Thursday, August 12, 2010

Our culture is in trouble if we have to advertise values

I am confident you have seen many of the commercials that are being produced these days by 'The Foundation for a Better Life.' This one below, the young guy giving the older lady his seat on the bus, is typical. Each time I see these, I am amazed at how low our culture has sunk: we no longer as a nation teach our children respect for their elders, or anything else anymore.

Many more of these clips are put out by this group, encouraging us to not be jerks and assholes. Apparently, unless we see an ad on TV (over and over and over and over.....), we will behave in ways that are completely outrageous, antisocial and rude. The clips that The Foundation for a Better Life are currently running incessantly on nearly every channel around the clock (even Food Network) include:

1) a Downs Syndrome girl getting picked as Home Coming Queen at a high school prom.

2) after a new high school girl gets the cold shoulder in the cafeteria from the popular girls, a considerate girl comes over and has lunch with the jilted gal.

3) the newly wed guy sits down in a bar after a squabble with the missus, and the barkeep bolsters his spirits as to the 'good stuff' of life.

4) the jerk in high school knock the books out of the nerd's hands onto the floor, and the jock comes over and helps the nerd pick them up.

And on and on and on.....

Most of these ads target young people, in their teens and twenty's. I guess that is why I am amazed at the lengths and enormous advertising cost that this group goes through to convey the basic message: don't be an asshole. The parents of these high schoolers depicted in these ads must be in their early 40's, and accordingly are Generation X'ers. I, being a Baby Boomer, seem to have missed how poorly they must have raised their Generation Y kids, so that these antisocial miscreants crap on all of our notions of polite society. These Gen X parents completely fell down on the job of socializing their children, and now its up to the Foundation For A Better Life to pick up the slack. Or, perhaps worse yet, it's the Boomer's fault for raising such derelict kids that grew up to allow their children to behave like animals.

In my day ('by crackee'), if some jerk knocks the books out of somebody's grasp in high in front of the jocks in my early 1970's high school hallway, the jerk would have his face imprinted onto a locker door by the nearest jock faster than a case of 12-year old Scotch would disappear on the Kennedy compound (and believe me, that's fast). Of course, I was raised by 'The Greatest Generation' parents, and garbage like that shown in those commercials would simply not get tolerated for even a second.

Now we have to advertise on television to make our kids aware that it is not OK to be an asshole?

If we keep on this current generational path of ambivalence towards our children's socialization, in a few generations we will turn into savages and cannibals, eating each other willy nilly since nobody taught us any better. And I am guessing that is the conclusion that the folks at The Foundation for a Better Life came to as well, and are doing their best to change the direction of things to come.

Still, it's pathetic that we have to shape good values by advertising them on TV. I have to wonder if these ads are having a positive effect.

Time will tell.


Kid said...

Fredd, Nice.

Just a couple disconnected stories in the general area of this subject.

We have a 30 something gay guy in our department at work. He is intelligent. But every time he opens his mouth it is either to put someone down or laugh at someone's lack of knowledge in some area. 99 out of 100. Gives me the impression this is pop culture today.

My little brother who is no longer with us had his share of problems, drugs, alcohol, etc, but when it came to being a stand up guy, he didn't flinch. He was on a bus after breaking his hand and had it in a large fiberglass cast. Some black dude was hitting his girlfriend on the bus. He went over and swung his cast at the dude's head and knocked him out cold.

The world is a lot more rude for sure.
I'd have to say lawyers are partly to blame. Someone stopping to help someone gets sued because they pulled the guy out of a burning car, but injured his spine in the process. Ok, you'd rather be dead?

Surely, you can imagine a myriad of similar got ya's in today's society. The hitchhiker. I won't pick one up. The person broke down on the road - I'll be very careful about stopping to help.

Some things like giving someone your seat or helping someone across the street are no brainers of course.

Christopher - Conservative Perspective said...


I agree on your take on the topic to the enth degree but found I myself somewhat bewildered that you missed a rather important point, you eluded to it but I wish to stress it some more if I may;

If the damned parents would kick the kids outside to play and NOT watch TV maybe, just maybe they would not pick up bad manners from "reality tv" to begin with.

I could go on and on as I am sure you could to but these shows nowadays are nothing but trash and that is exactly what is being taught whether it be reality, MTV, prime-time cartoons, soap operas,,,etc.

Silverfiddle said...

Good observations, as usual Fredd.

The theory I like best says our mobility plays a big part in this. Parents want to please their parents and other family elders so they bring their kids up right to be polite. Separate from the larger family, and the desire to do that is weakened. I dunno, just a theory...

I'm a gen-x'er and I know my kids are respectful of others, although they are not as formally polite as I was taught to be.

I got my head knuckled a lot as a kid, but I tried using different methods with my kids, like I think a lot of my generation does.

Maybe corporal punishment really has no better...

Fredd said...


Kudos to the bro' for coldcocking the asshole on the bus.

Apparently giving up a seat to an elderly lady is no longer a 'no-brainer.' The Foundation for a Better Life has spent untold millions on advertising to stress that this needs to be a 'brainer,' now.

