Chernobyl for Christmas

Still from HBO’s Chernobyl Docudrama

No this isn’t about the war in Ukraine although I trust Ukraine over Russia when it comes to managing the site. No, this is about my family’s choice of Christmas viewing.

Christmas Day conversation revolved around 9/11 and the survivors and the physical toll on them. That led to talking about the HBO docudrama on Chernobyl.

So Boxing Day we’re all watching Chernobyl because that’s how we roll. And that led to some Google for history and where are they now answers and did you know that more people died in the holiday snow storm in New York than the Russians and therefore the UN admit were killed by Chernobyl? The official death toll for the nuclear accident is 31.

This led to a discussion of what happens when society conditions you to believe that lies are truth. And both sides of the political aisle are guilty of misusing opinion as facts. Try looking to see where the often quoted statistic about 50% of marriages end in divorce came from you’ll find it’s an estimate not actual data. (Latest estimate is that almost 60% of first marriages will last until death parts them, it’s the 2nd and additional after that that skews the data up to over half of marriages fail).

But back to Chernobyl – the scene that hit many of us hardest was the “it can’t be graphite, you must be mistaken” and the one where it’s pointed out that 3.5 is the maximum reading their detectors can register. People are willing to accept misinformation if it fits their narrative. It’s how we start believing social media is reality even if real life doesn’t match the screen.

So ask yourself – what beliefs am I looking to support when reality doesn’t match? What facts and reality am I ignoring in order to support my beliefs? Are there any beliefs I hold that should be re-examined given the reality happening outside of my screen?

Is it the Media’s fault?

Sometimes it amazes me how television has changed. When I was a kid, Dukes of Hazzard was considered vulgar and moved to late night TV. Watching the DVD’s now, Daisy was more covered in her bikini than a lot of today’s kids in the sitcoms. As if I needed a reminder of the type of violence and disrespect that we now accept seeing on television, I caught an old re-run of the Andy Griffith show. In the show, a spoiled brat kid disrespects the law, his parents and teaches other kids (Opie) how to behave the same. The show ends with Andy pointing out to the father that if he doesn’t allow his child to have consequences to his actions, how will he become a well functioning member of society? When the son tells Sheriff Andy that he would rather his father go to jail than have his bike impounded, the father finally gets a clue and Andy offers to let the father continue his conversation with his boy in the privacy of the woodshed behind the sheriff’s office.
DH and I looked at each other and decided no way could that show be filmed today. First off, the father wouldn’t have brought his boy down to the sheriff’s office; he would have sent his lawyer with a discrimination suit. If the father had come down and the woodshed was mentioned, he would have sued for the sheriff encouraging child abuse. And the premise wouldn’t have come up in the first place because the kid would have been playing video games instead of riding his bike on the sidewalk. Of course, come to think of it, the kid wouldn’t have a father, he would be living with his single mother and the only male role models he would have would be the homosexual couple next door and the drug dealer on the street corner. The last real father I remember seeing on television was Bill Cosby and that’s been a few years now.

So is it the fault of the media and the video games that we’ve become so dependent on sex and violence in our entertainment? No, it comes back to individual responsibility. If no one watched the violent shows, if R rated movies didn’t make money, then eventually the bean counters in Hollywood would kill the projects. We would still have some of the “artistic vision” people pushing the edges of the envelope. The problem I see is as the edges get pushed, what used to be the edge starts seeming normal and we as the viewers forget that it used to be disgusting to us, we forget to complain, and we forget to turn it off.

Again, is it the fault of the media and video games that children are disrespectful and violent? No, it’s the fault of the parents who let them get away with that type of behavior and accept it as normal. Acceptance ends up being tacit encouragement and those who don’t know any better will let their children push the envelope even further until there are no boundaries at all. And when children without boundaries breed, the next generation has to do even more to get attention. It’s a vicious cycle.