Don't displace blame; be responsible
Reflections of a Nice Girl
As I sit here watching Monday Night Raw, I can't help but think about the type of age we live in where it is so easy to place blame everywhere but on ourselves. I love it every time the Rock says "candyass" and "rootypoo." I watch in anticipation of seeing who will be thrown headfirst into a table. It is violent, and it is entertainment.
Realize, though, that my 22-year-old brain understands that this is a show. I am disgusted, however, when the camera pans the audience and I see kids no older than 10 holding up their middle finger and saying "suck it."
Last year, a young boy who could not have been older than 9 accidentally killed his younger sister. He was imitating a wrestling move he saw on one of the many professional wrestling shows on television. The public was so quick to blame these entertainers.
Crusades have been launched emphasizing that violence in television shows and video games is the cause of such tragedies. The real tragedy is that the WWF is not to blame. That child should not have been watching the program in the first place.
I recently saw an episode of Jerry Springer, whose show is notorious for its ridiculous brawls. I have to say, it was a little disappointing to see that they now edit out the fight scenes.
If you watch Jerry Springer, you are watching to see who is going to fight. The hilarity is the fact that this show is a complete mockery of humanity. Viewers cannot believe that these people exist.
The audience is there to see a show. A show that is crazy, wild and unlike reality. It is not real. Yet, Springer has been the subject of scrutiny when the values of America are the crusades of the day. Here is a man who is making millions capitalizing off of fights between "porn stars in drag with a sexy secret to tell."
Critics often ask, "What kind of message are we sending to the children who see such programs on television?" I ask this: What kind of parent would let their 6-year-old watch Springer in the first place? Don't condemn the man who is making his living by giving his audience what they want to see.
After the Columbine tragedy, news stories circulated that the two obviously troubled teenagers who killed several people may have been influenced by the heavy metal music they listened to. This idea is ridiculous.
The concept of right and wrong is instilled in each of us at birth. What happened that day in Colorado was done by two people who knew exactly what they were doing. Without regard or respect for human life they acted out of their own free will. Marilyn Manson did not pull the trigger.
A short time after the Oliver Stone's movie "Natural Born Killers" was released, a man committed murder, citing that his motivation formed after viewing the violent and graphic film.
Lawsuits were brought against Stone. The media chastised him for creating such a violent and gruesome story that resulted in the loss of human life. What the media failed to mention was the millions of other people who saw the movie and did not kill anyone.
It is horrible that this crime was committed, but it is just as scary that someone could actually be released for committing such an act based on the defense that "Oliver Stone made me do it."
Displacing blame is not just a society-at-large idea. It happens everyday and it often happens here.
Consider this situation: A girlfriend tells her boyfriend that she is tired and is going to sleep on a Thursday night. He later finds out that she went out to Heartland and danced the night away. She returns and discovers that a friend of his saw her there and told the boyfriend.
So what does she do? She calls his friend, yells at him and accuses him of involving himself in business that is of no concern of his. She never apologizes for her actions but displaces the blame.
How many times have we known about a test for weeks, not studied for it until the night before, barely passed it and then adamantly blamed the professor for making the test so hard? That's right, it must be his fault — not our own — that we did not do well.
If we do not start taking responsibility for our own actions in minor situations likes these, we will never accept the responsibility in the future when it really counts. It starts with us. It starts in the home. Certainly outside forces with negative factors foster growth. Only we plant the seed.
So the next time your 5-year-old cousin says "suck it," don't blame WWF president Vince McMahon.
Kimmi Martin is a senior at Saint Mary's College. Her column appears every other Wednesday.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.
All Viewpoint Stories for Wednesday, March 8, 2000