We had an event with our son today that was held at a middle school / high school in a nearby town. Our son is in an elementary school just down the street, and obviously we’ve been in his school quite a bit, but this was the first time we’ve been at this particularly high school. Here’s what struck me…
The hallways of the school had a lot of posters up. Many were along the lines of what I’d equate to a motivational poster. For example, right as you entered the big cafeteria, there was a large display that pointed out many “successful” people who were brought up by parents with alcohol or drug problems. The display had advice and resources kids could go if they were having similar issues. I didn’t have a problem with the display’s message. But what struck me were the people who were featured as “successful” in not only this display, but displays that were plastered over walls all over the school.
The “successful” people who grew up with parents with drug problems? There were big pictures of…Demi Moore. Lindsay Lohan. Angelina Jolie. Charlie Sheen. Eminem. I don’t remember the rest, there were probably half a dozen more photos, but EVERY single person was a “celebrity”. Many of these celebrities have VERY checkered histories themselves, be it for drugs or other issues. But yet these were people who were prominently displayed as people the kids could emulate?
Perhaps I wouldn’t have paid much attention to that display, if I hadn’t also come across dozens of other posters and displays in the building that were similar. I lost count how many times I saw posters or displays with pictures of Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Rhianna, or some of the other celebrities noted above. Some I guess were celebrities with a relatively “wholesome” reputation. But really…photos of Lindsay Lohan plastered on the wall of a middle school and high school? Charlie Sheen? Demi Moore? Eminem?
I was rather disgusted to see the sheer number of celebrity photos on the walls. I was even MORE disgusted to see celebrities with very questionable character plastered all over the walls. OK, sure, I’m 45 years old, but I certainly don’t remember growing up in a culture where celebrities such as these are treated as heroes or role models. I CERTAINLY don’t remember celebrity photos plastered all over the walls at school.
Are these what pass as “heroes” to our kids nowadays? It’s one thing to flip through the channels on TV and see what’s popular in today’s shallow, pop-culture dominated America. It’s quite another to see the same pop-culture crapola being actively promoted in our schools. Are these people who we want our kids to emulate? How many of you want your daughters to grow up to be the next Lindsay Lohan? How many of you want your sons to grow up like Eminem, and write songs with such lovely lyrics such as “Slut, you think I won’t choke no whore/till the vocal cords don’t work in her throat no more?” (yes, I’m very uncool and had to look that up).
THESE are evidently what pass as heroes to our kids. That’s awfully damned scary.