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Popular Media Shows Lack Of Responsibility In Society (Article)
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Minister Ty Alexander
(Ty Huynh)
Star Trek was always a favorite since childhood, but the most recent series, Star Trek Picard and Star Trek Discovery, made by CBS have turned me off to watching more than a handful of episodes. They display too much of what is wrong with popular media and little of what made me really love the old series.

The newer series show slick, crisp CGI effects, dramatization, and old, familiar characters that draw us in as long-time fans, but the glossy display soon gets marred by bad influences that have come from media trends of the past decades and the move to unregulated mediums, like Internet video streaming.

Characters now swear openly and don’t behave in the genre’s norms, sharp special effects add unnecessary blood and gore that used to only be in horror movies, scenes are over dramatized, and the storylines are now typical of other dramas.

The wonder of discovery and great storytelling in the old series are replaced with drama and themes that are no different than other TV series. The episodes all feel unfinished and extended into an extremely long movie, instead of being largely self-contained. You can watch most old episodes of Star Trek independently without feeling they were incomplete. I always got the feeling in the new series that the episodes ended abruptly.

Maybe this extra-long dramatization comes from trying to get people hooked into the series and come back, but the popularity of the old series’ formula show that is not what made people come back. It was innovation, discovery, and the deeper tackling of many interesting themes that made Star Trek: The Next Generation my favorite of the genre. The Star Trek series after it slowly moved away from that formula, and I didn’t continue in watching most of them until the recent Star Trek: Picard was released. Its advertising of old, familiar characters brought my interest back.

But after watching the newest episodes, I see it has lost its appeal. Its suitability for children and even most teens, who would make a new generation of fans, is also gone. This is a very bad trend in entertainment that mirrors the music industry’s overuse of explicit songs, which I brought up in “#METOO and Gun Violence symptoms of larger morality battle”.

This trend of more and more explicit content has been becoming the norm for years and too often is freely accessible and desirable to children and teens. Even shows on federally regulated, prime-time television are showing more swearing and things that are inappropriate for general audiences. Sexuality and sexual joking are very common now.

Are writers, actors, creators, and their audiences so desensitized to inappropriate material that its spread and popularity is unquestioned? The latest Democratic debate in Nevada brought up the issue of Michael Bloomberg’s attitude and suitability for being president in his past of using sexually inappropriate behavior as well as his administration of questionable policies, like New York’s “Stop and Frisk,” which targeted people of color. Those issues and how he handled them probably ended his bid for president.

Creators and audiences alike need to be more aware of their roles in society and not just blindly participate in things that do more harm than good. Aren’t we all mentors and examples to people around us?

In the #METOO article, I noted how saturation of bad focuses and morals in popular media is changing how society thinks and behaves. It is reaching our children who are taking these “norms” as good, and they are chasing after and emulating them. Children are becoming killers and rapists and even starting to work together in immoral behavior that used to only be found in gang related crimes.

I noted this in the #METOO article. The explicit nature of popular music I discussed there is mirrored in video streaming services, like Netflix and Amazon Video, who are making a lot of new content that is marked for mature audiences only. It’s a trend that has made popular music, media, and social media unsafe for children, young teens, or anyone that is impressionable.

It’s time we make our voices heard as consumers and walk away from shows and content that are too explicit. We can’t completely turn away from music and video services, because they are often the only venues and do supply good content. Cutting ourselves off completely also removes our awareness of what is happening in the world and what we face as parents, mentors, and leaders.

We need to make venues and creators aware by boycotting bad offerings and telling them what kind of change is needed. Good media and storytelling does not need “mature audience” content to make money and be popular. Children and society need much better examples if we are to stop this trend fueling the lusts and immoral thinking that drives the newest norms in violence and crime.

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