Let’s Go Raise Us Some Dumb Kids, by Mike Gold

Mike Gold

ComicMix's award-winning and spectacularly shy editor-in-chief Mike Gold also performs the weekly two-hour Weird Sounds Inside The Gold Mind ass-kicking rock, blues and blather radio show on The Point, www.getthepointradio.com and on iNetRadio, www.iNetRadio.com (search: Hit Oldies) every Sunday at 7:00 PM Eastern, rebroadcast three times during the week – check www.getthepointradio.com above for times and on-demand streaming information.

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28 Responses

  1. John Tebbel says:

    Yuk. I think these ratings are self-imposed; there's no tv ratings authority. Some born-yesterday coward-in-charge at that network, unaware that these programs were thoroughly vetted by network standards and practices toads whose charge was to make sure that anyone in your living room from 8 to eighty could watch in perfect comfort, jumped at some spectre in his own imagination and slapped that rating on.Or, more likely, now that I think of it, you probably get better adult ratings with a TV-14, like the one f-word PG rating of times passed. Any pre-cable network television is a G rating from top to bottom, truth be told.And no one programs their v-chip. It's all a scam, like all the codes, to quiet down the gang with the pitchforks and blow a little smoke in their eyes till they move on to another victim. Then it's back to SOP.What I did find out, looking into this matter, is that what really adds sex, violence and envelope stretching content to the American mainstream is war. During and after each of the wars since WWI more words, content, body parts are all of a sudden acceptable to a population whose sons and fathers have gotten a load of what's really horrible (hint: you can't get it at the mall).

    • Mike Gold says:

      "And no one programs their v-chip" That's interesting. How do you know that?

      • John Tebbel says:

        Logical inference, Dr. Watson! Nobody bothers to do program their televisions. People didn't set the clocks on their vcr's. Any parent who cares enough about the issue will devise a wetware fix, and supervise their younger children to the point that they needn't rely upon an electronic lockout. (Great Americans all know that you can't trust the ratings, anyhow.)And bright fifth graders certainly understand they only need to unplug the offending device for a few seconds to return it to it's unprogrammed state.People who propose ratings and hardware fixes aren't concerned with children or savvy about parenting; they are usually foundation hacks working a mail order contributions scam.

  2. Linda Gold says:

    I also am baffled as to why a show that was perfectly acceptable for me to watch as an 8 year-old in the straight laced 1950's is now considered unsuitable for anyone under 14. What could possibly be in an old Marverick show that requires this? Something that might actually make them think?

  3. John Ostrander says:

    If it wasn't for Dr. Wertham telling my mother that superhero comics were E-Vil (and her buying it), I might not have a comic book career. They were forbidden so, of course, I had to go read them SOMEWHERE. And they were all the more fascinating for it. Ah, the things that warp a child's character!

  4. Howard Johnson says:

    Well, as a parent (of a now, gulp, 13-year-old), our son has pretty much grown up with the TV rating system. And you know what it's meant to us? Nothing. Zip. Bupkis. We simply have paid it no attention whatsoever. And furthermore, I don't know of any of his friends' parents who pay it any mind. It's a non-factor, except as a sop to the Radical Right. We judge what to watch on a case-by-case basis. It's called Common Sense.

  5. Marc Alan Fishman says:

    My folks would not have had to capacity to program a V-Chip. Then again, they raised me right. Amidst playing the most vile and disgusting videogames, reading both bret easton ellis and chuck palahniuk, as well as seeing my fair share of not-for-kids movies did not make me a psychopath either. I think the generation that taught mine figured this "guidance" would help usher a better generation in. However, John makes the inevitable point: that which is taken away from us only makes us want it more.What it really comes down to is how involved you as a parent choose to involve yourself in that which entertains your kid. I'll be honest, but folks didn't sit with me and monitor my choices. But I sure knew if I watched something that frightened, confused, or intrigued me, I always knew I could discuss it with my folks. For that, I knew I was a lucky one, and I'll do the same for my kids when I have them. That being said, my children may have it lucky, given the sheer amount of cartoons their dad already owns…

  6. Alan Kistler says:

    Ratings systems to me are ridiculous in general these days (at least in the states). The fact that Fox is more comfortable about showing characters getting shot in the face or tortured than it is about showing a nipple is baffling. Which do we think would be scarier or harder for the kid to handle, really? And now the whole thing about the MPAA believing that a movie should be rated R if characters smoke too much in it. Seriously? I grew up on Rat Pack films and many detective dramas such as Homicide: Life on the Streets where just about every damn character smoked. Guess what? I've never developed the habit.EAT THAT, AUTHORITY!I you really want to get inflamed, watch the documentary THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED and see just how biased and arbitrary some of these ratings are.

