Thursday, September 20, 2012

The More Things Change...

An open letter to the American television viewer:

"I know all of us as parents wish there was more good taste on television. Some nights our television sets literally seem to explode with violence, sudden death, brutality and an overemphasis on sex.

Just where does the responsibility for our programming lie? True, some of it lies with the television industry but television doesn't create a culture - it caters to a culture. If producers and the networks think this is what you want, this is what you're going to get.

We who have children realize what a tremendous influence television has on the young. From television, they often pick their heroes. How does this affect them if their hero solves his problems with violence? Or their favorite comedian gets a laugh by spitting out a mouthful of food?

We know the influence that [our show] has on children from the letters we get from parents...We get lots of letters from teachers - its one of the few shows they urge their pupils to watch.

To us, things like helping mother with the dishes, wearing a jacket or tie on a date...are more than just surface attributes - we think of them as symbols of respect

If a child doesn't respect his parents and his teachers, he'll end up respecting nothing, not even himself.

...As long as you and people like you pick out what is good in television, and let us know about it, the producers will be encouraged to give you more shows that respect good taste and moral values. It's up to you to change television before it changes you."

This letter was written in September 1960 by Hugh Beaumont who played Ward Cleaver on Leave it to Beaver.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

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