Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Voyeurs of Today

“Today the average person will have spent nine years of their life doing something that is not an essential human endeavor: watching other people, often people they don’t know. I’m talking, of course, about watching TV.
When asked to choose between watching TV and spending time with their fathers, 54% of 4- to 6-year-olds in the U.S. preferred television. The average American youth spends 900 hours a year in school and 1,200 hours a year watching TV.” This is from an article you can read here.
Those in my generation might remember when there was no television and certainly no computers and cell phones. One might say our world was smaller, and it was, but I liked it. Today we are voyeurs, looking at everyone else to see how we should be, should look, what we should eat, and who we should admire or hate. I wonder if and how anyone today grows up with a mind of his own.
Children are constantly influenced by people they watch on TV or online. Sadly, the watched ones are often not the best examples for our kids to follow. When we think about how little juvenile delinquency we had when I was a kid, I think it was because the adults and those we emulated were our own family, our neighbors or perhaps a movie hero we saw on Saturday matinees.
Look at what is watched on television today: graphic crime scenes where people are shot, electrocuted, tortured and cut to pieces. Young people don’t bat an eye when they see murder night after night on TV. When I was a kid I never saw a murder except in a movie and it was a brief scene that alluded to how the man was killed. I didn’t see blood oozing out of his mouth as flies ate away at his eyeballs, or see his intestines spill out on the ground from a horrific slash in his belly. Today those scenes feed some hungry desires of teens and young adults.
I don’t know of  many older people, over fifty, who like those gory pictures or shows that rely on them. I don’t know why anyone is surprised when they hear of teenage children murdering their parents or cutting off the heads of an older couple in order to steal from them. This is taught on TV night after night right in the family living room or in the kids’ bedrooms.
Today, in a class I’m taking, the book, Orange is the New Black, was recommended as a good memoir. I’ve not read the book, but the Netflix movie is nothing but Lesbian porn. Although the story and some of the characters entice me to watch, I turn away from the ultra-graphic sex scenes. The movie could have been made without such depictions, and I am disappointed in the producers who allowed this degradation of women. I see this movie as another way to push the progress of women back a step, and the young women viewers of this trash don’t get it. Once again women are made into sex objects on the screen, and I am sure many men watch this only for the certainty that there will be nude women having sex in more than one scene each episode.
Gay women are portrayed in an even worse manner than most heterosexual people could imagine. If women behave in such lewd fashion in prison, I don’t need to know it and I certainly don’t want to see it. This is one case where I’d prefer tell, don’t show. I don’t want to go into anyone’s bedroom and watch them having sexual intercourse. That is a private  matter – on screen and off.
We have become a culture of watchers and being watched. Anyone can photograph us at any  time without our permission and make those photos available to the entire universe. We have no right to stop it. Our society is ravenous for more people to see or watch. We become more sedentary or if we go to the gym, we watch TV from our treadmills.
I admire the people who still get out there and experience life, who hike, bike, ride horses, walk and run; people who observe nature and the wonders to behold there. I miss being able to ride as I once did. How I’d love to be able to take a long walk in the woods; climb up to the head of a waterfall, or climb aboard a horse and trail ride.
I am selective in the TV shows I watch, often recording the best ones to watch at a  convenient time. I am a big fan of public radio and public television now because PBS has more adult dramas, many of them English. I have never enjoyed the reality shows and I don’t think I ever will. But that is what is popular with younger audiences, the voyeurs of today, so I think they will be around for a long time.


DJan said...

I read the Orange is the New Black memoir after having seen the first series. It is indeed a very good memoir, very different from the series, too. There was no sex in the book, or even in the prison from what the author wrote. And you are so right about how much our world has changed, and why. I'm glad I'm old and grew up in a different world.

Glenda C. Beall said...

Thanks for reading and commenting, DJan. I might just read the memoir and leave off the movie. You are the second person to tell me the book is good. I am so disappointed in some women I respect on TV who gushed over this Netflix series. It just makes me sad.

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

Good comments about watching television. I like to read, too. Blanche and I watch very little TV. We like to read. I've not had a chance to read the book you mentioned.

Glenda Beall said...

Thank you, Brenda Kay, for reading my blog and leaving your comment. Reading is great because we can use our imagination and if the author is a good writer who "paints with words" he/she can provide us with pictures we see in our mind.

Vagabonde said...

I have not seen or read Orange is the New Black and thought it was just a new trending sentence. My husband likes to watch old westerns because he has seen most of them and it is easier for him to understand them (now with his disease.) I look at the weather and Jon Stewart reruns in the mornings while we have breakfast and that’s it. I watched Downton Abbey in the spring and the Tour de France in July. Sometimes I’ll watch a PBS special but that is rare, somehow I don’t like to watch TV, really. When I came to this country I did not have a TV for 5 years and did not miss it. I like to read best of all. Most of my reading is non-fiction, and usually old books. I was reading the travels of a Frenchman in the US in the late 1800s and am almost finished. I am happy that my daughter does not let the children watch TV during the week. They are allowed to watch cartoon for 2 hours on Saturday mornings and that’s it. I did read that TV influences children very much, and not for the better, but it is easier for parents to let the children watch it, it’s like a baby sitter.

Glenda Beall said...

Thank you for taking time to read my post today. This week I will have no TV in my house. I am enjoying watching some favorite DVDs and reading and writing.
I was amazed when I read that children now say they would rather watch TV than spend time with their fathers. That is sad. Good for your daughter who limits TV for her children. Even adults become brain-washed by what they see over and over on TV.