Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Degradation Of American Culture

As I sit here in front of my PC running a Windows operating system designed by Microsoft, I wish I could snap my fingers and turn it into a Mac. This is not so much because I want to be a Mac owner; although my younger brother swears by them and insists that I would love to own one, I like my PC and really don't want to make the investment involved in buying a Mac.

The reason I'd like not to own a PC at this particular moment has to do with Microsoft, and their inconspicuous contribution to the degradation of society in a commercial, as shown later in this post.

We certainly should not expect that we are living in the days of Ward, June, Wally, and the Beav' anymore. For the most part we have come to understand that when used in the proper environment and context, obscenity can be found appropriate and relevant to to the situation at hand. For example, it would be difficult to watch a movie about mobsters without an "f-bomb" being dropped every other sentence, because that is an element of reality when dealing with organized crime. There are, of course, other 'adult' situations in which profane language can be considered acceptable as well.

My concern is the amount of adult material and obscenity that is permeating today's culture at the mainstream level. This is something that can often be extremely obvious and therefore easy for parents to monitor; other times not so much. This commercial falls into the category of the not so much. Because of the nature of today's media, children will pick up on it immediately, and because it involves a product they are very in tune with it will appear to be acceptable.

Kids use computers. In fact, in many households the children are more skilled in the use of computers than are the adults. Kids also are extremely alert and media savvy, therefore when things appear in a rapid-fire fashion it is often easy for adults to overlook them, while children are more likely to catch everything. Kids are also like parrots; they have a tendency to repeat much of what they see and hear. Naturally there are instances when this can be good (Yes Sir, Thank you), but of course other times I'm sure parents wish their children were incapable of retention at any level.

This commercial is one of those instances. Notice how, like in so many commercials today, sounds and images move so quickly that unless you are focused directly on the sights and sounds coming from your speakers and screen, you will hardly be able to tell what it is that is being advertised. However, in the midst of this sensory overload comes a word that I have personally witnessed children using, and I find it nauseating that parents allow their children to speak in this fashion.

"Friggin" is the "clean" translation for another word that describes fornication, amongst other things. Some other uses of the word may indicate pain, irritability, displeasure, and other things that can be described without obscenity. Again: environment and context are everything, and in a commercial describing a computer operating system, there is no place for the use of the word "abso-friggin-lutely."

This is a commercial that I viewed during a football game. Kids watch football, as well as other sports. This commercial may not run on Nickelodeon or Disney Channel but it certainly may run during prime-time, perhaps during an episode of "Dancing With The Stars" or "American Idol," and just like that there are thousands if not millions of little ears hearing "abso-friggin-lutely." And because it is used in a commercial for a product they know and use, the word will instantly be embedded into their vocabulary and be deemed appropriate.


Opus #6 said...

My little 4-y-o walked in as the vid was ending. I'm glad he didn't hear the objectionable part. Do they intend to show this on TV while the kids are awake? I protest! I don't want my kids listening to this.

Janie Lynn said...

With the way I tune out commercials (my kids are grown so I'm not on the look-out like I once was) I never would have heard it. You're right, kids would. There is an entirely different attitude now.

Soloman said...

Opie, I don't know... and while it's not completely "profanity" there are some things that little ones don't need to hear. I don't have kids, but even I have more respect than that, for Heaven's sake..

And FYI - I first saw this commercial today (Sunday) at around 4pm, which is an hour when kids may be gathered around the TV watching football with (or without) their parents, doing homework getting ready for Monday.. they're certainly not in bed at that hour, even on the east coast.

So yes, it seems this will air whenever.

Soloman said...

Janie-Lynn - my point exactly. I actually caught it "out of the corner of my ear" and rewound my DVR for a double take... sure enough.

And like I mentioned to Opus, I don't have kids, so personally I'm not offended, but I tend to think like a parent since I've had a girlfriend who did have kids, aged (at the time) 13 and 10. They popped into my mind the instant I saw this, because they were at that age when they start pushing limits, and they tried this word a couple of times with their mom.

That didn't play so well...

Anonymous said...

It seems that every fuzz-faced ad copy writer secretly wants to be Mario Savio.

Actually I'm just as offended by the idea of Windows 7.

Soloman said...

Nickie, In addition to the ad men, it seems nearly every television show writer also. Anything to be over the top and get noticed...

And yes.. in my opinion they could have stopped at Windows 2000, continued to support that system and made advancements as needed, and left well enough alone.

RightKlik said...

The problem with the sagging standards is that the "push the envelope" types automatically move in to take it to the next level.

I'm glad I have a couple of years to figure out how to handle the media issues with my little one. This is going to be tough.

Soloman said...

RK, you're absolutely right.. there's a place - like on cable after a certain hour - where certain behaviors are more tolerable. Broadcast TV in the middle of a Sunday afternoon, though? Nuh uh..

You're blessed to have your new little one, but I don't envy you with regards to the work you have before you.

Pedaling said...

nothing says, trailer trash, as loud as the casual drop of the f-bomb.

(even worse when done by a woman)
((extra bad when the woman has a tattoo))

i too, probably wouldn't have caught that slang- and should do better on completely deleting my imitation cuss word usage in situations where i am alarmed, hurt or infuriated.
is flippin' bad? i have said frickin' i know that's not classy- my mom called me out on that once....

and since You project smart conservative values, good spelling, articulation in your writing skills-and clarity on the use of proper language...
Are You Single?
just wondering-
i have a few- good looking 30-45 year old lady connections you may be interested in. (or shall i say;
who may be interested in you.)


Amusing Bunni said...

Solomon, I don't think it's cool to have swearing in tv commercials either.

You should get a mac, you would love it.
I got my mac mini in August and it's SO fast, the safari browser. And it doesn't have to be expensive. About $1000 for the mac mini, add another GB of hd, on the $599 model, then get the office upgrade for mac, and one year of in person lessons, which I haven't taken yet, cause it's easy to figure out.

I will NEVER get another pc, they are too slow, and have too many viruses. Once you go never go back ha ha.

Soloman said...


I'll admit to being guilty of using words exactly like what is in this commercial - and worse. It happens.

On the "is it bad" scale.. I don't know what qualifies, that would be your call. IMO, flippin' isn't quite as bad as the others, because at least if a child hears that there is a literal meaning to flippin' that you can use to "explain yourself" with. There is no such thing as "frikin" or "friggin" anything, except for tryig to clean up a word that is worse...

I just know that a Microsoft commercial is not where a kid should hear this kind of thing, which is what led me to post about it.

Soloman said...

Bunni... the next time I chance computers, I may consider a Mac. Either way my money goes to a liberal, so what's the difference, right?

I must say though, at work I use a Dell with a dual processor and a couple gig of DDRAM, and it flies.

The Conservative Lady said...

It seems that every new TV season brings with it more cuss words and sex. They try to see how far they can push the envelope. I suppose the censorship rules relax each year as do the morals of some in our country.
First time I've seen this commercial...that means I'm going to see it all of the time from now on...ugh.

Soloman said...

TCL - I saw it 3 or 4 times that day, but haven't seen it since.

It may depend on what network one watches - I believe I had Fox broadcast (not FNC) on at the time I saw it first, and may have seen it later during the Sunday night Cardinals win.

Fox does show "Family Guy" and all that other Sunday night junk, so that fits right in, and NBC - well... enough said.