DEAR ABBY: I would like to address the contention that books, TV and the movies are corrupting today's citizens -- especially its youth.
If that is so, please tell me what books Cain read before he murdered his brother Abel. What soap opera did Lot's two daughters watch that influenced them to get their father drunk and commit incest? And what vile movie prompted the woman at the well to take up a life of dissolution?
The media reflect human mores and values, not influence them. When I was a boy of 8 or 9, I knew all the "facts of life," which were given to me crudely, by the "big boys" of the village of perhaps 200 souls, who were churchgoing people almost to a man. There were no daily newspapers, movies only occasionally, no TV, and only one radio in the village. So where did we hear of sex, violence and profanity? From our peers! It has always been thus. The media do not set the trends -- they follow them.
If no one bought tobacco, apples or potatoes, no farmer would raise them. If there were no demand for smut, no one would go to the expense of providing it, because without profit, there is no incentive. Much of America has come to expect or demand sex, violence and profanity; thus we have it. Trendsetters are usually friends among us. -- HOWARD CHILDRESS, MURFREESBORO, TENN.
DEAR MR. CHILDRESS: There is no denying the truth in your observations. Thank you for writing -- I appreciate your common sense. You've been contributing to this column almost as long as I have been writing it.
Take good care of yourself, Howard. I need you.