Don’t Rush Me: So, how does ‘the media’ influence kids?

Don_rushBy Don Rush

I am working on, and I have to admit it, an extremely AWESOME column for next week (the first week in March). It is so spectacularly wonderful, I started it yesterday but it won’t be ready ‘til after this week’s deadline. So, instead of giving you something slipshod like, hurried together to meet deadline, I give you this gem from March, 2003. (Spoiler alert, get ready to smile.)

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Since I was a young collegiate student-type of individual, the debate has raged in regards to the influences the media has on younger and more impressionable youths.

“That kid drank 27 gallons of milk and died of Bovinetummyacheitis ‘cause he saw it in a movie.”

“No he didn’t. No one ever told him he could drink that much milk and live. He was just stupid.”

“No he wasn’t. He would still be alive today if only those evil, money grubbing movie producers had not shown a similar situation in their danged movie, Mad Cow 2 — Lactoserous Returns.”

“It isn’t Hollywood who is supposed to watch kids. Where were the parents . . ?”




During those thrilling days of yesteryear, in between binge drinking on the weekends and defending the honor of Ronald Reagan from numerous attacks of those more left-leaning (and far less informed) students than myself, I thought the premise of blaming the media for everything was, in a word: Ridiculous.

In two words: Poppy Cock.

And, in three words: No smackin’frackin’ way!

I can still remember the debate/discussion in an ethics in journalism class.

“Balderdash!” I would self-righteously rant (I don’t ‘rant’ — do I?). “Just because Ozzy Osborne sings (if that’s what you call it) about suicide, doesn’t mean he is to blame when some knucklehead of a kid offs himself . . .”

People are not sheep. People have brains.

“They know what is right and what is wrong,” I emphatically argued. With all the vim and vinegar I could muster, I would demand to be heard. “People are not mind-numbed robots! They can think for themselves. They are individuals, and individuals are responsible for their own actions — don’t blame some ominous bogeyman as the scapegoat.”

Of course this was a time when MTV was still in its infancy, before it became the slick, violent and politically bent, non-music network it has become. Regardless, up until this past Sunday, for the 20 years or so that I have thought about it, I was righteously indignant towards the idea of blaming the media for society’s ills.

Like I said, until this past Sunday, when I saw my little, almost three-year-old son Sean, running around the kitchen table like some sort of possessed midget, (excuse me, dwarf . . . ummmm . . . . little person . . . well . . . vertically challenged individual). What transformed our angelic, blond-haired, blue-eyed lad into a lunatic?

The answer: Domino Dots.

Specifically the television commercial introducing Domino Dots (those little bits of pizza dough, rolled into a ball and baked in cinnamon and topped with a nice sugary white icing). In this bit of cinematic magic, the giant dough balls, as big as elephants, roll and bounce down a hilly suburban street. In front of the Domino Dots stampede is a lad, running full-tilt bogey proclaiming, “Incoming! Domino Dots are coming!”

I don’t know how many times young Master Sean has seen this commercial — it can’t be too many — but it has affected him. I brought home two medium Domino pizzas and a box of Dots. Five-year-old Shamus, reader of everything written, joyously informed the household, “Poppy got Domino Dots! Poppy got Domino Dots!”

And, that is what set off Sean. That’s when the little Dr. Jekyll turned into a wee Mr. Hyde, flailing his arms above his rocking from side-to-side head, “Incoming . . . blah, blah, blah!” (The blahs, are my words.)

So, I have revised my stance on the media. The media can and does wreak havoc on young and impressionable minds. My son is proof. He was once a regular kid. Now, after watching a television commercial he is a Domino Dot Head.

Lord, help us all.

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