Cultural trends and Media Influence

Some PMed me and it gave me an idea for a thread.

Throughout the decades, various trends have been assimilated into our culture that can be traced back to media.

For example, when I was a teenager, Flip Wilson was popular, and he used the slogan, “The Devil made me do it!”

Even though it was just a joke, I believe this slogan worked its way into our subconsciousness and eventually into our souls, and now many of us, even those of us who are Christians and know that Mr. Wilson’s slogan is not theologically correct, tend to excuse our sins and dismiss our addictions.

Or we tend to blame all our shortcomings on someone else (the devil? the “man?” the “establishment?” “smoking man?” “our parents?” “our teachers?” our boss–see “going postal?” bullies? and of course, pervert priests?).

I think that some of these cultural trends can be quite dangerous. E.g., if you watch family tv, you will see a trend that started developing in which children insulted their parents and other authority figures. Back when I was a child watching “Leave it to Beaver” and “The Brady Bunch,” kids were kids–they didn’t have clever phrases and witticisms that they used around adults.

But now many televisions shows feature a wise-cracking miniature Don Rickles. It’s kind of funny–ON TV! But when your child does this in real-life, it is definitely NOT funny! Especially when he/she does it to a teacher, a policeman, or anyone else with the power and right to make the child’s life rather unpleasant!

What other media phrases, slogans, practices (e.g., Fonzie banging on the vending machine!), etc. have been assimilated into our culture?

E.g.,–“Where’s the beef?” Could this be the beginning of the HUUUUUUUGGGGE portions that restaurants now routinely serve?

E.g.–sleeping together before marriage–WHEN did this start to be shown consistently on television? I remember watching an episode of That GIrl where Don and Ann were shocked when her father mentioned her bedroom–nowadays, Don and Ann would be living together in that bedroom! What show broke the pre-marital sex barrier? Peyton Place?

E.g.,–the lack of respect for politicians, especially our President. I tend to blame this on the Watergate scandal–I was a teenager when all this happened, and I have to admit, it made me very cynical towards lawyers and politicians. Was the Watergate television coverage, which seemed to be constant back then, the beginning of our lack of respect for politics?

E.g.–the “bad boy” attractiveness. I think that this started with James Dean, but is there someone earlier? Errol Flynn, perhaps? Why is it that so many women and girls run after bad boys and men who end up hurting them and who are dreadful candidates for marriage?

OR–is it the other way around. Does our culture get assimilated into media and get expressed as a slogan, catch phrase, cool character, etc?

I used to work food service. I tend to think that this arose because overhead went waaaay up. Minimum wages, high rents, and the cost (and extra personnel) required to pass health inspections all skyrocketed.

This raised the cost of a restaurant meal so high that people would stay home, where they could fix the same meal for less than half the price.

So portions were increased so that people would get “their money’s worth.” The actual cost of the “raw materials” for restaurant food is a surprisingly small percentage of costs.

That’s my guess, anyway.

As for the “bad boy” thing - that goes back a loooong time. “Good woman converts bad man” goes right back to Esther, doesn’t it? And didn’t Paul say “If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him.** …****** Wife, how do you know whether you will save your husband? Husband, how do you know whether you will save your wife?” (1 Cor 7:13-16 RSV)


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