— By LARRY M. JONES
Every time I turn on my television, I never know which reaction will be strongest, my anger or my gag tendencies. On this, I can assure you that normally each is “right up there.”
Sadly, I suffer similar reactions when I stroll through large retail discount stores or place an order at a local fast-food restaurant. I simply cannot understand why young people, as well as some older ones, strive to emulate the most aberrant standards of dress and appearance. Those on television also incorporate behavior into this disgusting persona.
Why has it become exciting and entertaining to watch deviant behavior? Watching reality shows that demean, embarrass or defile the human body or mind is not my concept of a relaxing evening at home kicked back in my recliner in front of the tube with my wife and cat. To watch such trash as “Miami Ink,” ‘Hoarding,” ‘Hell’s Kitchen,” “American Idol” and any number of vile disgusting hosts, participants and programs is indicative of a sickness that is pervasive throughout our nation’s culture.
Why have we become so permissive as to allow, even condone, these counterculture displays? In the days of my youth this type of behavior would not have been accepted. Those who would not conform to societal standards would be vilified and ostracized. Gradually, beginning in the 1960s, discipline began to erode throughout our culture, particularly in our school systems. This allowed young people to be unique and stand out in their own way – just like everyone else.
In the decades to follow, the ways to express an individual’s uniqueness became harder and harder to find. When I was in high school in the ‘50s, a turned-up shirt collar, heel taps on our shoes or a ducktail haircut was really cool. These fashion statements were spawned by celebrities or heartthrob singers, and by the late 1960s this trend toward shock culture began to pick up momentum. The sex, drugs and rock and roll mindset was firmly entrenched by the ‘70s.
The sewage pumped out of Hollywood in recent decades has become increasingly vitriolic.
Deviant behavior has become the norm. Along with the old standby alcohol, newer ways to abuse their bodies were adopted. Drugs have become even more deadly and destructive, self-mutilation with piercings and tattoos are commonplace, homosexuality is viewed as normal, and standards for moral behavior have become woefully absent. There is hardly a movie or network television show that is not seething with such filth.
Devolution of our standards of grooming, dress codes, etiquette, and personal accountability has turned our American culture into a feral lifestyle. We have dumbed down our education system until the average high school graduate cannot make change or write a complete sentence.
Standards of dress vacillate between sloppy and casual, even for church services, funerals, or normally somber public gatherings. Learning moral behavior from Brittney Spears or Ellen DeGeneres, fashion from Lady Gaga, diplomacy from Dennis Rodman, humility from Charlie Sheen, and personal accountability from Lindsay Lohan has created an American culture more befitting a border town brothel.
Despite all the little problems of today’s society, at least we’ve learned how to be politically correct in every ethical and moral standard we abuse.
Larry M. Jones is a retired Navy commander and aviator who raises cattle and hay in the Brock/Lazy Bend part of Parker County. Comments may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.