What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
photo credit: e-magic
I rarely watch TV. Sometimes when I quilt I’ll turn on the TV to see if there’s anything on other than the normal degenerate filth. In the past few weeks I’ve seen some commercials that a car company is using to promote their vans which have flip-down TV screens, allowing you to play a DVD and placate your children so you can enjoy some peace and quiet.
These commercials really disturb me. The children are shown fighting, throwing food, screaming and causing a general ruckus, when an adult enters the room and flips down a TV screen. The children immediately turn to the screen, drop their jaws, roll their eyes back a little into their head, and watch whatever is on. Silence is created, the child’s umbilical cord is plugged into the system, and the adult walks away content. The ending line of the commercial says “your kids will thank you, and you’ll thank us.”
Such parenting tactics are, in my inexperienced opinion, passive and escapist diversions to shut one’s kids up in order to enjoy some peace and quiet.
This mentality reminds me of Mildred in Fahrenheit 451, who is constantly wearing electronic seashells (in our day, ipod headphones) or watching shows on the walls (large TV screens) in order to escape the dull monotony of her life and avoid fixing her familial problems:
The little mosquito-delicate dancing hum in the air, the electrical murmur of a hidden wasp snug in its special pink warm nest. The music was almost loud enough so he could follow the tune.
Without turning on the light he imagined how this room would look. His wife stretched on the bed, uncovered and cold, like a body displayed on the lid of the tomb, her eyes fixed in the ceiling by invisible threads of steel, immovable. And in her ears the little Seashells, the thimble radios tamped tight, and an electronic ocean of sound, of music and talk and music and talk coming in, coming in on the shore of her unsleeping mind. The room was indeed empty. Every night the waves came in and bore her off on their great tides of sound, floating her, wide-eyed, toward morning. There had been no night in the last two years that Mildred had not swum that sea, had not gladly gone down in it for the third time. (Fahrenheit 451)
Whether we are voluntarily plugging ourselves in or plugging our children in, the intent is the same: diversion. Such entertainment can certainly be used sparingly as a form of recreation. But when our children have their seashells inserted for four hours a day, something is definitely wrong. Parents are shirking their divine responsibility to teach and nurture their children, choosing instead to delegate such responsibilities to the entertainment industry—a world with far different morals, goals, and tactics.
Children would benefit much more by listening to a conversation between their parents where they expressed their love for one another and their family, discussed the gospel, or opined on life, philosophy, and world events. They would learn far more useful information by reading a book than by staring at a screen for hours on end, being inundated with deceptive advertising and enticing imagery. Our society would be much better off if everybody turned their seashells off and actually talked to one another.
With so much time spent being entertained and plugged in, we naturally neglect our other responsibilities:
Recreation is important, but in many cases we have allowed it to literally root out of our daily lives the study of the gospel and the scriptures. No doubt our challenge is not so much a lack of time as it is the perpetual rat race which smothers us under a virtual tidal wave of tantalizing trivia. (W. Cleon Skousen, Do You Really Want the Rest of the Book of Mormon?)