15 April 2006

You never can be sheltered from it

On Thursday, I watched the episode of the satirical cartoon South Park, "The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers". It first aired on Comedy Central where SP normally airs on November 13, 2002, but first aired in syndication locally on KBHK-TV (UPN 44) on Thursday, April 13. Of course, the episode parodies J.R.R. Tolkiens Lord of the Rings book series; the story focuses on Stan, Kenny, and Cartman having lent their rented copy of The Fellowship of the Ring to their friend Butters. Butters, however, discovers that in the FOTR case was a porn video, and Stans parents find FOTR in the box for their porn video. Now, the boys are on a mission to return the porn tape to the video store before they are caught by bullying sixth graders who happened to find the porn video in the FOTR case; the sixth graders disalike Lord of the Rings. Similar to Lord of the Rings huh?

Now, those of you whove seen the Super Bowl XXXVIII (38th for you illiterate people) most likely have seen the part where Justin Timberlake former lead singer for the boy band NSYNC performed his hit "Rock Your Body" with Janet Jackson. A slight mistake from JT causes Jacksons breast to be exposed before the tens of thousands of spectators at the Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, where the SB was held, as well as the millions watching the game on television. That led to millions of dollars in fines and much outrage among angered parents, and the incident was played repeatedly in the news for the rest of February and part of March 2004. Please, if youve seen that, dont go brag that youre a virgin blame it on Justin Timberlake.

Going back to the present, on Friday afternoon I was flipping through the channels and on KICU (channel 36, cable 6) was an advertisement for Dish Network Satellite Television. Several satisfied customers expressed their views of the service to persuade customers to subscribe, and one parent featured in the commercial stated that she trusts Dish Networks "Parental controls" to shield her children from inappropriate materials.

This commercial, the South Park episode I watched the day before, and the Janet Jackson breast-exposure incident inspired this thought of mine. Parents should accept that they, no matter what, can never shield their children from inappropriate content. Of course, when their children become 18, their parents dont have to care for them anymore, so they have the right to access what their parents forbade. Then, you have incidents like what happened in the South Park episode, where Stans parents were careless and accidentally put their porn video in the box for The Fellowship of the Ring, which would be lent to one of their childrens friends. In addition, there is the Janet Jackson incident, where the parents who paid about $60-70 for seats at the Reliant Stadium to see the Super Bowl with their family and whoever was watching the Bowl live on CBS saw Jacksons "you know what". No matter what, parents must accept that their children WILL be in situations where their innocence is broken, and they will be exposed to content and values that theyd deem inappropriate for their children. I mean, what are ultra-conservative parents going to do next, go as far as to supervise their children EVERYWHERE to ensure they arent exposed to immorality? Trust me, its real life. If I were a parent, I would do what Tokens dad suggested in the episode of South Park and just explain and context the inappropriate content to my kids, rather than keep them immature and just shelter them. Its just a crazy, loose world out there, and people must be prepared for the worst to come.

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