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Society is Coarser—but Better

The article by Nick Gillespie was quite broad. He used some points comparing statements to what one Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said against his own views. The only clear and concise fact he used was “Violent crime rates for males between the ages of 10 and 24 are less than half of what they were in 1995 (for females, they’ve declined by 40 percentage points over the same time). Between 2009 and 2010 (the latest year for which data are available), the percentage of never-married males between the ages of 15 and 19 who reported ever having had sex dropped from 60 percent to 42 percent. For females in the same age group, the rate declined from 51 percent to 43 percent” (Gillespie). But then makes the statement broad by saying “High schoolers are less likely to be bullied like they used to be, and less likely to smoke too” (Gillespie). What evidence is he using to back up his statement? High schoolers with new technology have other ways to get bullied, and he shows no evidence towards the smoking comment. In this article he says society is better, which I can agree with because we are all experiencing society. He is also saying that the rudeness of some of the “popular culture” will not affect society. I guess you can just say it is a matter of opinion, and we will all just have to wait for the future to find out the outcome.

Bernard L.

There will always be pros and cons with the way in which our society is able to express itself. Yes, things in public are a lot more risqué these days, but I think the pros of freedom of expression outweigh the cons.

In my opinion the quality of our future generations will be determined by the quality of the home environment in which they are raised in. You can have the strictest and most conservative society, but if you don’t have a home environment full of love and proper discipline, our children will not grow up to have respect for themselves or for others. If freedom of expression is not allowed, I feel it will just lead to resentment and rebellion.

Dorothy Carter

The crude behavior shown in the media and TV shows today have most definitely influenced how society is today. Teenagers see their idol celebrities doing drugs and stumbling out of clubs late and think that’s what they should be doing. Seeing how people dress in certain TV shows influence how viewers will dress, so if the dress is to reveling or crude then society will start dressing that way. The TV shows used to be all about family and that was reflected in society by initiating “family time”, now most families don’t eat a meal together.

Caroline Jenkins

Today's pop culture definitely has an effect on today's society. From magazines to music videos, the bar for what is acceptable has moved dramatically. Everything has a certain audience in mind and everything basically advertises to that audience in some way.
Children start at informercials, everything they see they want. People idolize their favorite stars. These stars are placed in the public spotlight. Everything they do is brought to the publics attention, in turn giving our youth bad advertising.
Luckily, my daughter is too young to experience Miley Cyrus's half dressed foam finger dance and ridiculous song lyrics. But the older children have all heard about drugs, partying, drinking and twerking from Miley Cyrus and want to do all of it because she does.
Even older generations are victims of pop culture. All the celebrity gossip magazines and ridiculous tv reality shows are just a few examples.
For some reason we are so interested in the lives of celebrities and some people even attempt to be just like them. One woman spent a ridiculous amount of money on plastic surgery to look like Kim Kardashian and another is attempting to look like a "human Barbie"
Our society is changing and more is becoming acceptable. It's only going to continue.


In today's society, things are taken a lot differently. Crude humor from back in the day is now a normal thing for people of this generation. I think that pop culture is actually helping our society. Kids aren't really as sheltered anymore as they once were, and that brings them not to go crazy when they actually step into the real world. It also adds not only book smarts to kids but also street smarts which is something that really matters out in the real world.

Andrew McElhinny

Pop culture today is different from what it was back in Scalia's day. The pop culture may be different but the way the youth who are viewing it is not. Some of these pop icons like Miley Cyrus are idolized by millions of people around the world. When she is seen obviously high on some mix of drugs, the youth are seeing this and thinking that it is cool. She sings and raps about smoking drugs her audience assumes that is what is "in" now. The younger generation is so focused on the lives of other people, and the next episode of of their favorite reality TV show, that they are trying to become like the stars they are so infatuated with. I cant image how society could be getting before if millions of adolescentes are aspiring to be like a half naked pop star riding a foam finger.


Scalia seems to be under the impression that the media in our pop culture directly influences the actions of our youth. While I do agree that it has some influence, you cannot credit all of today's youth and their actions on just the media alone. Home environment directly correlates to this behavior. I believe the one paragraph he has with facts and numbers in it could be taken as several different ways. Families in this generation seem to be a little closer and less overworked then families in the past generations, which to me would seem to make a difference in lowering those numbers.Either way though, pop culture will forever be an argument based on opinion, so to each their own.


