Home / Morality TV: ABC, The Bachelor, and the American Decline

Morality TV: ABC, The Bachelor, and the American Decline

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There was a horrible story in the news on November 7, 2007 about a student in Finland gunning down eight other students and teachers a la the Columbine and Virginia Tech massacres. I mention this because I believe we have had a moral breakdown in our society.

Millions of kids use YouTube, FaceBook, and other social web sites. The shooter had uploaded numerous videos telling us what he was about to do on YouTube, yet no one reported his behavior. Kids around the world see these videos. You would think one of them would at least have said, “Hey, maybe I better show this to my parents so they might notify the authorities.” The same thing happened with Columbine. Kids knew, but nobody told.

As further proof of the breakdown in our society, I refer you to this year’s The Bachelor television show. I originally started watching this depraved show out of curiosity. One man, the bachelor, has his pick of 25 women whom the show brings to a Malibu mansion. The bachelor greets them, talks with them, takes some on dates, and makes out with lots of them. Every week he whittles the group of women down to the final one.

I had a double major in college — economics and psychology — which eventually caused me to have a greater interest in this show other than the mere curiosity that drew me here in the first place. I have watched this show off and on for the past three seasons. I have not watched all the shows, but I have watched the key shows which are usually the first two, with all the girls present and the last three or four where they are down to the last four girls and the bachelor goes to meet each of these girls’ families, from California to Washington DC, with a camera crew in tow.

One of the most striking things about this show is that in the three seasons I have watched, I have never seen one of the girls say, “Gee, is that the bachelor? I don’t like his looks, his hair, his teeth, he is too fat, too thin, too tall, too short, he has a lousy personality,” or simply, “I’m just not attracted to this guy. I think I’ll just go home.”

On the contrary, each and every one of these girls, and I am talking 25 per season (at the start) or 75 total, confides to us, the audience, “I hope he picks me!” Week after week, as the group is culled, the remaining girls continue to affirm their desire to be the one he picks, while those he discards cry their eyes out.

As the show gets down to the last six or eight women, the conversation starts changing from “I hope he picks me” to “I think I’m falling in love with him.” When it gets down to the last four women, they confide that they don’t think they are falling in love with him; they are in love with him and want to marry him!

All the time this is going on, our lucky bachelor is kissing and feeling each of these women (all between the age of 18 and 30) weekly. In addition, he is telling each one of them, and eventually their families, that he thinks she is the one.

The entire time this is going on, each of the girls knows and sees their beloved bachelor taking one of the other girls on a dinner date or cruise, a skydiving or skiing date, while they sit and stew in the mansion. They also watch as this guy takes each one into the pool or hot tub at the mansion and starts making out with them.

This year the show has reached a new low. The last three girls were flown to a Mexican resort, replete with a yacht for their use, as well as a pre-honeymoon suite, where the bachelor can really sample the wares of the three girls in an overnight sleepover.

He subtly asks each one if they would mind if he spent the night with them and, true to form they all agree, knowing full well that if they are number three on the list, the guy they are giving their body to and hoping to marry has just slept with numbers one and two the day before she (number three) spreads her legs. The same for number two and number one, although I guess there is some merit in being first. On the other hand, the bachelor could inform numbers two and three what the previous girls did for him, and if they want to be his “wife,” they better do likewise or more!

To add insult to injury, after the bachelor has his fill he must now whittle the list of lusting wannabe brides down to two and eventually one. No easy task, especially after you have just slept with each one and they are now asking you, with tears in their eyes, “Why didn’t you pick me? Wasn’t I good enough in bed for you? Was it because the other girls did something for or to you that I refused to do?”

No, it doesn’t get this graphic (I mean the questions I am posing), but certainly these are the questions that must be bouncing around in the empty heads of these three lucky finalists. You can be sure the bachelor has used these criteria in his quest to move forward to the final choice. What other criteria could it be based upon? Up to the point of bedding the final three, our macho man has told each that she was about to become Mrs. Bachelor, but first she must pass his final test!

If you talk to anybody under the age of 60, they probably don’t see anything wrong with what I have described above. For those of us who still remember the moral compass we grew up with in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, it is hard to reconcile this kind of behavior. It is especially hard to understand how it can be broadcast into our living rooms night after night.

Could the conduct of ABC Television and the producers of this show, knowingly paying the bachelor and the women to appear on the show and knowingly providing the place and the means for the bachelor and the lucky three to have an overnighter, be considered an illegal activity or something very close to it? I don’t know; that is something for others to decide; perhaps the District Attorney for Los Angeles County, where the show is produced.

What about the morality of this arrangement? This type of in-your-face broadcasting does not border on immoral – it is immoral. Perhaps we should ask the parents of these girls, one of whom is a college professor in Washington DC, what they think! Remember, the sleepover does not take place until after the bachelor has met the parents of the final four, the previous week.

Now I ask, where did our society go wrong? When and where did we lose our way? What caused the decline in American morals? Since the days of the Hays office and the Production Code, American morals have been slowly eroding until the advent of the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky affair.

