Sunday, December 20, 2009

In which the author gets to thinking, and wishes she hadn't

Read a blog entry recently that got me to thinking. In it, the author laments the morals coming through the television to our nation's children. What was really sticking in his craw was the questionable morals shown on 'Survivor,' where the arbitrarily formed teams are only able to take competitors so far. In the end, "teammates" must turn on each other in order to win, in order to succeed.
He makes a sad but valid point: what kind of imprint is that leaving on vulnerable minds? What could they possibly be learning? I was on a reality show that didn't even have the pretense of teams: it was every woman for herself from the start. But, and here's the rub: while on that show I met a girl who would give you the shirt off her back if you were cold and a woman who helped her mother escape from an abusive father. These people were strong, generous and beautiful, inside and out.
Reality television is a part of a bigger curiosity arising in the national consciousness that is, to me, a little morbid. Everyone and anyone can learn anything about anyone else, not because of advanced espionage or Big Brother, but because people have started to put themselves out there more completely than ever before. We want people to know everything: what we have for breakfast, what we think of movies and what we think of other people.
So, what? Good question. I guess what I started to wonder was this: I know I don't want children to learn the lessons being shown on TV. And a lot of what I see on Twitter, Facebook and even the news is upsetting to me, a nearly full grown, sometimes cynic. But, in this generation of oversharing and undercaring, I don't know what I do want them to learn. What lessons can we impart, having seen the world change so drastically in the past few decades?
I suppose what I want to know is this*: what is there to learn from knowing so much?

*Originally wrote that as "I can't help but wonder" but then I realized I was getting a little Carrie Bradshaw up in here.

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