Subjectivity & Morality

Do you remember the first PG-13 movie you ever watched? Or the first R-Rated movie you snuck into?  And when the “S word” was shut-up? Were any of these questions not applicable to you? If so, this represents one of the Morality debate’s biggest facets: subjectivity. Everyone is raised differently and introduced to certain concepts in different forms and at different times.

The Fairness doctrine was developed in the 40’s when there was a scarcity of television and radio stations. Now there are over 2200 broadcast stations and over 15,200 radio stations. Even with all of these options of what to watch and listen to, there is still a debate lead by conservatives that media needs to rate their shows to monitor morality for the benefit of children’s impressionable brains.

In my opinion, because morality is wildly subjective, there is no possibility that it will ever be an unspoken topic of debate. Conservatives are pushing for a media regulation that will limit what television and movies can portray to an audience. On the other hand, media conglomerates view this regulation as limiting to what they can artistically produce and give the public what they are craving.  Media conglomerates are looking to make money. If the show produces good ratings, it generates press, gets another season, and they make money. They make money by pushing the morality and rating limit a little. Give the public something to respond to and talk about!

If media corporations wrote the ratings I think it would be the same subjectivity/morality debate. There are channels that are known for being conservative and family friendly, and there are stations directed at a mature viewership. Racy shows might get racier, and conservative shows will most likely stay the same. However, there will always be the debate: how far is too far? Television is for the public good and if shows start pushing things too far, I worry they wouldn’t be able to recover. Part of the reason shows and movies receive awards is they can push the audience and move the audience in a way other producers and directors can’t. If everyone was pushing to a non-existent limit… how would we appreciate tastefully done movies? 

I believe that television and movies are a source of entertainment and what you choose to see or listen to, is your own choice. Entertainment is portable; you won’t be able to protect your children’s lives and ears forever. There always needs to be a balance. Don’t rush your kids to grow up before they are ready, but on the other hand, don’t shelter them in a way that could make them want to seek out unmoral content in spite of you. 

Entertainment should be entertainment. However, it is important to remember that with each new generation, the amount of entertainment they are immersing themselves with can be impressionable. Parents need to create their own family values, media aside, and have it be their constant. Media will be forever changing and influential, it is safe to say, morality can only be guaranteed in ways you promote and teach it. 

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