The Pornification of America

“Sex sells” used to be the mantra of Madison Avenue.  Today it is smut that sells.

People can be very good at trumpeting certain causes, such as outlawing cigarette smoking in public places, making sure animals have rights, cleaning up the environment.  But when it comes to the pollution of the eyes and ears, protests are nonexistent.

So many stimuli exist in the 21st century that makes it practically impossible to shield young children from being bombarded by images and sounds that at the very least makes it quite difficult to explain to young people, at the worst makes life around them coarse and vulgar.

In the past, double entendres were employed as a way to get around a censor.  Nowadays, there is no fooling of what the true meaning of something is.  In fact, often the magnified message is quite clear, slammed in your face super-sized style, leaving no doubt what is intended.

All this crassness in the advertising and marketing industries is akin to a bunch of boys sneaking a peak at a porn website.  They know what they’re doing is considered “forbidden” but it’s fun doing it anyway because they’re getting away with something.

Here are recent samples of promotional campaigns that have appeared in print, on television, on billboards, and, incredulously, on public buses.  Evidently, city transportation agencies have no sense of decency on how they generate revenue.

Look at the HBO series “Hung.”  No, it is not about capital punishment.  According to the series description, “Ray resolves to take advantage of his greatest asset, in hopes of changing his fortunes in a big way.”

“Zack and Miri Make a Porno.”  Amazingly, some news outlets showed a touch of class by refusing to run the full title of this film.

“E! The Girls Next Door” ran commercials during TBS’s broadcast of the baseball division series last fall showing scenes of naked women’s backsides blurred, a naked woman who had mud on her breasts and nothing else, and women in all kind of lurid poses.  What a nice way to spend the evening with my 9-year-old son.

Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie” had the ad line “life is full of little pricks.”

Quizno’s marketing campaign for its Toasty Torpedo sandwich with a commercial showing a man physically inserting a phallic-shaped sandwich into an oven opening, with the oven speaking to the man ala the computer HAL from “2001:  A Space Odyssey,” “Put it in me, Scott.”

An ad for ”Bad Teacher” showed star Cameron Diaz leaning back at her desk in a classroom, her feet propped upon the desk with her legs uncovered, the words “eat me” on an apple, and the tagline, “She doesn’t give an F.”

What makes it worse is that the subject matter is a teacher.  The real world is crammed with enough true horror stories about inappropriate student-teacher relationships, so is it smart or responsible for a major motion picture studio to make a movie like this and distribute in theatres as entertainment across the country?

You know, not every movie-going patron is an oversexed sophomoric male whose sexual habits get satiated with Internet porn sites.

Clearly, things have gotten out of control.  This is not about censorship.  It’s about boundaries.  It’s about someone, somewhere taking a stand for what is naughty and what is nice.

If your reaction to these examples is “big deal,” then my point is made:  people have become blinded to good taste.

No standards seem to exist anywhere anymore.  Are viewers asleep out there?

We all should feel embarrassed when we see and hear these images.  Evidently shame is on the endangered species list of human traits along with responsibility for one’s actions.

No, using four-letter words and profane depictions is not the end of American civilization.  But why aren’t more people riled up about these gutter tactics occurring regularly on TV, billboards, and webpages?

One of the main problems with so much of this is the blurring of right from wrong.  Children growing up with a coarser culture are bound to be courser themselves.

We don’t know the possible harm that is being done on young people’s psyches.  As human beings all of us should strive to be the best that we can be.  Unfortunately, too many media messages push the envelope in a kind of contest of how crude can people get.

There is plenty of room in the marketplace for garbage.  The public should have the choice whether or not to be forced to look at it and smell it.

Whenever you see something that definitely crosses the line, make a point not to see the movie or watch the series or buy the product.  It is time for good, decent people to let these companies know that enough is enough.