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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sex, Violence, and the U.S.

By Silvia Uribe
Sex represents many things for human beings. From the most sublime to the most sinful, anything related to sex has always a high rating. We know that "sex sells", and that is why the media keeps including sexy scenes in everything. Whether it makes sense or not, we get at least a couple of bed scenes almost in every T.V. show, every movie, and every play; books are not the exception, and music too, is plagued with sexual references.
One would think that the over-exposure to the sex theme would make us immune to its spell, but that's not the case.
But, if sex sells, violence and blood don't sell any less. It would seem that we are more interested in knowing who harassed, attacked, or killed someone, than in most important things that happen in our town, and in the world. We seem to crave all the gruesome details of say, a deadly attack on the street. We want to know which type of weapon was used, how many times was the person hurt, and where the wounds were located. If we can see the pictures of the gory scene, it is even better.
Like little leaches, we are never satisfied. The more blood the merrier.
As consumers, we are guilty of the extremely low level of intellectual content that we get in the media. We demand either instant gratification, in the case of sex, or ultimate disgust sprinkled with touches of anxiety, irritation and fear in the case of violence.
That's how we end up watching Nancy Grace type shows (you know that screechy voice repeating the same thing a hundred times) , or all the investigative shows like Dr. ‘G', Coroner, and other similar ones. Decades ago, it would have been unthinkable to have shows involving real dead bodies. It would've been not only disrespectful, but probably also illegal.
Whatever the reasons, we remain in front of the T.V. or buying books, or movies, that may shock us, but do not make us think. We are too lazy, or too afraid to put our upstairs machinery to work. "No thinking" could be our motto. We're becoming an instinct based society. Our desires, and adrenaline rushes take more and more of our time and energy, particularly our youth's, the future of our country and of our world.
By allowing our intellect's downhill trend to continue, we will have no one to blame but us when others, making good use of their brain, take over the leadership of our world. China is already, at least financially, stronger than the U.S. If children in China are not intellectually starved as ours seem to be both at school (in a broken system), and elsewhere in society, our destiny as a country is sealed. In China kids are having something more than video games as main dish, with sex and violence on the side.
While I was visiting there and struggling between my very rudimentary Mandarin and their no better English, I noticed many youngsters hanging out, and having animated, intelligent conversations with adults. They were enjoying each other, and learning from each other. Today, our perpetually "on the go" American culture neglects to promote this type of exchange. Our family interactions, for the most part, are limited to watching the extremely violent "24", the bed stories of "Gray's Anatomy" and the sexy bodies in skimpy dresses in "Dancing with the Stars". When these series end, our family "connection" is over.
Are we missing the point in looking for our country's enemies elsewhere? Maybe not, but if we continue overlooking the fact that what can bring our country down faster than anything else is our lack of deep personal connection with each other, and our lack of thought processing capabilities, we will be in deep trouble, real fast.
The good news is that it is not too late to change this downhill path.
Silvia Uribe is a freelance writer with a Latino perspective.
Cross-posted at

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