Since Clinton personally put the Presidential stamp of approval on oral sex and adultery in the White House, American teenagers and Hollywood producers have looked upon this one event as the green light for anything goes. As a result, American morals have been on a steep decline ever since. Just look at the statistics on young children having sex. Before the 1960s it was a non-issue. In the 1970s and 1980s we started to see some more sexual activity in our college-age and high school-age children.

Since Bill Clinton was in the White House, we now have kids in grammar school and junior high having sex. If you ask them, they say that oral sex isn’t really sex because President Clinton said it wasn’t. Under his definition, if you look it up, only vaginal sex with penetration is sex; not using your mouth to give another person sexual pleasure (fellatio).

How do we deal with it? Instead of parents talking with their children and trying to guide them and inform them, we give 14-year-olds condoms and birth control pills in their schools.

One last thought. If you listen to the Muslim terrorists who flew the planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 and their terrorist cohorts, they often cited the moral decay of the United States as the reason for their attacks on America and American society. If we don’t do something to stop it, they promise they will! I don’t like what they have in mind; do you? So let us all work together to turn the compass around so it points to morality and not immorality. A good starting place would be in Hollywood!

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About A Decent Person

  • Teddy Bearskovich

    Have you ever had a conversation with a kid in your life? “If you ask them, they say that oral sex isn’t really sex because President Clinton said it wasn’t.” Please, provide one concrete example of a kid ever having said this. What an absolute disaster this blog turned out to be. First, you bring up a shooting that has no relevance to The Bachelor whatsoever, then you blame the entire moral decline of the nation on President Clinton and wrap it up basically blaming 9-11 on a blow job. .You had some valid points about the immorality of the show for a bit there, but then it just went to all hell. While you’re on your moral tirade, why didn’t you think to mention all the lies the Bush administration was involved in, including one that resulted in the deaths of thousands of people? It all comes down to that bumper sticker “When Clinton lied, no one died.” Get your priorities straight.

  • Donny

    Why are so many people attacking the article? (many with silly reasoning logic in comparisons)

    Don’t they find it gross for a guy to ‘try to find true love’ by bedding multiple girls night after night?

    or for girls to still fall in love with him knowing he just got out of bed with her competitor?

    or even worse, as in the Bachelorrette, for a girl to ask 3 guys in bed night after night to try to find who is her real love?

    Should a significant number of people answer yes to any of these questions, then yes, the moral compass really points the wrong way.

  • Mike

    Well, I think it’s positively silly to bring in a partisan rant about Bill Clinton into this discussion. Granted, I don’t disagree, The Bachelor/rette is an abomination. It’s a disgrace. Not just morally, but because it trivializes something that, outside of the show, ought to be a very serious and mature decision.

    Yes, people have affairs, and many powerful people of your grandpa’s era were just as sexually deviant as those today, but it was never so proudly touted as it is today. I don’t think there is anything wrong with showing the lowest common denominator on television, truly this has made great cinema, however to be proud of it is completely horrifying.

    I do not like the Bachelor style programs, but I am also equally distressed by Joe Millionaire, Extreme Home Makeover or any other show that makes people believe there are shortcuts to things that should otherwise take hardwork and effort.

  • Bob sez – “Sometimes writers like to emphasize things by using “shock”.”

    know you are catching on, and Learning….can you apply the Lesson?

    still, two knobs on a TV/radio/media device…one changes the channel…

    the other turns it off

    now that you have once again been educated on the usage of said device…quit your whining and exercise some self control, as well as self-Responsibility

    your welcome


  • Bob Greenspan

    How refreshing to see a comment (#27) from someone “under 40” and an intelligent, non profane one at that! I think I agree with everything you stated in your comment.

    We do live in a voyeuristic society. On Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving I was in my local supermarket and as is my usual custom I look at the front pages of all the Tabloids to see if any more Martians have landed or if any more 5 headed babies have been born.

    On this day every one of the Tabloids I saw shrieked headlines about who was or wasn’t gay in Hollywood! One even offered to tell me the TRUTH about Tom Cruise. Wow, I was so excited I almost dropped the bottle of Soda I was carrying.

    Yes, I suppose there is no harm in this type of trash and that some Hollywood celebutantes such as Paris Hilton and others of her ilk crave and pay for this type of media attention. I know that some don’t like it. In fact just last night on the news I watched George Clooney pull over some paparazzi and scold them for irrational driving while following him. I’m sure that he was worried about them running him over or causing him to fall – I know I would be and we all certainly know what happened to Princess Diana when those morons were chasing her in the tunnel. If I am not mistaken I believe the authorities wen’t so far as to say the chasing paparazzi were a contributing factor in the crash, as well as the drivers blood alcohol level.

    By the way you might ask, “how did you see George Clooney on the news chewing out the paparazzi”?

    Very simple? They videoed him chewing them out!

    OK, now back to the Bachelor and some of your comments.

