is it generational?

A.jpgt times, my son and I disagree when it comes to contemporary culture. That’s not surprising, of course. We have different life experiences, and it’s common for different generations to see things differently. It’s always been so. I won’t even get into Elvis Presley.
And so I left the following as a comment on his post about the recent research on the the negative effect on teenagers of today’s music that glorifies sexual degradation.

“The “causes,” I would imagine, are complex, and music that degrades sexuality and females, I imagine, is a contributing cause — as are the overemphases on sexuality in the media, the glorification of violence in video games, the lack of parental guidance and involvement etc. Hormonally saturated teenagers are ripe for sexual experimentation and even exploitation. This culture’s media doesn’t give them much in the way of healthy models and encouragement.
Take for example the fifties. The media, the movies, and the music all presented a Beaver Cleaver view of life. Our music teased us with “A White Sportcoat and a Pink Carnation.” We were brainwashed into believing that this was what life was.
A lot happened between then and now, and while lots of it was positive and healthy — as it applauded the acceptance and enjoyment of sexual energy — that energy wasn’t linked to violence or degradation (at least not in the general culture; there have always been subcultures).
Just as we in the fifties were faced with the possibility of being brainwashed into idolizing a false innocence, kids today are even more intensely and overwhelmingly faced with the temptation of being brainwashed into idolizing the other side of the sexuality coin.
I’m not sure there’s any solution to this diemma. We don’t want censorship, but, on the other hand, whereas I, as a parent, had, I think, considerable influence in helping my kids form their values, I think today’s parents have a much harder time competing with the predominant teenage culture in guiding their kids. It can be done, but it takes a whole lot of effort, and, even then, too often parents lose the competitive edge.
It’s very discouraging, really. We’re moving into a world that sci fi writers have always predicted: violence, sexual brutality, environmental breakdown, fascism. We’re almost there.
Is sexually degrading music the cause? Of course not. But it is a factor and an indicator and a great worry to many of us who have watched various facets of life on this planet continuously degrade over the past sixty years.

I was listening yesterday to a CD of Neil Diamond’s songs, and I especially always like, and am remembering now in the context of this post, his lyrics to “PLay Me.” What a wonderfully sensual song. Lusciously sensual but not overtly sexual. And then there’s “Longfellow Seranade.”


See the difference between then and now?

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