MTV was considered edgy when it went on air in 1981. Music TV helped make the music video industry, and advanced Hip Hop, rap, and highly sexualized video content. In the years hence MTV has shown fewer music videos and more so-called reality programs, racy, and trumped up programs about who’s sexier than whom and who’s sleeping with whom. Lately, programs have crossed the line into outright vulgarity.
Now comes “Skins,” a program imported from the UK featuring “actors,” which is to say underage youth with no experience, in wall-to-wall questionable, immoral, and illicit behavior. Stealing, drunkenness, lying to parents, drugs, sexual encounters, nudity, orgiastic innuendo, all get airtime.
But the problem is it’s illegal to portray naked pictures of children. It’s called Kiddie Pornography.
People are reacting nationally—which is somewhat encouraging in the sense that there’s enough moral reservoir left within the culture to lead people to object. Strangely, or maybe predictably, MTV executives so far claim to be surprised or clueless.
Surely it isn’t much of a stretch to argue that programming child pornography, however “hip,” is unadvisable, wrong, immoral, and likely illegal. Yet here we are.
It shouldn’t surprise us. American culture has been jettisoning moral absolutes, the idea of right and wrong, since the 1960s. But in doing so our culture, i.e. us, leaves itself open to an anything goes, do what’s right in your own eyes society.
In particular we’ve tried to have our cake and eat it too in terms of sexuality. We want total freedom but no physical or emotional consequences. We want to preserve quaint ideas like marriage when we finally have children, but even that concept is being challenge.
Culturally we’ve argued, reflected and encouraged by Hollywood, for embracing the idea that consenting adults without the benefit of marriage can sexually do whatever they want whenever they want with whomever they want. Let it all hang out.
After a time even this isn’t enough so we get “Skins” on MTV. We get a program exposing and exploring teenage sexuality and calling it normal. We get Kiddie Porn.
MTV and others will make the argument “If you don’t like it don’t watch it. Censorship is wrong.” But this libertine statement is at bottom narcissistic and self-indulgent, wanting the protection of society but accepting no responsibility for reinforcing, building, or contributing to the social good.
Years ago the United States Supreme Court used the phrase “no redeeming social value” in reference to pornography. This phrase describes “Skins.” It has nothing to offer but debauchery.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011
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