"Help me to refuse the low and vulgar things..." (Psalm 101:3 TLB).
Given todays milieu of disrespect for all people and all things, and the urgency to do away with the very Book that would restore that respect, this verse probably comes as a shock to our average citizen of the world; the main shock, even knowing that such advice exists. Can you imagine praying this before watching TV? Before heading out for a drive? Before reading the latest trashy novel? It goes on and on. I suggest we take a course on potty-mouth training! Andhow unfortunateit is so true that hearing something over and over somehow makes it acceptable (Hitler caught on to this very early in his malicious career). I have a friend who I admire, and we discussed this one day. Imagine my surprise when she informed me that certain words are now all right simply because the majority uses them. We were talking about our grandchildren! No, I dont think its all right for our grandchildren to use the common vernacular, and by common I mean uncouth and vulgar.
We all have our ideas of what constitutes the low and vulgar things, too. I recall my grandmother expressing great disgust at a Kentucky Fried Chicken ad back in the late 1950s, when the colonel was just starting his enterprise. If she could return to witness todays uncouths, she would faint. Today were assaulted (Im sure my husband would say caressed!) with soft porn in the Victoria Secret ads, and miladys undies in the newspapers and TV; and of course, there are the females (for some reason the word lady doesnt fit in these ads) who drape themselves over cars, dishwashers, etc., etc., etc. You get my drift. And for the females, we now have the males in their undies, too.
Lest anyone think I am holy and unspotted, I confess to voicing and viewing a few unmentionables in my time, much to my shame. The operative word here is shame. Is this word still in the dictionary? What truly bothers me is when I hear Gods name taken in vain. This has become so common. Not long ago the major TV networks would never allow it. Of course it has always been all right to curse God, but to mention Him in prayer God forbid!
Steve Allen was working on the final galleys of Vulgarians at the Gate - Trash TV and Raunch Radio: Raising the Standards of Popular Culture before his death. It is a detailed examination of the decline of American popular culture, especially comedy. In radio and television, vulgarity is the main ingredient. Radio has jumped the boundaries to total raunch. A few years back I happened in on a radio station during the night and heard the most appalling discussion on sex. Crazy me, I thought there were standards for the radio!
In the late 1970s and early 1980s Mr. Allen presented a series that I thought was one of the most amazing programs ever on TV: Meeting of Minds. His award-winning TV series Meeting of Minds that he wrote and produced in cooperation with Jayne Meadows, his wife, stands out in sharp contrast with the mundane wasteland of TV fare. This series pitted Socrates, Marie Antoinette, Sir Thomas More, Tom Paine, Karl Marx, Attila the Hun, Emily Dickinson, Galileo, Charles Darwin, and other historical figures in dialogue and disputation (Anonymous). Prometheus tried to relaunch the series, but they could not find syndicators because many in the television industry felt that the series was too thoughtful for the American public - a sad commentary on the decline of taste and intelligence (Anonymous). Indeed, a death knell to our taste and intelligence when we find such a stunning series boring and not quite up to our low standards! If somehow a courageous person could bring back this incredible series, I truly doubt our American Idol crowd would stand for it, much less sit still long enough to absorb its wisdom. Is there anyone out there brave enough to restore this gem to TV for us oldsters who long for some profound fare?
"High aims form high characters, and great objects bring out great minds" (Tyron Edwards).
"I will try to walk a blameless path, but how I need your help, especially in my own home, where I long to act as I should" (Psalm 101:2, TLB).
Patricia Erwin Nordman