The Bitch Slap: You’re Kindly Invited to Eff Off

bitch slap eff offFirst off, apologies if your office firewall blocked today’s post. I tried to keep the word “fuck” out of the title, but I really mean it when I say that you’re invited to fuck off. No hard feelings, no malice. I’ll even buy you an ice cream someday if we meet up on a sunny June afternoon. But really – what I need you to do is consider fucking off. Straight off. Hear me out…

Like many internet destinations, this site has images, thoughts and words that not everyone will like and I own that – lock, stock and barrel. What I hope I’ve built is a place where people who love what I do and pick up what I’m putting down can air their feelings and thoughts and do so without feeling like their comments will be deleted and I’m only looking for a herd of sycophants carrying redheaded Barbies parading in a line behind me like some fucked up centipede, undulating in and out of a digital mushroom maze in 80s video game fashion.

*Announcement: that is possibly the longest sentence I’ve ever typed. W00t.*

It’s called branding. It’s called free speech. I invite you to enjoy what I’ve prepared to share and I open the doors for your feedback. If you would rather be pelted by thousands of angry bees than read what I write, you can block my website, unsubscribe and vow to never partake in my musings again. I’ll call that the Off Button. It’s yours for the turning or pushing. You can also use the Off Button on the TV, your radio, your local or national newspapers, books and any business of your choice.

Today’s Bitch Slap was prompted by an article I stumbled across yesterday.

Headline: Parents Television Council Up-in-Arms Over NBC’s ‘The Playboy Club’

Their argument (according to the article): “Citing statistics that 200,000 Americans are “porn addicts,” and 56 percent of divorce cases can be blamed not on lack of love but on “one person” having “obsessive interest” in pornography, the PTC blames Playboy, and NBC for supporting it, for the demise of the American family.”

Their argument (according to their “file a complaint with the FCC” call to action about the series):

The Playboy Club is the latest and most obvious example of the way the entertainment industry is mainstreaming and even glamorizing pornography. While episodes of the program have not yet been screened, the mere fact that the show uses the word “Playboy” in the title, and that its stories take place in an exploitative, sexist setting demonstrate that the show’s creative staff – and the NBC network – are eager to push a pornography-based show into every home in America.

This isn’t a pay-per-view program available only to HBO or Showtime subscribers. The Playboy Club will be beamed into every living room in the nation, in prime time, over the publicly-owned airwaves. Do YOU want to explain to YOUR channel-surfing children what a “Playboy Club” is?

If you want to learn more about the Parents Television Council, yeah…just click. You might also find amusing that on their Current Campaigns page where they encourage parents to take action against programs that aired (gulp) in 2003. (I can’t make this up.) When they catch wind of this post in their Google Alerts, I’ll be written off as a foul-mouthed hussy that their children need protecting from as well. Esssokay. I’ve been called worse. You can also learn more about The Playboy Club from NBC.

So, here’s where I’ll begin with a few concepts I use in my own daily media consumption. Yours might differ, and hey – that’s the beauty of the American media, right? We consume by choice.

ARGUMENT #1: I might not agree with your point of view, but I defend your right to have it and express it…unless your simply being an asshat and jumping to conclusions based on your own erroneous assumptions. The episodes haven’t been screened, but you’re jumping to conclusions, calling the show pornography-based? I’m going to help you out here and offer to rephrase your argument so that sheepish and educated parents alike can follow your argument with some sense of intelligence: “We are reticent to believe that there can be value in our children viewing a program based on a brand empire built on the distribution of ‘pornography’. While Hugh Hefner and Playboy were at the forefront of the civil rights movement, ignoring racial segregation and offering multiracial bands a performance venue along with offering black standup comics their first venue to perform alongside caucasians during segregation, we choose to ignore those points (and many others in the vein of civil rights) in favor of playing the “pornography-based show” card. Nudity preempts all reasonable arguments and we can’t condone it under any circumstances, even though the network broadcast program is highly unlikely to broadcast any sort of nudity at any point in the programs (the ones we haven’t seen). Oh, and we won’t be viewing any of the programs once they air, either, out of fear of breaking up our American Family via porn.”

ARGUMENT #2: “…the mere fact that the show uses the word “Playboy” in the title, and that its stories take place in an exploitative, sexist setting demonstrate that the show’s creative staff – and the NBC network – are eager to push a pornography-based show into every home in America.” This is ignorant on so many levels that I’ll have to begin on the first and work my way further down the stairs until I arrive in Dipshit Alley. The use of a brand name like Playboy elicits different responses from different people. For me, it elicits thoughts of wondering what it was like to be a struggling writer like Ray Bradbury, sitting around with a story no one wanted to buy, only to have it published by Playboy Magazine. That little story? Fahrenheit 451. You might have read it (but you probably burned it). For others, especially during the time the magazine was up and coming in the 50s and 60s, it meant access to musical acts (like jazz) that could be seen and heard nowhere else if it weren’t for the magazine and events it recorded and promoted. And I can assure you – the creative folk at NBC aren’t looking to push a “pornography-based show” into every home in America. They took an icon from American history – the Playboy clubs and their requisite bunnies – and shaped a storyline around it. It’s not a 13-episode documentary.

ARGUMENT #3: “Do YOU want to explain to YOUR channel-surfing children what a “Playboy Club” is?” I would venture to guess that many parents wouldn’t want to be burdened with this task, while others would handle it begrudgingly. Others, I’ll bet, would take to the task with fervent honesty. Here’s an idea: be a fucking PARENT and stop asking the networks and public schools to do it for you. If there’s one thing I know, there was NOTHING on that TV in my house while growing up of which my parents did not approve. And guess what: they’re divorced. Why? Not because of pornography. They just didn’t get along. And that’s fine. Dear god, I WISH porn had broken up my parents. At least I would know they’re sexual beings and I wouldn’t have had to spend my adolescent years wondering if I was the product of immaculate conception.

Maybe if we lived in a culture that didn’t treat everything with an inkling of sexual undertone as taboo, we’d have fewer fucked up kids who felt the need to hide their diddly-doos from their parents. If you don’t want your kids to watch something on television, be a parent. Tell them no. Set up parental controls. Take the TV out of their bedroom. And while you’re at it, you should probably take away their computer access because they’re just going to stream it online. And when the computer’s gone, they’ll go stream it at a friend’s house. Or watch it on their friend’s DVR. The more we treat things as taboo, the more desirable and tempting they become. And what’s so bad about explaining what a Playboy club is? Here’s the simple answer: In the 50s and 60s, these were clubs where men and women alike went to listen to jazz and standup comedians. They were entertainment clubs and the waitresses wore costumes to make them look like bunnies. (And if you want to get a little deeper with your middle and high school aged kiddos) These clubs were the some of the first during the segregation era to allow black musicians to appear onstage beside white ones and also were the first place that let black standup comics perform for white audiences. Membership was a status symbol and it’s reported that only 21% of members actually ever visited the clubs.

There. That wasn’t so hard, was it?

ARGUMENT #4: “…its stories take place in an exploitative, sexist setting…” Subjective at best. Do you want to know what I find exploitative and sexist? Corporate America. Recent reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that female executives earn 29% less than their male counterparts. I sit around and watch Mad Men and think – wow…a secretarial pool…such subservience…few women in positions of power. That doesn’t mean I have to like it. It means I can be proud of where our country has come in the past 60 years. The TV show you’re complaining about is set in the 1960s. That was an era where women were still new fixtures in the workplace and generally took service-oriented roles: secretary, waitress, receptionist, counter clerks, sales girls at department stores. I’m pretty sure that no one ever put on a little bunny outfit and felt it was their last resort. And here’s the thing: women continue to do it today, and by choice. Who are you to insult their choices? Your parameters above and current labor statistics indicate that we should also be protesting all legal and corporate-themed shows and any one in which both parents work (because the wife is almost certainly earning less than her husband). Be a parent. You’re entitled to your ideas of how your daughters and sons should grow up. Use them. Be honest with them. If you raise kids to be afraid of certain words and actions, you’re priming them for a life of fear. The more they know about the world, the more they’ll come to appreciate your honesty with them about it. It’s big when they walk past your front doors – prepare them. It’s a pretty rude awakening.

So you’re kindly invited to fuck off. Exercise the Off Button.

I’m not a parent, though I do hope to be one someday. I’m the person who looks around a restaurant and shuts down my mouth when kids are around. I’m also the person who walked up to three loudmouthed teens in the San Francisco airport not so long ago, introduced myself, and asked them to keep the f-bombs dialed back. WAY back. Especially since there was an entire junior high school basketball team sitting at the gate with us. While I might get paid (and well) to brandish certain terms, it doesn’t mean I use them all the time and in every situation. It means we should all be adults, use our heads and respect a few things:

  • Parenting (not unlike friendship) is an active role, not one that you can delegate to other people.
  • It’s up to us what we consume, from whom we consume such, and the frequency.
  • You’re not going to like everything you see. (Believe me – failure to understand THIS concept destroys more marriages than porn.)
  • And as the late George Carlin said – there are two knobs: one to change the channel, and one (d’oh) to turn it off.