    #25 commented Regarding the terrorists…”well, we’re also called Ugly Americans because so many of us are fat & overweight..that point was left out. Perhaps you should next write about the rampant accepted prejudice against overweight people & the lack of scientific dollars put into a very serious medical issue that affects so many. Factoid:: did you know if you have a friend or relative that is overweight, you are more likely to become that way too? Scarey…Oh yeah & I’m thin, so I’m not on a personal pedestal”.

    First of all this is way off the subject, nothing to do with The Bachelor, but I will answer anyway. We are called Ugly Americans, not because of the way we look but because of the way we act or are perceived to act. I pulled the following from Wikipewdia “Ugly American is an epithet used to refer to perceptions of arrogant, demeaning, thoughtless behaviors of Americans at home or abroad. The term originated as the title of a 1958 book by authors William Lederer and Eugene Burdick, The Ugly American. The film adaptation of the novel came out in 1963, directed by George Englund and starring Marlon Brando. Englund was nominated for a Golden Globe award as director of the film.”

    Interesting however that you should mention Fat people or Obese people. About 2 weeks ago I was INTENTIONALLY watching Boston Legal with William Shatner and James Spader. I saw a promo for the show where a client comes in and asks James Spader how she can be found “not guilty by reason of temporary insanity” for killing a man. She goes on to explain the man she is about to kill has already killed her daughter by beating her to death and been found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity, and she is now going to kill him and wants Spader to get her off based upon temporary insanity. Very interesting and very convoluted. But what has this got to do with Fat people?

    Well it seems that while Spader is taking care of the above situation William Shatner calls one of the lawyers working for the firm into his office and tells her he is firing her because she is Fat! That is right, this female attorney working in the firm for a few years is now being fired because she is Fat.

    How does Shatner justify the firing? He tells her exactly what commenter #25 says – did you know if you have a friend or relative that is overweight, you are more likely to become that way too. In this case though he cites a study, I think he said it was done by Harvard (not sure) saying that the fat attorney would cause the firms health insurance bills to rise and other attorneys and staff seeing this Fat person would likely to become fat as well. So, #25 I presume you and I watched the same Boston Legal episode.

    So what happened? The Fat attorney sues. They go to court and the Judge is an extremely obese woman. Probably weighed about four or five hundred pounds. She waddled into court. So Shatner is sitting there and Spader is now defending him and they are scared to death that they will get hit for a huge judgment, in the millions. But that is not to be, as the Fat judge dismisses the Fat attorneys case.

    How can this be you ask? Well if you know the writer of the show, David E. Kelley you can understand. First he is an attorney with a long history in Hollywood. Here is a snippet from his bio on Wikipedia: David Edward Kelley (born April 4, 1956) is a prolific multi-Emmy award winning American writer, executive producer, and creator of the well-known television series Picket Fences, Chicago Hope, The Practice, Ally McBeal, Boston Public, and Boston Legal. He has also written several film scripts. Kelley’s shows are renowned for their whimsical, occasionally surreal comedic touches, as well as moments of seriousness.

    I am not going to research it here, but knowing Kelley and having watched many of his shows, going back to the days when he was a writer on L.A. Law, many of his themes are taken from real life cases. So I suspect that under our current law you cannot discriminate in hiring based up race, age or sex, but you can on weight – if you can show a legitimate reason for it.

    OK, enough of that, lets get back to The Bachelor. If you watched the ending he chose nobody! He sent both girls home. They were heartbroken and cried, profusely. Who wouldn’t. They came back a few months later (remember the show is taped months in advance) and confronted him wanting to know why neither of them was picked after he led them both to believe he loved them.

    He really did not give a cogent answer. The best I could figure from listening to him is that he felt a deep affection (not love) for both of them, and rather than choose between them he chose neither. Sort of like the kid who has to choose between a Hershey Bar and a Snickers. He wants both and if he can’t have both he might just say the heck with it, I don’t want any. This may be a bad analogy as I really can’t think of a kid turning down both candy bars, can you? But if you have to pick one girl, take her with you, provide for her, clothe her, feed her, provide a home for her, buy her a car, pay for her health insurance, etc. etc. then maybe at this point you start thinking what is the name of this show, oh yeah, THE BACHELOR.

    My personal opinion is that this guy decided to ride this dog and pony show until it died. I don’t think he ever wanted to pick a girl let alone marry one. And of course there is the money angle. None of us know what the financial arrangements are but we all know that nobody does anything for nothing. We work and we expect to get paid. The Bachelor worked by making himself available each and every week to date the girls and meet their parents and to appear on the TV show. Thus The Bachelor was entitled to receive compensation for his work.

    Just ask yourself, if you were the Bachelor would you want to come back and face the last two girls you rejected and explain to them in front of a Nationwide TV Audience why you rejected them? Of course if you were getting paid a lot of money, you would probably come back and do it, like this guy did.

    One last point. #25 wrote: Also, it’s a pretty crass description to go on about the ladies spreading their legs. You probably weren’t watching when the overnight stay was introduced, but the purpose of it has been discussed so much that ABC probably feels (maybe wrongfully) they don’t need to explain it. What it is, is a chance for the Bachelor & lady to finally have a time to themselves without camera and crew around.

