Opinion: Entertainment world fails to deliever message

Ben Donahower

“BMX XXX” and “DOA Xtreme Beach Volleyball” are games hitting the store shelves for the Christmas season. The games feature scantily clad women riding bikes and playing volleyball. What is wrong with these people?

I look with longing back to a time when David Hasselhoff starred in “Knight Rider” not alongside surgically enhanced Baywatch “babes.” While I’m thinking about it, whatever happened to entertainment with a message? Were the “Karate Kid” movies the last bastion for positive, principled entertainment?

The gaming industry is making a transition from fun entertainment to smut. I’m not ignorant enough to think that many people watch explicit material, but these new titles in the gaming industry are the equivalent of tobacco companies saying they aren’t marketing their products to minors. When was the last time you saw the local senior citizen center filled with Playstation 2s, Game Boys, or even online Scrabble? It just doesn’t happen. “BMX XXX” and “DOA Xtreme” are games with explicit content that are easily accessible to overly-hormonal 13-year-olds, despite the FCC mature rating. There is a place for nudity, violence and explicit language in entertainment, but God forbid it is tasteful. Kudos to “Titanic” for its artistic, tasteful partial nudity of Kate Winslet. Yet another good example is Elizabeth Hussey in “Romeo and Juliet.” Recent movies like “We Were Soldiers” and “Black Hawk Down” were successfully marketed to the proper, older demographic. Unfortunately, the Motion Picture Association of America had to rate “Shrek,” a children’s movie, PG “for mild language and some crude humor.”

The entertainment industry is pushing the envelope to make money, and it is hard to blame them with sexual movies like “American Pie,” violent games like Grand Theft Auto 3 and explicit music like that of Ludacris. I am certainly guilty of watching American Pie (I have a thing for that Alyson Hannigan girl), playing “Grand Theft Auto 3” and listening to the funky, urban beats of Ludacris. It is a whole other story, however, when an impressionable 10-year-old does the same thing. After watching “American Pie,” playing “Grand Theft Auto 3,” and listening to Ludacris, I am not going to experiment with an apple pie, steal a car or smoke mary jane while cursing at the police. That 10-year-old might be a different story.

The answer to this culture misstep is to stop buying the stuff, or at least certain demographics need to stop buying it. Next time you flip to MTV, ask yourself: “Is there anything besides ‘The Osbournes’ and ‘Taildaters’ really worth watching?” Then ask yourself: “Is watching ‘The Osbournes’ and ‘Taildaters’ is really that important when you are supporting one of Viacom’s lousy television stations?” Ultimately,the products on the market come down to the consumer. For example, Ludacris was going to do an advertisement for Pepsi Co., but Bill O’Reilly compelled thousands of people to voice their concerns to Pepsi. Low and behold, Ludacris is not doing Pepsi commercials. Free speech is our most important right, but there is a line consumers should consciously draw as to what type of material they should subject themselves to. “BMX XXX,” “DOA Xtreme Beach Volleyball,” “Shrek” and other entertainment has crossed that line.