The Future is In Our Hands | Teen Ink

The Future is In Our Hands

January 24, 2009
By Anonymous

In a disconcertingly, constantly changing environment, pop culture seems to play a rather inordinately negative role in modern society. Some TV shows and movies that are “in the mainstream” purposely focus on ways to appeal to adolescents in their ambitious quest to change the opinions and perspectives of these innocent minds, transforming the typical American adolescent, preteen, and teenage mind from safely naïve to inappropriately and prematurely informed of adult concepts. Moreover, the frank referrals of money, sex, and drugs embedded into the lyrics of popular music are vexatiously awkward, apparent, and most importantly, ethically malapropos. In addition, the media delineates the American lifestyle as a vicious chain of social injustice and the constant wariness of being harshly judged. A couple decades ago, we were a modestly demure environment of happiness and security. What happened? Obviously, the fingers point to the guilty culprit, pop culture, for negatively influencing the minds of the adolescents of today, who are, without doubt, the leaders of tomorrow. How can we, the children of America today, lead the future as truant, insipid jesters?

To begin with, the easiest targets of proselytize and brainwashing are the fickle young minds of adolescents. They are easily drawn to the obvious appeal of music, movies, fashion, celebrities, and even attitudes. Popular TV shows target these perceptions to advertise, pressure, and shrewdly lure adolescents into startling behavior and perspectives. This includes the compulsion to appear “perfect”, thin, and beautiful. People have long oppressed the unquenchable demand to appear in what seems like the only way to be accepted: Formed stereotypically from the perfect plastic mold of human faultlessness. Machiavellian advertisers have also found cunning ways to convincingly communicate their desire for others to consume their product or support their ideas. Artistically and alluringly designed commercials are sagacious forms of persuasive proselytizing. Faddish TV Channels, such as Disney, are well-known examples of such prestige. For example, many reality shows depict the well-liked characters as rich, pulchritudinous aristocrats of high class or good family background. Meanwhile, the teased and rejected victims of most shows are appalling, nerdy, dunces, and generally unappealing. This leads children to believe that the only way to be accepted is to be one of “them”; part of the popular, paradisiacal crowd of wannabe cools and self acclaimed sense of superiority. While some may argue that this promotes an adolescent’s ambition and guides them to the urge to be a transcendentally better person, it must be considered that the risk of lowering one’s self respect and esteem is far too high to be acceptable. In addition, many TV shows demonstrate high school environments where dating seems to be the only topic on everyone’s mind. Keep in mind that these programs are watched by, on average, “2.6 million kids 6 to 11, and 2.4 million ‘tweens’9 to 14” [Multichannel News, 11/4/2008 3:30:00 PM]. When 2.6 million kids in the age categories of 6 to 11 are watching programs about girlfriend/boyfriend relationships, and being prematurely exposed to more sophisticated concepts, it is up to their parents to say, “No.”
“I have never liked to watch the Disney Channel, because I have had a much mature taste in entertainment, but my friends seemed to enjoy it as kids. I do know that it used to be geared for younger children. Now they are trying to appeal to teens, and they are hiring horrible actors and actresses, such as Miley Cyrus. Children now have no idols or role models that they can look up to. All the girls are going to be pregnant and all the guys are going to be the ones who knocked them up. I mean, come on, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato etc. are all much too old to be acting on the Disney Channel like this. And, honestly, the Jonas Brothers aren't all that they are cracked up to be. Pretty soon, they are going to realize they are not six years old any more. I can only hope that they eliminate some of their regular programs and add some new ones that are appropriate for children.” [Anonymous, ]
When Disney Channel was a sweet sanctuary of entertainment for the entire family, the message promoted would be totally acceptable. “Follow your dreams… chase the stars… be yourself…” These shows and movies encouraged morals, dreams, and fun. However, when “follow your dreams” becomes something encouraged by someone who looks like he’s/she’s had it all, it’s pretty reflexive to think, “Yeah, right. Easy to say for someone who isn’t geeky, ugly, and stupid.” When ethical values have been wrongly misinterpreted, calamity and distress ensues. In many preteen-targeted movies, such as High School Musical, the constant feud between the “Populars” and the “Rejects” is eminent. As always, there is the cliché nerd who finds a way to unite the two opposing forces. However, what pop culture fails to hide is that this “talented, spirited” individual happens to also be the most beautiful out of all of them. Obviously, there’s always a prop, such as a pair of distasteful glasses or a grotesque wardrobe. Then, towards the end of the movie, this character magically transforms into another perfect person. Where, exactly, is the uniqueness in such a superficial and overused storyline?

For example, the international sensation book and new movie Twilight by Stephanie Meyer is particularly popular among preteens. Why? Because the characters are appealing. They are sexy, devious, seductive people who are substantially and ultimately perfect. They have no flaws. According to environmental observances, teenage girls have nothing on their mind but Edward Cullen, the voluptuous vampire sex god, who also happens to be nothing but a fictional character. If he weren’t unnaturally good-looking, chances are, he wouldn’t have become one of the most-discussed and lusted-after fictional figures in history. When appearance makes the decision, it’s obvious we live in a shallow, shallow world. If there are comparisons being made between the mortal [us] and the fantasized, we might as well be pesticides. We are human, and we have imperfections. We cannot be expected to mimic the perfection of such writing. In addition, there are way too many references about the somehow hilarious topic of sex in this book. Obviously, if the author’s intentions were for this book to be available to a more mature audience, this would’ve been an excellent reading choice. However, grade school students are devouring this book, their eyes confusedly scanning the many referrals about this complicated topic scrawled across the book. The decision to explore such material lies purely in the hands of the reader and the authoritative figure [librarian, parent, critic, etc.]. If this book was not meant for a young audience, those within it should respect that and stay away.

Furthermore, modern-day music, including R

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This article has 2 comments.

Babylufin GOLD said...
on Aug. 8 2010 at 8:12 pm
Babylufin GOLD, Liberal, Missouri
13 articles 2 photos 229 comments

Favorite Quote:
"'For I know the plans I have for you', declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11. Thank you Lord, for this future you've given me.

This is so true. And very well written. Awesome! :)

Please take a look at some of my work if you ever have the time? :) I would appreciate it soooo much!

emac said...
on Feb. 27 2009 at 12:48 am
nice work I loved it