    Sometimes writers like to emphasize things by using “shock”. I used the term “spreading their legs” for the shock value. I could have just as easily said, slept with him, went to bed with him, stayed overnight with him etc. But I wanted to add the shock value of the term to my writing.

    And, contrary to what #25 writes I do not think for one second that the sleepovers were a means of giving the Bachelor and each of the last 3 girls some private time away from the cameras. Believe me, they have plenty of private time when the cameras are not rolling. They can talk in lots of places where a camera is not staring them in the face. They can even talk by phone if they really wanted to. No, I still think the sleepovers were and are there to draw audience and to create controversy, which it has. Look at us, we are talking about it. I never would have written my article about the decline in American morals if there were no sleepovers. Who cares if some joker – the Bachelor – is going to give a girl a rose every week and then marry the last girl. Who cares if the Bachelor sleeps with every one of these girls – all 25 of them. I don’t. More power to him. I’m a man. I understand. I wish I was sleeping with every one of these girls. In fact I wish I were sleeping with all 25 of them at the same time. But I certainly would not put it on Television! I certainly would not show a Nationwide TV audience how I am leading each girl to believe that I am in this contest in order to choose her as my wife, and then guide each into my Pre-Honeymoon Suite provided as a Courtesy to us Both by the Producers at ABC. That, is obscene!

  • Melissa

    I would like to go on record as a younger person, less than 40, that agrees wholeheartedly with the moral decline of our nation. I don’t believe there is one single defining cause, but rather a plethera of reasons. Media and entertainment, bold and immoral leaders (from all political backgrounds), the internet bringing a literal floodgate of filth into our homes for free, and ultimately our own natures, that unless governed by a set of moral principles or a desire to please God, will turn to please our flesh. We live in a voyeuristic society of people who can’t wait to hear the next bit of news about who’s sleeping with who, or what famous so and so is doing now. Reality television has heightened our sense of peering into the personal lives, thoughts, feelings, and desires of others, and left many begging for more. I have watched Survivor and Bachelor type shows, but I am keenly aware that somehow this is not the way life is supposed to be. I am not proposing that we return to a time of repression, but rather a return to simple modesty, and respect for the privacy of others. We should be careful who we let into our lives and hearts and push for a clean up of Reality TV. Realistically, I don’t think it will happen, so the off button will have to do for now. And hopefully girls in the future will think twice about exposing their emotions, bodies and hearts on national television, only to be dumped by some sociopathic man like this year’s bachelor. No amount of money is worth your dignity!

  • gerri

    In total agreement with Bob…I’m an older person,True….Lot’s of younger folks agree with him as well..Who pays for all this trash on TV??we all do,the networks who put this stuff on,pays the actors,producers etc..not taking a loss,they increase advertising costs,the advertisers aren’t going to take a loss,so they increase the costs of their products,so it comes down to us all, the consumers.so when you buy that high price box of cereal etc,we have just made it possible for all those ”’ED ADS,(I AM SO SICK OF THOSE)AND THE HIGH SALARIES OF THOSE NETWORK NEWS ANCHORS.(and no moral TV shows).we should stop being so free with our hard earned money,and start making demands for change,after all we employ all these people>>>It is past time,for action!!!!!”’the statement just change the channel

  • Chris

    Well I’m pushing 60 in the next few months & if anyone is to be blamed for the moral decay regarding sexuality, I guess you can blame the Baby Boomers or the Flower Power generation. We pretty much put “sex” on the map & took it out of the glove box,it certainly wasn’t Bill Clinton. Not like people weren’t doing it, it just became more open.

    Of course fear of AIDS has probably dampened bed-hopping. The good news is women are no longer submitting themselves to abortionists with hangers, so there are less illegitimate babies in need of homes. But because the stigma of being an unwed mother has gone away, there are less white babies without flaws to adopt in the US. I hear the orphan babies in Russia are popular though for those who can pay the price.

    But the real reason I’m writing is your description of the Bachelor. I’m one of those “dimwitted” people that have watched it since it started. First, there have been women that have admitted “not being that in to him” and usually they, remarkably, are weeded out early. Of course the majority of those opinions would be cut out by editing to not tarnish our young seasonal prince, but they have let a few slip through.

    Also, it’s a pretty crass description to go on about the ladies spreading their legs. You probably weren’t watching when the overnight stay was introduced, but the purpose of it has been discussed so much that ABC probably feels (maybe wrongfully) they don’t need to explain it. What it is, is a chance for the Bachelor & lady to finally have a time to themselves without camera and crew around.

    So while creative minds, and I’m being kind, might be thinking everyone is bedding down, what the current couple are doing is being able to have free & open conversations that will not be broadcast to the viewers. Pretty important stuff if you go with the premise that the Bachelor is trying to find love and his future wife within the time constraints of the show. So maybe some of the Bachelors have gotten “lucky”, but that’s not for us to know. I don’t think Chris Harrison is playing the Pimp card.

