There is cute done right and cute done wrong
This is normal, right?

This is not a new criticism but...

I've been dithering over posting because I've got a couple of different* things on my mind.  The first is all about entertainment and how it's making me into a cranky grandma.  Since I've been writing over at Culture Brats I've been stepping up my media absorption (natch) and there are some related trends that just send me over the edge.  But you (meaning me) don't realize how much those trends send you over the edge until you're ranting and raving over another video of kids partying until you're (again me) throwing walnuts at the screen, you know?

In a nutshell (ha ha, I'm a funny old person), I really don't like all the shows about being famous that are aimed at kids.  Reality TV has changed the whole definition of being "famous" (i.e. you don't have to have talent or achievement to be a celebrity, you just need to be on TV or the Internet, preferably with temperament issues) and I think when those shows were aimed at adults it was OK, because adults have the perspective to understand what they're watching.  But there are more and more shows about kids being famous, or their parents being rich, or being both, and even if the messages of the show are wholesome (such as, famous people are regular kids, too!) the kids still get handed a lot, if not everything, rather than working.  All I can think when I see these shows pop up is, "Is this what we're teaching our kids to expect?  No wonder there's so many entitlement issues." 

Because, for me, the American dream is about working hard to achieve your dreams and building a good life.  NOT "I wish I was rich so I wouldn't have to do anything."  And yes, I DO think there are a lot of entitlement issues out there.

The sad thing is we are at a point in our economic history where lots of people DID work hard to build a good life and they've lost it or are struggling. But is it a good solution to teach our children to rely on a fantasy of becoming famous?  What's happening to the idea of work ethic?  Or even simply the idea of being famous because you achieved something special?  Like curing a disease or going to the moon?  

I've always thought that our obsession with celebrities and the rich took an unhealthy turn a long time ago. But it really makes me angry when I see the same obsession purposely aimed at children, indoctrinating them, teaching them to expect that lifestyle is normal and/or expected.  I know it's always been out there but it just seems to be getting more out of control. Sure, there was the Monkees and the Partridge Family when I was a kid... but that was two shows!  Now there's iCarly, Hannah Montana (of course), I'm With the Band, Gigantic (launching soon!), Gossip Girl, etc. not even mentioning the plethora of teen reality shows. 

Basically, I'm just not sure any of these programs that show the lifestyle of the rich and famous (even if the themes within the episodes are positives) are sending the right message to our younger generations. 

(Now excuse me, I must shuffle off in my houseslippers to buy more ribbon candy.)

What do you think about these shows? Harmless or harmful?

             - the weirdgirl

*The second thing I've been doing is building a robot. You can see where the subjects don't mesh.

Comments

Melissa  (Betty and Boo's Mommy)

Completely agree with you. One thing that irks me about these shows and these songs (and I have a post in the works about it) is how everyone is "livin' the dream." As you said, some of us worked (and are working) our asses off to live, period.

Marianne (Your former BDL coworker)

Mary, I love you! You just summed up everything I think often but don't dare say out loud, given that I spent the past 7 years in the field of entertainment (at MTV Networks, no less). And now, kids are becoming famous and getting on magazine covers for getting knocked up, to wit: “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom”. It's one of the few times EVER that I'm glad I don't have kids, so I don't have to worry what this tripe is doing to their minds, hearts and egos.

Stimey

I agree. I feel like I'm a million years old when I feel this way, but yeah. Exactly.

Porsche Nut

I agree completely! I teach, and you should here the responses I get nowadays to the old "What do you want to be when you grow up" question. Parents are not teaching their children to have a work ethic. It's a tough battle!

the weirdgirl

Melissa - Exactly. Part of what bothers me about "living the dream" is those programs that show musicians or actors completely gloss over how hard entertainers have to work! There are no free rides.

Marianne - MTV Networks, huh? What was that like?! I know there's a million different divisions but I bet the attitude permeates throughout, huh?

Stimey - I know. Remember when rock and roll was still rebellious, circa Footloose? Seems like those days are long gone.

Porsche Nut - I am working hard to instill in my son a sense of "work hard for you goals". He's five. I make him do chores to earn money, point out sports trophies are only won after learning and excelling, etc. I'm a mean mommy. But so far he says he wants "to make stories" when he grows up. Then he asks me how to make videos on the computer. Baby steps.

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