Ok, as a warning: this is my first Pit rant, and I’m not much for swearing, but I simply must share my boundless rage.
For those who didn’t catch it, Bill O’Reilly had a special on Fox last night, Corruption of the American Child . It was one of the most awful, intellectually worthless pieces of sensationalist bullshit that I have ever seen. Normally, I have a rule when it comes to Bill O’Reilly: I change the channel whenever I see his face. I do not do this often, as I also have a rule not to watch Fox News anymore. However, I thought I’d break it just for this oh-so-special event. Why, why, why do I do this to myself?
In any case, I didn’t catch the whole thing (between doing dishes and walking off my rage), but the segments divided up by topic: such as ‘rap music’, ‘pro-wrestling’, and ‘radio’.
Now, let me say one thing: I know that 90% of what the entertainment industry churns out (and probably higher in popular music) is absolute crap. Even the film lobbyist came out and admitted that there is just not enough time or money to produce good and worthwhile stuff to satisfy the American audience. However, blaming the entertainment industry for satisfying what we want to see is like blaming Keebler for American obesity because we like eating cookies and they sell them. Yes, there are people out there without scruples. However, I believe that we have to take responsibility for ourselves, as unfashionable a concept as that might be.
Bill O’Reilly chose to frame the theme by talking about a hypothetical child. This child would not be supervised by parents, instead having unlimited access to movies, TV, and the Internet. He regularly brought up this poor, poor child and asked why each guest didn’t seem to care about how this innocent tyke was being corrupted. Of course, he never bothered to cover the fact that the corruption itself – that entertainment causes society to degrade, rather than the other way around – is highly debatable and far from proven. But, of course, this is Bill O’Reilly we’re talking about. His “bulldog journalism” doesn’t have time for facts, only for getting on the offensive.
His interviewing style basically consisted of antagonizing the guests. Rather than asking questions, he told them things and basically asked them to agree (of course, they would not). When he didn’t get the answer he wanted, he would simply ask the question again, or comment nastily about how they apparently agreed but wouldn’t admit it. Bill: Why even have guests at all? Why not just spit and rave at a still picture? It would have saved editing time to make sure that their point of view could never be coherently shown.
First, those representing rap music were criticized for not helping empower the poor. When they explained that it was not their responsibility to lift people from poverty and rather that they were a reflection of inner city life, Bill commented that they must just not care about the fact that their audience was poor. Of course, the rap representative brought up the real audience: suburban kids with cash to spend. Bill simply said repeatedly that he didn’t want to talk about that, and refused to allow the guy to speak about it. Rightly so, because it simply debunked his argument. Rap music (and moreso music videos) are aimed at people with surplus money! How many kids in the ghetto can spend $17.99 on every new rap CD and have cable to watch MTV? People in true poverty are an audience, but I daresay not the main one. Rap took off when it was taken up by the middle class.
Now I agree that rap has a lot of crap about ho’s and drugs and whatever. Yet, Bill seemed to think not only should there be a message that these things are destructive (which I believe there certainly is in at least some rap) but that they should not even be mentioned without hammering the point so that a ten year old child could have no way of misunderstanding. This is essentially impossible, because some idiot kid will always misunderstand. If rap music became all lollipops and rainbows and “don’t do drugs” and “stay in school, kids”, it would hastily lose all relevance and die. Of course, Bill doesn’t seem to realize that the entertainment industry doesn’t decide for us what we like. They are, instead, tyrannical beings that have decided they actively want to destroy society.
Next, he tore into pro wrestling. No, I do not like wrestling, so I don’t watch it. Bill showed videos of various morons imitating wrestling moves and some who got hurt. He then made the point that children can’t tell the difference – yet the guy who they brought up for being injured was an adult! This guy claimed that the wrestling people were responsible. Oh, give me a fucking break. They even showed that wrestling includes “don’t try this at home” messages, and quoted research that even the majority of children can easily determine for themselves that pro-wrestling is not real and that these moves are a bad idea to use on your friends. The wrestling representative even pointed out that kids are much more likely to be watching wrestling with parents. Bill didn’t care – he just, again, hammered on that same, poor, innocent, unsupervised child. When the wrestling representative said simply that they never claimed this content was suitable for everyone and that parents are responsible for what their kids watch, Bill, again, simply commented along the lines of “Ok, so you don’t care about kids. Next question.”