    Regarding the terrorists…well, we’re also called Ugly Americans because so many of us are fat & overweight..that point was left out. Perhaps you should next write about the rampant accepted predjudice against overweight people & the lack of scientific dollars put into a very serious medical issue that affects so many. Factoid:: did you know if you have a friend or relative that is overweight, you are more likely to become that way too? Scarey…Oh yeah & I’m thin, so I’m not on a personal pedestal.

    No, we can revert to Puritanical morales & the terrorists will still want to kill us. Osama says our only hope is to take up Islam, but somehow I don’t believe him, since “they” have no problem killing their own people.

    Going full circle to the Finnish student, I think it is an assumption that just because he put something on YouTube it was seen by many or without an invitation to like minded people. I don’t disagree, that if the videos were seen and no one stepped forward, it is truly sad. But YouTube has a LOT of videos & I’ve come across many that have never had views before & it might speak well in the opposite direction that no one said anything because no one was looking for them.

    There was a kid here in the US (planning the same thing who got caught) who communicated with him supposedly through MySpace. They found each other through the Memorial site dedicated to Columbine. He was caught because a person he tried to recruit turned him in. It doesn’t help that the mother bought his guns.

  • Bob, the ladies’ willingness is the most interesting part of the story to me. Historically, men are usually willing to debase themselves at a moment’s notice. All it takes is a pretty girl’s smile. And the Bachelor’s tactic doesn’t seem unusual to me. Guys use the “if you love me you’ll do this” line all the time. You make it sound like that was his sales pitch.

    So what makes a woman agree? There have been reality matchmaking shows like this for a decade, and (at least to my knowledge) there’s only been one marriage to come out of them. The bachelorettes have got to know this. So I guess they get caught up in the competition. But they must have bad images of themselves along with an unrealistically high image of the guy.

  • Bob Greenspan

    Thank you Baronius. Your thoughtful non profane, non vile reply was a welcome sight.

    In regard to the sleepovers I didn’t know about it myself until I was stunned to see it unfolding right before my eyes in HD 42 inch Plasma about 2 weeks ago. I cannot recall this taking place before this season.

    In regard to your question about the psycholgy of the bachlorettes, it is hard to separate their eagerness to do anything to gain a husband from what I personally believe are good morals. In fact the girl whose father was a professor at a Washington DC University expressed his great dismay in the Bachelor not having a college degree and in his owning and being in the Bar business. I’m sure he would not have approved of his daughters sleeping with the Bachelor. In fact on Monday night the show brought back about 10 or 15 of the girls who had been eliminated to get their take on the show and how they think it will turn out in the final episode.

    It was filmed in front of an audience of mostly women. In fact I looked real hard and could not see a man in the audience. One of the female audience members asked girl number 3 who was eliminated after sleeping with the Bachelor (leaving the remaining 2) how she felt being intimate with the Bachelor knowing that the other 2 girls were doing the same thing. Just when she was giving her reply,my phone rang and I did not hear the reply. But at least someone else was thinking what I was thinking.

    The girls on the show were all very beautiful and held diverse jobs from Nurse to Realtor and lived across America. They were not all Hollywood types who lived in Hollywood and who were seeking a career in show business. This may however change for some of the girls. Once you get a taste of show business plus the great weather in Los Angeles it would probably be an enticement for many people, not just these girls, to switch careers or domiciles.

    The girls who had been eliminated all spoke about their experiences and all said they had a great time doing the show. They all seemed to lament the fact that they had been eliminated and were greatly disappointed because they really liked the Bachelor and wanted to be picked by him. Perhaps the show offered bonuses for each week that a girl remained. I don’t know. This is pure conjecture on my part.

    Again, the thing that I really don’t understand is how none of the girls ever said there was no attraction for them to the Bachelor. Perhaps they all were really attracted to him. Perhaps there was money involved if you stayed longer. Or perhaps they desperately wanted a husband. Perhaps it is a combination of all of the above.

    Again, I thank you for your comment.

  • Baronius sez – “Modern people are simply unschooled in morality, and concepts like the permanence of right and wrong are new to them.”

    oh really?

    this axiom you are going to have to *prove*

    first, you will need to define what you mean by *morality* – we can Agree that *morality* is an authoritarian pronouncement about what is “right” and what is “wrong”…as opposed to a system of Ethics which doesn’t require any such pronouncement and is based upon *wrong* being defined as harmful to others

    even so, and going by the Judeo-Christian definitions of “morality”, most bits of cultural entertainment from the youngest age…cartoons and comic books, to movies suitable for kids up to big screen popcorn flicks…

    the vast majority of such are based upon the very “morals” you speak of…lessons in “good” versus “evil” couched in Entertaining stories

    sound familiar?

    just because some do not agree that you need to stone that old lady for wearing cloth of two different threads when she worked getting food after sunset on Friday does not mean that they are “unschooled in morality”

    example – for quite the time some people thought it was “right” to eat their Enemies…most others have either moral or ethical objections to such a practice…

    now, how about symbolic ritualized cannibalism? is that right or wrong?

    on and on…

    i say the same to you as i did to him…you Object to the material? fair enough…your Choice

    there are two knobs on every electronic media device…one changes the channel

    the other turns it off

    nuff said…


  • Bob – Good article.

