In recent years, I’ve thought more and more about what I will do when I am a father. I have started to look at events through the lens of a parent and how I would react. I look at others’ parenting style and either agree or criticize based on the ease of being an armchair quarterback – Judging is truly America’s Favorite Pastime; yes, with a capital J. My wife and I had been expecting until we had to deal with the unfortunately tragedy of delivering our baby boy stillborn. I learned more from two weeks in December than I have my entire life. It was surreal and devastating. However, we learned just how badly we want to start a family together and that has made these types of discussions all the more prevalent in everyday conversation.
One of the most common conversations I’ve had with my wife focuses on the issue of “protection”. When should they watch Star Wars? How long should they be punished for swearing? When do they get to watch a PG-13 movie? Those types of topics. These conversation usually come up because of something another parent did. Now, maybe it’s because I’m a guy, but I usually fall into the category of “If-it’s-not-going-to-scar-them-then-let-kids-be-kids” mentality. I’d rather have them see a love scene for the first time with me, so that I can explain it — rather than on YouTube with their best friend.
However, no rule is absolute. Or at least, no rule should be absolute. People who are absolute are usually idiots.
I had the pleasure of having some lazy time this weekend and I went back to my roots. And by roots, I mean video games. I popped in a copy of “Band Hero” which is the Guitar Hero series haphazard attempt to steal some of the Rock Band thunder. Nothing like a good rivalry, right? Well, one of the songs you can play is an absolute guilty pleasure of mine and one of my favorite songs of all-time: “American Pie” by Don McLean. It’s just as fun to play as it is to listen to. As I was belting out the lyrics, something sounded weird, and toward the end of the song I decided to stop singing so I could try and figure it out.
It didn’t take me long to figure it out: A lyric was being censored.
Now, this isn’t Metallica, Disturbed, or even Linkin Park…all bands that have censored songs in these games. This is motherfuckin’ Don McLean. I’m talking about motherfuckin’ “American Pie”.
Well, if you are a level-headed person, you probably can’t figure out what the fuck could be censored in this song. Let’s recap the chorus:
“So bye-bye, Miss American Pie,
Drove my Chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
And them good ol’ boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye,
Singin’, “this’ll be the day that I die.
“this’ll be the day that I die.”
Again, as a rational human being, I am sure it is still escaping you. Because for a moment I was praying that my Xbox 360 was busted…not that we as a society had went batfuck crazy.
No, to protect our lovely, innocent children, Activision censored to lyric to “And them good ol’ boys were drinkin’ ________ and rye…” Seriously. I can’t make that up. The only thing that would’ve made it worse would have been Aly & AJ dubbed over the track singing “Kool-Aid!” Yeah, you got an Aly & AJ reference. Fuckin’ deal with it. There is another popular game I play that censored the word “die” in a song by Disturbed; which, while I still find fuckin’ absurd, at least can have an argument somewhere near reality. Plus, Disturbed is pretty disturbing…and while I’m a huge fan of their music, I’m surprised how often I find them in my video game soundtracks.
Unfortunately, I was not able to let this fire burn off in my head. It sat and smoldered until it caught fire on another little wrath of mine. A little motherfuckin’ porn show on network TV; you’ve probably heard of it, it’s on FOX, they call it “Glee“.
While the content of the show is grossly inappropriate, so is most everything on HBO — but that is programming for adults. This show is being marketed to one demographic and one demographic only: teens and pre-teens. And for reasons that truly escape me, parents are not owning up to their duty as, um, PARENTS and censoring grossly inappropriate content.
There is no gray area here, this show is that bad. It would be inappropriate for a senior in high school; but kids throughout all ages of high school are tuning in and eating up the songs online. It does stop there, the shows popularity is peaking with junior high students; who should not even have begun broaching a majority of these topics. At what point does parental responsibility get questioned?
I’m not going to list everything in this show, but it has: promotion of homosexual torment, homosexual innuendo, crude sexual references, simulated sexual grinding and explicit sexual dancing, graphic sexual exchanges between teens, mockery of chastity, promotion of unrestricted sexual expression, mockery of safe sex or any use of contraception by teenagers, the promotion of infidelity, the promotion of teenage pregnancy, a storyline about a woman pretending to be pregnant to satisfy her husband, teenage love triangles, the entire Britney Spears episode (which was not suitable for anyone under 21), multiple lesbian love scenes, promotion of high school bullying…I could seriously go on and on and on.
But it’s hearing the word “Whiskey” that going to destroy our youth.
The double standard here is so destructive. This show wouldn’t be so horrific for our kids if at any point in any of the shows, they taught a fuckin’ lesson. But when you clearly market the show to preteens, and you give them no message except glorifying every single character, you are implicitly teaching every kid that watches the program a lesson. A bad one.
This fuckin’ infuriates me to a point even I rarely get. This show had a teenager get pregnant (one strike), not by her boyfriend (two strikes) but by his best friend (three strikes). She lied to him (next at-bat, one strike) that she got pregnant when she jerked him off in the hot tub and, I guess, the miraculous sperm swam into her ovaries (this gets a second strike for…I don’t know, bad writing, gullibility, ridiculousness…it just does). Why did she have to lie to him? Oh, because she is the President of the Abstinence Club (strike three). So she wasn’t having sex with her boyfriend.Wait…there’s more. Her boyfriend was a clean-cut nice guy, she got knocked up by the bad boy best friend (third at-bat, strike one — because that’s a lesson to teenage girls everywhere, it’s just that most parents are too stupid to pick it up). In comes wife who is lying to husband about even being pregnant (strike two) and she strikes a deal to adopt the baby so that hubby never finds out (strike three) and teenage girl agrees (another at-bat, strike one). Finally, teenager has baby, gives up baby, no consequences (strike: infinity).
This is one storyline in the show. No one is held responsible for their actions; and their lifestyles are glorified. They are told to be who they are, no matter what it is. As if, being a teenage pregnant slut is the same as having a speech impediment. And parents let their kids watch it. It is ridiculous. It should be banned from TV. Parents should be thrown in jail, or at least have their kids taken away for neglect or endangerment.
Instead, we sit idly by and worry about a tit flash at the Super Bowl, and the word “whiskey” in a video game. We don’t have our eyes on the prize, people. Wake the fuck up, people.