It’s Branding 101: the consumers choose. If you don’t want your kids to eat Frosted Flakes, you simply don’t buy them. You don’t go on a whole letter writing campaign to tell Kellogg to stop production because they’re poisoning our youth with high fructose corn syrup and fantasies of talking tigers (which we all know lead to porn addictions). If you don’t like what’s on the TV for your kids, set up parental controls and play an active role in their viewing habits. Don’t subscribe to cable TV. Hell – get rid of the TV altogether (I lived without one for the past two years – it was lovely). When you’re angry by choice, it’s difficult to gain sympathy or even empathy. And that’s why I’m inviting you to fuck off. Stop the yelling and start the parenting. And if you’re not a parent, put your own boundaries into place. Start owning your roles and responsibilities. It’s not up to everyone else to stop doing what you don’t like. It’s up to you to figure out how to coexist with those things, beliefs and decisions.

We don’t live in the United States of You.

We consume by choice – and just because it’s on doesn’t mean you have to tune in. That goes for parents and non alike. You know what’s on your kids’ bookshelves. You see their cell phone bills. You get their report cards. You check their homework. At least, I hope you do those things, because I’d love to have such opportunities. It’s not everyone else’s responsibility to be parents to your children. It’s yours. And one day, I hope it’ll be mine, too. We are an economy that votes with our wallets. If viewership sucks, ads get pulled and those things you hate die on the vine. And if it goes on for another season, well, you’re just going to have to find something to do at 10pm EST/9pm CST…when your kids should probably be in bed anyways. I’m old – I’m usually in bed by 9:30pm, but that’s what DVRs are for.

You’ve been slapped.

PS: When that parenting day comes for me, I think I’ll dedicate a whole day to Hugh Hefner, bunnies in various forms, and American History. What kids learn in school is sanitized and they deserve to know the truth so that the bad shit has less of a chance to repeat.

PPS: And I’d love to hear from the parents – how do YOU manage the wilds of the interwebz, movies, literature and whatnot in today’s society? My parents had a cable TV lockbox but the good sense to let me wander the bookstores of the world in an unleashed fashion. Lay it on me.

PPPS: Damn, this was a long post. Thanks for hanging in there!

154 replies
  1. Stephanie Goggin Hight
    Stephanie Goggin Hight says:

    Parent speaking: I handle the tough stuff with the age-appropriate truth. Babies don’t come from belly buttons and all that. Is it always fun? Uh, no. But it’s real. They know why their dad and I divorced, they understand what dating is but that they come first, no exceptions. They see me laugh (a lot), they see me cry. They know I see a “feelings doctor” in part to be a better parent. Life’s the shit. I mean that both good and bad. Why hide it?

    Reply
  2. LegalTypist
    LegalTypist says:

    Wow! I knew if you had fuck in the title, I had to take a moment to read –  that was one hell of a sentence too!!

    Would write more but that was a long one and I’m now behind … suffice to say I mostly agree with what you have to say; but more importantly, I enjoyed all of how you said it. 🙂

    Reply
  3. LegalTypist
    LegalTypist says:

    Wow! I knew if you had fuck in the title, I had to take a moment to read –  that was one hell of a sentence too!!

    Would write more but that was a long one and I’m now behind … suffice to say I mostly agree with what you have to say; but more importantly, I enjoyed all of how you said it. 🙂

    Reply
  4. Kim Woodbridge
    Kim Woodbridge says:

    “Dear god, I WISH porn had broken up my parents. At least I would know
    they’re sexual beings and I wouldn’t have had to spend my adolescent
    years wondering if I was the product of immaculate conception.”  OMG – I have honestly had the same thought about my parents.

    My kid is only 9 and she doesn’t watch television without asking first.  I rarely watch tv so it isn’t like it’s on all the time and it’s something that needs to be controlled.  I tend to explain things to her – why a show isn’t appropriate or why she needs to be older to watch certain things.  So far, she seems fine with the explanations.  We’ll see what happens when she gets older and more independent.  I do think it’s my job and not the networks to control watch she does and doesn’t see.  It’s the same thing with wanting to make Happy Meals healthier – it’s still fast food and if I don’t think it’s good for my kid I simply don’t buy it.

    My daughter does, however, really like Tori Amos and she has a song called Playboy Mommy – maybe I should be shielding her from that 😉

    Reply
  5. Sandi Amorim
    Sandi Amorim says:

    I like it here in the land of redheaded Barbies, where the word fuck is used in its most powerful (and often comical) sense. So FYI I will not be fucking off anywhere anytime soon!

    Reply
  6. Janine
    Janine says:

    My favorite part is that the episodes haven’t been screened yet. In other words, “I have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about here, but I’m still right.”

    Reply
  7. Jodie Anne Gastel
    Jodie Anne Gastel says:

    My parental magic; TALK with (not at) my son – answer his questions. Don’t get mad/squidgy at ANY genuine question he has and nothing is taboo to ask. I will not make him feel guilty for wondering, because when the time comes when he really, really needs to talk to me about something REALLY important, I want him to feel OK about coming to me, not have a long history of a reinforced Pavlovian response of “oh, if I talk to mom about THIS kind of stuff, she’ll bite my head off.” Oh, and not just giving him free reign on the TV/computer. It’s out in the open and his activities are not hidden from view. He’ll be turning 12 soon… the real tests are about to arrive…

    Reply
  8. Jessica Albon
    Jessica Albon says:

    Love this: “And as the late George Carlin said – there are two knobs: one to change the channel, and one (d’oh) to turn it off.” But, is it wrong of me to wish TVs were still so simple? 😉

    (As for the rest, I always wonder about any side but the “take personal responsibility” side of the censorship debate–do people really want the government intervening every time something offends them? Because, wowzas, that I will never understand. Thanks for making Thursday a hell of a lot more delightful!)

    Reply
    • The Redhead
      The Redhead says:

      Welcome to the blog, Jessica. And yeah – looking at my remote, there are days where I can’t figure out how to turn anything on or off. But I guess there ARE people who want the government to intervene. Legislating morality – it’s one of the reasons I adore the people who dedicate their lives to defend our right to say what me feel we must, no matter how unpopular those thoughts are with certain people. Thanks for stopping by today!

      Reply
      • Jessica Albon
        Jessica Albon says:

        Thanks for the welcome, Erika! (I’m kind of shocked this was my first comment here–I guess you usually leave me completely speechless [in a good way, of course].)

        People who dedicate their time to protecting freedom of speech, regardless of how poorly some of us use it, are spectacular–I’m not entirely sure how they stay motivated to do it but am very grateful they do.

        Reply
    • Matt Bernier
      Matt Bernier says:

      What these people are saying “We want the government to regulate all of the content that is available to my family, children, friends, etc”.

      That sound EXACTLY like a formerly widespread government style that is for the most part looked down upon now-a-days.  I would rather not go there with our government, it’s fucked up enough already.

      Reply
  9. Kevin Johansen
    Kevin Johansen says:

    OK.  You used the word ‘Playboy’ in your Facebook post.  This got my attention.  And then you made me read all these other words….

    I distill this down to:  “It’s not up to everyone else to stop doing what you don’t like.”   However, some folks think that this is the case.  Thankfully, in the U. S. of *EFFing* A. it isn’t.       Cheers,Kevin  

    Reply
  10. Dava Stewart
    Dava Stewart says:

    First, FIFTY-SIX percent? No fucking way. As far as your parenting question: when my kids were small (they are now 17 and 18 years old) we had one TV, in the living room. We also hung out together a lot. When we got a computer, guess where it was? In the living room.

    I certainly don’t claim to be a parenting genius, because you know, I messed up my kids in lots of ways due to the fact I’m a flawed human, but talking to them often, asking what they’ve seen/heard/learned and generally being interested in their lives helps.

    So does honesty. When my oldest daughter was about 10, she asked us why people laugh when they say “camel toe.” We answered that question honestly, and every other one she has ever asked. We decided when they were babies that we didn’t want them to ever lie to us so we won’t ever lie to them.

    We also tried not to shield them from harder things, like grief or our disagreements or facts about our financial situation or how sucky work can be. Kids need to turn into responsible adults and they need to be prepared to handle what life throws at them. How can they be ready if they don’t expect to get bitch slapped now and then?

    Reply
      • The Redhead
        The Redhead says:

        Digital reach HAS to complicate things and while part of me STILL can’t get behind kids with cell phones, I get the difference between the time when I grew up and now. Cities are bigger, more parents work, schedules to coordinate…oy.

        Reply
        • Andrew Miller
          Andrew Miller says:

          I’m ok with kids having basic phones with restrictive calling ability so they can only phone certain people (including 911).  But smart phones?  No freaking way.  I had to make due with a rotary phone and my Commodore 64.  Screw ’em. 🙂

          Reply
          • SinnerElla DeVille
            SinnerElla DeVille says:

            I have an 11 year old son at home, an 11 year old step-son that visits for a month or so at a time and an 8 year old daughter. NONE of my little bastards will have a cell phone in their possession until they have a job to pay the bill for said phone. The only exception are those embarrassingly childish Disney style phones that have a mommy button, daddy button, police and fire button. They’re already addicted to enough electronics.
            My kids don’t go far enough without me or another adult to need a phone, just yet. And when they do, there better be a RESPONSIBLE (or at least close) adult like person within speaking distance to ask to use their phone to call me. Get a grip, kids, use some friggin empty veggie cans and some string like I did. If your friends live too far away to do that, you can use my phone to call them, but I better not get a text from these little hooligans or I’ll be calling their parent explaining how they’re the reason that their kids are gonna be electronically dependent douches when they grow up, just like mom and/or dad.
            Rant finished.
            Sorry. 🙂

          • Annie Sisk
            Annie Sisk says:

            While I appreciate the stance, I let my kiddo have a cell phone (it’s a prepaid one, very cheap, basic unlimited calls and texting) because her dad and I are divorced and live in separate states. It was the right thing to do in this situation. I wish others would do some thinking along those lines, though, to be sure. 

