kill, commit suicide, or even rape. I guess, today, society is going through a mass breakdown of moral and societal values and that the electronic media is foisting on the younger generation values that we (at least, the thinking feeling sensitive beings) can’t condone.

Fathers rape their own daughters, friends kidnap their own friend when in need of money, children and adults are easily tempted to end it all, commit suicide, teenagers break down and cry if they aren't selected into one of those reality/singing competitions. All this shows a large-scale breakdown in moral values. The Mira Road father who raped his daughter for nine years, and in addition, gifted her to a tantric who told him that he would become rich if he raped his own daughter, the monster of Austria, Josef Fritzl who repeatedly raped his daughter and sired seven children all these are a result, I guess, of desensitisation to the rights and emotional needs of others, who include, quite sadly, their own children.

So I would urge parents, to preserve their own good sense, to disallow their children to watch reality shows that emphasise the baser instinct in human beings. Yes, it will start with my own.


abha said...

Dear John,
I agree with your views completely. The inanity of such shows leaves me spinning. I wonder how people sit through them. Since we are influenced by all that goes around us, yes, these shows should be avoided like anathema. I wonder at the intelligence of those that conceive and put these shows on.

raindanseuse said...

I found this to be an eye-opening take on reality shows like Roadies. I've never really watched the show. My own reality is far too entertaining! :) Speaking of desensitization, I find that these days telling apart good and bad has been reduced to a mere classification of opinions.

Yogesh said...

Times have changed.

Roadies is hugely popular with the teenage and even adults group. The show just seem to be going strong (this is the 6 season of Roadies). It reflects the times we live in.

I wont say the same about Splitsvilla but then people chose to be on them so cannot really blame the makers. They are making the show as they have an audience!!

To think about, one would find that there are really no shows which caters to the needs of the teenage minds. No wonder these shows have a huge impact on them.

John said...

Abha, Sonia, and Yogesh,

I totally agree that the de-sensitisation that is going on with exposure to programs like Roadlies and Splitsvilla could be detrimental to young minds. I also agree with Yogesh that there aren't many teen and youth programs that would cater to the needs of teens and youth who are in the cusp of developing into adults. Therefore these realty shows are a big draw for them, and that's what the channels want.

About the rapes I guess I am on a different track. I think (this is substatiated by many media watchers) that the violence shown on the media has a direct bearing on the behaviour of children. What we see is a reflection of how they think and feel and how hard their hearts and minds have become.

Also violence shown in the media has a direct bearing on the treatment of women and children. This leads to more complicated thoughts and concepts which I would not dare expound here. Maybe, in a later post.

keep coming back and reading my blog. Thanks!