Humility. Intelligence. Class. Honor. Integrity. Generosity. Kindness. Leadership. These were once the valuable qualities and attributes that we once looked for in our professional athletes, “A Class” actors/entertainers, and celebrity-media personalities (i.e. talk show hosts from television and radio, established journalists, etc.) Over the years our refined tastes buds and appetite for amusement has preferred the less restrictive diet of morals, values, class, charm, etiquette, and mannerisms, for instead, “keeping it real”, drama, “freedom of speech/expression”, attitude, arrogance, and reputation for being daring/bold in the face of authority. It is sad and unfortunate that, “We (i.e. the select few to whom it applies)… The Hoodwinked Hypocrites of the United States of America”, have an unfulfilling appetite for such favorable qualities to gorge with enjoyment, yet we do not want our children to ever devour with indulgence such behaviors with delight (and then make requests, demands for more to share with friends).
Thanksgiving has indeed arrived early this year. It must have, judging by the size of the table spread, buffet style, that we were able to feast upon since February. During Super Bowl XLVI, Eli Manning’s New York Giants defeated (once again) Tom Brady’s New England Patriots in a convincing fashion.Unfortunately, defeat also follows family, friends, and supporters of the ones missing out on victory celebrations. Both during and after the game, Tom Brady’s wife Gisele Bundchen was heckled furiously by fans that chanted, “Manning owns your husband.” Obviously this would bother anyone. So, it should not come to anyone’s surprise that these unnecessary remarks by fans would set off a time bomb set to destruct. “My husband cannot (expletive) throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time” (i.e. referring to the many dropped passes by the Patriots wide receivers). These were the words that she (unfortunately) let out after the game in what was supposed to be a private area. She was doing what any wife, good or bad, would do. She was defending her man, her husband, her son’s father, her quarterback in and outside the home. She did not expect to have her frustration being recorded by someone via smartphone. Nor did she expect that it would be uploaded within minutes and go viral. Gisele took much deserved/undeserved heat for her comments. However, what was even more disrespectful were the comments made by New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs a day or two later. “She should stay cute and shut-up”, he told reporters when asked his opinion about the situation. There are indeed lines that journalists probably should not cross, but this time I’m not sure that was the case during this interview. The members of the media asked a (somewhat) relevant question about unflattering comments made by the spouse of the team leader, the captain of the squad your team defeated in a championship game. Jacobs had full knowledge of the situation and possible consequences/repercussions involved when addressing those comments to the media. It definitely showed a lack of class to demean another man’s wife in a public forum. Even if it were done privately amongst your peers with whom you trust, it should/could be done in a more tasteful, tactful manner that does not cross the boundaries of insanely insensitive, ridiculously stupid, or immense ignorance. Moreover, “some things are best left kept unsaid”. A wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a companion. That’s what this woman is to someone dear to them. Let those individuals within her inner circle of success address the problems/comments she made. Even after Jacobs apologized, he still insisted on backing parts of his original comment about her beauty. “No question, he (Brady) should take that as a compliment. If he finds something wrong with that, then that’s his problem.” If Barry Sanders is looking for a job, I’m sure there will be tons of clients knocking down his door if he ever decided to become a life coach.
Another side dish (or “class act”) whose performance was less than appetizing was European sensation M.I.A. Her onstage performance left many viewers stunned as she put up her middle finger to a group in the crowd that did not find her flattering or entrancing. Given that her method of responding to the would-be hecklers was similar to Bundchen’s, in that it was in defense of one’s ego, pride, or honor, there is a slight edge towards an indifference in the reasoning, acceptance, and motivation behind what M.I.A. thought would be tolerated. Swearing is very common in the US and abroad. No matter what age, race, or gender, it is a norm that can be expected in some societies and cultures. Many adults may argue that children should not swear, but many children may argue that adults set the standards of how children should live their lives as adults. “Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t work when a child’s rationale works against the adult that taught them morals and values, right from wrong. It especially doesn’t help when there are quite a few entertainers, in music, film, and television, that only encourage and reinforce the language and attitudes of adulthood. WWE’s Stone Cold Steve Austin made millions and helped the brand re-establish itself as the empire of professional wrestling. When he used the “salute” as his patent trademark to let his “true” feelings be known about owner Vince McMahon and the WWE, without question almost all of America loved his rebellious attitude (and the means/method of which he went about expressing it). While many would like to argue that he was within his constitutional right of “freedom of speech”, many of those who had no problem with this forgot that WWE stands for World Wrestling Entertainment. This company is/was (somewhat) designed for providing entertainment for a variety of audiences including families. In the eighties and early nineties, then WWF, sports entertainment was a regular Ringling Bros., Barnum and Bailey Circus that was in your home every weekend. Remember the days where it was good guy versus bad guy? How can anyone forget such classic, colorful characters like Hulk Hogan, Junkyard Dog, The Ultimate Warrior, The Hart Foundation, The British Bulldogs, The Rockers, Randy “Macho Man” Savage, Koko B. Ware, etc.? Did they need to swear in their promos and matches to appeal to adults and children watching? Indeed the WWE has moved on for much greener pastures, and established the “Attitude” era where we met Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Degeneration X, Chris Jericho, etc.