          • Anonymous
            Anonymous says:

            When I was little, it would have been too tempting to push that Fire or Police button. How do you keep your kids from messing with those?

          • Caryn
            Caryn says:

            My biggest problem is ELEVATORS. Who the heck designed the emergency alarm buttons right on the bottom… the easiest buttons for little fingers to reach. Just saying…

      • Dava Stewart
        Dava Stewart says:

        That’s true, Matt. We didn’t let them have cell phones until they had jobs and paid up themselves. They absolutely HATED that rule. We couldn’t afford laptops so there was no argument there, but now that schools are using different devices, yes, it’s got to be harder.

        Reply
        • Anonymous
          Anonymous says:

          I will admit that I had a cell phone between middle school and high school, but I was also a pain in the ass and quite rebellious because I didn’t (and still don’t) agree with how my mom ran things (like a damned tyrant instead of a relationship).

          The cell phone wasn’t for me it was a leash. So if I wanted to use it for me I had to pay the difference. This included things like text messages and games for the phone (which were no fun on the old Nokia bricks).  As soon as I had a real job though, I had to pay for everything. I had a job pretty soon after getting that phone, my mom tired of paying for it.

          Reply
  11. Stacey Hood
    Stacey Hood says:

    Disclaimer: Divorced dad of 3, twins, 17 and a 11 year old.  Seriously, people, listen to what Erika is saying. Stop pointing the finger at your surroundings and be a parent. Don’t allow videogames and TV and bad music to do it. Turn the channel if you don’t like what’s being shown. Is there any difference in the Playboy show than the KY Jelly ads or the Viagra ads that run on ABC Family? Get a clue.  Be a parent and stop expecting everyone else to raise your child.

    If you don’t like it, turn it off. It’s a pretty easy gesture to learn and exercise.

    Reply
  12. Lisa_diane
    Lisa_diane says:

    I have 3 kids, ages 15,17 & 20 and the only time we’ve hit the off button was during the recent rental of I Love Phillip Morris. I adore Jim Carrey but couldn’t get into this one and neither could my teens. Other than that we watch all the inappropriate shit together and laugh our asses off!!! My kids are honor students, athletes, school leaders and most importantly, they are good people who are going to change the world…..and they they say the word “fuck” at home and I don’t care!!!!

    Reply
    • Killian
      Killian says:

      My kids cuss at home, too!  They know that I don’t care, as long as they don’t do it in public around little kids, or around their grandmothers, etc.  Like Erika said, there is a time and a place.

      When my youngest was 11, I accidentally allowed him to watch the *real* version of Dogma instead of the Edited For TV version.  Oops!  But he wasn’t scarred for life, and I explained whatever he asked about – it was my own fault!

      Now, of course, my Kellions tell me the dirty jokes they hear from their friends! 

      Reply
  13. karen
    karen says:

    Totally agree and I do have children they are 19 and 24 and I am so sick of these people that don’t take responsibility, when my kids were young I had programs blocked they didn’t like but who cares I’m the parent! Yes I invaded their privacy who cares I’m the parent! Its just like the fast food bullshit, if you don’t want your kid getting fat and unhealthy then quit buying it 4 times a week cause its easier on you, instead they want to get rid of it! I really don’t eat fast food but when I do want a damn burger I should be allowed that choice! Don’t like the show like you said swith the channel or block it!!  I personally will watch the show!!

    Thanks for the bitch slap! lol

    Reply
  14. SinnerElla DeVille
    SinnerElla DeVille says:

    I would enjoy being a member of the aforementioned army of redheaded Barbie troopers and their wily worming through 80’s video game maze ways. I appreciate your post and as a parent I fully agree. WE ARE THE PARENTS! Stop being douchebags and blaming the media for your lack of foresight in explaining to your children how the world works. We no longer live in the 50’s and not everyone has the fund to build their children a bio-dome to insulate them from the dangers of the world and sexual overtones of life.
    I have 2 boys and a girl that are all fast approaching the dreaded puberty. My daughter is the youngest and seems to be the one with the most interest in growing into a sexual being at an early age. (Gods help us all) And while I don’t agree with it and I feel that children should be children, chastity belts seem to be in low public supply, so I talk to her and educate her where I can and answer the seriously uncomfortable questions about boys and confront the songs she sings from mainstream radio. (sometimes I’d really like to demolish all the radio towers and their streaming of hip hop music)
    I may sound like an old fart traditional parent, but I assure you, I am a very young 31 years old with 3 kids under 12 and I am a pretty liberal minded individual. That’s not to say that I am explaining to my children about sexual positioning or detailing how adult life works, but I treat them as humans that are going to get a junk punch from life if I weren’t to be up front and honest and allow them to ask the questions and experience what life has to throw at them, no matter how anxiety and panic inducing these tasks may be.
    I screen the sites and shows my children watch, because I am a PARENT. I read their report cards, keep in touch with their teachers, attend the conferences and loathe the PTA of which I have been forced to be a member. I try to keep my kids in a child-like mindset for as long as I can, but with Middle School and the inevitable P-word approaching faster than I would like, there is only so much I can do.
    So, NUT UP, PUT ON YOUR BIG GIRL PANTIES AND DEAL WITH IT. We live in a country that is driven by sexual imagery and people advance based on their looks and actions, sadly. Teach your children how to be individuals and what morals are and allow them to become productive human beings with a conscience as well as a decent sense of right vs. wrong.
    In other words, STOP BEING SUCH LAZY DOUCHEBAGS AND GET ON THE PARENTING BALL!
    SinnerElla

    Reply
  15. Ed Mahoney
    Ed Mahoney says:

    Seriously, only 200K porn addicts?  Hmm.  I’m a parent Erika and own up to my responsibility.  Stupid (not just ignorant) fucks participate in conservative organizations like the Parent’s TV Council not because they have thoughts on making this world a better place, but simply so they can belong to some waspy club and check off the box that says they contribute to family and society.  It’s way easier than understanding real issues and taking personal responsibility.

    Reply
    • SinnerElla DeVille
      SinnerElla DeVille says:

      I’ve been here in hell, I mean Flori-DUH wasting my verbal and creative writing talent on parenting and threats and professional style passive aggressive sideways remarks on the retired and shitty teenagers around here. lol
      I just try to be normal, though my sense of normal is WAY left of what’s expected by society, but guess what… I DON’T EFFIN CARE! Society can suck it, and often it does so wish pizzazz. Someone somewhere on this thread posted a comment about dispersing responsibility. I have to agree after having the study of Kitty Genoveese (sp?) shoved down my throat in every psych class I’ve taken in the last 2 years as well as in Ethics, English and Philosophy. It’s people attempting to dissolve their responsibility by assuming that someone else should have been involved. The moral of that study is that the more people that are involved or observe, the less action will be taken. Therefore, TAKE ACTION AND STOP SITTING ON YOUR LAZY ASSES!
      Jeez, don’t be such a doody head, people.
      Signed,
      the Queen of Creative Profanity.

      Reply
  16. Merredith
    Merredith says:

    Kinda not liking the uber-righteous vibe today.  As a parent, I say  Fuck off yourselves. Raising kids is hard, and it’s harder every year. I don’t support anyone’s attempt to legislate morality; but I’ve worked in TV, and getting funding is a zero sum game. If NBC is funding the Playboy Club, they’re not funding something else.  Maybe something actually good.  Do you think I want to spend my time blocking or haggling over The Girls Next Door?  I raised my kids, thank you.  Don’t hide behind the First Amendment. Raise. The. Bar.

    Reply
    • The Redhead
      The Redhead says:

      Precisely – raise the bar. But I think the bar is raised in homes first – my parents always strived to do that and it’s something that makes me consistently strive to do that as an adult. And I’ve been in your home – you’ve got a great bar, great relationships with your kids (and I don’t think that has diddly to do with what’s on TV) 🙂

      Reply
      • Merredith
        Merredith says:

        Yeah, and my TV is in the garage right now. Which sucks, because then we have to all go into the backyard to watch Modern Family.  My point, beloved E, is that yeah we have free will and we can all exercise it and turn off the tube and blahblahblah — and my kids will tell you stories about my unplugging the router or hiding remotes. But at the same time, WTF? You know how cigarette brands kill their best customers, so they have to target kids? I kinda feel the same way about the media – and I work in the media. You do have to raise the bar at home first. But it would be s**tloads easier without all the help the media is happy to give us.

        Reply
        • The Redhead
          The Redhead says:

          I still need to come over and watch Modern Family. Which I’m sure is on the PTC’s “do not like” list as well. Which means I definitely need to watch it. And the media…yeah, the media. Advertising still pays the bills, so until networks feel the ad hurt, it looks like it’s cable TV for this broad. That, and the DVR so I can fast forward my way through the sludge.

