As I read Barak Obama's 2006 book "The Audacity of Hope" which outlines his "Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream", a main point that seems to repeat itself, and which I happen to agree with, is that America needs to focus more attention on the education of our youth. I think most would agree this is crucial to the bettering of our society as a whole. While Barak focuses on governmental increases in spending and the benefits of schoolteachers, my attention is drawn elsewhere, mainly towards how I learned as a child, and how this new generation is currently gaininig it's knowledge.
Sure, when it comes to technical jobs, formal schooling and education seems the logical path. But where do we learn "how to live"? Where do we learn how to make proper social engagements, and how to treat people that we interact with on a daily basis? For me, the answer was professional athletes, my parents and family, my teammates and also largely the people that I saw on TV. Yes, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air taught me that a good rhyme can lighten any situation...
I have a good friend who is an actor in Hollywood, who complains about reality shows and how they take the jobs of good actors such as himself, and give them to no-talent hacks. Besides the jobs of young inspiring actors, this new wave of Reality television takes something extremely valuable away from our culture; that being positive role models in the public eye.
We can spend all the money we want on restructuring the educational system, which will inevitably provide better books, teachers, etc(and which WILL ultimately help), but when kids go home and watch TV, this is where they learn "how to be". Unfortunately what they are seeing now is a bunch of spoiled rotten attention-hounding losers with no real skills or talents that should be learned. (Certainly learning how to "be hot" cannot count as a guiding lesson)
Paris Hilton, Kim Kardasian, Nicole Richie, the entire cast and all seasons of The Hills-at least Brittney Spears can dance!(or at least used to be able to dance) The entertainment industry has been stripped of all it's soul, in exchange for a market that sells sluttiness, extravegence, and over-indulgence. The days when Janis Joplin could be a pop star are long gone, replaced by an era that has no voice; instead a digitally enhanced recording, due to the original being an earsore.
Perhaps this is entertainment of a new age. A time when we can all put on our TV sets, Ipods and laptops and just stop thinking for 5-6 hours. A time to relax, and enjoy what we have and not worry about things. After all, this isn't like the 60's. Why try and cause a stir? We are so comfortable in our little lives that we never think of anything different.
"Shit, I voted for Barak, he'll change things, I'm gonna go grab a joint and watch survivor!"
Not the worst existence, yet I believe we can have much much better. If we really want to educate our country, I think it starts with providing the youth with positive role models. Unfortunately, it appears as though "sex sells" has become our national slogan.
Today, try turning off the TV and reading something about anything. Learn something besides how to act like a bitch. Go on Wikipedia if need be! I know, Bear Grills is eating a Zebra, it's awesome, but how many times have you seen him do it? Fuck, go find a Zebra and eat it yourself! At least there's an experience in that.
Here's to changing pace!
8 months ago