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America the Vulgar
Wall Street Journal, by Lee Siegel

Original Article

Posted By:Hazymac, 12/7/2013 11:48:18 AM

"What´s celebrity sex, Dad?" It was my 7-year-old son, who had been looking over my shoulder at my computer screen. He mispronounced "celebrity" but spoke the word "sex" as if he had been using it all his life. "Celebrity six," I said, abruptly closing my AOL screen. "It´s a game famous people play in teams of three," I said, as I ushered him out of my office and downstairs into what I assumed was the safety of the living room. No such luck. His 3-year-old sister had gotten her precocious little hands on my wife´s iPhone as it was charging

Comments:
Immersion in a coarse culture desensitizes. In our lifetimes most of us have been desensitized to a degree where we´re sometimes approving of foul or foul-edged language, so long as said words are plastered upon a target whom we think deserves them. The world of what was once called the fine arts has been sullied by what Duncan Williams called trousered apes. Some things are better said by implication, by diluting the shock rhetoric or putting it between the lines where intelligent folks can dig it out.

      


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Reply 1 - Posted by: Chuzzles, 12/7/2013 12:31:55 PM     (No. 9644398)

The late director, Alfred Hitchcock once said something to the effect that maybe the reason why his movies made such an impact on viewers, is that he always trusted in the fact that the viewer´s imagination could always scared them worse than anything he could put on screen.

The current crop of writers and directors rely on ´shock and awe´ rather then their own creative imagination. Since they have none, they assume that we don´t either. When vulgarity becomes gratuitous, it usually means that the writer an director has ´lost the debate´.

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Reply 2 - Posted by: gagolfer, 12/7/2013 12:32:47 PM     (No. 9644401)

Part of the author´s problem seems to be of his own making. Do I think it is wrong that unwanted emails and other material can bombard your computer? Of course. But he is getting so much of it and that just doesn´t happen on its own. You get that crap when you frequent sexually explicit websites for one thing. With small children in the house and a computer they have access to seeing, maybe he should show some parental responsibility and not be opening up his home to disgusting material coming where his children can see it by frequenting sites that anyone with a tiny degree of computer literacy knows will bring this garbage onto your computer, wanted or unwanted. Same with the wife´s Iphone. Maybe she shouldn´t have icons where she gets naked pictures of Beyoncé for her daughter to see. Personal responsibility goes a long way in stopping crapola you don´t want your children to see.

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Reply 3 - Posted by: Mildred, 12/7/2013 1:08:08 PM     (No. 9644432)

Well said #2. I couldn´t finish the article because the writer apparently visits some weird and lewd internet sites and watches the vulgar sitcoms when his children are awake. I don´t get that garbage on my computer, don´t have a smart phone and don´t watch the trash on tv. Anyone could look at anything in my home and not be as appalled as I was when reading what this writer looks at and reads. Oh well, America is the vulgar when its citizens do as Mr. Siegel does.

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Reply 4 - Posted by: BigGeorgeTX, 12/7/2013 1:31:59 PM     (No. 9644447)

The inevitable result of embracing secularism, tolerance and a desire to be like "the cool kids".

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Reply 5 - Posted by: Rakasha, 12/7/2013 6:58:59 PM     (No. 9644676)

#´s 2&3, I´m not sure where you get the idea that Mr. Seigel and his wife are visiting inappropriate sites, watching lewd TV shows or putting pornographic icons on their phones.

Our computer does not visit explicit websites, but some of the ads that appear in the margins on this site would curl your hair. I believe this is because my son and I play a KIDS online superhero game and some advertisers have a predetermined demographic for anyone who likes superheros or online games and also have NO constraints regarding what is acceptable to display.

It is nearly impossible to watch a current television show without encountering some vulgar word or comment that you weren´t expecting because it is billed as a ´family´ show. Apparently there are also many words and explicit discussions that are no longer considered WORTHY of an ´L´ or ´D´ from the rating icon. I have been surprised by unbelievably vulgar comments and suggestions in shows that were rated only for mild violence.

And you may not be aware of it but you can get to some very ´interesting´ pictures by simply pushing the icon for the weather or news and then following another icon or two. It´s not hard to imagine a young child wandering into places that no one should be with only a few screen touches.

Our culture has become so desensitized to the inappropriate that there is no ´safe´ place to go anymore. Even watching truly family-friendly shows on television we cannot escape commercials for shows about naked people, shows that are apparently about having sex, and ads for lingerie that almost isn´t there and supplements that every older man needs to take to still feel like a man.

All of this passes as ´normal´ and ´acceptable´ now and the author offers some well thought out observations on why.

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Reply 6 - Posted by: Chuzzles, 12/7/2013 7:24:06 PM     (No. 9644690)

#5 gets it. You don´t have to go to a vulgar or lewd site to get the nasty ads. But I do agree, that the author needs to be more vigilant of his children and the tech stuff.

Personal anecdote, my favorite quilt show near me has a huge problem. When you only type in the first two words of the shop name in the search engine, it connects you with a Japanese porn site. You have to type the whole name of the shop. That is the kind of world we live in now. Vulgar can pop up at the most innocent times.

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Reply 7 - Posted by: msjena, 12/7/2013 7:41:59 PM     (No. 9644708)

The author says he´s cool and likes X-rated movies and once wrote an essay on the F-word. I say to him, you can´t have it both ways! Anything adults do will trickle down to their children, whether it is drinking, smoking, watching porn, sex without marriage, an so on. And that goes for society, too. What cool to the upper middle classes in liberal havens like Manhattan and Los Angeles approaches tragedy when it trickles down to the poor.

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Reply 8 - Posted by: beancounter, 12/7/2013 9:08:51 PM     (No. 9644771)

I remember, as a kid, on the radio I would listen to stand up comedy on Saturday mornings. I´d listen to Bob Newhart, Bill Cosby, Phyllis Diller, etc.

That would be impossible now. There isn´t a comedian who doesn´t work blue.

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Reply 9 - Posted by: Charactercounts, 12/8/2013 2:44:38 AM     (No. 9644927)

#2 and #3, I have to agree with others that you don´t have to visit porn-type sites to get some pretty ugly stuff addressed to your e-mail--just the subject line alone is filthy. I´m always deleting them, but I didn´t ask to receive such filth.

I have also noticed a lot of really vulgar and some downright dirty stuff on "family TV shows." Then there are the crime shows, which show and talk of stomach-churning matters. It´s a full-time job to protect your kids and yourself from the garbage, and I don´t invite it.

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