          Reply
  17. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    Dear fucking gods, THANK YOU.  A friend of mine posted that article of FB yesterday and I couldn’t read it all in one shot, it pissed me off so much.  (I’d thought about writing a post about it on my own blog, but haven’t figured out how to articulate it without going off the deep end.  Seeing as my blog is about learning how to be a little more zen and accepting in one’s life, I figure having a shit fit is probably not the best plan.  This is NOT to say that the post won’t happen, it’ll just be when I can be a little more productive in my ranting.)

    Anyway, yes.  OMG, this.  People seriously need to quit trying to force society at large to conform to their own personal viewpoints.  Welcome to the US of A, kiddies.  Don’t like that whole “Free country” thing?  Move somewhere else.  Otherwise, shut the hell up and change the channel.  That’s why we have remotes.

    Reply
  18. Matt Bernier
    Matt Bernier says:

    Edit: This was in response to SinerElla’s post below… but Disqus put it in the main thread…

    Ella –

    Love it! My parents were divorced, so I didn’t get a lot of time with my dad and my mom, well that’s a tale to tell.  The basics are this, anything sexual was made to embarrass myself and my brothers. It took a LONG time for any of us to figure out the world and realize that it’s not a fucking crazy as parents make it out to be. Lies, misdirections, and more lies only cause trouble for kids.

    I personally feel like everyone would do with being straight forward and honest with each other, not just parents communicating with kids.

    I am very straightforward and  I don’t like to play games, be passive aggressive or beat around the bush. I prefer to be open and honest. If you don’t like it, that’s YOUR CHOICE. Yes, you have a choice whether or not to like me or anything I talk about, stand for, or believe in.

    Some people don’t realize that there is masturbation, sex, lies, drugs, violence, and Fox News in this world. Get with the picture people, if you stick your head in the sand you are going to get kicked right in the ass and not only not see it coming, but you won’t be able to get up and figure out who did it.  Stop pretending to shelter yourselves, get off your ass, and get real with the world.

    Reply
    • SinnerElla DeVille
      SinnerElla DeVille says:

      I have to be clear when I say this: I am the FUCKING QUEEN of passive aggressive behavior, just not with my kids. lol

      Reply
      • Anonymous
        Anonymous says:

        Meh, so long as you don’t point your passive aggressiveness my way, lets be friends. Friends get pissed at each other, work it out, and move the fuck on. I like it better that way anyways.

        Playing the game where I have to say, “What’s wrong?” drives me crazy. I respect people who just come out and say, “Seriously Matt, you are wrong and here is why”.  That’s how I run my business and how my good friendships work too.

        Reply
  19. Killian
    Killian says:

    Erika — my apologies ahead of time if my rant goes on for too long.  I am speaking from the position not just of three teenaged kids, but also from having been a teacher int he public school system.

    It is long, long past time that we as parents start taking responsibility and raising our kids correctly.  Yes, I said it.  Correctly.  That is to say, do your fucking job.  YOU birthed the kid, YOU teach it right from wrong.  YOU teach it to respect other people.  YOU teach it to be responsible for their body, their mind, and their heart.  YOU teach it to how to be financially responsible.  YOU teach it to be a PERSON.  Then you have a he or a she. 

    I had a student who was in another classroom at the time of this incident – she knew there was a substitute teacher in the room and picked a fight with another girl to scare the sub.  It worked.  But after the fight, our Assistant Principal called her mother to inform her of the (undisputed) events, and to advise her that her child was suspended for the mandatory 10 days.  Her mother’s response?  “You’d better be there when I come get her, because I’m going to kick YOUR ass if you think you can suspend my daughter.”

    Above all else, that exemplifies what is fucked up nearly beyond repair with our society.  We are raising a bunch of lazy, whiny, violent, entitled brats.  Kids need to make stupid mistakes, and they need to suffer the natural consequences in order to learn from them.  But at the end of the day, it is the parent’s responsibility to teach and guide.

    My kids aren’t perfect, and holy hell, I am far, far from being a perfect parent.  But my partner and I decided from Day One that our kid was not going to be the one that everyone in the grocery store wants to smack.  Our kids would be raised right.  All three of them graduated from high school and started college at 16yrs old.  They are helpful, considerate, respectful young adults.  They’ve been taught that violence is never the answer (except in self-defense), that money doesn’t grow on trees, and that if they can’t face the person in the mirror in the morning, they’ve truly got nothing at all.  We raised them to be all of that without hitting them, without teaching them that older people can bully younger ones.  (“Do what I say or I’ll hit you.”) 

    It isn’t easy, but the payoffs are immeasurable.  But the problem is this: it takes absolute dedication and consistency.  You have to stay diligent.  You have to get off the couch and follow up if your kid disobeys.  Do NOT make a threat that you will not carry through.  And more importantly?  ALWAYS follow through on positive consequences as well.

    My favorite example of this was when I had to bring my 4yr old to my sociology class once.  I sat him at the desk in front of me, and ironically, the discuss topic was spanking.  I spoke on the fact that if you start off right from the start, it isn’t necessary.  I asked my son, “What did I ask you to do while I was in class today?”  He answered, “Color, play Pokemon cards, and eat my goldfish.”  I then asked what would happen if he did as I asked?  He said that we would go to the park on the way home and go on the swings.  And if he didn’t?  No park, no swings, and no watching Blues Clues this afternoon.   I may not have felt like going to the park that day, but it didn’t matter.  That was the deal, and he complied beautifully.  Guess what?  My ass was at the park, on the swings with him.

    Consistent reinforcement.  It is the only key you need.

    Parents need to stop being lazy, whiny bitches themselves, because that’s all they’re raising.

    Reply
  20. david
    david says:

    I am a parent of 3 children, 3,9, and 10 yrs old. I agree with you 100%. Thank you for writing this and I’m going to force this on everyone I know!

    Reply
  21. Liz
    Liz says:

    My parents were very involved with my life – we always talked about school and my grades, they didn’t let me cross the street by myself until an embarrassingly old age, parties were few and far between for me in high school, etc. – but when it came to my consumption of TV, books (avid Stephen King reader since about the third grade), and music, they were very hands off except occasionally (my daytime talk show phase was not appreciated). I don’t remember ever having discussions about the differences between reality and television (though we might have), but I was trusted to understand the differences between what we see on TV and what actually happens in real life. And I’m sure if my behavior indicated that I was missing the point of the fantasy of television, there DEFINITELY would have been a discussion about it.

    I guess my point is, me and my Vassar degree are doing just fine and I basically watched whatever I wanted to watch and didn’t feel the need to watch things that would have been absurdly “inappropriate.” I had the freedom of my own discretion, within reason, and my viewing choices were shaped based on what I actually liked to watch. Let’s face it, if I didn’t get what was going on, I changed the channel because it wouldn’t have been enjoyable for me to watch. And my love of The Terminator, Jurassic Park, and (guilty pleasure alert) mid-90s Nicholas Cage action movies, has not lead me down a violent, blood-strewn path to the darkside, either.

    I’m not really sure what people think is going to happen to their kids if they get a glimpse of something “inappropriate” on TV or in music. I personally think there are a whole host of other problems that the family should be dealing with if a family member is going to be so heavily influenced by the make believe that is TV (reality programs included).

    And I know talking makes people some people uncomfortable, but let me just put it out there that my family is not really a touchy-feely, share your feelings, and have really long open discussions about things kind of family. But we do talk when we need to talk and if something was not going the way my parents thought it should be going, they let me know. It wasn’t a matter of constantly asking how we felt about things or having a major discussion every time a pair of tits crossed the TV screen – but it did mean making sure points were heard and that I was aware of my place within the media world. 

    Reply
  22. D.T. Pennington
    D.T. Pennington says:

    I think a lot of telelvision programs would increase in quality and substance if the people who produced the shows were forced to sit in a locked room for 48 hours and watch nothing but the show they made. Then they’d realize how awful it was, and would work harder to create good programming rather than shocking programs. 

    On our recent vacation, the girl and I had access to cable shows for the first time in. . .3 years? Even while I was drunkenly flipping through the channels, I couldn’t believe what they were airing. It’s not like they’re even trying anymore. 

    I’ll agree with you in taking the step beyond regulating what your kids watch. Instead, chuck the TV. Chances are, no one is missing anything. Don’t try to make the argument that it is a worthwhile educational tool. Know what else is a good education tool? Going outside and skinning your knees. Reading books.  Books, while probably far cheaper to produce than TV shows, have a lot more thought and foresight put into them.  Someone actually puts efforts into books. 

    Sex and fucking is everywhere in our culture. It’s human nature. If parents didn’t want their kids to ever know about sex, then maybe they shouldn’t have fucked to bring them into this world. 

    Reply
  23. Paul Jones
    Paul Jones says:

    Personal responsibility.  Its easier for someone else to do it.  People hide behind groupthink because actually making a decision on their own leaves no one to blame for it going wrong but themselves. 

    Wait, you have your own BarbieDoll Look Alike? 

