Bugs Bunny and the Marlboro Man
How often do you watch television and not see violence, smoking, and drinking? Not very often. Everyday you watch television, and everyday you see one of these acts. You are not the only one who sees this, your children do, too. Every time you turn on the television to watch the news, a cartoon, a movie, or your favorite television series, you see something that is wrong with the world. Even if the shows you are watching don't show the bad things in the world, the commercials do.
Commercials take up about a quarter of the airtime on television. In a half-hour show there are about five to ten minutes of commercials. Most of these commercials, especially during sports events, contain smoking or drinking. You see a camel wearing sunglasses and a leather jacket, or the Marlboro Man on his horse, and you think, "Hey they're pretty cool," so decide to start smoking. How many times have you heard, "Here's that frog commercial," and went running to the television to see what they were doing now? You might start thinking that they are cool, so go and try their product, which is just the thing the advertisement is trying to do.
Popular TV series also play a role as bad influences. Many shows have the main character smoking or drinking. Take Rosanne, for instance; the opening scene shows her sitting around a table playing poker, while her husband smokes a cigar and drinks a beer. In Married With Children, another show, Al sits around the house reading pornographic material, and while working he ogles the women shopping in his store. Both of these portray a family that does not care about each other. The kids run wild, while the parents argue. Many shows contain a lot of violence. One of the popular children's shows is the Power Rangers, which consists of nothing except fighting. Many children, after watching this show, start punching and kicking people. Also, many "harmless" cartoons portray acts of violence. Many Bugs Bunny cartoons involve hitting people with frying pans, dropping an anvil on someone, or Elmer Fudd firing his gun repeatedly.
Movies, which are rated, unlike TV shows, also contain these bad influences. Many movies contain a main character who smokes or drinks through the entire movie. In one of my favorite movies, Smokey and the Bandit, the Bandit smokes and at one point is found passed out with a bottle of whiskey in his hand. Through the entire movie the Bandit is running from the police. Violence and guns are also a major part in the more popular movies. I almost every action movie the hero carries a gun. Terminator 2 was one of the most popular movies of its time, and was later shown on public television. The main character carried a sawed-off shotgun through the entire movie. This movie, when released had a rating of R, but was shown on public television at 8 p.m. There are many other movies that contain violence and gun fights, in fact too many to count.
Although all I have listed here are bad examples set by television, it mean that television is all bad. There are many educational programs on television that children can watch. Classrooms also use television to show videos or to watch Channel 1, which many local schools use. Even if television did not exist, I think that there would be something just as bad to take its place.