I understand the freedom of speech thing and certainly agree to it’s demands and expectations. But doesn’t that freedom also come with the need to utilize some kind of filter as well? Is this where our ethics and morals come into play? That filter would include those life lessons we learned as kids growing up. Those, hopefully, were the ones we were taught by our parents and grandparents. Do we need to check them more often to see if they still fit with our present view of the world we live in? Should we check our ‘rules for living’ more often to be sure that they are still relevant, respectful of others and yet satisfy our need to be free to speak our minds.
Recently, a punchline from the upcoming crossover show featuring ‘The Simpsons and The Family Guy’ made reference to one of the characters’ sister being raped. It was delivered in the context of a comedy show and, I guess, was meant to be funny in some way. It seems when statements like this are made they are often seen as ‘satirical’ and therefore are rendered acceptable and no one has to account for the fallout or the lack of class with which they were initially delivered. Such is the case, it seems, with Seth MacFarlanes’joke’. But this example is indicative of how bored and boring we have become that we need to try to humorize a tragic event in someone’s life and portray it as funny. It’s not just this classless example, however, but where we are going as a society in general. It demonstrates how our ethical or moral compasses have been dramatically affected and that appears to be OK. Some even dare to call it progress or evolution of the species. The most disturbing thing is that our kids are so ready to idolize those who are ‘outside the box’.
In the past comics of the day were able to take a situation and through creativity and imagination paint a mental image for us that that we could laugh at. They were masters of body language and facial expressions. They understood that timing was everything. Today comics really only need to know how to use foul language and a bit of slapstick and away they go. Somehow the words ‘f—‘; ‘motherf—–‘; ‘cock——‘ have become funny and it seems that the more a ‘comedian or comedienne’ uses these words the funnier they think they will be. Listen to kids on the street or in a public place and you will hear how important these’heroes’ have become-how much influence they hold. Our kids are listening and learning from these pillars of the community.
On a another stage how ethical is it for politicians to create a double standard for accountability demonstrating it is OK to steal from taxpayers with little or no blow back but if it were you or I who did something illegal we would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law in a heart beat. How ethical is it for a government department to withhold or claw back benefits to our soldiers and their families and at the same time award huge bonuses to the managers in those departments for doing a job that they get paid to do in the first place. The problem with ethics is that most folks want you to live by them but they often struggle when called upon to follow the same rules. There always seems to be an exception or a rationalization in there somewhere.
So what does all this mean? We,as parents, are expected to raise our children with a sense of respect and acceptance of others and their pursuit of the same standards we hold so dear. Freedom of speech is one of those rites. I get that. But what I don’t get is how that can morph into mocking others and trivializing certain behavior by saying “oh that’s just the way he/she is” and have it be alright. When is it OK to ignore certain ethical standards we expect others to live by? When is it OK to rationalize a response to questionable behavior? How do we teach our children to be ethical and what that means? If it’s OK to satirize or disparage or minimize certain groups of people then what do our kids learn from us about treating other groups of people? Is it OK to cheat or steal from others who have more than we do? On it goes. Getting back to Seth MacFarlane and the ugly reference he made. Regardless of what he was trying to say or do it’s was not OK and it’s a much bigger deal than just a lapse in good taste and judgement. It happens far too often. We need to step up and say enough is enough. We need to make sure that our kids are getting the right messages and that it isn’t cool to be someone who would try to get a laugh at anyone elses’ expense. How do we help our children formulate and maintain their ‘rules for living?’
Is it possible to make the right choice but the wrong decision? Yes it is. The decision to have our children begin to hear a different message than the one being offered by the shameless politicians, greedy corporations and those who have no moral compass is the right choice. Long overdue actually. We need to become our children’s teachers again. We need to educate them regarding the value of ethics and moral standards of behavior and how they can benefit from that. To do that WE need to begin to ‘live’ our lessons-to mentor and to lead by example.
We do need to “change the world” when it comes to how we choose to live our lives and how we treat others that we share this world with.
It is the wrong decision to do this if our kids don’t want to buy in and we force our decisions on them regardless how they feel. Yes it is. Force vs. Education. Isn’t that taking away their right to free speech?
Anyways, that’s how I see it–JIm
I welcome your opinion pro or con. Please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by commenting on the WordPress site. YOu can also contact me by going to me web site: jamescloughley.com