    Reply
  24. Rachel Noto
    Rachel Noto says:

    Love this. Will you raise my kids? Just kidding.  I have 2 kids, my daughter just finished grade one. I went to pick her up on her last day and she held up this balloon that she got from her teacher. As she was telling me about getting it for having a summer birthday one of the teachers yelled from the doorway “Please don’t blow that up on school property honey, it might explode and you will get pieces in your eyes.”  Wtf?  No disrespect to teachers, but this is a great example of what I think is wrong. We employ all these rules and demands on our kids deeming them unsafe when they haven’t even had the chance to figure out why themselves! According to an article I read a while back the average age a child is when they leave home is 27. I wonder if there is any correlation?

    Reply
    • SinnerElla DeVille
      SinnerElla DeVille says:

      I had to write to the school board in my county last school year due to the threat of administration to suspend my 7 year old for hugging a friend goodbye after being told that it was inappropriate. EXCUSE ME? Our family greets our close friends and relatives with hugs. It’s a hello, goodbye, I’ve missed you, I’m sorry you’re down, I’m happy for you and just generally you’re awesome gesture and the school has decided to over sexualize and innocent action of a 2nd grader due to it possibly becoming inappropriate or bring up the issue of sexual harassment?
      Our dumb ass public school teachers can’t figure out how to properly use a semi-colon, let alone SPELL SEXUAL HARASSMENT and you want to explain to my daughter that her hugging a friend as they leave school is this type of action? Get a friggin grip and stop turning all of these kids into wusses and people afraid to express their emotions toward another. Not saying allow them to duke it out on the playground, which may not be there long our awesome governor may end up removing due to budget cuts (but none for his position, office or staff) but if the fucking kids want to hug each other and it isn’t a groping or creepily lingering action, what is the problem?
      Just because they’re all emotionally stunted and closeted pedophiles half the time, doesn’t mean that we need to emotionally and physically isolate our children for fear of promoting inappropriate behavior or violating someone’s personal space.
      Fucktards.

      Reply
  25. Shad Boots
    Shad Boots says:

    Wait. 

    200,000 Americans are addicted to porn. I can believe that. 56% of divorces are caused by an obsessive interest in porn. 

    Obsessive interest. Addiction. Pretty much the same thing. Is it just me or should those numbers be a bit closer together, if not exactly the same?

    There are approximately 2.2 million marriages in the U.S. and 1.1 million divorces every year (this does NOT equal 50% divorce rate, by the way). So, 56% of 1.1 million divorces is approximately 616,000 divorces that end because of pornography… 

    Okay. Away from the numbers. 

    What’s funny, hilariously so, is that these are the same people that are saying the government regulates too much and we’re becoming a communist/fascist/pick-your-misused-term. They say, “Government should stay out of religion, school, away from my guns, and out of my life.” You know, until it suits them. Then they want the gravy train. 

    In any case, my mother had a great way of doing things: she explained to us why she didn’t want us watching a show, and actively made sure we didn’t watch it until we were of the maturity she thought best. Novel concept, this parenting thing. 

    Reply
  26. Kseketa
    Kseketa says:

    So many times I feel like we just don’t give kids enough credit. They are pretty damn smart and if you treat them with respect and instill in them the fundamentals of what is right and wrong they do a good job of making decent decisions. If you try to keep things from kids in the spirit of “protecting” them, they find a way to explore these things on their own only now without your guidance and wisdom. Unless you plan to follow your child around 24 hours a day to make sure they never stray from the straight and narrow, you have to treat them with respect and tell them the truth about what is going on in the world in a way that helps them understand why surfing the net for porn, taking drugs or stealing from the local store is not on the path of least resistance to a decent life.  Call me crazy, some moms do…but so far I have great kids –  so I am told.

    Reply
  27. Sondrah Laden
    Sondrah Laden says:

    First I should state that I agree with your position and enjoyed your post.  I am a married mother of three (14, 10 and 18 months). 

    I think we see actions like these of the Parents TV Council because they are fighting a losing battle and unable to stop the progression of the clearly consertative network tv of decades ago to the shitfest it is today.  Sitcoms that air at 8pm have inappropriate content for kids and teens and you must decide to turn it off as opposed to fifteen or even ten years ago when you wouldn’t have seen it on during that timeslot or any other and the network chose tame shows for you.

    So with a lack of a better option and little hope of a societal uprising that turns back the hands of time, I think you will see them complain and moan with little hope of achieving anything other than creating discussion topics for well meaning parents to worry and wonder what will become of their children exposed to all the filth and debauchery that is today’s pop culture. 

    Reply
      • Sondrah Laden
        Sondrah Laden says:

        lol… yeah, I thought he was menopause, not a valiant effort on my part to lead by example in parenting skills, but enjoying it all the same.  😉

        Reply
  28. Annie Sisk
    Annie Sisk says:

    Hoo boy. You hit a nerve with me. On the one hand, I just banned my darling web-savvy daughter from Facebook for a week over a late-night lapse in judgment that ended up being publicly aired on her own page. On the other hand, there’s another recent incident in which something I was participating in along with several other bloggers hit a speed bump when one of the bloggers asked the person heading it up to ask *another* one of the bloggers to REWRITE HIS POST. Because he used (less) profanity (than you typically use in a single paragraph – like, a few words here and there). That just brought me up short and made me queasy. Fortunately, I thought better of the first email response I’d written to this inquiry, and revised it to take out all the “WTF?!?”s and such. And you’ll be heartened (as I was) to know that every single blessed one of the other bloggers who responded basically said “What Annie said.” (Yes, the world is SO much better when everyone just agrees with me…)

    Yes, as a parent, I have an ongoing battle here, controlling what my daughter is exposed to. I view my job as the gatekeeper and bodyguard. I take into consideration her age and her maturity level and her personality. I can do that, ’cause I’m her parent. I don’t want anyone else making those decisions, yanno? I mean, hell, I let her watch V FOR VENDETTA which is majorly violent — I watched it with her, and we talked about that movie for hours. I let her watch it because I knew she could handle it and would be challenged by the premise.

    Never in my wildest, most desperate moments, though, have I EVER thought it was a good idea for some group of Other People to decide which shows, movies, webpages, etc. were worthy of ever seeing the light of day, just to make my job easier.

    Reply
  29. SL Clark
    SL Clark says:

    Talking Tiger Porn,,, LMAO
    Sitting in a room with my 13 year old grandson as his mother & grandmother went over *every* expectation they have for him and his future sex life. Heh, he just started “chatting” with girls under the covers.  Playboy!

    Erika, we don’t have PARENTS today, we have the giant NANNY state. Hence, Yosemite & Alaska must be made safe, and CA may soon *require* bicycle helmets on everyone. Choice in all its many forms is vanishing from this land and for that I’m deeply saddened. I sooooo wish you were a standup, the female Carlin – telling it like it is, or at least as it should be. Awesome post, even if it took time away from your all important paid writings. All the best, -Steve
     

    Reply
      • SL Clark
        SL Clark says:

        Of course you do! He did it with the spoken word, you use the written variety. While your fingers might not keep up with his stage voice, I’m quite certain Life is best as a free flowing marathon, not a dead at 27 sprint. Long live the written word and their wordsmiths!

        Reply
  30. Scamm33
    Scamm33 says:

    Much applause for Erika!! I consider myself an ‘old-school’ parent. We do not have cable or internet in my home. I am asked ‘What do you do?’ As if I am committing some sin. Well, we read books(remember those?),play games,enjoy nature and so forth. I do not believe in lying to my children;if I don’t want them to know I tell them they don’t need to know. I tell my children to question everything. Just because you are told,see or hear something doesn’t make it true. Raise your kids with morals,dignity and respect. Erika you will be a wonderful mother some day!

    Reply
  31. @keithprivette
    @keithprivette says:

    I am a parent of a 6 year old (boy) and an 8 year old (girl), I will take full responsibility for raising my kids and frankly the organization you mentioned above is a big waste of time, energy, and money.  Go do something worth while, like I dont know volunteer in your communities with families that are struggling these days.  So back you Erika on this point of view!

    Reply
  32. Marta Spendowska
    Marta Spendowska says:

    No kids, just public TV + Netflix sometimes and — beware — a fast internet connection. I can see whatever I want, whenever I want.
    Which really mean only this : up to me how I want to spend my time+money. If I’d have kids, it will be similar; we’d need to activity choose what to watch, for them and myself, until they are big enough to decided for themselves. 
    I have to admit, from the commercials I had an impression that it’s going to be another glorification of “available women in pony tails”. The only thing that get’s me intrigued is the awesomeness of the typography + the show’s logo:) 

    Every day, by buying stuff, turning my Netflix on, off, yelling at or loving Fox, I vote.

    I’ve already lived in the country, that regulated everything. And, as I can remember, the trick was to figure out how to do it anyways. 
    So, Parents Television Council, get the fuck out of our lives.