In believe that in today's society much more has become acceptable even in just the past 10 years. It has become normal to regularly watch crude TV shows and not think twice about how what was just viewed. I agree with the article in the sense that our society has become safer and kinder. I believe the more exposure people have to this sort of thing the more the more humble and aware they can become. The lack of protection on today's children from these outside sources seems to be doing them good. Just because the norm now isn't what it was 10 years ago doesn't necessarily mean its bad. The relationship between the pop culture and society isn't a bad thing, in fact, it seems to be beneficial.


Yes. American society has changed drastically over the past ten or so years. However, I do not think that it is for the worse. I think is it for the better. In the article, Gillespie says that we are "ill mannered" but that is not true. These manners are what was appropriate in the past. Things change. Also another thing is society today is very individualized. We all want to follow our own hopes and aspirations. Older people may be making generalizations about young society based off of the pop culture they see. But I mean, not all girls walk around in short shorts and low cut tank tops. However, many older people believe the opposite. I think that this article was very accurate on its description of society today. It is right. Society has changed for the good.


I agree that television shows do influence some of our younger generation today. I say some because I don't follow everything on TV. But the fact that there is more violence and sex at younger ages does have to do with what the television says is good or bad. This type of lifestyle is turning into our popular culture. Society is changing through articles, newspapers, and famous people. If Oprah did something her entire fan base would follow her foot steps. Society is changing for the newer days to come, we have more technology, more jobs, different fields. Our priorities have changed, I can't tell right now if it is for the better.


"skankitude" Nick Gillespie, to U.S. society, Gillespie concedes that “we’re coarser” now than we were in decades past. He also cites "desirable trends for young people over the same interval—lower incidence of extramarital sex, fewer arrests for violent crimes, and less cigarette smoking, among others". Gillespie concludes that there may be a relationship between lewd behavior and a lower crime rate. I agree that there may be a relationship, it seems younger generations are starting to experiment more and mature quicker.


Society is Coaser-but Better
In my opinion on the topic of popular culture and social trends I agree heavily with Mr.Gillespie. The behavior we encounter today in popular media does lead to a worse society. As a young adult I see a lot of things on Twitter, Instagram, Vine, etc. There’s a lot of wrong doings exposed to these social media cites such as drugs, alcohol, sexual content, and explicit language. Which is being viewed by mass amount of people ranging from ages 13 and up, maybe younger. This society is certainly evolving but I don’t think it is going down the right path.

Alex Lara

Since the creation of the “celebrity”, generation after generation has been heavily impacted by the current fashion trends or behavior of the rich and famous. In the 1960’s, women dressed themselves to look just like First Lady, Jackie Kennedy. In the 1970’s both women and men dressed in flared pants and platforms. It is true that young and impressionable teenagers choose to imitate their idols but this is not news. It’s human nature to see something that is stylish and want to replicate that image in an attempt to “fit” it. Some may argue that family structure is a major factor to consider in the development of today’s generation. Young adults spend more time with friends and on social media now than they do at home with family. While those are all valid arguments, those are not the only arguments to be addressed. Antonin Scalia is correct in his argument that today’s generation is very outspoken and that their behavior lacks the proper etiquette rules previously taught to older generations. However, today’s generation is the child of a fighting generation; a generation that fought for civil rights, fought for the change of immigration laws, survived a terrorist attack inside of its own borders. Today’s youth has learned about the good old days when women could not vote, slavery was a way of life, children worked in factories, and only the rich could afford bread for their children during the depression. They know how life in America was before they were born and choose to enjoy the liberties given to them by previous generations. While pop culture is a heavy influence on today’s youth, it is definitely not the primary reason why men and women drop “F-bombs” in their everyday conversations. Young men and women in the United States know that they are free, free to do, say, act, think, and express themselves as they wish. They know that generation after generation, more and more rights have been given back to the community and it is because of that they feel the need to speak in a way that tells everyone around them, “Yes, I am a free individual, and I shall express myself in any way that I want!” Today’s generation has also been taught they can accomplish anything they want. They have been taught that if they work hard; they can be whomever they want; they know that they have a constitutional right to do as they please. Knowing that they can do anything their hearts desire has impacted not only their ambitious personalities but even the way they speak. They make a conscious decision to dress, walk, think and speak as they wish because they know they are free to do so. Let’s not forget that this new generation, has been raised by a different society; a society that no longer demands silence and obedience from their children. Parents of the current generation raised them to express themselves and speak up if anything is bothering them. Today’s generation was raised to protest, to ask questions if they did not understand something; they were raised to speak up in any way that they wanted to.

