Have you ever heard the term "that guy is swearing like a sailor?" Do you have to swear if you're a sailor? Is that part of the requirement? No! A sailor swears because they're surrounded by sailors that swear. This is almost equivalent to "you are what you eat" but instead you become what you are surrounded by.
My senior year of high school, I dated a young lady that was obsessed with NSYNC. I remember seeing her room and she had NSYNC posters that surrounded her ENTIRE room. Not only her walls, but her ceiling as well. When she woke up in the morning, she saw NSYNC. When she was studying, she saw NSYNC. When she went to bed, she saw NSYNC. Her obsession was fueled by constant reminders that surrounded her environment.
We too, are products of our experiences and shape our thoughts, feelings and attitudes based on our environment. You are subconsciously affected by the things you hear, see and experience throughout your day. This can be awesome if you surround yourself with virtuous things but can be very destructive if you surround yourself with ungodly things.
The #1 song for 2011 was Super Bass by Nicki Manaj. Let this represent our pop culture influence.
#1 TV show of 2011 was Breaking Bad which features a teacher that is diagnosed with cancer and takes to a life of crime and selling drugs to his students.
#1 Modern Warfair III grossed 24 million over the past year. If you're not familiar, it's a real life scenario of a combat infantry person. How many of our military men coming back from combat after the things they saw/experienced needed therapy? Is this something we really want to be exposed to? Even in the safety of our own homes - is it really a good and virtuous thing for us?
What parents and teens are failing to recognize is that their environment is slowly changing without them even realizing it, and they too are becoming numb to the lower standard of morality. Pop culture today is using more sexuality, worse language and extreme violence. Why? Because it sells - and who's buying it? To me, it says - if you want to make some money... Write a party song with a good beat, take off the majority of your clothes, and have "hot men and women" dance around.
Teens watch and listen to this music, tv shows and video games and as much as they want to say it doesn't influence their decisions... it does. Like the chameleon, we conform to our surroundings. We see sex everywhere and somehow it justifies it. We memorize the lyrics to our favorite songs, we record our favorite tv shows and in turn, they're slowly teaching us that the standard on tv is alright.
Where do we draw the line? What is too much? When I was a kid, Ren and Stimpy, Bart Simpson and Beavis and Butthead took the all time crude role. When we didn't think it'd get worse, we now have Southpark and family guy that disguise adult topics within childish cartoons. Entertaining? Yes! Is it really something we want to continue to support? Is it who we want to be as a nation?
In my theology class this week, we briefly discussed the virtuous person. To be a virtuous person, you have to do good - well and consistently. In order to have it modeled for you, study people that were virtuous. As a Catholic, we have the saints. Those individuals over the course of several years lived a virtuous life. They were after the heart of Christ - they worked at it. They fought for it. They gave up their own will for it. They made sacrifices for it. They lived it day in and day out. If you want to know what it means to be holy and virtuous, study those who succeeded in doing so.
I'm not saying you should be a radical and denounce every pop culture icon, stop listening to music and throw away your tv - but I am saying you should be aware of your surroundings and how it may be effecting you and your family. How is it affecting your relationships? Our world vision is changed by the lenses we look through. If we are looking at the world with a pop culture lens, I can promise you it's going to be different than someone who has excluded pop culture from their surroundings.
Find life within the virtuous lifestyle! You'll find it will be quite freeing!