    I didn’t know that The Bachelor had started to have sleepovers. I’d be interested in hearing your assessment of the psychology of the bachelorettes, leaving issues of morality aside.

    As to the responses to this article, they’re actually a bit calmer than I would have expected. You’ve got to appreciate the implications of your thesis. Modern people are simply unschooled in morality, and concepts like the permanence of right and wrong are new to them.

  • My apologies, Bob. When I said nobody was personally attacking you, I didn’t figure into the equation the inevitable stupidity of comment #18.

    While I still think your article was a series of non-sequiturs, #18 went way beyond the pale. Not only was it an insult to anybody with a reasonable mind, it also pointed to the pitfalls of considering oneself “clever.”

  • Otis B. Driftwood

    harsh, no. incredibly stupid, yes.

  • daryl d

    (edited) people who usually write this dribble are hypocritical. Bill O’Reilly wrote a lot of stuff like this and then he was caught playing phone sex with a coworker.

  • Time has marched on and things have changed. But one thing that will never change is right and wrong.

    But you see, Bob, that’s where you’re wrong. Morality changes constantly. It’s never stopped changing; it never will stop changing.

    Let me give you an example. I don’t know if you’re religious or not, but if you have a Bible you might check out a verse, say, Exodus 35:2. In the translation on my shelf that verse says,

    “For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a holy day, a sabbath of complete rest to the LORD; whoever does any work on it shall be put to death.”

    Here is God, clearly ordering us to execute anyone who works on a Sunday (or Saturday, strictly speaking). If it was moral 5,000 years ago to execute people for working on the sabbath, and right and wrong never changes, surely it’s still moral to kill people for working on the sabbath?

    If not, one can only assume that God’s morality is not eternal, unchanging morality. That suggests that the only barometer of morality is the human race…and I don’t need to tell you that that morality isn’t unchanging.

  • “I don’t care if you have sex every day with people, pigs, horses or dogs. I just don’t want to see it when I turn on a broadcast channel which are considered to be public airwaves.”

    fair enough..as i said..change the channel, turn off the TV…your Choice

    now..i would hazard a guess that your umbrage taken at my usage of “profanity” (actually it’s vulgarity, i did say anything profane – (characterized by irreverence or contempt for God or sacred principles or things; irreligious)

    i’ll make my standard Argument on the thesis of Free Speech, and that some Words are used by Adults to express particular nuance of expression as they see fit and under the aegis of their own personal Responsibility…

    in short, tough shit

    communicative enough for you?

    for the Record, yes my Father and one of my Grandfathers did Serve…as did i… i readily Acknowledge the Debt owed by the Work of our forefathers, so much so that i signed up and did my hitch and earned the Right to express myself however i choose


  • Bob Greenspan

    I’m not saying kids were not having sex in the 1940’s through the 1960’s or 1970’s. If they were it certainly was not out in the open as it is today. Name me one school district from that era that was passing out condoms and birth control pills to 14 year olds. Name me one TV show during that era that showed the participants going into a hotel room to have sex. No I don’t mean movies or television dramas etc. I am talking about reality TV with real live people like those on the Bachelor.

    I know there are other reality shows on television because I have seen them advertised. I have however never watched even one epiosode of any one of them. I cannot even tell you in what year they started to broadcast them. From reading some of the comments to this post I presume you will tell me if these shows also allow or encourage the participants to have sex, like the Bachelor does. To restate, the only reality TV show I have ever watched is the Bachelor.

    I am sure that I am much older than most of you that have read my post and left comments here. Time has marched on and things have changed. But one thing that will never change is right and wrong. I have my opinions about what is right and what is wrong. Judging from your comments you have your opinions and they are quite different from mine.

    I don’t care if you have sex every day with people, pigs, horses or dogs. I just don’t want to see it when I turn on a broadcast channel which are considered to be public airwaves. If you want to put it on pay per view or some other private place where it won’t be seen by children or others who don’t want it in their homes, fine, go to it.

    For those of you who have nothing better to do than write comments to me using profanity I feel sorry for you because evidently you never learned how to communicate without the use of profanity. I also suggest you read The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw about your fathers or grandfathers who fought in WW II so you could have the freedoms you enjoy today, including the freedom to mock others with the use of profanity.

    I think I can guess what many of you stand for. Free sex anywhere anytime. Free drugs anywhere anytime. No restraints, no restrictions, no laws to restrain you. If I say that there are millions of Americans who still believe that we are a Nation of Laws and who still believe we are a moral society you will mock me and profane me, because you don’t know any better.

    Yes, I say that I want to go back to the days of television without sex and profanity being broadcast into my home on the public airwaves. You no doubt are waiting for the day when the Bachelor takes the cameras into the hotel room and lets you watch.

