Sunday, August 21, 2005

21st century living

You know, I seldom watch ABCs newsmagazine "20/20". Years back Rob and I both watched it pretty well every week. I'm not really sure why we stopped. Hugh Downs, Barbara Walters, the guy with the moustache (sorry, his name escapes me). Good journalism, i thought -- issues, current and compelling, some marshmallow fluff to lighten things up a bit, some celebrity profiling, nice mix.

The reporters have all changed. Forgive me, I don't even remember their names! For whatever reason, i began to watch last night - intrigued by the trailer commercials. . . Rob joined me shortly after it began.

The lead story was the disturbing story of Marc Cohen, told in his own words - strangely, his wife is one of the anchors on the show and she not only covered the story, but was interviewed in the piece!!! *how strange that must have been for her?* For those who haven't heard of this man, he had a huge hit with "Walking in Memphis"some years back. Approximately 2 weeks ago he was shot in the head during an attempted carjacking, while he and his band drove home post concert. Amazingly, the bullet that found its way into Mr. Cohen's head was precisely 1 cm shy from entering the singer's brain, and about an equal distance from rupturing his eye. The CT scan showed the evidence. He is recovering beautifully physically, but does seem to be suffering from intermittently-triggered post traumatic stress -- who wouldn't be?! They did apprehend the shooter, who had a lengthy list of offences. I thought he had that typical 'criminal look'. . the wild eyed gaze of a caged animal, the swagger of evil conceit. . made me shudder. He looked just plain bad to the bone.

After that scary story we were then treated to two small, related pieces on spying.
Spouses spying on spouses. .
Parents spying on children. .

Spyware isn't just for spies any more. If you suspect your spouse, all you have to do is go to a store and they will hook you up. Cameras, disguised as innocuous, household or everyday items, bear silent witness to all the things you'd probably rather not see. E-blaster and other such computer software keeps track of every keystroke, every email, every site hit by the "suspect", logs, lists, online purchases. . it documents everything. In the U.S. there's even a reality show called "Cheaters" which obtains video proof of infidelity and shuttles the wronged spouse to the scene of the tryst, to catch the adulterers in 'flagrante delicto'. . . just what everyone wants to see; live marriage disintegration, raw heartbreak at the moment it happens, rage, humiliation, pain. . what's happening??? Did you know there are 'alibi' websites. All you do is register, log on then ask someone to provide you a plausible alibi to convince the one you want to dupe, that there is a legitimate reason for you to be called away, or for you to miss an event or be absent from home. . . the alibi provider will text, email, call, whatever you need. There is also a company that will provide a 'sonic decoy' for your every deceitful need. If you need your spouse to believe that you are 'stuck in traffic' all you do is select "traffic jam" which will provide the background noise to corroborate your lie. Can you believe that people make a living providing this stuff?

Also profiled were several parents who had installed cameras in their teens' bedrooms, to 'monitor' their activities. One parent was a single mom who often had to work late, who watched her son every 10 minutes. . . her child was a conscientious, good kid of 13 who resented the intrusion and didn't understand why it was necessary. We found this creepy. A dad was profiled, who had installed e-blaster software for his daughter's computer. He monitored every single keystroke, every incoming and every outgoing communication. His daughter was very uncomfortable with this invasion of her privacy, yet she confessed that her dad is a good guy who is scared to death that online predators would somehow find her whereabouts. Yet another dad had installed a GPS in the car that his daughter used. He tracked her all the time to see where she was going, how long she stayed at each destination, even the speed with which she drove. She was mad, she didn't trust him because she wouldn't trust her. We did see some of the reasons why this kind of spying can be helpful. . kids repeatedly stealing from their parents' purses, kids getting into the liquor cabinet, getting drunk, even throwing up on the kitchen floor.

Cheating, spying, no trust, no faith. What a mess. Is all this a solution?! ugh. . left a bad taste in my mouth.

Last little gem in this strange show was a piece which profiled women who marry lifers. . men in jail, men on death row, murderers, thieves. One woman said that she liked a 'manly man', someone who was mysterious, a 'bad boy'. wow. . . these women, what are they smoking? Most of them cannot consummate their marriages. . depends what state allows conjugal visits. They have no one to live life with, do the every day things with, no one to talk. Okay, maybe i'm missing something, but we're talking murderers. . . women who 'fall in love' with them and marry them!!! What possible appeal exists here??? Who could hold the hands of someone who used those same hands to kill someone else? I know I'm asking as if you will have the answer! Who does? What a very bizarre segment that was and i don't even know how to think about that.

I liked the 'old' 20/20, the one with Baba Wawa and good 'ole Hugh. . and some fluff to balance the 'in your face' stuff, bring back the weight loss tips, Dr. Tim talking about modern health care, BW interviewing a politician or a film maker. . am I being an ostrich? I find this world a scary place to inhabit. . . don't you? I hate watching the news and i don't think i'll bother watching 20/20 again. . . i would prefer my eyesight to be a little more fuzzy. . 20/20 vision is unsettling.


Lindsay said...

I hate, hate, HATE Cheaters! That show is the height of tackiness and depravity.. the one time that I watched it it made me really angry, and I wondered why people would want to humiliate themselves on national t.v. like that! UGH! If there's one thing that no longer exists in this century is taste.

Kathryn said...

i've never seen it, aside from that brief clip on 20/20. ugh indeed.

Kevin said...

That's crazy. I knew cheating was relatively common-place, but not that so many resources exist to support it.

As I think about this I am reminded of a Woody Allen movie that was played during my Ethics class last year. It was appropriately titled "Crimes & Misdemeanors"

The point of the movie was that if someone does not have an objective basis for morality then anything goes. "Good" becomes whatever you want to do which you can get away with. The only bad action is the one that gets caught or gets you in trouble. Needless to say cheating, cover-ups, and even murder were actions all deemed acceptable... as long as they were not caught.

It's scary to think that such an outlook on life exists today.


Kathryn said...

Crimes and Misdemeanours was a good one. .

you're right, Kevin. . it is scary to think that this outlook, mindset is shared by so many, justified, excused, even encouraged. . like a societal virus.

Kevin said...

"this outlook, mindset is shared by so many, justified, excused, even encouraged. . like a societal virus. "

What hit me the hardest from Crimes & Misdemeanors was that this mode of thinking was portrayed as the "enlightened" view point. The priest in the movie goes blind... symbolic of the blindness of those who do not hold this viewpoint.

Anonymous said...

20/20...ya it's gone down hill for sure!

Marrying murderes...I think it is as equally crazy (and maybe more so) when someone marries a 'freak' and they actually live with them knowing what they are like! *shudders* Sometimes I think that is all that is 'left' out there...weirdo's. I meet so many of them.

It does make me sad when parents can't trust kids and spouses can't trust each other...though if that stuf was available when I was young *I* would have set it up on myself to prove that I wasn't doing drugs etc. like my parents friends told them I was (hate gosipy church ladies) grrrr.

Dale said...

Kat, you are so right in your comments. I'm with you totally on this. The world is a scary place these days and I can't imagine what my kids will have to deal with as they get older. But what can we expect from a world that has turned its back on the Creator of all? When one loses respect for the Creator, they quickly lose respect for His creation. Once that takes place, anything goes. The world becomes (and is) a sick place. That's one HUGE reason why my band and I are out there doing what we feel God calling us to do....reach out and point others to Christ so He can drag them out of this filthy pit when the time comes to go home. We all need to be bright lights in our communities. One of our mottos in my band is the similar to the US Marines..... Leave nobody behind!