  7. Russ Rogers says:

    It's all too complicated. Back in the days of "Maverick," there were, what, three networks? Four counting PBS? When I started watching TV in the 60s there were four networks and we had one independent station in Minneapolis. You could see what was on by flipping through the channels in less than a minute. Now, there are fifty-seven channels, a hundred fifty-seven channels and nothing's on! There's no way to keep track of it. I regularly switch on the TV and say, "Well this station wasn't here last week," as my cable company shuffles the dial. Different networks come and go like drunk tank transients. I can't keep track of what I could be watching, let alone my kids should be watching!Here's an example of a parenting nightmare through the media maze. I have four daughters. They went through a phase of LOVING the song, "Crank That (Soulja Boy)," by Soulja Boy Tell'em. The lyric suggests that you watch Soulja Boy "Crank That" while he "Superman dat hoe" and "super-soaks dat hoe!" Then he encourages us all to "Superman" and "Super-soak dat hoe!" There is a cute dance that goes along with the song. When Soulja Boy sings "Superman," everybody makes a flying gesture. Ah, my daughters are so adorable when they do that dance! Just adorable.But I didn't like the sound of the lyric, "Super-soak dat hoe!" And I fully didn't understand the lyric, "Superman dat hoe!" I mean, "huh?"So, I did a little research. (I guess I'm a good parent? Right?) Here's the definition from the Urban Dictionary: when you ejaculate on a girls back then put a blanket on her so when she stands up the blanket sticks therefore making her look like she has a cape.Soulja Boy was only 16 years old when he recorded this! Did he really mean THAT? Of course Soulja Boy now says, “Superman is just a dance. I heard about the e-mails going around and…basically, they trying to just stop my shine.” Really? Then what does "Super-soak dat hoe" mean?I told my wife. She shrugged and said, "The girls don't know. Don't tell them." I won't.Now, alternately. I've recently taken a shine to Jonathan Coulton. He's a singer/songwriter, unsigned to any label. Like Soulja Boy, Jonathan Coulton is building a name for himself, self publishing over the Internet. I recently picked up his hit song, "Code Monkey," on iTunes. It has the lyric, "Code Monkey think, 'Maybe Manager want to write God Damned Log-In Page himself.'" It's a very cute and clever song about a sad-sack computer programmer and his unrequited love.I played it for my wife. She said, "That's a nice song. Couldn't you have gotten the "Clean Version" from iTunes?" My wife was upset about the words, "God Damed." "Crank That" is fine for the kids as long as we keep them ignorant as to what it really means. "Code Monkey," is verboten.And that's the problem. We don't have time to parse the ideas any more. There no time for thought. It's just the words that count. It's just the simplest tokens that we have time to pay attention to anymore.The same is true for movies and TV shows. Maverick carries a gun and sometimes shoots the bad guys. STAMP: TV-14! I find it upsetting that "Shindler's List" and "Saw" have the same rating. I find it even more upsetting that "Saw" has several sequels and many imitators. Are we not men…? Seriously, somewhere in the world some "Saw Fan-Boy" is daydreaming about how he's gonna rig up his "Torture Shack." Yeah, there were plenty of sick-fucks before "Saw," but do we really need to be making them video manuals?Eek! Just to get the spoiled milk taste of that image out of my brain, I'm gonna listen to Jonathan Coulton's version of "Baby Got Back." Yeah, it's a folky cover of Sir Mixalot. I think it's hilarious, soothing and oddly romantic. My wife hates it. She thinks you shouldn't mess with a classic.

    • Alan Coil says:

      "Back in the days of "Maverick," there were, what, three networks? Four counting PBS?"Not in 1957. But where I lived had 4 networks…the usual 3 plus CBC from Canada.

      • Rick Taylor says:

        I used to love the kids shows on CBC.Lovern Kindzierski and Angelo Messina (both Canadian) and I were doing the press check for the Superman Wedding comic and we somehow off a kids TV in Canada because I think a fellow who was their Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Dress-up, was retiring.Chez Helene (which probably explained why French was my language of choice), The Friendly Giant…sigh.These days a show like 'Mr. Dress-up' might have a little more in common with 'Priscilla Queen of the Dessert'.

      • Linda Gold says:

        Actually I grew up in New Jersey so we had 6 channels. CBS (2), NBC (4), ABC (7), Dumont which was replaced at some point by one of the following WNEW (5) WOR (9) and WPIX (11) No PBS (13) until sometime in the 1960's.

  8. mike weber says:

    Speaking of what's appropriate on TV (in general) – this ad from Holland is hilarious – and definitely not safe for work! (Or for the near vicinity of anyone offended by the "f" word…)The funniest and most cogent comment on the whole TV rating thing i've seen yet shows a couple of kids watching TV as the rating flashes on-screen, and one says "…the more letters and numbers there are, the better the show is."

  9. John Ostrander says:

    Y'GOTTA have things that you're not allowed to watch or read as a kid! How else are you going to know where the GOOD STUFF is?I was lucky to be raised RC back in the 50s and early 60s. We had the Legion of Decency publish a list of movies. I was only ALLOWED to go to A1 movies but I ALWAYS read the C (Condemned) list just to know which ones I should WANT to see. Back in those pre-computer (let alone pre-Internet) days, how was I to know that films like ILSA, SHE WOLF OF THE SS even EXISTED? The title was enough for my boyish imagination. Ah, the memories of those mammaries. . . !

    • Mike Gold says:

      Is being raised RC anything like being raised EC?

      • Russ Rogers says:

        I think being raised RC is more like being raised AC/DC. Back in Black, Dirty Deeds, Highway to Hell. Being raised EC is like being raised Marvel/DC.

      • John Ostrander says:

        Being raised RC in the 50s was marginally scarier than EC. The nuns, the horror. . . !

  10. Linda Gold says:

    I was raised EC. One of my first comic reading memories is of an EC horror comic, I must have been around 6. I assume one of my uncles had an old issue lying around somewhere since this would be 1955 or 56. My mom never censored anything I read or saw growing up. Granted TV was tamer then but I saw "Suddenly Last Summer" in the movie theater when it came out. I was 10 and when I got tired of arguing with the folks at the public library who wanted me to stick to the children's room Mom went and told them to let me read whatever I liked. I was in 3rd or 4th grade. I have to admit I tried to keep Adriane from watching somethings when she was young based on my personal taste not because I expected them to harm her. Of course, she just watched G.I. Joe when I wasn't around. Good for her.

  11. Rick Oliver says:

    I have seen the future of television…and it's not on television. It's on http://www.hulu.com.