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Teen Pop Culture Icons & Parents - The Decay of Modern-day Adolescence
By Larry Cox
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Who's shaping the character, morals and values of our children today — Paris Hilton, Tommy Lee, Lindsay Lohan, Flavor Flav, Anna Nicole Smith, Eminem, or parents? Either way today you can bet that, in most cases, our youth is in serious trouble. Role models for today’s kids, whether on television or sitting across from them at the dinner table, are increasingly deteriorating the fragile essence of our adolescent’s character. Join me as I take a look at this anomaly of child-rearing.

I had one of the cable news channels keeping me company as I worked on another article earlier today, when all of a sudden something caught my ear. At first, I wasn’t sure if I was hearing things correctly. However, as soon as the wave of shock and awe subsided, I realized that there was absolutely nothing wrong with my hearing. It was actually some sort of dysfunction with a pair of lips, attached to some sorry excuse for an expert on modern-day teen role models, which were cackling away on the screen. The last sentence that I could stomach from this woman, who no doubt took her teenage daughter to get her first tattoo and her nipples pierced for her thirteenth birthday, stated “Young girls today like Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton are living proof that peer role models do in fact instill goals for achievement within our teenage community.”

I just sat there for a second. I hadn’t turned the television off yet. People’s lips were still moving, but I couldn’t hear a thing. My brain was in overload mode as it tried to process this woman’s words, and find some semblance of rational thinking. My immediate thoughts were that this woman was either not a parent, or that she routinely shared her monthly condom and tequila allotment with her ninth-grade daughter. Also, could somebody please rush the definition of the word “peer” to this woman?

So I started thinking about our present-day pop culture icons. It really is a sad state-of-affairs. Of course, I have neither the time, nor the space available here, to make a laundry list of our troublesome celebrities who pollute our youth with what is perceived as so, so dope. Let’s just stick with the two names that I was previously graced with by our role model expert.

Let’s see . . . what has one of our little role models been up to lately? Well, the most recent exciting news about the Hilton Heiress was publicity touting Paris, and porn star Jenna Jameson’s, upcoming TV show entitled 'Virgin Territory'. The series will feature Paris and Jenna helping virgins in their quest to have sex for the first time. Wow. Thank goodness, these two caring girls are willing to give up their valuable time to help other less fortunate girls experience what the rest of humanity has found out for themselves since the dawn of mankind. Yep, if that doesn’t instill goals for achievement within our teenage community, then I don’t know what does.

I also recently read, no doubt written by the twin sister of our illustrious TV role model expert, that “Paris Hilton is an extremely resourceful young woman. Since coming of age, Paris has since branched into several careers.” Coming of age . . . I guess that’s one way of describing how a rich young heiress enters into the spotlight of the world’s stage — via a video of her having sex that inadvertently ended up on the Internet. You know . . . now that I think of it . . . that is pretty damn resourceful isn’t it?

Other recent gossip headlines that I have seen in the past two weeks regarding Paris are as follows: “Paris Sees Porn Penis,” “Paris Wins Bedroom Battle,” “Paris Pleads No Contest In Alcohol-related Reckless Driving Incident,” and “Paris’ Sexy Bubble Bath Video.” I have to stop now — my gag reflex is gagging.

How about our other shining example of teen mentoring? Ah yes, Lindsay Lohan, another fine paragon of perfection. As a bona fide alcoholic at twenty years of age, not even legal drinking age mind you, she takes a break from the rigors of alcohol rehab to attend what, a funeral, a visitation with a sick family member? No silly, a wild party hosted by Paris Hilton. It seems that this little stunt had naysayers up in arms about the actress rehab sincerity. However, Lindsay’s publicist lashed back with, “This isn’t the Betty Ford Clinic. It’s not a lockdown facility. There is personal time.” Well of course. I mean, God knows we wouldn’t want to lock down this bi-polar alcoholic while she’s in rehab. How in the hell would she get a drink? Also, can anyone tell me how much a crappy publicist pulls in annually?

Other noteworthy Lindsay headlines of late are-“Lindsay Lohan Says Rehab Is A Drag,” “Lindsay’s Rehab Sex Cravings,” “Lindsay Thumbs Nose At Underage Drinking Laws,” “Lindsay Sends Sexy Text Messages To Admirers,” and “Lohan Is Bad Influence On American Girls.” Amazing — how much person-to-look-up-to press can one role model garner in a month?

Now let’s not place all of the blame on our exemplar celebrity beauties. The saddest part of this fiasco of pubescence is that these so-called teen pop culture icons have such a large impact on our teens, because so many parents are even bigger losers. The youth of today are being raised by mothers who want to be desperate housewives, and fathers who think that Internet porn is the owner’s manual for how to please your spouse. Now there’s a recipe for a healthy home life for a teenage kid who is battling puberty and peer pressure. I can’t imagine why domestic violence is at an all-time high. It’s a confusing time for kids — kind of like taking your dog to the fire hydrant with a chastity belt on.

I’m not saying that kids, who have good home lives and great parents, are not going to still find what is going on in pop culture interesting. I mean, let’s face it folks, footage from a grizzly fatal train wreck on the news captivates us far more than the story of a local pet store that is giving away gerbils, but that is just human nature. We are attracted to the macabre, and anything that makes us shudder and be glad of who we are at a given moment. However, that doesn’t mean that we shut off the TV, go drink a bottle of tequila, commandeer an Amtrak locomotive, and try to derail it (although there is a bagger at my local grocery store that I’m not too sure about).

Kids with parents who raise them properly can see things for what they are — embracing their innate voyeuristic tendencies, yet knowing if what they see is right or wrong — and be glad that they are in their own shoes. However, when you have this barrage of pop culture attacking our kids from every angle, and parents who are sleeping in separate rooms, because they don’t meet up to each other’s vision of their favorite celebrity hunks and babes, then how can we expect the poor children of our society to stand a chance?

© Copyright 2007 Larry Cox  All Rights Reserved

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