Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Quantum Leap in Lowering Standards

Normally, when people talk about the way things "used to be," it's in reference to something at least 10 years in the past. "In my day, we wouldn't dream of showing our midriff." Or, "Twenty years ago, we hadn't even heard of those things."

Today, we may speak in those same terms. Except that now, we're referring to the last 2-5 years. I think we're witnessing a quantum leap downward in standards of decency.

What got me thinking about this is the whole Britney Spears thing. I'm not one to peddle prurience, but if you're in any way connected to any media outlet, you know that Britney has been photographed multiple times sans underwear.

That in itself, in my opinion, is far from newsworthy. In fact, have deep disrespect for those who produce and distribute such pathetic gossip. But several factors reveal that this is more than a story. It's a symptom of an even steeper slide into the moral morass.

1) Britney isn't the first celebrity to be photographed going commando, though she's likely the most famous – claiming legions of millennials who see her actions and accept them as a new standard.

2) If you and I are at least minimally aware of her knickerless notoriety, then surely the pop princess is informed of her exposure. Heck, Rosie O'Donnell made an appeal on the View to please cover up. Does that matter to Britney? Apparently not, which implies a conscious decision to let it "air out" in full view of the world.

3) The nature of the blogosphere exalts this behavior, giving it voice where even five years ago it wouldn't be seen by more than a handful of perverts. Thanks to today's instantly available celebrity gossip, depravity is given coverage, discussion and, ultimately, acceptance.

I'm sure that going commando is nothing new. But broadcasting it is. Britney is a pioneer of sorts. She's blazing new trails into the jungles of depravity. And likely starting a fashion trend in the process. I predict that five years from now, panties will be passe. And in the warmer climates (which, as everyone knows, will be everywhere), there will be new trendsetters getting chewed out by Rosie for not wearing pants. Just you wait and see.

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