Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lost in Translation During the Clash of the Titans

The titans of pop culture have names that change depending upon the decades in which you grew up. They used to be Ward, June, Wally, the Beav, Andy, Barney, Aunt Bea, Betty Jo, Bobbie Jo, Billy Jo, Kate, Uncle Joe, Oliver, Lisa, Hazel, Mr. B (George), Dorothy, Harold, Jed, Jethro, Ellie May, and Granny.  They came from places like  Petticoat Junction Green Acres, Hooterville, and Mayberry.  Lucy and Desi slept in twin beds. The "Gaaah-laaaay" uttered by the wide-eyed and innocent Ellie May was the closest thing you'd hear to a cuss word no matter how many hours you watched in a row. Life wasn't as simple as they made it look. Yet, the innocence of the times, people, and places depicted made you feel safer and happier for having spent time sharing their world.

Unlike kids of today, we spent our days outside even when it was hot enough to fry an egg on an asphalt parking lot. In the 'olden' days the only air conditioning was outside under trees. A breeze on a 98F day could make you shiver. We occupied ourselves vs depending on a variety of battery and electronically driven gizmos and gadgets to do it for us. My bike was an army jeep, a horse, or a police car all in the span of 20 minutes even as late as my 6th grade year. Families and neighbors chatted on porches or under shade trees while snapping beans or shelling peas.  Kids said, 'Yes ma'am," and "No, sir," and acted like it when your back was turned because they knew another adult would care enough to be watching.

My family didn't even have a TV until I was a tween-ager. Books came alive with as much intensity as one of Steven Speilberg's 3D movies when flashlights lit the pages. If you mom caught on to your flashlight caper and you were lucky enough to be situated well, you could draw back the curtain and continue to read by street light. I blame my middle-aged eyes on the nights the streetlight was my flashlight. Beverly Clearly, Patricia St. John, and Gertrude Warner with all their cohorts wove simple tales that kept me awake till the end of the book without troubling my dreams. The children who lived between the covers of those books were innocent, resourceful, and respectful. 

I was born on the cusp of change. I don't for a minute want you to think I'm against progress. It's just that, sometimes, I wonder: at what cost has progress come? The buzz started out in whispers little more than rumors.  Back in the day, it was the closest thing to the frenzy that grew in response to the news Oprah was abandoning us. Chad Everette, as Dr. Gannon on Medical Center, was going to utter the first 'D' word ever spoken during prime time TV.  There was collective shock, outrage, and protest.  Yet, we all tuned in to see if it was true. And, it was. It wasn't too long after that when I was aware of my 1st exposure to a feminine hygiene commercial.  The rest, as they say is history.

I don't mind telling you that I found it all fairly invigorating in some ways. I was woman. They told me all this change was about enabling me to roar. I never burned a bra, but I can remember news accounts of protests where it happened. That makes me slightly younger than the age of suffragettes, I guess! By the time I graduated college, women could envision and obtain careers other than teaching and nursing.  That, as my nemesis, Martha would say, "is a good thing."

And we have the Hilton and Kardashian sisters, The Ozzy Osbourne and Gene Simmons families, as well as teen moms on MTV who rival bratty brides on Bridezilla.  Don't get me wrong, I am not sitting on some high-fallutin high horse. I grew quite fond of Kelly Osbourne during her Dancing With the Stars transformation even tho' I never watched the show.  Cable news told me all I needed to know in snippets here and there. I appreciate growth and change when I see it. My sense of her is that of a young lady who has turned her life around. Anyone would agree it was a feat given what she's dealt with in her life.  Yet, nothing about today's media titans leaves me feeling better for having spent time in their presence.  Frankly, a lot of times, I want a brain bath and reassurance that the world will be a better place tomorrow despite the vapid selfishness depicted in today's media circuses.

How far we've come and yet how much we've lost.  I recently attended a movie that was supposed to be suitable for early teens.  I didn't hear the 'D' word.  That might have been preferable since the 'F-bomb' was dropped in one scene while a character openly smoked dope in another.  Prime time commercials tout the advantages of intimacy enhancers and bemoan the intricacies of erectile dysfunction.  Little boys and girls can enter the names of  'potty' words and be transported thru the magic of the internet into a world of pornography so vile that the imagines will remain forever seared in their minds.

Young women celebrate their empowerment even as they celebrate the freedom to 'hook up' in relationships designated 'friends with benefits'.  Young men and young women flail in confusion over the value of being fully male or fully female.  Even as we celebrate our empowerment, we watch the stories of senseless slaughter because one person does not value the lives of others.

I wonder...did empowerment lead to slavery? Was what we gained worth what we lost in the process of our empowerment? Something was lost in translation:

Mad Penguin Creative
There is a God. He created you. He does care about the minutia of your life. You were created for a wonderful and unique purpose that you alone can fulfill. The God who created you will watch over you and enable you to complete the purpose for which you were created.  Even tho' life sometimes hurts, none of those hurts cancel out these truths.

Ephesians 2:10
 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Carol Anne Wright Swett 2011


  1. So true. I want my kids to read this as they have no concept of where I come from and how i was raised. You give words to the feelings I feel. Thanks.

  2. So hard to encapsulate, and I'm sure I'll be revisiting the juxtaposition again soon! BTW...donka-shane.... :-)