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home : opinion : news views March 26, 2015

12/13/2013 11:45:00 PM
Sex & Violence
Gary Gerard
Times-Union General Manager

There was an incident this week that was a pretty good example of the schizophrenic, hypocritcal nature of American culture.
Seems a 6-year-old Colorado boy was suspended from school for “sexual harassment.”
According to numerous news reports, including the one I saw on KRDO News Channel 13’s website in Colorado Springs, the “sexual harassment” accusation came after little Hunter Yelton kissed a classmate on the hand.
You may think that seems absurd, but it gets worse. Not only did school officials want to suspend the little guy, they wanted the issue to go on his permanent record.
“This is taking it to an extreme that doesn't need to be met with a 6-year-old,” Hunter’s mom Jennifer told KRDO. “Now my son is asking questions, what is sex mommy? That should not ever be said, sex. Not in a sentence with a 6-year-old.”
KRDO also talked to Hunter, who admitted kissing the girl. “It was during class, yeah. We were doing reading group and I leaned over and kissed her on the hand. ... They sent me to the office, fair and square. I did something wrong and I feel sorry.”
His mom says Hunter kissed the girl on the cheek in the past and had been in trouble for acting up in class.
Aha!
That makes Hunter a repeat offender and qualifies him under the school’s guidelines for sexual harassment.
After major public outcry, the school relented. The words “sexual harassment” will be removed from Hunter's school records and replaced with the word “misconduct.”
Big of them.
I, of course, think all of this is patently inane.
But for the sake of argument let’s concede that little 6-year-old Hunter truly is a serial sex harasser who deserves to be suspended and have his misdeeds indelibly stamped on his permanent record.
Now, let’s compare and contrast that with the direction the rest of culture seems to be headed.
Miley Cyrus “twerks” on the MTV Video Music Awards. (That’s twisting and jerking in a sexually suggestive manner, by the way.) Then she comes out with a new music video during which she fellates a sledge hammer with flaming red lips while riding on a wrecking ball clad only in a pair of work boots.
The net effect for Ms. Cyrus?
Record-breaking sales.
The most watched sport in America, professional football, has to undergo rules changes to keep the participants from maiming each other.
So many current players are getting concussions and so many former players are punch drunk – or dead – that the number of kids going out for football are dwindling.
How about those UFC guys. I don’t really watch this stuff, but I know what UFC stands for – Ultimate Fighting Championship.
I see the pay-per-view ads for these fights. It looks pretty close to the days of the gladiators. These guys can really kick some ... heads.
Speaking of exploding heads, has anybody checked out the latest video games? They’ve really come a long way when it comes to the depiction of graphic violence.
And TV? You can’t spin the dial (well, press the touchpad, I suppose) without landing on gratuitous sex, extreme violence or some bizarre form of twisted-up alleged “reality.”
How about movies?
How about music?
All sex. All violence. All the time.
Sure, there’s a good documentary, drama or comedy now and then. But those are the exception. And even those will likely be laced with the obligatory sexy scene.
What does this all this tell us about ourselves?
It tells me we’re all a bunch of hypocrites.
Poll after poll shows the vast majority of Americans believe movies, music and video games are too violent and too sexually oriented.
Yet, what sells best? The most violent and sexually oriented stuff, of course.
Aren’t those mutually exclusive eventualities? If the concensus is that this material is too violent and too sexy, why is it that the violent and sexy stuff sells best?
Hypocrites.
If we were all as pure as we like to tell pollsters we are, that stuff wouldn’t sell at all, now would it?
But sell it does. And each year, the producers and purveyors of that material have to ratchet up the sex and violence a little bit more to keep us all interested.
What is passe today was extreme a decade ago.
I get a kick out of stories  about some municipality trying to run the porno shop or the strip club out of town because it doesn’t fit their “community standards.”
If those “community standards” were so high, those places would be out of business, right?
Instead, those places are flourishing. Might be time to re-examine those “community standards.”
So, hypocrites that we are, we hold somebody like little Hunter to some excruciatingly puritanical standard of conduct.
Then we go home and check out the latest action flick replete with scantily clad sex objects and people being disemboweled right before our eyes – in 3D.
Seems fine.





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