Pop culture has never been my thing, except of course, when I was Miley Cyrus’ age and younger. In fact, the older I get, the wider the hip chasm seems to stretch between my 19, 12 and 9 year old sons and me. This is why lately I’ve made more concerted efforts to tune in to their social worlds and the outside influences vying for their attention.
I got a prime opportunity just the other night when an unintentional remote fumble beamed MTV on the screen. Justin Timberlake captured my eye with his remarkable performance, one I had already heard about since this was a re-broadcast of the Video Music Awards (VMAs) from a few nights earlier. I beckoned my husband to the room where we watched JT’s fancy footwork, commented on the reunification of ‘N Sync, then preceded to gawk at Jimmy Kimmel who gushed profusely that JT is the greatest entertainer alive. Anyway. On to the commercials, where the real action occurred. My eyes widened and I shrieked, “Did I just see a condom commercial?” Yes, I did see a condom commercial. “WTH!” But, I’ve gotta admit since my younger boys weren’t around and MTV rarely, if ever, gets play in our home, I blew off the condom solicitation and comfortably placed myself in the fuddy duddy category of middle-aged adulthood.
Then, later, I learned MTV had billed its VMAs as PG-14. Since I only watched a fraction of the re-broadcast, it wasn’t until even later during news highlights that I got a pretty good glimpse of Ms. Cyrus’ booty cheeks, provocative gyrations and simulated finger licking. PG-14? Try again, MTV, because you’ve certainly crossed a line. It’s no wonder the Parents Television Council is hotter than a steam engine. PTC cited the condom petition, Cyrus’ vulgar exhibition and ever-the-thrill-seeker Lady Gaga’s act as the most egregious betrayals of their PG-14 rating. Thankfully, the PTC is putting even greater pressure on Congress to adopt the Television Consumer Freedom Act, which would give us ‘fuddy duddy’ parents the opportunity to tell our cable companies: “Yes, I want this channel and no I do not want that one, just because I have this one.” I’m all for it. As a journalist, I’ll stop many miles before suggesting censorship. But, I think we should all demand that networks and cable stations comply with the TV ratings systems and that we be given more consumer choice. These tools will give us even more power to do our jobs as parents.
Of course, and I’m laughing now, I’m sure my mom and dad were screaming for similar interventions when I was singing the lyrics to every Prince single released while also trying to watch explicit programming. Sigh!
Kysa Daniels blogs at VillageStrong.com, a family support initiative created to strengthen the bond between parents, caregivers and their children. You can find more at www.kysadaniels.com