This information age is fraught with sex and dragons and memes, not Madonna’s rockets
Ah, children. Those sweet innocent gifts to the world with their vulnerable little tabula rasa minds. It is society’s role to help guide them into adulthood by shielding them from the grim corruptions of inappropriate entertainment. That’s definitely the best thing about local television toeing the line with our rules and regulations for broadcast. Mh-hm. In a world where the line between entertainment, education, work and reality are blurred, we should depend on the values inherited from our foremothers and... well, forefathers, to help our children navigate the 21st century.
I totally “approve.” Heh. Lest you think I am against censorship, please be assured that I am. Which is why one of the few entertainments left to liberal eavesdroppers like me in this increasingly cleaned-up town is listening to talk about what young folks should and should not consume via media. Sometimes it is almost as informative as witnessing what said young ones actually admit to, or get caught, consuming. Growing older has its mild pleasures, I guess?
See, back in my day, life was simple. Barely any TV that didn’t involve news broadcasts by stentorian old men. Supplemented by smuggled Tom and Jerry video cassettes shared across the neighbourhood... wait, what’s the statute of limitations on this kind of confession? You know Mwalimu banned TVS and entertainment until sometime in the 1990s. Let’s, uh, let’s keep this between us. One had to work really hard to find age-inappropriate media to consume. Ahem.
Anyways, it was all terribly wholesome. Bill Cosby was the guy and the Sound of Music and ngonjera and yes it is true, my grandparents used to tell us stories by firelight. Hadithi njoo, uongo njoo, utamu kolea. Then we all found out that Mr Cosby’s routine also had a bit about Spanish Fly and now in 2017 he is struggling to settle cases of drug rape, and Hollywood is collapsing in a miasma of sexual abuse scandals thanks to at least one unshaven dude who reminds you of the wet-mouthed uncle you never wanted to be left alone with, ever? Like I said, wholesome.
Or is it? It intrigues me, this idea of projecting children backwards into the idyllic pasts that we didn’t have in the hopes that this will build a socially utopian future for coming generations that has nothing to do with the realities of adult life. That said, I am a staunch believer in the wisdom of young minds and the necessity of introducing them to the world as it is, with the notable exception of witnessing violence. Something about humans, both children and adults, just doesn’t do very well with that.
When listening to the struggles of parents in this modern age, one cannot help but sympathise. You have to be blind not to notice how the entertainment industry has been getting darker over time; and let’s not even introduce social media or gaming or the music industry because... well, never mind. One worry at a time, right? As it is, I am told that even cartoons these days are introducing culturally inappropriate themes: Characters in children’s stories address issues like diversity or divorce or nonheterosexuality as themes. And that’s just the cartoons. What a nightmare it must be for modern parenting.
How regrettable that so much of this information age is fraught with sex and dragons and memes, but how is that so different from how we were awakened by Madonna’s rocket-boobs or started parsing lyrics in album and cassette and CD covers? It led me to think that perhaps the challenge for this generation, like so many, is to lean forward rather than back. Having said that, oddly enough, I do find myself alright with the idea of making public broadcasts subject to a few rules here and there. It’s not like the kids can’t find what they want to know on the Internet. Oops, did I scare you again?
Jokes aside, I wish there were an easy answer to this but in the junior edition of musings about constructive entertainment, we’ve got a lot to discuss. Just remember: Into everybody’s life comes a time when Dr Huxtable becomes the nearly convicted criminal Mr Cosby. How do we bridge those real and metaphorical gaps for future generations in a sanitary way? Enjoy your entertainment.
Back when, life was simple. Barely any TV that didn’t involve broadcasts by stentorian old men.” It intrigues me, this idea of projecting children backwards into idyllic pasts hoping this will build a socially utopian future
Elsie Eyakuze is an independent consultant and blogger for The Mikocheni Report, http://mikoch enireport.blogspot.com. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org