Professor Media Matters

I am a media professional with 6 years as a TV producer and reporter, and college professor in the field of Communications. I am also a Conservative with a passion for pop culture. This will be my attempt to put the "me" in media. It will be my take on movies, TV, books, magazines, newspapers, the Internet and all that is the worldwide media.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Media Encouragement (short story)

Announcer: “The Capital One Credit Card. For every purchase, every da$# day.”
“OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I hate that.”
The TV blaring in the family room quickly got Maggie’s attention. She stormed in on a mission to find the remote.
“I can protect my kids from violent TV programs. I can block the shows with sexual content. I can monitor for lousy political propaganda. But there is no TV Guide that will tell me when they are going to air a commercial where they have swearing. And I hate that.”
“So write them a letter.” Maggie’s oldest son Gabe had followed the sound of her voice and found her ranting in the family room. As she frantically looked for the remote, he found it on the bookshelf and hit the off button.
“Thank you. And I have done that,” Maggie said. “I have written more complaint letters to more television executives than anyone west of the Mississippi.”
“I know, mom. It’s just what you always taught us to do.”
“Look here, Gabe. Here’s the stack of letters I sent to the NFL after Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl. That was ten years ago and I still have every copy of every letter. What good has it done?”
“Well, have you prayed about it?”
“Huh?”
Gabe slowed down his speech to mock her, “Haaaaave youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu prayed aboooooooooooooout it?”
“No, I heard you. Hmmm.” She laughed. “You know Gabe, I’m not sure. I mean I document everything that I think is offensive. I think my letter writing campaigns personally employ dozens of postal workers. But I honestly don’t know if I have prayed much about it.”
“Maybe you should do that.” Maggie, still distracted by the shock of his question, remained silent. “Maybe we should pray about it right now,” he offered.
“I would like that Gabe. That’s a great idea. I’m afraid your question has me a little discombobulated. Would you do the honors?”
“Sure. Dear Jesus, thank you for my mom’s vigilance. She wants to protect her family from everything displeasing to you. And it’s frustrating because there is so much that is out of her control. Out of our control. Please help her to know we appreciate her efforts. Please let it have a positive impact. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Maggie was truly touched by his gesture. “Thank you Gabe.” She walked across the room and gave him a hug. “What about you? Since we’re praying, what can I pray about for you?”
Now it was his turn to discombobulate. He hesitated. “Umm, nothing. No, I’m good.” He turned to make a beeline for his room.
“Not so fast, partner.” She glanced at the clock, “you’re home late by the way.”
He hesitated again.
“Out with it. What’s going on?” Maggie decided to get comfortable in the oversized lounge chair everyone fought over on family movie night.
“I got sent to detention,” Gabe admitted. “It’s no big deal.”
“Gabe how could you?”
“Mom, it’s all your fault.”
“What are you talking about? I wasn’t even there.”
“Well, it was like you were there. Everything you ever taught us was running through my mind and you got me in trouble.” He was talking really fast and flustered. His heart was racing as he relived the moment.
“Slow down, partner. Take a deep breath and explain yourself.”
Gabe exhaled slowly and sat down on the couch. “I was in last period history. Ms. Wells’ class. We were watching this documentary about the Iraq war. That’s what they called it, anyway. But it only documented one side. All it showed was all the bad stuff our troops do.  I just got sick of it and told my teacher I thought it was unfair.”
“Son, you have to be careful about these things.”
“No, mom. It was unfair. And I was respectful, I promise. I get that war is horrible and lots of bad things happen. But lots of good things happen, too. Before he died in Fallujah, Uncle Kyle wrote me all of those letters from Iraq. He told me about all of the lives they saved, and the school they built. None of that was in the video. I told Ms. Wells that American soldiers have liberated lots of people. She didn’t want to hear that. Then I said that Jesus said that greater love has no one than he who lays down his life for a friend. Quoting the Bible really sent her over the edge. She sent me to the principal’s office.”
“Hm. You really said all that Gabe?”
“Yes mom. All our lives you have talked to us about what we watch. What we take into our minds. I remember that night I watched Psycho at Billy’s slumber party and I came home crying. You sat up and prayed with me for 3 hours until I felt safe enough to fall asleep.”
“I was so mad at you that night. You knew better than that.”
“I know mom. And I never forgot that lesson. Now I am really careful about what I watch. And I examine everything to see if it honors God and tells the truth. And this documentary just didn’t seem like it was telling the whole truth. Before I knew it, I was talking about it to the class. I sounded more like you than you do.”
They both laughed.
“I’m really proud of you,” she said.
Now it was his turn. “Huh? You’re not mad.”
“At your teacher, yes. At you, no. I mean maybe we should watch this documentary together and I can see for myself. But bottom line, I am proud of you for using discernment. And for standing up for what you believe.”
“So, I’m not in trouble?”
“No. Ask your teacher if we can borrow the documentary and we’ll watch it together tomorrow night. And before we do, we’ll pray about it. How’s that?’
“Thanks, mom.”
“No, Gabe, thank you.”









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