Friday, November 04, 2005

blogworthy tv

Two noteworthy, or at least blogworthy, things I watched on TV recently.

1. Online predators @ Dateline
It featured a setup where people posing as teenage boys / girls alone at home while the family is out of town get propositioned by guys in chatrooms, and these guys actually end up coming to the house for sex… only to find the Dateline guy there, camera and all, everything on tape… I bet their balls just totally shriveled up once they realized they were * not * getting that night of sex with that teenage boy/girl!

Is it a sign on my cynicism and world-weariness that I am not surprised that many of these people were so-called pillars of the community? A rabbi & a special-ed teacher were among those who turned up at the house.

And what about that guy who, as requested by the “young boy”, stripped nekkid before entering the house? He said this was the first time he’d ever done this etc etc (yeah, uh-huh…), and was so relieved to get outta there… then guess that? The next day, he’s on the prowl again! So they set up another meet again, this time to meet at a local McD… I would like to know what was going through his mind when instead of the yummy boy he “ordered”, he once again came face-to-face with the Dateline guy. “Man, I just came here to get something to eat!” he kept saying. When he already knows from the night before that they had the printout of the (s)explicit chat he had had setting up the “date”.

I was wondering about the state of this country (and the world to a lesser extent), where you can have NINETEEN “hits” over the span of three days: nineteen different people in one area of Washington (I think) eagerly turning up at a house in the hopes of getting sex with a teenager.

How many predators are out there in the whole country?

And how many real teenagers find themselves in situations which then scar them for life?

And, while the target audience for this episode was probably the parents of teenagers, I wonder just how internet-savvy the parents are, and whether the contents of this episode were actually new to them.

And, I wonder how many parents actually have channels of communication with their children that would enable discussions relating to what is/isn’t allowed for the kid, internet-wise.

Oh, and another thing about this episode of Dateline: they blatantly showed the faces of the people who turned up at the house. No protection of their identity. No pixelation of faces. No messing with their voices. Nothing. I’m just curious, in this country steeped in protecting the rights of everyone, is this actually allowed??

So. While I’m not shocked per se by the episode that was aired tonight, I certainly wonder just how many predators are out there… how do we stop, or at least reduce, the number of predators out there… and I don’t mean simply finding/jailing them: while needed, that’s just treating a symptom… what has caused these people to have these deviant sexual urges in the first place? How to we put a stop at the true root causes? There’s that whole nature vs nurture thing, but I think a lot of it is nurture, how they are brought up, what happened to them in their formative years, how their parents interacted with each other, how the parents interacted with the kids, etc etc etc…

And how do you go into every family and tell them that they are raising their kids right/wrong?

I think so many of us are walking around with “the sins of our fathers” on our shoulders, with emotional baggage we sometimes don’t even realize we have until something triggers us to behave in a certain way, and you are shocked at how you respond, but it takes only a moment of reflection to figure out why you did what you did. Chances are it’s a behaviour of your parents’ you swore you would never emulate, yet, you just did.

So. Yeah. If you have teenagers, and you have yet to talk to them about the very real danger of sexual predators prowling around chatrooms, please do so, okay?

2. Get Up Stand Up @ PBS
This was a 2hr show about protest songs & music, through the times. Started with folk-type songs describing the work conditions of early workers being taken advantage of by the large rich barons. Then the Civil rights movement. Anti-war protests wrt Vietnam. Anti-establishment. All these featured specific songs, as well as singers/personalities strongly tied in with the movements (there were so many I didn’t know from the older era; others would be Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, John Lennon).

More recently, there were benefit concerts (Concert for Bangladesh, Live Aid, Farm Aid, Artists Against Apartheid, AIDS) for all sorts of causes, but to me we are lacking true “protest” songs. We * do* have the personalities like Bob Geldof and Bono, I suppose. I felt so out of touch with the world when watching that segment... so many of these things happened during my time, but I was a bit too young to know what was going on, plus living a very sheltered life dictated by both my parents AND the Malaysian government.

There was also a section on hip-hop & rap, and how that is the expression of the black voice. That was about the only segment that I could have done without: I just do not relate to that genre… I listen to Eminem, yes, but many argue that he’s not black, so his is not a true “voice”. Yeah, whatever. HE has a melody somehow somewhere (plus a brilliant sense of humor. In a sick kind of way).

And they briefly touched on how there has been practically silence wrt 9/11, a silence broken by Bruce Springsteen’s recent release. Speculated about not wanting to “offend” the thousands of people affected by the 9/11 tragedy. I dunno, I think it’s probably more on not knowing which side to take cos they’d get flak from the other two or three fronts (we shall overcome vs f*ck Bush vs kill all Muslims vs it’s all a conspiracy), and maybe not wanting to be visited by Homeland Security agents? Idle speculation, of course :p


  1. Country is, I'm assuming, where they said that we have not been silent. Though I don't always agree with the country message (listening to the DJs can make me insane) there are some great songs about current events (Where were you (when the world stopped turning) by Alan Jackson, for example.) Then you get the 'boot in their a$$' songs, which, while I don't agree with it's entire message, I understand the feelings behind it.

  2. Thax for the heands-up!

    seeing as I don't listen to country music (apart from Randy Travis, and that was oh so long ago!), I didn't know about Alan Jackson's or any other such singer's songs, otherwise I would have acknowledged them, or at least not accepted blindly what that PBS show said.

    In fact, the PBS thing as good as stated noone "broke the 9/11 silence" till Springsteen (and gave the impression he was the ONLY one to date... of course I didn't look to see how recently that show was made, but I'm guessing within the last 8 months or so?)

    Maybe the producers of that show didn't listen to country either? I didn't notice until right now that they featured country music when mentioning Farm Aid! :p

  3. urgh - missed out one word that makes such a difference to a sentence:

    I didn't notice until right now that they ONLY featured country music when mentioning Farm Aid!

  4. It surprises me when media ignores country - it can be very right wing, but it also has tremendous storytelling power. And there is a warmth about country that doesn't seem to exist in other music genres. I saw the Grand Ol Opry in Nashville and they had current country stars and past - maybe 7 or 8 performers, and the tickets were maybe $50? It's like they actually are playing it for the music... and they do that every week.

  5. You're right Lynne, there are predators out there. I've heard stories of people on AOL that you wouldn't believe. I used to think chatrooms were a place to hang out and throw around ideas if not just babble with like minded people but even the non-sexual rooms are being attacked these days. For all its greatness and information, the internet has given freaks and Pedos out there, the ability to access our children. My son Flynn is only 3 and a half but trust me, it's going to be a LONG time before he has ANY access to chatrooms! GREAT post.


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