Editor's note: The following commentary refers to language which some people will find objectionable.
My family recently returned from one of our legendary Hagelin road trips: Two adults, six children (three of them friends), a dog, a van and 20 hours of highway. Both ways.
We get a lot of camaraderie out of such trips. We rinse off a lot of sand. We go through a lot of suntan lotion. And we eat a lot of food you won't find on the surgeon general's recommended list anytime soon. Sometimes, we nearly kill each other – but, all in all, these family trips are loads of fun and are filled with the stuff great memories are made of.
On this most recent trip, we stopped in a chain burger joint – one of the biggies – and were eating when I noticed a made-for-television movie playing on a mounted television in the corner. As I watched, the characters began removing their clothes and, in very short order, were into some pretty heavy romping.
"Grab your food, kids," I said. "We have to go."
Less than a week later, my good friend, David Spady with Salem Communications told me about an astoundingly sexual fragrance ad in Teen People magazine. Not wanting to believe what he said, I headed to the grocery store to check out the magazine myself. There it was, in living color on the check-out stand. I picked up the magazine and it flipped open to the ad in question. It featured a young, shirtless teen boy snuggled up next to a teen girl clad only in her underwear.
The two were posed cozy and playful on a bed, with the caption, "Scent to bed." The name of the fragrance? "Fcuk you." I kid you not. The letters were not-so-cleverly rearranged, and their meaning is obvious. On the back of the page are two fragrant strips – one says, "open here to try fcuk her" and the other, "open here to try fcuk him." A quick scan of the articles in the magazine proved to be a parent's worst nightmare. Almost everything is linked to sex. It broke my heart when I turned to the letters from readers page and saw that girls as young as 12 and 13 are regular readers of the magazine.
Everywhere I turn, I have to fight for my kids' characters, if not their souls. And it's getting worse every day. From the movie theater to the grocery checkout line to the burger joint, the people in my generation – the adults who ought to know better – keep flinging garbage at America's children.
Have we gone stark-raving mad?
The problem isn't with "These kids today ..." – the real problem is with "These adults today ..."