I used to hitchhike as a yewt, and now I will not pick up a hitchhiker unless he is wearing a Gucci suit, standing by an S class Mercedes holding a gas can. No exceptions. Well, maybe a Porsche.

Fredd said...


I could have gone on for hours on that single topic, for sure; public TV these days is pure garbage. Cable; a bit more to be found here and there, such as the History Channel, Discovery, and my favorite, Food Network.

But I might point out that the TV thing is only one of many distractions that Gen 'Z' kids, whom never give their seats up on busses to old ladies, have been indulging themselves in: Game Boys, X-Boxes, DSI's, Wii's, and on and on, not to mention the Internet.

Fredd said...


Your 'mobility theory' has legs:

In the good ol' days, families grew up within walking distance of their preceding generation, if not gramma and gramps more often living right upstairs in their golden years. Gramma and Grampa were in their kids and grandkids faces when they acted up, and immediately weighed in on how things were supposed to go in polite society when their progeny went astray.

Then, with Henry Ford's Model T on the scene, families tended to spread out a bit, and misbehavior went unnoticed by distant grammas and grampas. Of course, their progeny never immediately ratted out the bad behavior to grammy, and it more or less got incorporated into what then became considered decent behavior, when in former times it would be unacceptable behavior. Like having kids out of wedlock.

I am old enough (barely) to recall that this occurrence was the absolute most shameful, horrific thing that could happen to any family, the disgrace would last for decades, if not forever.

Now how do we view this? A shrugged shoulder. (I don't shrug my shoulder, I look down on such miscreants, but that's now just me, Saint Fredd The Pious ;-).

Silver, your 'mobility theory' could probably account for much if not all of today's social ills regarding what is considered polite and acceptable, and what used to be but is no more.

Silverfiddle said...

I grew up with the grannies and grandpas and aunts and uncles around, and I did get corrected a time or two.

Shame is a powerful social corrective, which is why liberals do their damnedest to eradicate it.

Christopher - Conservative Perspective said...

Hey Silver,

I did too but also many neighbors whom served that role as well.

Now someone will inevitibly say "See, it takes a village" to which I respond , NO, it takes individual responsibility.

Silverfiddle said...

It does take a village, but not a collectivist one. That is how societies pass on their values to children.

Hillary and the progressives hijack that concept, short-circuit the time-honored vales, replace them with the values of the state, and then repeat "it takes a village."

A hallmark of progressivism is perverting legitimate institutions and bending them to the will of the state.

El Cerdo Ignatius said...

Hey Fredd. Sorry I'm late to the topic, but I was away for a couple of weeks.

Just to take the example of seating on a bus, I'll recount a short story from 1986.

I was 18 years old, during the summer break between first and second years in university, and I got a job in an office (in Halifax, Nova Scotia) that required me to take the bus to get there. I had taken the bus before, obviously - this was before the days when parents caved in and drove their kids all over town in cars they couldn't afford - but the difference was this time, I was on the same buses at the same time every day. So I got to know a lot of the regular commuters on the bus.

One of the guys on the bus was a man of about 40 named Cliff. I had never before, and have not since, met a more polite person. He knew just about everyone, always said hello to the bus driver when he got on and thanked him when he stepped off, smiled and greeted everyone warmly when they got on the bus, and ALWAYS gave up his seat when a woman got on the bus and the bus was full, whether he knew the lady or not. If the woman at first declined to take his seat, Cliff would smile and politely insist, and vacate the seat anyway.

The kicker is I found out later Cliff had multiple sclerosis. Most days he felt fine, but the odd day - especially hot days in the summer - he would have felt better staying in his seat. But he never did.

It was from Cliff I learned true bus etiquette. Not from a TV commercial, but from a fellow I got to know who was a role model.

Where are the Cliffs today? Why is it this sort of thing has to be taught by the government by way of the television? I think Christopher and Silverfiddle are on the right track, but mostly I think it's because, as The Kid alluded to in the opening comment, and as John Derbyshire would say, most pop culture is crap. And the damn pop culture is raising the children, and most parents seem to be just fine with this, because the alternative would be just too much to deal with.

grannywithapitchfork said...

Chip Ingram says, "Our violent, narcissistic, non-committal, 'me first' culture is simply the logical and predictable expression of 'truth' as a relative, non-objective, non-verifiable concept."

Now we have a narcississtic, non-committal, "me-first" president to whom society seems to be looking for guidance and direction. What a travesty. Without a sense of right and wrong we will eventually eat each other alive.



Fredd said...


The Cliffs of today are old, 55 & up. Today's Cliffs still stand up when a woman is seated at a table, and also when she departs. Today's old Cliffs still hold doors open for women, and give their seats up to women, young or old. But today's Cliffs are getting long in the tooth, and slowly dying off, leaving in their place the current pop culture generation.

The current pop culture generation is the one that steps over that guy in New York, bleeding to death on the sidewalk. And maybe has a kick in the ribs for him because they were inconvenienced in doing so.