I watched the first seven minutes of a Glee episode tonight. I was thoroughly disgusted and repulsed by what I saw.
The new girl fainted onstage during an important glee club competition, thus disqualifying the team.
As she recovers from her faint, her other team members scorn her and call her nasty names (including the name for a female dog). There were three swear words in the first two minutes.
This is a show that takes place in highschool. With highschoolers using these words.
Many teenage girls watch Glee and followers of this popular TV show call themselves "Gleeks."
We wonder why our society is so perverse. Perhaps it has something to do with our media....?
I went to a conference today with my mom, friend, and friend's mom (thanks for driving!). We were there to hear the session on essays (since that's what we're learning right now) but I found the first session very interesting.
The first session was about "The Four Language Arts" but what I found so fascinating was the lead-up to the speaker's points.
He said that babies today are born with overstimulated auditory senses. There is a constant buzz in our world, and even babies in the womb can hear it. There is the buzz of the lights, of furnace systems, refrigerators, TV sets which are in constant use, etc. We block out this background noise, but it still makes it harder to concentrate on one thing.
It isn't that there are lots of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) in this world, it's that we all have short attention spans and lots of distractions.
The most interesting thing I got from the session had to do with the importance of reading aloud to children.
Most parents stop reading aloud to their kids when the kid is able to read on their own. But what do kids (learning to read) read? Picture books or beginner chapter books.
What do parents read to their children? Longer chapter books that are above the kid's current reading level.
When parents continue to read to their kids - a level or two above the kid's level - the kid takes in new concepts and is always learning. They ask questions - what does this mean? What does that mean?
But if parents stop reading to their kids when the kid learns to read, the kid will stay at the same reading level his whole life.
Let me explain this (they way they did).
A kid starts reading beginner chapter books like The Babysitters Club, Magic Tree House, or Star Wars books. The writing is simple and easy to comprehend, as is the plot line.
He gets a little older and starts reading books that look older and more advanced, but they still have the same writing style - simple and easy to comprehend. The example they used was The Percy Jackson Series.
Then the kid gets a little older and they start reading books that look older and more advanced, but they still have the same writing style - simple and easy to comprehend. The Hunger Games, or Twilight, for example.
And the kid keeps getting older and reading books that look older and more advanced but are really just filled with the same fluff parents give their kids to learn to read from.
I loved what the speaker said. "The only difference is the length and debauchery of the characters."
The 1800's was the most literate time in American history. Everybody read. Why? Well, no doubt they enjoyed it - but they didn't have anything else to do! They had no TV or radios. They had books.
They were able to read authors like Ernest Hemingway and, yes, *gulp* Herman Melville and appreciate those authors! Did you hear me? People in the 1800's appreciated Moby Dick!
Let me tell you something right now: I am looking forwards to reading Moby Dick.
Yes, you heard me right.
I am looking forewords to reading Moby Dick.
Because I think that reading challenging literature is important.
Moby Dick is certainly going to be a challenge, but I have made an agreement with myself: I will NOT going into a reading assignment with a pre-conceived idea whether that the book will be good or bad. I won't. Because that can ruin a book. I've done it before. "This book is going to be such a bore... Ugh, why do I even have to read it?" Well, with that kind of attitude even my favorite book will turn into a boring read!
Back to my whole reading out loud to kids thing.....
Kid's whose parents don't read to them after they themselves start to read, stay at the same level - reading basic fluff. Not because they're stupid, but because they don't know any better! They don't know the wonderfully literature out there waiting to be read! Shakespeare, Homer, Tolkien, Austin, Bronte, Dickens, Sawyer! I could go on and on.
But kid's whose parents read to them just above their reading level.... Well, the kids grow up reading harder things. Also, they learn good listening skills.
In our world with so many distractions, it is amazing if kids actually sit and listen to important stuff. They can sit and watch (or read) mindless fluff, such as Glee (or any TV show for that matter - yes, that includes Doctor Who!). I think there is some plot underway in the USA.... To create a generation that literally does not care about what happens to the world - just so long a they are entertained.
Here is some proof for you:
Seriously, if you want proof that my generation does not care about anything worth caring about, just look at fandoms (i.e. the art of being a fan. The things surrounding the following of something famous).
To a Sherlock fan, the impending Third Season and the return of the "dead" Sherlock Holmes is the most important thing in the whole wide world. Ooooohhh the Reichenbach feels! Sherlock "died!" He fell! How did he survive? They wrack their brains to try solve how Sherlock survived the fall.
Doctor Who fangirls spend their days wishing that the Doctor would come and take them travelling through time and space.
Trekkies. I really don't have to say much more. There are TWO documentaries out there about how crazy Trekkies are. One woman dresses in her Trek uniform to go to work everyday. When she was called in for jury duty, she wore her Trek uniform. People get their ears surgically altered to look like Vulcan ears! I have personally seen Klingons at a Multiple Sclerosis walk.
People do. not. care. about our world. And it is getting worse and worse every generation.
But I'm going off on a tangent again.
One more thing about the conference thing before I sign off.
One of the speakers told a story about a theory. A theory that if all a students would copy the Bible for four hours a day, they would get through life with a good education. They would get grammar, literature, penmanship, history, geography, etc. It turns out that illegal homeschoolers in China who don't have access to textbooks, use what they have - which is sometimes solely the Bible.
My point is that reading aloud is important. Good literature is important - not just mindless fluff. If we are to ever reach out to this evil world and make a difference, we have to educate ourselves.
We have to educate ourselves.