    Reply
  33. Kara Gray
    Kara Gray says:

    I’m no prude and I totally agree with every single point that you make here. The problem I have is when the networks *don’t give you the opportunity* to choose not to let your kids see it. Instead they blindside you with commercials dropped into otherwise benign TV programming that show a close up of a Playboy bunny’s ass as she walks away or a clothed lapdance. Or how about the ads for another NBC show about some idiotic tart where she asks “Why aren’t we tapping this every night?” in the middle of Americas Got Talent? That also pisses me off. Same with the “Up All Night” ads where Christina Applegate and her on-screen husband discuss why she doesn’t want to have sex and proceed to discuss their “sex face” with gestures. What’s the point of showing this at 8 p.m., other than to demonstrate that the show has no entertainment value without resorting to sex humor? I’m not saying they should stop offering these shows, just that they should be more careful with the advertising (same goes for KY and Viagra, BTW). It seems like the networks make a concerted effort to circumvent those of us who do try to take responsibility for the media our children consume.

    Reply
  34. Erica Allison
    Erica Allison says:

    We keep it pretty simple at my house (parent of an 8 y.o. boy and 3 y.o. woman child).  We have one tv and it’s in the living room. My son knows his way around Netflix, but he also knows the rules and that I know every trick in the book for going around them.  Sitters know what he can and can not watch; there are parental controls on videos over a certain age; and he doesn’t get to watch things that I think are stupid.  Sorry, when he’s an adult and buys his own TV, DVR and DirectTV satellite, then he can rule the remote.

    We also have one computer in the house and it’s in the kitchen.  (He’s not allowed on mine – lap top that travels around with me).  He has to ask to use it and he can only visit sites we approve of.  He loves YouTube and finding funny animal videos; we’ve learned that’s a tricky one b/c there’s some really crude shit out there in that realm.  So, we have to watch along with him or screen them before he can just go surfing.

    If something “questionable” comes on and he asks about it, we EXPLAIN it.  We don’t pretend it doesn’t exist.  When I was pregnant (Very pregnant) with his little sister, he studied me one afternoon and wanted to know how we were gonna get her out.  Perceptive dude, isn’t he?  I explained it in black and white terms to him, without using nicknames or cutesy terms, and afterwards, he looked down and said that hole’s gonna have to get a lot bigger.  Told you he was smart.

    The point there is that I don’t let him (or the little one) have free reign, but we also don’t pretend things don’t exist or hide them if the kids see it.  We explain.  We drink wine in front of them.  We don’t smoke, so that’s not an issue.  We try not to curse in front of them, although I’ve been known to let a Dammit come forth when the eldest ignores me…only to have it come back to haunt me later when he tries it out in front of my husband.  Nicely done, son.  So, we’re ( I mean me) are dialing it back on the cursing.

    When your day comes, Erika, you’ll be a fine mom.

    Reply
  35. Tracie E.
    Tracie E. says:

    Like Stacey, I am a divorced parent of 4 . I own one TV. Its in the living room. No cable. Yep, I turned it off.  The kids would rather play video games anyway, and I thought the cash was better spent on a gaming system than a box that delivers hours and hours of senseless blather straight to my living room. 

    I also own one computer. Its in the living room, too, and I keep one eye on what they’re getting themselves into on the net. 

    The older ones have cell phones they can use for calling/texting only. 

    Trust me, they HATE hearing ‘no and ‘how the heck did you find THAT site? Out. Now!’, but that’s part of being an adult and a parent, and someday they’ll understand why I said it.

    I try to be as open as I can with the kids about the nastier aspects of being an adult, because I don’t want them to walk out my front door when they’re all grown up and be blindsided by the nastier aspects of being alone in this wide world, my ex-other-half tends toward overprotecting them.

    Reply
  36. Caryn
    Caryn says:

    Again, love this post… your writing style, your points, and how you made those points. Here’s some random comments I want to add to the mix:

    1) To say that porn destroys marriages is, in my opinion, a bit ignorant. If one person is into something that another isn’t, that’s a difference in character and you’re pointing fingers in the wrong place. I say this because I am going through a divorce, because we were different people. I’m not blaming any of his faults because they were his characteristics and we were not compatible. Period. 

    2) As a result of the divorce, I am adopting a 15 year old girl (formerly known as my stepdaughter) so I can continue to be a positive influence and role model instead of the bad example her father was. That’s parenting in a nutshell… kids are little people in training and they do look to you (the Parent) for what’s right and what isn’t. They will form their own opinions and deserve respect, even if their opinions are wrong or highly misinformed. 

    So my kids (I have two boys of my own as well) do have a clue.  There is an open conversation policy and I strongly recommend it for any parent out there… it’s better to know than pretend it doesn’t exist because it does… whatever “it” is. Shoot, I might even watch that show (Playboy Club) with my daughter and answer any questions she might have.  Wonder if those same parents have a gripe against ‘Secret Life of an American Teenager’ which involves young girls actively having sex and talking openly about it. Gasp. (Thanks to THAT show, I have weekly talks with a 15 year old girl about sex, drugs, and every other awkward topic imaginable. We both hate it but it’s great to know exactly where her own mind is at, and to be giving her better advice than another 15yo girl would be giving.)

    3) I too will defend your right to have and express any opinion, even if it is different from my own, and the same courtesy should be expected in return. It’s common sense… if you don’t want your kids to learn something the wrong way, you should teach them the right way first. Just saying…

    Reply
  37. Kathi
    Kathi says:

    You know, this was a great post!  My kids are parenting their
    own kids. I’d say don’t hide things from your kids, talk and listen instead.
     That might be awkward at first, for everyone, but hey, who guaranteed
    that parenting was easy? Be the example of what you want from them. You might find that your kids will turn it off on
    their own!!  REALLY, trust them!!
    Kathi

    Reply
  38. Tara D.Coomans
    Tara D.Coomans says:

    All I could think while I was reading this post is “Damn, this is a long post…and I’m still reading it. Erika is my writing icon.” Only to be delivered with a cherished “thank you” at the end. Once again, great post..I’ll be forwarding it to some parents I know in lieu of writing it less brilliantly myself!

    Reply
  39. James Mueller
    James Mueller says:

    “Do YOU want to explain to YOUR channel-surfing children what a “Playboy Club” is?”
    ***
    “Daddy, what’s a playboy club?”
    “Well, Son, it’s a place where men go to look at pretty women.” 
    Bam. Easy.

    Reply
  40. Heather Atton Cook
    Heather Atton Cook says:

    I don’t have a problem with people advocating for their own point of view (like this parent counciil group) … I think they end up becoming “those people” and people stop listening. I’d much rather be an advocate for my own personal children in my own personal home and no I don’t mind at all explaining terms to my kids.

    Reply
  41. Doyle Albee
    Doyle Albee says:

    Great post, Erika! I can tell you as a parent of two (now 21 and 19, so they pretty much watch what they want now) they had boundaries. They also knew that if they got sneaky and got caught watching something they weren’t supposed to, they lost TV privileges altogether. Same story with the computer — surf where you know you shouldn’t, and no more surfing for a while.

    At our house, we never even had “dirty” or “bad” words. There were “adult” words and “kid” words. If I chose to use an adult word, that was something I earned through my adult status. Did I change my vocabulary around my kids? Of course! But the occasional slip in traffic, etc., was not a complete show-stopper. I simply explained that when you’re an adult you can make the decision to use those words, or not. But now? You’re a kid, it’s my call and you’re not allowed to use that word.The bottom line? THAT’S MY JOB AS A PARENT! I don’t want network television or HBO or the Internet or what magazines and books my local bookseller carries to be only appropriate for kids. I really have no interest in watching “The Playboy Club,” but I want to make that choice for myself. I really like football, but if you don’t, I’m not going to make you watch it. That’s no more appropriate that you telling me “that’s too violent for you, we need to take football off the air to protect you.” No. Shut. The. Hell. Up.

    All of us — kids and adults — will do much better if we make our own choices based on critical thinking. That’s what we need to teach our kids.

    Doyle Albee
    http://www.metzger.com

    Reply
    • Risa White
      Risa White says:

      Critical thinking…Exactly! If we shield our children from parts of the world we think they “shouldn’t” see, then how will they ever develop the ability to know if they should see it, want to see it, or if it’s even worth seeing?

      Children who are “protected” from all of the “evils” of the world seem to have a much harder time making good decisions throughout their lives. I tend to leave the judgments on whether something is bad or good up to my kids, but I always give them both sides of the issue. If I don’t know enough about something to talk intelligently about it, we go research it together. It’s their job to figure out how to live their lives. I will not be there in the schoolyard when they are offered drugs or alcohol. I will not be there when the first opportunity for sex comes. At the end of the day, they have to live with the decisions they make. I will always be there for them, but I can’t live their lives for them.

      And so far, they’re doing an outstanding job.

      Risa

      Reply
  42. Craig Comeau
    Craig Comeau says:

    This so called concerned parenting group would have a meltdown if they saw what’s on the CBC here in Canada. Once in a while, there may even be a scene with “evil” boobies.
    My kids (4 and 1) aren’t old enough to like anything other than the Backyardigans or Sponge Bob, but that doesn’t mean that my wife and I haven’t started building a framework of trust, honesty and open communication with them. I’m positive there’s going to be hard questions and situations ahead, but I plan to confront every question and situation head on. The fact of the matter is parents have a unique ability to influence their children and help guide them through the early years of their life. Shielding them from the realities of the world won’t help them, it will only mean they’ll  learn about them in a manner that is far beyond our control as parents. Better to deal with them all as parents and don’t let somebody else do the dirty work.

