Tag Archives: commercials

Hear no evil, see no evil, stop no evil: A follow up on the Grammys

28 Jan

So you didn’t watch the Grammy Awards? Good for you.

I don’t mean to sound crass, but you’re not doing anyone any favors by proudly proclaiming you won’t watch such filth nor are you helping anyone by labeling the show and other media programs as “evil.”

If you really want to make a difference in America’s media landscape, DO SOMETHING about it. Don’t pat yourself on the back for avoiding it.  Believe me, these folks are not crying because they lost you as a viewer. They actually love when conservatives loudly complain about programs, music or movies.  As a matter of fact, our complaints help them. Why? Because it makes others think, “Well, if they hate it, it must be AWESOME!”

My in-box has been burning up with notes from people who are proudly declaring their abstinence and summoning the wrath of God on people they declare to be evil, vile and other not-so-nice words. I agree many in media and entertainment do behave despicably and produce content that hurts society; however, I haven’t posted the abstainers’ or judges’ comments because they would do more harm than good. The indignation, as righteous as it may be, won’t change the situation. The condemnation won’t change the people responsible. None of it will bring anyone closer to God.  There are more effective ways to express disapproval and spur real change.

Look, I’m not saying you have to watch or listen to this stuff. I agree a lot of it is crap, and there have been many times I needed to pour bleach into my eyes and ears because of things I’ve caught on television or radio.  However, I am saying you have to get out of your bubble, acknowledge this stuff is out there, and work to change it. Complaining to the networks won’t work, nor will boycotting their shows. These tactics actually boost the offending items’ popularity. However, there are two tactics that do work. Go after their advertisers and tell your government representatives to hold the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) accountable.

No advertiser will run commercials, which finance these shows, if they fear they’ll lose a huge portion of their consumer base. Just a few years ago, parent groups were able to get “Skins,” an MTV series with a whole lot of underage sex, pulled off the air because they targeted the show’s advertisers.  The FCC has regulations that prohibit the airing of “obscene” material before 10 p.m., and they can levy some pretty hefty fines for public stations that do it. (CBS, the host of the Grammys, is considered public. MTV and other cable outlets are not.) Granted, the FCC has been pretty lax about enforcement in recent years, but that’s why it’s so important for you to be persistent. Contact your federal representatives and demand action.

You can also have dialogues about these issues. I use Roadkill Goldfish to start those dialogues, but I also spend a lot of time personally talking with other people and listening to their thoughts and ideas. I encourage you to take the time to talk to people who may have a different opinion. Find out WHY they think the way they do. Use hard facts to point out flaws in their arguments.  Show alternatives.

I believe we can change today’s culture, but we can’t do it if we’re patting ourselves on the back with our sanitized hands.

It’s time to roll up the sleeves and get our hands dirty as we help others out of the muck.


5 ways media have got motherhood all wrong

9 May
Photo credit: Cheryl Hines in "Suburgatory"

Photo credit: Cheryl Hines in “Suburgatory”

A warning to Kay Jewelers: My husband would have his butt kicked if he ever gave me jewelry for Mother’s Day. I’ve been anti-frivolous-gift ever since I grasped the whole “your money is my money” concept of marriage.

I can’t blame Kay for trying. Their commercial showcases a beautiful and serene mother sitting quietly in a chair as her loving family rushes in to present her with a shiny bauble. The husband has shaved. He’s wearing a clean shirt. The kids’ clothes actually match. The house is inhumanly clean.

Kay, you are full of crap. I get the idea that you are trying to represent an ideal and convince men that their wives will be blissful if they receive something from your Open Hearts collection.

Kay is not alone in their inaccurate portrayals of maternal life. Pretty much everything from Hollywood and Madison Avenue is quite excretory. Allow me to share some examples:

Every mom portrayed in commercials and television shows has beautiful hair. The hair is clean and shiny, the style is perfect, and beautiful bangs swoop gently over the face.

In real life, most women look like this only a few times a year. This coincides with when we actually have time to hit the salon. For the most part, we’re lucky if we can wash it a few times a week, and the hairstyle can best be described as “there.” Forget the beautiful swoop. Real moms know you can’t see a stinking thing with hair in your eyes. We rely on the headband, clip or immortal scrunchy to keep it out of the face.

I’m 43, and I still have yet to master the application of liquid foundation. My eyeliner always bleeds within a few hours, no concealer makes me look “untired,” and I use the tiny brush that comes with my square of Maybelline blush.

I am a troll next to media moms. Of course, they can look flawless because they have professional make-up artists who airbrush their faces and do touch ups every 15 minutes. They also benefit from gifted camera men, lighting artists and Photoshop. If I had that benefit, I’d be taking the whole tech crew with me when I went grocery shopping. I would look totally HOT loading mega rolls of toilet paper into my cart.

Media moms have a stylist who picks out their clothes. They benefit from the latest styles that are custom-fit, coordinated and clean.

A real mom’s stylist is usually another mom in the Target dressing room who says, “That looks really cute on you.” We don’t spend $200 on a pair of jeans. (See the prior note about “your money is my money.”) Most moms I know wear t-shirts, yoga pants and tennis shoes on a frequent basis – a fashion trend you never see on television. Our kids think we’re dressed up when we put on a sweater and khakis.

Have you ever noticed that media moms cut a lot of vegetables? Every time a woman is in the kitchen, she’s cutting carrots, tomatoes or something green during the entire scene. Media families must eat a lot of salads. They must also be talented chefs because they can make chicken covered in cream of mushroom soup look like it came out of a gourmet restaurant.

Sadly, I don’t cook like that. I’m not saying that I can’t cook. Some of my stuff is actually pretty tasty; however, a camera crew would be horrified if they came into my kitchen. Most of my vegetables come pre-cut and frozen. My chicken covered in cream of mushroom soup looks like a white heap of meat covered by a white heap of soup. After 15 years of marriage, most of my dinner plates have chips. We drink out of plastic sports-themed cups because I’m tired of cleaning up broken glasses.

Media moms benefit from having their children via casting call. Real moms get pregnant or jump through thousands of hoops to adopt. Media moms’ children are always model-perfect and camera ready. Real moms have kids with self-done haircuts, scraped up knees, braces and mismatched clothes. Media moms’ children always behave and have great one-liners. Real moms yell at their kids at Wal-Mart and lock themselves in the bathroom to have 10 minutes of peace. Forget witty one-liners. We just want our kids to say more than two words about their day at school.

A Look at Real Motherhood
Media moms sometimes hit the mark. Look at Debra Barone from “Everyone Loves Raymond.” Her kids were normal kids, she kept a normal house, and her husband was much funnier than a normal husband. I also loved Leigh Anne Tuohy from “The Blind Side.” Sandra Bullock portrayed her just like the real-life Leigh Anne – the Mama Bear who fights for her cubs. (Granted, Leigh Anne does have a rather awesome house and wardrobe, but let’s not lose the main idea, folks.)

The fact is that real motherhood can never be captured with a camera. Real motherhood is the calm that replaces the gag reflex when your baby pukes curdled milk all over your clean shirt. It’s the anger and hurt you feel when some punk 8-year-old knocks your son off his bike. It’s the willingness to drop everything and learn to sew because your daughter needs a poodle skirt tomorrow morning.

It’s the love that means you would literally sacrifice yourself for the little people God entrusted to your care, no matter how old those little people are.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the real mamas.


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