friendslikethese - BreakPoint with Charles Colson...

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Unformatted text preview: BreakPoint with Charles Colson Commentary #040506 - 05/06/2004 With Friends Like These A [‘1' a 5.; - S -- ("u n ny Leg Cy If you never pick up a newspaper, turn on the television, or listen to the radio, you just might have missed the news that NBC's situation comedy Friends is endin its ten— ear run. The media is giving this ewe secon ' ris —maybe even more. USA Today alone has published so many features on the show in the past several months that NBC ought to have the paper on its payroll as a publicity agent. The popular show about six Iamorous and a ealing milestgne Perhaps the most bizarre sign of the show's perceived importance was a rash of articles that came out not long after September 11, celebrating Friends as the kind of "comfort TV" that would help us all feel normal again. And while that's debatable, for sure, no one can deny thgtfriends has had a deep impact—deep, But regrettably not very positive. ______________...___ .flrm- Look at some of what are considered the show‘s clflcrajsgic moments: a lesbian wedding (in which the ex- lTusband of one of the women gave her away); a drunken Las Vegas wedding that soon ended 'n piypppe; various premarital sexua|_h_r_e_l_atpnr1§hi_p_suapd pamhtner swapping; and one chara,gerisnfgtayninto unwed motherhood—the televisiqhmlgjpglmpf motherhood, that is, where the baby happily/“edgier i'figjnveniences anyone or even shtiqu up. Nearly QEEFWWW reached levels of vulgarit and sexual frankness that continued to define deviancy downward. Am I—like the media—taking Friends too seriously? After all, it's only supposed to be comic relief. fipt ‘comed is whgtmmnade the show so dangerous. Comedy gets under puhr'radar in a waiting; political dm't’. ' " ' ” ' ' ' ' ' ' ” " a Consider a study commissioned by the RAND Corporation and published in the journal Pediatrics a few months ago. The researchers cam e incredible conclusion that Friends and shows like it _—'____——-_-————v—_-————'————— were useful for sex education, because teenagers remembered their sexual messages 59 well. The fag that these messages were unhealthy somehow escaped the researchers' notice. And this is a l the more disturbing since a large percentage of Friends's audience is teenagers and even preteens. And for an increasing number of them, nobody is stepping lg to counteract the sexual lessons that they've learned from Friends. -~It's hard to argue that Friends presented a false picture of what goes on in our culture. Premarital sex is widespread among both adults and teens—even in the church. But the real roblem with Friends was that it made this kind of lifestyle look like fun. Even a show Ii 5 x and the Cit with all its bed—ho in , showed someone getting hurt once in a while. On Friends, by contrast, it was a in good fun. No sexual relationshi was ever so dama ing that it couldn't be healed by a new one with'h the hex: few weeks. Thas a icture that has notin at all to do with Yes, the critics are right, as overblown as they sometimes sound: Friends has left a lasting mark on our popular culture. And Christian parents, pastors, and youth ministers need to face up to the damage and step up to the task of reconstruction. a: ....._._... o Carina Chicano, "fEriends': Difssgliggfl Sign: phenoim," Los Angeies Times, 30 April 2004. 0 Stuart Elliott, "IheSupermbowI—ofSitcom Episcfies," New York Times, 3 May 2004. - Reuters, "Advertise_i'_s__payi_ng $2M to be {FriiendiwithiiflBCEEELaJe." USA Today, 28 Apn|2004. 0 "fliengsftilitheengfi‘ archive of USA Today's recent features on Friends. o Jeremy Dauber, "Qld friends,” Christian Science Monitor, 5 May 2004. a Lee Siegel, "Taste Test," New Repubiic, 4 May 2004. Available to subscribers only. (Siegei offers a different take on Friends's legacy.) . Jennifer Frey, "Shelter from Reality in the Company ofr'firiends,” Washington Post, 5 May 2004. . John Crook, "'Friends' 'Ti|__the__Bitte_rsweetEnd," Zap2it.com. - Joai Ryan, "HollywoodiLeans on FriendsiAlong with .BfLfli.OQV mvinflofietiackg @singss," EiOniirie, 11 September 2002. 0 Rebecca Gardyn, "Almfit Pgujts," American Demographics, September 2003. 0 Rebecca L. Collins, Ph.D., et ai., "Entertainment Televisionias a__He_a_lthy Sex Educator: The Impact ofCorim-_Efiisasuntormamn irLan Episode ojfirfls," Pediatrics 112, No. 5 (November 2003), abstract. Full artjge costs $10 to retrieve. u "RAND St.qu Finds Entertainment TV CanflHelp Teach Teens. _R§p_or_is_ibl_e .S_ex_ Messages." press release, The RAND Corporation, 3 November 2003. - Lynn Elber. "Swim TMCao BLEffgtiyeéex Educator," Associated Press, 3 November 2003. - "Sex Losesits Appeal: A__Stat_e of themdustrv Reporton gex tint," Parents Television Council, 20 May 2003. . "Parents and Media," Key Facts, The Kaiser Family Foundation, Summer 2003. (Adiobe Acrobat lime; required.) Note: Kaiser is an organization that promotes the "safer sex" message. 0 Marcia Segelstein, “UirLorbidden Fruit," BreakPoint Oniine, 10 July 2003. o BreakPoint Commentary No. 030602, "Filling t_he__V_ac_uurn_: The_Legac_y__o__f Da_wson's Creek." a BreakPoint Commentary No. 030826, "Fa_r_n__i_|_y Values on H.801: Truth fro, miliniewected. Sources." - We ndv Shalit. A. Reign? §Q_que_s_tx;_2i5c9i<edog theirgtnyirtue (Touchstone, 1999). - Thomas Hibbs, §DQW_5§?QQLI_CI\Lthfl9 (Spence 1999). ...
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friendslikethese - BreakPoint with Charles Colson...

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