  • Wow, I didn’t even see that one:

    For those of us who still remember the moral compass we grew up with in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s

    The percentage of people who admitted they’d had sex before marriage in 2007 was 97%.

    Any idea what the percentage of people who admitted to premarital sex was in 1957?


    I guess it IS fair to say that the figures have increased…

  • how old were Romeo and Juliet?

    damn that Shakespeare and his decaying the “moral values” of all English speakers!!!

    prove your fucking thesis, please…how is sex “immoral”? why? according to what sources?

    how about killing, is that immoral? more or less so than sex? and i’m not talking about self defense stuff…but rather about breaking into someone’s home, killing folks you find there, breaking their stuff…and moving in for an indefinite period of time

    more or less “moral” than sex?

    obviously the Author of the Article should have tried some courses in Logic or even critical Thinking while he was there…if he Bachelor is yoru compass for “moral” behavior, please do define it better than this – “the Principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior”

    since what you claim as a “definition” is purely subjective…what is right and wrong to some people are not always the same as to others

    some instances are common to the majority of humans due to a common base in Ethics, far different that the arbitrary, amorphous and subjective “morality” that the Author appears to be all worked up over

    how about this, exercise some self Responsibility..you Object to a program….don’t fucking watch it!

    this can be applied to many instances of so-called “moral outrage”

    mind your own fucking business, we are NOT each other’s Keepers, liberate your Mind, eh?


  • Otis B. Driftwood

    “Why is it so imperative for commentors to ascribe an ulterior motive to my writing and to look for a secret agenda behind each and every word that I have written.”

    Most likely because it is so ill-informed, commentors assume you must be a partisan hack rather than ignorant and narrow-minded, which your writing makes you out to be.

    “For those of us who still remember the moral compass we grew up with in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s”

    Gadzooks! People still use that line? Let’s ask blacks, women, and gays how well your moral compass worked back in the ’40s.

    “Since Clinton personally put the Presidential stamp of approval on oral sex and adultery in the White House, American teenagers and Hollywood producers have looked upon this one event as the green light for anything goes.”

    If you think Clinton was the first President to have an affair, you might want to trying reading a book instead of watching reality TV. Google “Warren Harding Nan Britton” for one.

    This notion that Clinton affected the youth is a phony talking point started by his dim-witted opponents looking to sling mud. I don’t know when the last time you actually talked to a teenager was, but they started having sex before 1992. I lost my virginity in 1984 at age 17 and I guarantee I gave no thought to what Reagan was doing at the time.

    “Just look at the statistics on young children having sex. Before the 1960s it was a non-issue. In the 1970s and 1980s we started to see some more sexual activity in our college-age and high school-age children.”

    Could this possibly be because before the ’60s sex between unmarried people was a bad thing and that people were less likely to admit to it, but as it became more acceptable in the ’70s and ’80s, people felt freer to talk about it? Besides how could young people back have gotten the notion to have sex without Clinton as a catalyst, unless you are proving your own argument to be false.

    “Since Bill Clinton was in the White House, we now have kids in grammar school and junior high having sex.”

    This also happened before 1992 as well.

  • Bob,

    The reason people assume that your indictment of Bill Clinton in the Lewinsky affair is a partisan political statement is that it has so frequently, and in such an identical form yours, been used as one. You may be right that people are unfairly jumping to conclusions, but it can’t be a surprise.

    Now, to the actual content of your article:

    You’ve made the suggestion that there’s a causal link between Clinton’s extramarital affair and the “decline of morals in America” — what you haven’t done is given any evidence that there’s a connection. Indeed, you’ve given us, your readers, no reason whatsoever to believe there’s any relationship there.

    Nor, for that matter, have you provided any reason to believe that The Bachelor is an accurate portrayal of American morality in 2007 — or even an accurate representation of television standards.

    What if, for example, I could point you to an academic study that finds that sex on TV is currently at its lowest level in 30 years? Indeed, it finds that the peak of sexual explicitness on television came between 1977-79…when the man in the White House was a born-again Christian.

    Now you’re under no obligation to believe the results of that study, but it does provide evidence for its claims…which you do not.

  • You cant pick and choose “morality”, Bob. The purpose of any discussion is to explore a wider definition, not to constrain it to some lame fabricated TV show for which you have more than anabiding interest.

    Nobody is personally attacking you. You cannot ascribe what you call the decline of “American morals” to two single events that happened within a little over a decade.

    The thing is, there never was that moral compass you think there was–any more than we lived in white picket neighborhoods where the mothers wore pearls all day long, the fathers went to some undefined grey flannel suit hob and they slept in twin beds.

  • Bob Greenspan

    The purpose and sole intent of my article was to discuss the show The Bachelor and the Moral conduct of the participants and my take on how we got to this point.

    My dictionary defines Morality as “the Principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior”. Based upon this definition I chose to apply what I think used to be the standards of America in days past with what we now see in our living rooms thanks to shows such as the Bachelor.