The next segment was about the Internet – or so they said, I turned it off at this point. I am pretty certain there was no real content to be gleaned from this exercise in petty inanity.
Bill: you claim to care so very, very much about the poor, innocent children. Yet, your show – with graphic content of both hideously violent and disgusting things and suggestive sexual content – was played at 8pm (9pm EST), a time when unsupervised children likely have easy access to the TV. This included clips from R-rated movies that you claimed were so hideously disgusting as to be inappropriate for children. Well, no shit. That’s why they are rated R – 17 and up without a parent! Hence, your poor, innocent, unsupervised child should not be able to see these films unless the movie theatres screw up! Of course, you didn’t mention this. You simply mentioned how these films are marketed to kids, and how exactly somehow, mysteriously, they have access to them (with parents) you didn’t bother to mention.
Oh – and if you care so much about bloody poverty, why don’t you take it to somebody who might be able to do something about it? Perhaps a congressman might be able to solve this problem a bit more efficiently than a rap musician? Oh, but that might cause a tax increase! Heaven forfend we actually put our money where our fucking mouth is! Why don’t you stop trashing welfare while we’re at it?
All right, now the final reason why I am pissed off: despite the fact that I am usually not bothered by violent content, the repeated showing of graphic gore of the worst kind – without context, plot, or resolution – gave me a bloody nightmare! I haven’t had a nightmare in at least a year (at least not one that woke me up in the middle of the night). And yes, I know it comes squarely from this fetid pile of irresponsible journalism. Here’s a brief synopsis:
I dreamt that I was in the house I grew up in. I presume I was a kid, because I was ‘smaller’, because I was in that house, and because my sister was about 6 years old. (I’m usually a kid in nightmares and dreams where I feel powerless.) I went upstairs and I found Juliette Moore’s bloody corpse. Now, I’m not sure why – I haven’t seen anything with Ms. Moore in recent memory, and I surely bear her no particular ill-will, but nevertheless, there she was, propped up in a chair with her mouth wide open and blood pouring out her mouth and down her chin.
As my mind turned over the horror of this situation, it somehow morphed into the fact that she was only brutally injured, not killed (though I remember clearly that she was initially). She was very angry at me for some reason I didn’t understand. Then, inexplicably, she started shouting (around mouthfuls of blood) questions in Bill O’Reilly style! She wouldn’t believe me that I wasn’t a Hollywood producer. (She wasn’t angry about violence in the media, but instead child actors. She kept screaming about how I’m making these kids work in films like slaves. That part I really don’t get, but hey.)
Finally she made a move to attack me. I ran downstairs and got the biggest knife in the house (a serrated breadknife) and went to the hall beside the stairs waiting to see if she’d follow. Of course, she did, and came at me zombie-like with blood still streaming down her, shouting questions and accusations as if I had done this to her (though I hadn’t), but always about the film industry. Even though I would answer no, I didn’t do it, no, that’s not the way it is, she would, in Bill O’Reilly style, never accept what I said – she would try to twist my words and tell me how I just didn’t care about kids, and to just admit it! Finally she jumped at me and I grabbed her, held a knife to her, and told her not to move or I would kill her. My sister Meri was standing by in horror, and I frantically told her to call 911 because of this intruder attacking me. She did, and I began to fear what would happen when the police arrived finding me with a knife to this injured woman, but I was too afraid to let her go…
Finally, I awoke. 5:30 fricking AM? Of course, I couldn’t get to sleep, because of thinking about this stupid dream I got so angry that I started composing this rant. Finally, I went back to sleep for awhile, and when I got up, came directly to the computer to write this rant.
So, if you’re still with me: In conclusion, fuck you Bill O’Reilly for being the hypocritical asshole that you are. Fuck you for giving me this weird fucking nightmare and fuck you for making me so angry. Fuck you for being such an idiot that I can’t help but rant about you. But thanks for the laugh at the irony of showing “The Corruption of the American Child” on the FOX Network.
Lastly, I apologize to my fellow posters for the relatively low ratio of profanity in this thread, but I simply wanted to vent, not be imaginative. Plus, I didn’t sleep well. Goddamnit.