“All television is educational television. The question is merely, 'What is it teaching?'”1
In an era of over the top salaciousness in all elements of culture, from television to the internet, to music, to commercials on every channel I wonder why we tend to go to extremes in how we portray romance in these mediums. There is no more kissing for the sake of a kiss.
Culture pushes boundaries and what was considered gauche 25 years ago is fodder for entertainment television now. Things that were considered “off limits” or morally questionable are now elicited as “pushing the boundaries” and “artistic”. This has always been humanity's way of exploring what is right and wrong. Push a little bit, see what sort of reaction we get, push a little more, watch over our shoulder warily, push a bit more, and we get reactions and emotions, exclamations of surprise and horror. Then the justification for what we are doing and why we are doing it begins.
I don't want to dip into that particular pool, it's much too deep for a short post. But I wonder. Why wouldn't things work the other way? Why can't good art be simple, and not controversial? I realize I am skipping over a slew of terms and definitions here but I am simply thinking out loud.
Why can't a kiss simply be a kiss? Isn't there beauty enough in that act? Isn't a kiss romantic anymore?
Why do we always crave for more things to burn through our senses with ever increasing thrills of entertainment pounding our eyes and ears and souls?
We end up with senses so overloaded with sensuality and overstimulated with too much in too short a time that nothing means anything anymore. A hug, a wink, a passing smile, a sunset. These become nothing. We want more than a hug, we want something to go along with that wink and smile. And a sunset? Well it better be in high definition after something blows up otherwise who cares?
Let's work on desensitizing ourselves a bit and enjoy simple pleasures. Grass on bare feet, standing in the rain. Watching the birds bounce around the playground of branches in our yards. A simple kiss, the sound echoing in our ears. Wonders never cease.
1Everyday Theology: How to Read Cultural Texts and Interpret Trends. Kevin J. Vanhoozer. p. 31. Quoted from Life Magazine, September, 1971, Nicholas Johnson, formerly of the FCC.