    Reply
    • The Redhead
      The Redhead says:

      Evil boobies? I can’t get that channel on the networks down here in Americaville! BLAST! But on a more serious note, I think conversation is important for ANY relationship: parent/child, husband/wife, business/customer. It’s when that conversation breaks down (or was never established in the first place) that relationships break-up. (Note: porn was not in that list).

      Reply
  43. Ellen
    Ellen says:

    I have so much love for you for this rant.  I’d like to hire you to sit beside me during parent conferences to blast some of the crazy shit I hear from parents.  

    It’s like we’ve become a victim culture powered by lawyer-think.  I had a kid tell me a few years ago that something was only wrong if you were caught and they could prove you’d done it.  His mama spent the entire year blaming his teachers for his aggressive and antisocial behavior until we were sending him to the expulsion process.  All of a sudden she remembered a psychiatric diagnosis he’d gotten a year before he’d come to us that stated he didn’t experience reality the way the rest of us did, that he heard voices, that he couldn’t tell right from wrong.  Yet up until then, it was my fucking fault her kid terrorized and bullied others.

    Public education needs bigger balls because teachers seem to be everybody’s bitch these days.  Raise your fucking child.  Admit s/he is not a perfect little snowflake.  Screwing up is a part of learning, so let’s not fuck up the opportunity by misplacing blame.  Gah.

    Reply
  44. Kosmicegg777
    Kosmicegg777 says:

    Yes. When will parents stop foisting parenting off onto everyone else? Yes. When my kids have friends over I have to say I am often very pleased with myself…because even my kids parent better than their friend’s parents sometimes. No kids come visiting my house and get away with peeing on the toilet seat or mucking up the sink with toothpaste. My kids are happy to share, even give away their crap to their friends, but they will not tolerate abuse. And, the best part is that I don’t usually have to say a word. The worst part? They still do…and my kids are getting older…so I fear for the future.

    Reply
  45. Kosmicegg777
    Kosmicegg777 says:

    I have to add also another opinion about cell phones, and the digital age. If you PARENT then you don’t have to worry about what they’re going to do with technology. My kids have got it all thanks to a divorce and they view technology as a very secondary thing in their life. Not interested in wasting their time on games or texting because they have work to do, they have a purpose in life. My son is working on a blog about superhero inventions. He’s ten. My daughter is writing her first novel and we’re writing a movie script together.  She’s fourteen. I don’t expect professional level work, but that isn’t the point. The point is learning is their job. I tell them everyday not to wait for approval to start living their dreams.  They don’t need a degree. They don’t need to turn a specific age. They do all the kids’ stuff (swimming, basketball, reading, and playing) but they are already learning who they are and what they’re interested in, and how to share it. Come on people. Our kids are inheriting a hard-ass, we are the world reality with competitors not on SAT tests, but on ingenious behaviors in China, India, Malaysia, Japan, and before you know it the big bad world is going to shove that reality down their throats.

    Reply
  46. Brenda
    Brenda says:

    I love you!  All this political correctness and self entitlement drives me crazy.  It is nice to see that I am not the only one who thinks that people should take responsibility for their lives rather than expecting the whole world to change for them.

    Reply
  47. Leon Noone
    Leon Noone says:

    G’Day Erika,
    You can’t get bloody rid of me that easily!  Every blogger needs a curmudgeon among their readers. I’m yours. Good God woman! Anyone who writes a sentence that long and uses “reticent” when she means “reluctant” needs all the support she can get. Not only that, my eldest grandchild turns 18 next week . And my youngest child is the same age as you.

    I remember when cool was a word used to describe Dizzie Gillespie and “suck” was used to describe activities that took place in “Playboy” and were written about in blogs like yours.

    And Danny Brown reckons you’re OK too.

    I’m not going anywhere……… Yet

    Make sure you have fun,
    Regards
    Leon

    Reply
    • The Redhead
      The Redhead says:

      Leon, you never cease to make me laugh – and as the first reader who grabbed my word snafu (reticent/reluctant), I hereby award you ten Random Redhead Points. They’re redeemable for nothing, but the kids like to use them with Lincoln Logs and Tinker Toys. 😉 Always a delight to see you!

      Reply
  48. Toby Neal
    Toby Neal says:

    Heee hee!
    I tend to the conservative side, and interestingly I posted on the problem of cellphones and constant texting with kids just today… http://www.tobyneal.net/2011/07/28/kids-should-read-more-adults-too/
    Which is not exactly same topic but related. As a child/family therapist I see how tough these things are and can’t recommend enough that parents get a sense of their standards early and enforce it early and often, otherwise by sixteen… good luck. Playboy explanations are going to be least of their concerns.
    Its a bold, brave, scary new world out there and parents need to get into the mix and understand the culture, stay at least two steps ahead of the kids at all times.
    And, remember that whoever has the wallet makes the rules. I’m always shocked at how often parents are actually giving away their power and hoping someone else will teach and train their kids.

    Reply
  49. Bill Green
    Bill Green says:

    I try to remind myself that our country was founded by Puritans and their values. For anyone who forgot their history, the Puritans were a group of people so freakishly uptight that even the Brits told them to get the fuck out. In reality, most of these “faith-based” watchdog groups — that all seem to have ties back mega churches whose preachers probably have some gay porn action going on the side — just need an enema.

    It is funny how they are so fast to legislate morality and make the FCC responsible for their parenting failure, but as you astutely point out Erika, the “off button” seems to elude their intelligence.

    Reply
  50. Nepal1025
    Nepal1025 says:

    Good, good article. As a parent of three daughters, now ages 17-24, I wholeheartedly agree with the practice of saying no and keeping crap out of the house. Learning that most things are permissible but few are beneficial has been a mantra these double decades. Common sense and protecting our children from harm should be included in the hospital manual newbie parents get. Um, you did get yours? Right? Home should be the place that’s safe and that means as the grown up, I have to say no to it too. That’s a lot easier said than done. Ok so this is one thing I did that even now my girls thank me for: they were NOT allowed to watch PG 13 movies before they were 13. I know, I know. Sounds perfectly awful. But wait, before you think that’s crazy, Hollywood is recommending 13. And we all know how that place is just loaded with “values”. Surely I could abide by that. So how did that work out for me/them? No one has been in jail, they work, study hard, pay their bills and don’t have rehab on speed dial. They are normal young ladies… Got their tats, got an extra piercing or two, certainly have had a legal buzz or three and love each other madly! Oh, and their mama and daddy too. So get a babysitter when you need a fix of violence, sex and gore and just say No to the drivel that’s being marketed to your kids.

    Reply
  51. Dana Fortier
    Dana Fortier says:

    I catch such hell from “well-meaning” grandparents who want to spoil my kids. Screw that – I was raised to respect everyone that was older than me and I am raising my kids to do the same. I’m kind of a “throw-back” parent, which is so totally out of character with the hippy-dippy “let’s all be friends with our kids” parents in the area where I live. Some of them turn out okay, but the majority of them – not so much.

    I’m so glad to see so many posts from parents with my views, too!!!

    Reply
  52. Jenny Floria
    Jenny Floria says:

    There is nothing wrong with The Playboy Club being on at primetime, and the ads for it that I’ve seen are no racier than ads I’ve seen for other  shows.

    My girls are 6 and 8. Know what I can’t have them watch? The news. Pictures of people being carried off covered in blood, stories of children being murdered by their parents, other people being put into or released from jail for heinous crimes, all make for much more difficult conversations than soft porn.

    Last holiday season our family watched A Charlie Brown Christmas. Just after it was over while we were getting the kids up and reading for bed, Grey’s Anatomy started. It began with a disclaimer about the adult content of the show and that it may be disturbing to some. The opening act was of a person with blood spurting from his chest being wheeled into surgery, and having one of the docs being covered in said spurting blood. I didn’t even have 3 seconds between the disclaimer and the start of the show to grab the remote and turn it off. Wow, thanks for that one, that was “easy” to explain.

    I would’ve rather been explaining why women are wearing bunny ears and fuzzy little tails — THAT at least makes a little sense in a child’s world.

    Reply
  53. Kmhilden1
    Kmhilden1 says:

    I love my children and talk to them every day. I don’t want them to be afraid of nudity or bunnies! I also want them to talk me about anything and everything!

    Reply
      • Bhaskar Sarma
        Bhaskar Sarma says:

        I don’t know if it was the PTC but Chuck Lorre said in one of his flashcards that when Two and a Half Men was placed in the smut file by a parent/family org the ratings zoomed. If your blog gets that treatment perhaps you should send them a baked cake and a note saying thanks

        Reply
  54. Melanie Seibert
    Melanie Seibert says:

    Well, here’s the thing. I’m no fan of porno. My male friends look at me like I’m nuts whenever I tell them I think it’s unhealthy, I think it perpetuates a toxic view of women, and I think it’s an industry built atop the crushed remains of the broken psyches of abuse victims.

    However… 

    I can’t argue with what you say here. Parent is a verb. 

    My kids are too young to ask these questions right this minute, but your approach of explaining things (in an age-appropriate way) and telling the historical truth sounds about right. Tell them about the civil rights wins. Tell them about the negatives too. Tell ’em everything as they get old enough, and they’ll learn to sort out the good from the bad. 

    Thanks Erika!

