Curmudgeons’ Corner

We, for two, lament the passing of the age of niceness, when you didn’t worry about someone breaking into your living room through your TV with skits about bedroom and bathroom functions that were once reserved for discussion between yourself and your doctor.

That garrulous woman who bursts in with loud rantings, brandishing some miracle elixir to fix your alimentary canal, or the guy with his amorous shortcomings or his four-hour woes are not fit guests for a family gathering. That’s when we immediately reach for the clicker.

Pul-leeze! There are children present!

And even if there aren’t, as in our case, we don’t want to hear that stuff. Get out of here! Have you no decency? You’re under arrest—for disturbing the peace.

Are we never able to enjoy TV entertainment without being assaulted with things not appropriate for mixed company?

Well, we can watch the news. We watch it and pray for the daily disasters, but we don’t wallow in it. And we’re careful where we get it.

And the entertainment. Between the perverse, the profane and the inane, there is little left to enjoy.

There are exceptions, of course, like nature and history shows and some decent films and concerts and occasional class acts like “Pride and Prejudice” and “Downton Abbey.”

Years ago we used to enjoy late night talk shows, but not any more. There is some funny stuff there, but we gradually get the feeling that we’re being marinated in something rancid. They remind us of little boys out behind the barn who have just discovered sex.

Then there are the Christian channels. Lots of edification there if we know where to look. But we sometimes worry a bit about culture shock for some poor seeking soul who might not understand Christianese, or is frightened off by whipped-up freneticism.

“A vast wasteland”

In 1961, Newton Minow, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, called television ”a vast wasteland.” And that was before cable. Today its vastness has burgeoned exponentially, and some of its creators seem hell-bent (we use that word advisedly) on corrupting the medium as far as they can get away with it.

And now the FCC itself, created to be a media watchdog, is trying to stretch the envelope and allow “brief frontal nudity” on network shows. Radar O’Reilly once said, “Nudidity makes me breathe funny.” The problem is, it’s capable of doing a whole lot worse than that, especially to a young man newly equipped with raging hormones. Porn can open the door to demonic harassment. It can also ruin marriages.

Like St. Paul said, in 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Evil communications corrupt good manners.” Telecommunications today are corrupting a generation.

Some righteous souls have sworn off and tossed out their TV, but we don’t recommend that (unless you have a personal word from the Lord.) There is such a thing as becoming culturally irrelevant.

So, what can we do?

Pray—for wisdom and guidance, and against corrupting influences.

Exercise Parental control. Make sure no toxic shows can get into your home.

Make yourself heard. Write letters. Make calls. Sign petitions. Contact sponsors and ask them to defund profane or obscene shows. If not, withhold your patronage and let them know why. It does no good if they don’t know they’re being boycotted.

The boycott is a legitimate means of expressing displeasure, but it is not a Lone Ranger operation. Look for large, organized ones that can garner huge constituencies. Shun sponsors that thumb their noses at organized petitions.

Ecclesiastes 10:19b NIV says, “Money is the answer to everything.” (Did you know that was in the Bible?) When the income stream dries up, so does the support of the stockholders. We’ve seen major national retailers become very obliging in the face of a large petition, among them both Sears/K-Mart and JCPenney. And Home Depot, after holding out defiantly for three years against a boycott by 750,000 signatories, organized by American Family Association, has pulled its support from the radical homosexual agenda.

Today’s Great American Heroes:  Monica Cole, Director. An affiliate of American Family Association. A movement of Moms that rallies Christian activists to contact companies asking them to drop their advertising from objectionable TV shows. (Dads are welcome too.)


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Ross Tooley

Our boycotts of TV shows - and the sponsors who advertise on them - should extend to movies in the movie houses. Too many Christians are seeing movies they should keep away from. (I heard someone say that Hollywood knows Christians will show up for their movies. Well, we should be disciplined and keep away from certain films. Movie makers are influenced more by our staying away - more thanour words of protest!)

28 November 2013
Joe Dallas

You’re tapping into a frustration millions are feeling, and you’ve given us some good ideas for redemptive action. I honestly feel assaulted just by the language coming over prime time shows these days, so I’m all for letting the sponsors know that plenty of us still have some standards. Good post!

12 November 2013
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