William Rey Worley

Bernard makes it a good point to introduce the happy medium needed in this issue. I accept that by being too strict in the home, children are more likely to resent their treatment and become rebellious and I also accept that if the home does not use proper discipline, children will not have respect for themselves and for others. However, I find fault in Dorothy’s stance on the issue. You imply that teens are being encouraged to do crass things by their “idols.” The first point I have to contest this stance is that in Gillespie’s article, it is put forward that as the occurrence of crude behavior on television increases, crude behavior in society has decreased. A second point I would like to make in response to your argument is that while you refer to celebrities as “idols” for teenagers, a majority of society sees parents, such as Caroline Jenkins, as the “idols” for children as they age. A parent is there to guide their child through life, to raise them. When one considers what an idol is, you must conclude that an idol is someone who is idolized and looked up to, who better to fill this position than a child’s own parents. Nadia makes an intriguing point, that people of older generations were sheltered much more than the children of today, and through the “skankitude” of pop culture, today’s children are becoming less sheltered than their parents were. However, an important fact to consider is that does this issue actually have any importance? If pop culture is needed to make less sheltered children, does that say there is a need to have children less sheltered. A part of Gillespie’s article which stood out to me and oddly has not been addressed is the fact that he criticizes the younger population for crudeness and cites its cause as children “soaking in violent video games, instantly available online porn, and ‘Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.’” The question I raise in response to this accusation is what effect does a parent’s lack of discipline or supervision of their children have on the likelihood of the child becoming crude. Personally, I feel that parents allow children to become crude by not being involved in proper raising of their children. I believe that if a parent does not start a child off proper and mannered, the child will fall into the crudeness of pop culture as mentioned in the article.

Hannah Starke

I believe that he compares the two and brings them together, because they are similar to how teenagers interact then and now. I do believe that teens have found other ways to "test the limits" these days with social media, then back when there wasn't social media. I disagree that teens have stopped smoking, have intercourse, and stay out of drugs though, because we witness and hear them doing it everyday.

Casey Blackbird

I believe that part of the reason we have less teen intercourse, less aggressive crimes in teens, and countless other offenses in today's teens is because people have stopped caring. We're used to all the, for lack of better term, junk because we're used to it. We realize that those kinds of things have been going on since forever and that it's not going to stop. With today's increasingly crass pop-culture we've been conditioned that intercourse outside of marriage, smoking, and other misbehaviors are not as big of a deal as years ago(when Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore had to sleep in seperate twin beds on TV instead of being like most married couples sharing a bed). We've been desensitized to what's going on by our numerous social outlets that make it so easy to see bad things.

Jacob I

In this new generation of technology, it's easier to be connected than ever. In fact, it's so easy to connect with friends, that you don't even need to connect at all. You can talk to your friends without even leaving your house! That may be a contributing factor as to why violent crime and frequent drug use has gone down. As for worsening moral values, I think that society as a whole is more accepting of what was previously thought of as inappropriate or risque. Scalia seems to hold on to old-fashioned morals and values, when the world has moved on.

Jin Zhong

This article by Gillespie shows a good case of cause versus correlation. In the article he starts by giving a summary of what has been occurring in the past 30 years relating to social standards relating to actions. Then he talks about the cause of the declining social standards, where he believes it causes the decrease in crime and other bad behaviors. However, the relationship between the two events is a correlation. Unless it has been tested for cause and effect, the two events are a mere correlation that occurred along side one another. There has been a huge change in the education and spread of safety information through the decades along with the increase of coarse behavior. Many types of social statistics has increased and decreased along side each other through the decades. These are not cases of cause and effect, unless tested, they are cases of correlation. Correlation is a mutual relationship, and these statistics share the mutual relationship of changing over time in the same time period. There also is not much of a logical relationship for a cause and effect for increase in coarse behavior and the decrease in bad behavior.