    Reply
  55. ColinP
    ColinP says:

    To be honest my first response to these people would be “And?”  Followed by  “I believe that the E! Channel has been showing Playboys “The Girl Next Door” for many years.  How exactly is this something new? Additionally every TV since the mid 90’s has been built with a V-chip installed, you should really learn how to use it.”

    Reply
  56. Kim Doyal The WordPress Chick
    Kim Doyal The WordPress Chick says:

    This post was an awesome way to start my day! Found you through Ash Ambirge’…. you rock.
    My laugh out loud line that I will use over & over again? “We don’t live in the United States of You”.

    I’ve been parenting two kids on my own for 8 yrs., (widowed at 32- so I have zero empathy for parents who whine about, well…. anything. nuff’ said). And my kids simply rock.

    Because I work from home for myself I am able to monitor things a little more (not a dig at any parent who works outside of the house- because I did too. And it was through a lot of hard work that I go here. But don’t think I’m not counting the days until summer vacation is over and my house is quiet!).
    I talk with my kids CONSTANTLY about everything. My daughter (14) knows that I’m online all day, but I don’t preach to her about FB- we talk about it. She even points out how stupid her friends are with the things they post. (NOTE TO parents: Colleges and employers WILL look at their social media accounts!).
    You know you’re doing something right when your daughter says “I’m glad I can talk to you about everything. I can’t imagine not having someone smart to talk to!”

    When my 10 yr. old asked if he could create his fb account? I said “nope. Not until you’re 13”. His reply? “O.k”. No attitude, no tantrums (I could barely tolerate them when he was little).

    Honestly, I’m a little disappointed in many of the parents in the community where I live (also counting the days till I can exit suburbia, whether through frequent travel or just a better view!). Quit hovering over your frickin’ kids and giving them everything they want!!! Expect a little more from your kids and you may just be surprised. I’d rather be the one talking to my kids about sex, drinking, relationships, etc. (and let’s stop treating masturbation like a four letter word. Maybe then there would be less “16 & pregnant” shows). I know the things I did when I was their age- and we didn’t have the web, social media or god forbid, cell phones (did I just publicly write god forbid?).

    And lastly, Mad Men is absolutely one of my favorite shows- and I feel IMMENSE gratitude for the women who stood up to shift that perspective of women in the workplace.

    Enter reality TV: ugh.
    I put the brakes on her watching “Kimora Lee Simmons” or whatever the bucket her name is now. Talk about garbage in?
    Required reading for my daughter? “Bossy Pants” by Tina Fey. btw- just haven’t hit some of these challenging times with my son yet. But he’s perfectly good with talking to his mom about all this- and if/when he needs to chat with a guy? We’ll cross that bridge then.

    My kids do their laundry, clean bathrooms, mow the lawn, do the dishes… you name it. Because I expect them to and they just GET IT. And while it’s not easy, it’s a hell of a lot easier when you set the expectations when they’re little.
    Think I’m starting to ramble.

    Think this is one of the longest comments I’ve ever left! 😉

    Reply
    • The Redhead
      The Redhead says:

      Kim – I’m awarding you 13 Random Redhead Points for the length of your post and another 7 for saying Ash sent you over. If I ever decided to lick stamps, Ash would defs be on the the Girl Crush list! (PS: thanks for being a kickass mom!)

      Reply
  57. Welyne Thomas
    Welyne Thomas says:

    I never knew all that about the Playboy Club – thanks for enlightening me!  I couldn’t agree more on your ideas about choice.  And in these days of increased government intrusion in my life by the people who want less government, I appreciate your sentiments.  Thanks!

    Reply
  58. Tom
    Tom says:

    Only 200,000 Americans are porn addicts? Shit, I’m pretty sure that many subscribe to my midget-on-chubby fetish blog. Not to mention I work with at least 6 at my day job. And for the record Playboy is as much porn as The National Enquirer is factual. 

    Reply
  59. Marian Schembari
    Marian Schembari says:

    When I was a kid, my parents didn’t let us watch TV. They couldn’t stand it, didn’t want our brains to rot… At the time I of course hated it. As I got older, I realized that because of it I read more, did more, experienced more.

    Now, years later, I sort of hate them again for it. I understand their intention, and I’m still glad I didn’t grow up glued to a screen, but because I was “sheltered” in a way, I became completely addicted to TV after I left home. Name a show, I’ve seen it.

    Now, my parents let me drink starting at age, like, infant. A few sips here, a few sips here. While many of my high school friends were getting carted off to get their stomachs pumped because they over did it, I calmly drank my one beer and to this day I rarely drink.

    My point is that everything in moderation. Protecting your kids is one thing, but study after study shows that if parents are open with their children and nothing is ever off limits, those kids grow up healthier, more well-balanced and more aware of the world.

    Just my two cents. I loved this posts. One of my favorites of yours. Nicely done.

    Reply
    • The Redhead
      The Redhead says:

      iknowrite? Thanks for stopping by and great to see you, Marian. And this, I love – “Protecting your kids is one thing, but study after study shows that if parents are open with their children and nothing is ever off limits, those kids grow up healthier, more well-balanced and more aware of the world.” Holler.

      Reply
  60. Rachelle Wells
    Rachelle Wells says:

    Thank you, Erika. Thank you.

    My husband and I don’t have kids yet, but we greatly look forward to the day we do, and we often discuss how we’re going to raise them. First off, thank you for these statements about parents taking responsibility. It is ridiculous what parents what to blame on “the world.” They are simply too lazy to control their children’s entertainment (among other things) and so when something goes on that they don’t like, they blame it elsewhere. The blame rests squarely on their own shoulders.

    Secondly, I think parents also need to consider their children’s ages and what is appropriate for them to know at what age. Yeah, maybe a two-year old doesn’t need a sex talk. But kids are growing up FAST, scary fast. If you haven’t talked to your child openly and frankly about sex, alcohol, drugs, and that kind of important stuff by the time they’re 13, they’re hearing it from someone else. Better to have a slightly awkward conversation and have been the one who told them first. Establish yourself as the authority, and you have more hope of having them talk to you when they are faced with sex and drugs and eating disorders and life anxiety and all that wonderful teenage stuff.

    Anyway, fantastic post, and it’s encouraging to see so many likeminded people commenting here.

    Reply
  61. Mauricio
    Mauricio says:

    The post is very Useful. I like the post. Thank you, this advice will come in handy. It made me understand something, and it is that I never knew before.

    Reply
  62. Bibliophile Girl
    Bibliophile Girl says:

    Holy hell, I can’t believe I missed this post! 

    I know you aren’t looking for an army of people to agree with you, but someone would have to be hell bent on not seeing the logic in your argument in order to disagree. While I’m not a parent (but I am an adoptive parent in waiting), I sincerely hope that I will have the necessary bravery to address “difficult” subjects with my kids with as much brutal honesty as possible. To do less would be a great disservice to them. Just FYI – you can bet that I’ll be starting the Playboy questions with the explanation you gave above. Don’t worry, I’ll attribute it to you. 🙂

    This kind of reminds me of the Young Adult Fiction argument that was started by Meghan Cox Gruden of the Wall Street Journal not long ago. Same kind of thinking – she was “concerned” about the “darkness” found in literature for Young Adults, but didn’t have a single solid argument behind her statements. It all comes down to parenting and using that off button if people feel they need to.

    In the meantime, I am off to re-tweet this gem. Rock on, sister.

    Reply
  63. Andrews222
    Andrews222 says:

    Where were you when my sister-in-laws were pissing and moaning about the coverage of the royal wedding on TV? Really? You don’t like coverage about true love, romance and fairy tale weddings? Then turn the TV off, I said. Your choice, I said. Well, I got a bitch slap in return! I suppose they became very productive once the coverage was over and they were out of reasons (on that topic anyhow) to piss and moan.
    Thanks for keeping it real and making me right:O)
    Diana Andrews

    Reply
  64. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    It would be nice if parents would actually, you know, parent their children. If you don’t want your kiddies to listen to Eminem or watch The Playboy Club, then don’t let them. Explain why you’re against it. You can’t try to censor a network or an artist because you disagree with their freedom of speech.

    A lot of parents just don’t know what the hell they’re doing, and look for the nearest scapegoat to blame when their kids don’t come out perfectly. You should have done a better job at raising your kids, duh!

    Reply
  65. Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2
    Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2 says:

    Aww man, I had to comment to the “Porn addiction” bullshit.

    I think anytime someone goes to porn, it’s because they can get freaky dark side energy there (dirty talk, taboo, rough play, complete open energy, etc.)  that they are too chicken shit to bring out of their lover. And I mean heart-connected, ravishment-style dark energy. None of that, “You need to have your testicles and wanger separated from your body with the jaws of a freshly dead piranha and then forced fed them bite by bite and then popped nine times in the head and dumped in a river dark shit – kids, rape, etc.”

    I believe turning to a prostitute or porn is a communication/expression wimpiness issue, not an addiction issue. Blaming it on addiction is convenient way out, but I bet it’s not the case in the majority (56%) of instances. And yeah, this coming from someone who is far from an authority on the topic but someone who uses the common sense part of his brain too and doesn’t excuse away my weaknesses.

    Marvelous post as usual Erika! Can’t wait to come back. 🙂

    Reply

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