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Pop Icons and Responsibility: Is it Theirs or Ours?

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I've had enough of music videos. Back in the day, whenever that was, I used to truly enjoy them. The songs I liked were danceable and fun, or soulful and moving, or inspiring and challenging. The videos were artful, interesting, and at times really incredible.

Madonna broke new ground with sexuality and imagery and even videography techniques which boggled the mind. It was off-putting at times but still somehow remarkable and she evolved, she changed; her videos became more spiritual and artistic over time.

But now I've see two videos in which Lady Gaga is poisoning her "boyfriend" or some other male character and it just smacks of bad values and frightening imagery. Not hating on the Gaga in particular of course; I can't stomach any hip-hop videos at all any more and Mary J. Blige is the only one in my humble opinion who still presents some kind of message of hope in her music and in the images she chooses to grace us with.

Miley Cyrus, who my son has taken to calling "The Dictator" as she has seemingly taken over the known universe, has denied that she is truly a role model for young people. She claims it's not her responsibility, but ours, to view or not to view, to emulate or not, to share in the glory of a teenager in booty shorts or not.

Perhaps I'm being a touch idealistic but even the songs on the radio are, for the most part, so full of "a-a-a-a-a-a-alcohol" and "shake-your-money-maker" that I can't let my sons listen to them in the car.

This issue of responsibility has been debated over and over again for decades. Do pop icons have a responsibility to our youth, and to us as an audience or do they not? The old cliche that "sex sells" seems to be the driving force behind many a scantily-clad puff group parading as musicians these days. They want us to watch, to pay, to give them the lavish lifestyle and fame they so crave. Or maybe they just don't want to have to get up and go to work every day. Which is difficult. And challenging. And exhausting.

Finally, at the ripe old age of almost forty-one, I must say that, yes, I believe they do have a responsibility to us, to the young folks watching.

Add a Comment2 Comments

Sorry, but I think you missed the point!

Censorship is not what this article is about.
The lack of communication between myself and my children is something you have conjured in your comment; it does not exist.
Your "wondering about parents these days" because they still think about the mass media is alarmingly narrow minded and demonstrates almost no critical thinking whatsoever.

I didn't say I was scared of my children watching this I said I was wondering about whether or not there is a real responsibility or not - it's just a discussion. Your knee-jerk reaction and the statement "I don't see why all the rest of us have to suffer" is just laughably naive and truly lacks the "critical thinking" your apparently exceptional father instilled in you. Censorship is not the talking point here. If you want to comment on an article you should probably take your time with what you say.

Your high GPA belies your ability to create a forum of discussion that avoids putting the author on the defensive, which speaks volumes to me of your (lack of) real understanding.

Thanks and take care. Have fun on the internet.


March 29, 2010 - 5:41pm
EmpowHER Guest

As a young person, not quite 18 yet, I think I can decipher between a video that's just for fun and one that carries a message as most teenagers in this day & age can. Please give us some credit because we are not all slaves to the entertainment industry. Some of these artists do go too far but, honestly, music videos only come on a select few stations these days anyways and I doubt most high school kids run home to watch music videos all day. Most people in my age group hardly ever run home but if they do it is to get on the internet. On the internet there are worse things than music videos (i.e. porn).

If you have younger children and you are so scared of them watching certain stuff then simply block out the channels. Most cable providers come with a program that allows you to block out whatever you feel necessary. Some of us like to see videos that push the button a little. I don't see why all the rest of us have to suffer because someone's 7 yr old is propped in front of the tv while he or she's parents are out complaining.

Arguments like this really make me wonder about the parents out there these days. All I hear are complaints but no one is really willing to sit down and talk to their children, observe their children and hear them out. My father made always told me to be a critical thinker. He couldn't not sit down with me and censor everything I see or hear but because he was such a great father that I'm close to graduating with a great GPA and have never been violent or sexually active.


March 29, 2010 - 2:00pm
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