Victoria Shirley

Gillespie's article does show that society has ultimately gotten better. Yes, there are still a multitude of celebrities and other public figures that do inappropriate things, Sadly we cannot control these things nor should they really matter our ethics and morals are based on who we are as individuals we cannot blame society for making people who they are, that is something instilled in them.

Elaina Havens

It is true that over the past few decades, pop culture has become more crude and sexualized. Music and TV have much more bad language, compared to years past. Social media, celebrities, and news have changed current generations. Gillespie agrees with this but he also points out that actual crime rates have declined. HIs article suggests a relationship between the two.


While Bernard L. makes a good point about the home environment being imperative for a child's upbringing, not every child is going to receive a good upbringing which is why the media plays such a crucial role in a child's life today. Scalia did not grow up in a society that puts such a high priority on communication through social media. Children today are growing up in a world where they are receiving a lot of their information through the media as opposed to at home. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as Gillespie points out that violent crime arrests for teenagers are down and kids are less likely to bully. However, this just means that society is changing and with change comes different problems. Gillespie quotes Scalia saying "I am glad that I'm not raising kids today." He is saying that he does not want to be responsible for how the next generation is going to change society. However, it seems like no generation is happy with how the next generation handles issues. At some point, the next generation will be the one in charge of society, and the future of society will be in their hands at that time.

Allison Broschart

Casey Blackbird’s claim that people have stopped caring about teen intercourse, drug use, etc. rests upon the questionable assumption that we have been desensitized to it; therefore, we see it as the norm. I disagree with this because the fact that we have so much coverage of these activities by others means that we can teach our children from an early age that these types of actions are unhealthy. Being exposed to it does not necessarily mean that we are desensitized to it, in fact, it means we are more aware of its prevalence in our society. If we were not aware of these things, we would essentially be sheltered and may not teach our children that these actions are unhealthy until they’ve partaken in them.

Megan Wright

I agree with Bernard's opinion that a loving home should foster a good understanding of what are appropriate societal expectations. However, I also do agree with Kayla saying that it is not the sole responsibility of the parents. Society today places so many pressures on the youth to act a certain way and because of these pressures children are maturing faster than they should. Parents can not always control what their children hear or see. The media's role should be there push positive peer pressure when the parents cannot. By reporting on accomplishments like Nick Gillespie mentions, decrease in bullying and smoking, then children will understand that good actions get rewarded. If the media discussed celebrations rather than downfalls, then people would strive to be famous for doing good. People like Miley Cyrus, who get famous for being radically inappropriate, would hopefully realize that bad press is not always good press, and that your actions have ramifications greater than you imagine. Contrary to what Gillespie mentions, I believe that with the downward path our society is on today, this will ever actually happen, but it is up to my generation to shape the future. If others, like myself, are tired of being a coarser society then we have the duty and responsibility to change it.

Maggie J

I agree with Dorothy Carter's opinion on this article but to a point. I agree that viewers are heavily influenced by television and the media but I think it is only to a certain extent. I wouldn't go so far as Dorothy to say that viewers' perception can lead to their family. I viewed this article as my generation and how they are affected by television and the media. I believe that many young people are influenced heavily but there are also some people who are not. I admit that I love reality television but I only view it as entertainment. The people on the television shows do not affect my life in such a way that it affects the relationships around me. I think Dorothy has a strong opinion about it which I do not fully agree although I do see her side of it.

Ashley Munn

Though I agree with Dorothy Carter's argument to a point, I do not believe that popular culture has had an effect on the ways that typical families interact. I agree with her point that the views that are reflected by popular culture are emulated by the people who keep up with popular culture. However, I believe that this is where the emulation stops. Dorothy makes the point that many families do not eat meals together anymore, she neglects to mention any other factor that could influence this family decision. For example, in families with working parents and school aged children, it can often be difficult to find a common dinner time where every member of the family would be available. I believe that instead of promoting this idea, popular culture and television are simply reflecting the standard way of living in today's society.

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