Fear Your Television
Why aren’t more movie and TV scriptwriters criminals?
No, no … I don’t mean the bastards who inflicted on us “entertainment” like Big Momma’s House 2 and ABC’s show Invasion. Although those writers do, in fact, deserve Abu Ghuraib for their sins, I’m instead referring to the complexity and creativity of the crooks in heist movies and crime dramas.
Take, for example, films like Ocean’s Eleven. Or Ocean’s Twelve. Anything with the word “ocean” in the title, really. Whoever came up with the theft schemes there should have been ENACTING these plans, not just WRITING about them.
These thoughts took over my brain when I read this article about the “CSI Effect.” If you don’t feel like clicking on the link, here’s a quick summary:
The badguys today are using tricks to destroy DNA and otherwise cover up clues in ways that were largely known only to "insiders" before the success of CSI. Case in point: An Ohio man is accused of washing his hands with bleach (to remove his two murder victims' blood), using blankets in his getaway car (to prevent blood transfer), burning the bodies and his clothing (to, well, burn evidence), and taking his cigarette butts from the crime scene (to keep investigators from getting his DNA).
That's one smooth criminal. And authorities say crime shows are contributing to an increase in the frequency and quality of such cover-ups, leaving police with fewer hairs, fingerprints, and body fluids to obtain valuable leads from.
I have watched CSI, enjoying the bizarre murder plots, the clever evidence collections, and the madcap antics of wacky crime lab leader/party animal Gil Grissom. But only now do I realize that this show is enabling criminal behavior and endangering our well being. It's shocking to hear this, I know: Television—far from being the solution to all of life's problems, as I was led to believe—actually undermines the common good.
With this insight, I now see that this is not the first time a television show has put the public in danger:
Star Trek: This show lulled us into thinking that Spock and other extraterrestrials were OK—funny looking and quirky, sure, but certainly nothing to be scared of—leading us into apathy regarding the alien threat. First people stopped reporting UFO sightings … now we have complete infiltration by the otherworlders, cleverly disguised as local TV weathermean, circus clowns, and U.S. senators.
The Love Boat; You would think, after watching this gem, that cruise ships were floating cities of romance, witty discourse, and happy endings. Not true. Just ask missing honeymooner George Allen Smith. You couldn't get me on a cruise ship now even if the only other passengers were Angelina Jolie and Jessica Alba. (OK, maybe … but I'll still want a gun under my pillow.)
The Dukes of Hazzard: Lack of respect for authority figures is only the most obvious of the sins fostered by this amoral monstrosity. And, like a plague, it's a cyclical curse; last year's big screen version inflicted pain and humiliation upon a new generation. For years we will suffer the effects of this show's evil, which ranges from reckless redneck driving to obese women trying to fit their asses into Daisy Duke shorts.
Cheers: It all seeemed like good community fun. According to this sitcom, you just head down to your favorite bar, drink beer all night, become clever and well-liked, and go home and rest so you can do the same thing again tomorrow. Little did we know that there are things like drunk driving, bar fights, and unattractive bartenders to deal with. Not to mention the show's blatant disregard for that most heinous tavern risk—the beer goggles.