Hooray for the "V-Chip!" It could be the yellow brick road back to Gilligan's Island. Remember back when you could turn on your television without a remote control? Ricky Ricardo would be saying, "Lucy you can no sing wid my Ban …" or the Skipper on Gilligan's Island would be saying, "Hey little buddy, what's up?"
The Enterprise on every episode was lurching through force fields and the transporter was always jammed with incoming Klingons because Scotty was out of dilithium crystals. Those were the days!
Well, the V-Chip is coming at last. Purveyors of network style morality which has been corrupting our nations children for a couple of decades are pretty steamed up.
"It's all vanilla now," recently lamented Peter Lord of CBS Television. Ted Turner (in USA Today, March 1) who has been eating well off the profits of his mega-empire, said it could mean that TV would be more "Brady Bunch and less cutting-edge." Well, Mr. Turner, your "cutting-edge" has been lacing violence and crime into America's cities long enough. I say "Hooray for the V-Chip!" I say "Bring back the Brady Bunch" and let Mr. Turner make an honest living for awhile. The rest of us have found moral ways to earn our bread! It may be harder work, but you sleep soundly and bless a cleaner morning every day when the alarm clock goes off.
Mr. Turner, may we speak to you Hart to Hart? We'd like to suggest that the Brady Bunch is so much better for our children than the current Raw Hide of the Miami Vices. We're ready for better values, ready to Bewitch children with a little backspin to Gilligan's Island where the Ghost and Mrs. Muir sit down to find out what's been going on with Mayberry and The Beverly Hillbillies. Frankly, Larry, Darrel, and Darrel have been on our minds a lot lately Honestly, we enjoyed Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke, who had a wonderful way of not taking baths together during prime time. What's on now leaves us wanting to take a bath to get back to the way we used to feel when the Flying Nun preceded Beaver Cleaver and was followed by Wagon Train. Back then actors and writers depended on plot and character development to hold viewer's attention. Now the sex soak and violence hype have made folks like the Turners rich and our morality poor.
Christians must challenge immorality at its source. Then we can have new and decent movies and contemporary videos that speak to the times and yet keep a Christian value system.
The V-Chip offers, for its best feature, the purgation of the young American mind. And with this possible technology we can edit on the receiving end what our kids hear. But ultimately we need to do some editing on the Ted Turner end of America's morality. The V-Chip can stop the pornographic mind-soak, but it cannot stop the porn creators from making more and more stuff for the V-Chip to rule down upon. The V-Chip is at best the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. The Christian Coalition and the Christian Life. Commission must continue to lobby for the hinds of values that formed America and motivated a better world view in the 50s and 60s.
Some would argue that this long-ago world is gone along with its accompanying world view. But it is not so. It's just that current standards of decency live at two levels. Those who create entertainment see morality in a way that is quite distinct from those of us on the second level. The movie and video industry have never been famous for their commitment to Christ and to the values He inspires.
But Christian movie and video consumers also have a right to the arts and entertainment. And many Americans want to be sure that they are not paying for entertainment that endangers their family values. The V-Chip does allow them to edit what their children see, but it can never correct the only world they have to leave to their children.
The future will be only what moral people compel it to be. In the meantime here's to Gilligan and the V-Chip …
"Now this is the tale of the Castaways,
They're here for a long, long while …"