If you approach a huge percentage of the American population and say, “Bush lied to the American people on weapons of mass destruction”, the most likely response will be, “So….” Then, the comeback will be “Clinton lied…” Or you might hear, “everybody lies”.
If you ask someone how they feel about the prosecution of Martha Stewart for insider trading, they very well might say, “so what!” If you mention the falsification of news reports by Jason Blair, people say, “it’s not that big a deal”.
The only people that become incensed over misconduct are the people who are directly affected in a negative financial way. If some little old lady loses her life savings in a scam, she gets very angry and demands the authorities do something. But if someone else gets scammed, it is just business as usual.
The prime exception are cases of great sentimental concern. If a photogenic, pregnant white lady is murdered by a devious husband, and her body dumped in the bay, the outrage and news coverage is unceasing. If a woman of color is beaten to death by a drug-crazed boyfriend fresh out of prison, the story is on page 27, if it occurs at all.
America’s young girls overwhelming choice of music is telling. The proven route to success in music is for young women to wear provocative clothing with lots of bare skin or otherwise revealing fabric, gyrate in sexually suggestive movements to a pulsating bass beat, and then sing about not getting enough attention from the boy whose “respect” you crave.
Even serious movie stars find that their roles call for sexual innuendo in ways that are totally unnecessary for the movie concepts. In a recent movie, actress Jodie Foster, who is highly talented and has no need to resort to gimmicks to effectively portray her movie roles, continuously wore low-cut blouses that revealed breast cleavage — surely not because of her own desire to do so, but because the movie director knew that gratuitous sexual innuendo would increase the appeal of the movie to the American public.
American popular culture is saturated with gratuitous sex. Beer commercials feature semi-nude women wrestling in mud. If sex is not used to sell something, then violence or greed does. Casinos are opening up in California and elsewhere at unprecedented rates. People who have no money for self-education find money to go gambling or purchase lottery tickets, hoping for the big score. The “czar of American morality”, William Bennett, who had plenty of criticism for the sexual addictions of Bill Clinton, finally is forced to admit that he is addicted to gambling. After first claiming that gambling addiction is not a moral issue, Bennett quickly decides (for public relations purposes) that he needs to give up gambling altogether.
Attempts to regulate content of television or radio programming are met with outrage. A rating system for music provokes far more negative reaction than song lyrics that glorify violence, degrade women, or promote amoral behavior.
It seems as if America has gone beyond amoral, and has now come to a status of popular culture in which anti-morality is the order of the day. Anti-morality is “cool”. It is certainly profitable. It drives government policies in many ways. To promote morality itself is now considered outrageous and provocative.
Just ask Jerry Springer.
The writer is a member of several falconry and ornithological clubs and organizations. He contributed above article to Media Monitors Network (MMN) from California, USA.