These acts brought about a raw edge to the brand, the organization, sports entertainment that reflected the true raw feelings of everyday people. The only problem was that children were less of a factor in the equation for building success and surpassing their competitors. To focus solely on individuality and “attitude” left many families either jumping ship, or staying with the evolution of presenting everyday real life adulthood and adult personalities, good or bad, directly into a child’s world. While the Super Bowl is supposed to be presentable for all families of America, it mostly appeals to single males between the ages of 18-35. Constant beer and car ads are proof of that. When children see this, and M.I.A. is a product of that, it is difficult to totally condemn her actions when they have been acceptable for the past fifteen years.
And now, we finally finish off our traditional meal with desert. What is a better way to compliment a fine feast? Our appetite for the most delightfully pleasing pastries that accompany the best of meals has grown. They’ve grown so much so, every bakery is now cashing in. When we speak of bakeries, naturally we are referring to television studios and networks. They serve up the most delightful dishes after the children are tucked away for the night. And, it may very well be a good thing that they are nestled comfortably in their warm beds, otherwise we’d still be recovering and explaining the verbal assault by the speaking with “The One” finger that was ultimately set off by M.I.A. In order for television networks to compete for their fair share of today’s overwhelming competitive market with other channels/networks, we’ve seen the transformation from clever and innovative entertainment to, “rawlistically” raunchy and provocative skits packaged into one hour’s worth of border line amusement. The best way to cash in on these shows is of course to top one another, and what better way to gain a competitive edge than to begin with the title? Though you cannot judge a book by its title/cover, the manner in which you can predict the theme is indeed credible when looking at today’s titles of television shows. “Wife Swap” and “Desperate Housewives” were clever titles that dropped clues and still (somewhat) came across to the American viewers as pretty descent. These shows were popular, and did not really cross lines that were not already crossed between what the audience may think, say, or act upon with (or without) reservations. That of course was 2004. Today we have “Sh*t My Dad Says” (or #$%& My Dad Says), “GCB” (better known as Good Christian B***hes or Good Christian Belles), and “Don’t Trust The B**ch in Apartment 23 (or soon to be changed to Don’t Trust The B—- In Apartment 23). Oh well, so much for that talk with the kids about how bad swearing is, and how inappropriate it would be for an adult to use it casually. Also, don’t bank on the titles being tucked out of sight. They’ve already made their way into your child’s life by way of public transportation ads. That is of course assuming that your child travels to school by way of public transportation. It shouldn’t be hard for a child to pick up on the missing letters and/or abbreviations either. After all, this is the age of social media and texting. Just when we started getting used to WT* or LM*O. Things have most certainly changed.
Someone once told me that “Television does one of two things. It (either) introduces something (from/for a particular group) that is about to become accepted (as a norm) in society, or further promotes and encourages something that already has been accepted”. While being accepted is very much desirable, it is the feelings that come with adornment, admiration, and overwhelming popularity that are far much greater. Selling one’s soul for mass appeal is a far more dangerous transaction than anything that Bank of America could ever persuade anyone into. And, these are the things that mislead so many young adults and children. While these types of attitudes, behaviors, and speech are reflected/injected in our society, they do not need the reinforcement from television, film, and music to commemorate or commend. If art is supposed to imitate life, then perhaps we should strive for change from imitating art that we ultimately create. We have moved so far past honorable and distinguishable acts (i.e. humility, honesty, kindness, generosity, etc) that we only remember to wear/display them as mere accessories, such as Prada cuff links, Prada”reading glasses”, Cartier watch, and $275 Gucci pocket square to compliment the $350 Gucci tie, when we stand before the judge, jury, and prosecution. Yet, we still have problems understanding why our youth act the way they do. Remember, children will accept and follow the standards when adults (themselves) set and live by them.
This is may not be the best solution for all individuals in different walks of life, but it is amongst the best solutions for individuals in all walks of everyday real life.
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