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Blaming Vampires Won’t Save Our Children

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At the best of times, the UK's Daily Mail is hardly known for its objectivity, but its latest rant against the immorality of television reminds me of something from the Victorian era.

In her verbosely titled rant 'True Blood vampires and the explicit TV sucking the innocence out of our children', the Daily Mail's own Olivia Lichtenstein attempts to make a case linking the popular TV show True Blood to the decline of society's moral values. In doing so, the author unleashes a torrent of incoherent outrage that could best be described as channeling Mary Whitehouse.

Maude Flanders herself, may she rest in peace, would have been proud of Olivia's "Somebody Please Think of the Children" approach. Criticising the TV show's graphic representations of sex, gore and drug taking, Ms. Lichtenstein does a great job of injecting her subjective alarmism into every paragraph of her poorly written review, while reminding us that any form of entertainment not directly aimed at toddlers is inherently evil.

This is where I have to disagree. While it is true that True Blood is not the sort of entertainment I'd recommend as a learning aid for the Teletubby generation, it is worth pointing out that its prominent parental advisory warnings, late time slot, and inherent theme go a long way towards highlighting what the show is: entertainment for adults.

Maybe Ms. Lichtenstein should spend a little less time blaming mass media for stealing our childrens' innocence and a little more time actually parenting. Like many of her morally outraged predecessors, she fails to realise that letting the big black box in the living room take over her parenting responsibilities may incur some risk of her children being exposed to unsuitable material.

I'm sure it's a lot easier to blame the harsh, dirty and immoral world for all that ails our society's young ones, but it's this blame-shifting attitude to parenting that has landed us in this mess in the first place: taking responsibility for one's own spawn, it would seem, requires more moral fiber than Ms. Lichtenstein and her ilk seems to possess.

What we have here is another perfectly glaring example of a society heading down the path to idiocracy, our collective failure to own up to our own lack of interest in making sure today's sugar-fed, TV-raised children grow up with some concept of personal responsibility.

Then again, Ms. Lichtenstein should pay more attention to her own rag's position on society's moral compass. With "Is Cheryl Cole's love life losing the X Factor?" on its front page, the Daily Mail's own case for upstanding public service is on shaky ground at best.

You can read Ms. Lichtenstein's amusing piece here. Curiously, comments have been disabled for the article.

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  • What a funny coincidence…I recently decided to use an aLibris coupon and pick up some used books I’d missed. Right now I’m reading The Ten Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare and How It Changed America by David Hajdu. Most people who are seriously into genre fiction and media have heard of Frederick Wertham’s anti-comics screed, Seduction of the Innocent; fewer people realize that the “comic book threat” led, in 1954, to televised congressional hearings that attracted a huge viewership and a Draconian crack-down on the comics industry. This was when TV was just getting off the ground–who knew?? This followed years of vigorous anti-comics campaigning by right-wing groups, mass burnings of comics, bannings, the works. Who would ever think of comics as threatening now?
    Just goes to show, some people never learn, and some things never change.