Tag Archives: entertainment

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.

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There’s no such thing as bad publicity? Think again.

30 Sep
Photographic proof that bad publicity hurts all of us. Photo from http://kimkardashian.celebuzz.com.

Photographic proof that bad publicity hurts all of us.
Photo from http://kimkardashian.celebuzz.com.

As a public relations professional, I absolutely hate the phrase, “There is no such thing as bad publicity.”

The misguided mantra stems from the erroneous belief that it’s all good as long as people are talking about you – even if they are saying some pretty horrendous things. Why? It gives you name recognition. It means you’re worthy of attention. It means you’re relevant.

It also means you’re trying to validate the short term gains of bad behavior.

Many people desire to be famous, but few desire to be notorious – unless it brings in a lot of attention and money.

Miley Cyrus simulated sex acts on national television? Ooh, that’s not nice, but she got 306,000 tweets a minute after the VMAs, and she set the all-time record for viewers for her new video.  That is success!

The Kardashians built an empire based on a sex tape and relationship mistakes? Ooh, that’s a bit messed up, but the family’s net worth is estimated to be around $80 million, and Kim has more than 18.5 million followers on Twitter. (In contrast, the Dalai Lama, who has no sex tape, has only has 7.8 million.) Wow, that’s impressive!

Yes, these folks rolled in the dough and are known around the world – for now.  Bad publicity can bring in short term gains, but few stop to consider the long term personal and societal cost.

Take another look at Miley. She may have been the most talked about woman in the world for a few weeks, but the overwhelming theme of that talk was negative. The number of video viewers came in out of curiosity, not out of fan devotion or artistic appreciation. She did enjoy a brief blip of financial success with increased record sales, but the numbers will come down as people grow weary of the shtick. What will she do to earn attention and relevance then?

What is the societal cost of all this bad publicity? Outlandish behavior gets emulated and rewarded. Good behavior gets ignored and mocked. We have morphed into a culture in which the end justifies the means. Individuals try to get attention based on “shock and awe” rather than working hard on talent and character. We expect instant results with no thought of long term consequences. Get rich quick. Lose weight now. Buy now pay later. YOLO, dude.

Bad publicity may elevate a person for a brief period, but it can’t beat gravity. What goes up must come down, and we’ve seen countless bad boys/girls crash and burn due to their own actions or fade away because their sycophants grew bored. Sadly, the lure of “it’s all good as long as people are talking about you”  will never die as long as people continue to read the tabloids, fawn over paparazzi photos, pay attention to celebrities’ vapid comments, worship fame, and watch TMZ rather than CNN.

This makes me rethink my life and career. I’ve been playing it safe for years and focusing on being a generally decent human being. Perhaps I need to do something totally stupid and outrageous to get people talking.

Oh wait, I’m already doing that!  In many eyes, speaking out against today’s culture is stupid and outrageous enough.

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