This blog chronicles my life as I try to balance healthy lifestyle habits with my husband's penchant for pizza rolls and my daughter's desire to watch iCarly 8 hours a day. It contains a mostly humorous, kind, and somewhat spiritual look at everyday life and the people who live it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Grace #25 Freedom of Speech

I have been very lazy about my graces lately, but I have a found a show so worthy of being a Grace that it has pushed me out of my laziness enough to blog about it. I give very little thought to my basic rights in this country because I don't have to think about them. I was born unto them and thus far haven't felt significantly threatened that I'll lose them. A Penn & Teller have a new-to-me-who-takes-a-long-time-to-discover-stuff Showtime series called Bullsh*&t.

In these 28-48 minute shows they take a topic, any topic -- Prostitution, Sleep, Global Warming, Pet Lovers -- and they decide whether or not the commonly held social beliefs or governmental laws about that topic are, well, bullshit.

I like this show because it's funny. I like this show because it's actually very well researched. I like this show most of all because it makes you think. It's entertaining, adult, thought provoking TV and that to me is when TV is at its best. Through Netflix (also a Grace, as you may recall) Steve and I have watched Seasons 4,5,and 6. One of the seasons had a show on Porn. Both sides of the Porn issue were debated: is it addictive, dangerous, morally corrupt, women exploitive trash OR is it harmless adult entertainment. (The show was only dealing with adult porn, not child pornography about which there is no debate: it is criminal and all people related to the making, selling and buying should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and then killed - just my opinion). There was an "expert", a professor at some university in the southwest, who kept equating the viewing of pornography with acts like rape, objectification of women, and immoral behavior. She kept using the term pornography to be interchangeable with adult and child. She referred to consensual adult pornography as rape because some porn apparently does depict rape fantasies. What I liked about the show was Penn's response that words mean something. Tossing about the term rape should be not casual. It should be not the punchline of a joke. It should not be used to scare your audience into believing your point of view. The professor admitted that there wasn't any research to back up her claims so she resorted to confusing her audience by drawing conclusions such as viewing pornography encourages rape and viewing adult pornography encourages viewing child pornography.

These types of scare tactics have become common place in our media where words really don't mean anything. Slow news day? Throw some statitistics around scaring people into believing that they will die from H1N1 if not vaccinated by a new and largely untested vaccine. (Could it be that the makers of the vaccine who stand to profit greatly are influencing the media? Hmmm...) Not sure if a criminal sounds scary enough? Call him a terrorist or say he has terrorist ties. Maybe throw the word "serial" into a description of his crimes, that'll get the viewer excited.

Penn is right: words do have meaning. I use exaggeration, hyperbole, and humor all the time on this blog. AND I choose my words carefully. I want them to have meaning. I don't want to just spew more bullshit.

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