    Somehow many of those who have read my article have not really read or understood what I have said or they simply chose to ignore it. They have chosen instead to turn this into a political forum attacking George Bush and the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and American Foreign policy and of course to continue with the personal attacks on my character and motives. I re read my entire article and saw no mention of George Bush, Iraq, Afghanistan, War, Politics, or the Democratic or Republican Party.

    Why is it so imperative for commentors to ascribe an ulterior motive to my writing and to look for a secret agenda behind each and every word that I have written. Oh how nice it would be to see a comment that actually discusses what I said about the Bachelor TV Show!

  • Harold Nikiforakis

    If you’re serious about laying blame for the moral problems plaguing America, let’s forget about Bill Clinton, and forget about blaming some amorphous entity called “Hollywood”.It’s funny that you singled out Disney-owned ABC when the biggest corporate smut-peddler of all is Rupert Murdoch, responsible for the sleaziest reality shows–think
    Temptation Island and Joe Millionaire–the crudest network shows–Family Guy and War at Home–the porniest cable shows–Nip/Tuck and The Shield–and of course MySpace. Think about that next time you watch the phony culture warriors on Fox “News” and rail against “Hollywood”.

  • Jess Turisch

    Let’s see, in Bob’s world morals = sex and pathetic = vile personal attack.

    Yep, “pathetic” pretty much sums it up…

  • Jess Turisch

    It’s pathetic, Bob, that the only way the right-wing can discuss morality is to frame the argument by chosing what the word means. Everything you didn’t talk about hinges on morals; that you choose to either not see this or ignore it so you can obsess about sex says more about you than it does about the state of morals in this country.

    Also, you totally avoided being called-out on glossing over the numerous sexual scandals that have been plaguing the Republican party and its wing-nut supporters the past decade – scandals that have been conspicuously absent among Democrats and the left.

    That’s pathetic, too.

  • Is this satire?

  • duane

    It’s silly to blame Clinton. If you want to isolate a single person, I can think of no better choice than Elvis Presley. Elvis, in effect, created teenagers, during a time of growing economic prosperity and an adult culture that offered little to budding Marlon Brandos and Jane Mansfields. Elvis led to the Beatles, which, coupled with Vietnam, led to hippies and the drug culture, the creation of the notion of “the establishment,” then Woodstock, then Altamont, which led to the disco generation, then MTV, then reality programming, such as The Real World and The Bachelor and other similar dreck, the rise of the paparazzi, then Girls Gone Wild, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Britney, et al., and finally MySpace with its overt narcissism and its compulsive acquisition of friends-at-a-distance in the biggest self-esteem sham in history.

    Don’t get me wrong. I love the Beatles and Hendrix and Black Sabbath, and I used to watch Headbanger’s Ball on MTV, and YouTube is great fun. Elvis was a little before my time, but I think he’s OK. This is all about youth culture, and youth culture started with Elvis. It’s an old story. Clinton is just a blip. The brain trust triumvirate composed of Marilyn Manson, Kurt Cobain, and Madonna, for example, have been far more influential.

    Finally, you seem preoccupied with sexual manifestations of “immorality.” There are a lot worse things to complain about.

    But yeah, The Bachelor is an abomination. Don’t blame the networks. Blame the bored simpletons who tune in to watch. You know the network execs are laughing at their audience. They’re not the nitwits. But there is a special circle of Hell reserved for them. It’s the “people who use their intelligence to sow mass apathy and indolence and who reinforce the misplaced adoration of the superficial” circle.

    Now, excuse me, those damned kids are on my lawn again.

  • Morality is just a hangover from the religious cults that dominate our past. What we need is a new spirit of honesty and integrity, not more dubious morals.

  • Bob Greenspan

    I am sorry that instead of discussing the issues I raise in this article, the person who posted comment #1 chose to make a personal attack on me, which is in violation of Blog Critics rules. My article was about the decline in American Morals which I attributed to various causes primarily American Television and Bill Clinton. My article is not about The Bush Administration, politics, war, invasion, occupation, kill ratios etc. It is too bad that those who are allowed the privilege of commenting about the content of articles on this Blog choose to make personal attacks on the authors rather than confining their remarks to the issues raised. If the author of Comment #1 chooses to continue this invective towards me I shall not respond to it but shall ask that his vile personal comments be removed and he be banned from posting on this Blog.

  • Jess Turisch

    It’s a sad testimony to the state of BC that partisan stupidity like this doesn’t surprise me on this site. With not less than a half-dozen sex scandals from Larry Craig through whatever Oral Roberts’ daughter-in-law is festering in the right-wing camp, the best you can do is trot out Clinton’s BJ from nearly 10 years ago?

    If you want to talk morals, let’s talk about the Bush administration’s illegal, unprovoked, and unwarranted invasion and occupation of a sovereign country, embrace of torture, and decision that a 30-to-1 civilian-to-suspected-terrorist kill ratio constitutes valid “collateral damage.”

    You know, when I first started to read this tripe I thought it was pathetic [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor].