Bad Teachers; Horrible Bosses
Two New Movies Illustrate All That is Wrong in America
Two movies will open in the next three weeks that illustrate the negative effect of pop culture on our moral psyche. Coming to your theatres on June 24 is Cameron Diaz's "Bad Teachers." Now, as a college professor I know there are bad teachers. But in my world this means the inability to engage students in learning and transfer knowledge to the learners -- not using the "F" word in class. In fact, the movie subtitle is: “She doesn’t give an “F.” Here's a replica of the poster if you haven't seen it.
The movie is hyped through the following statement: "In Bad Teacher, Cameron Diaz stars as a pot-smoking, profanity-spewing, inappropriately slutty would-be molder of young minds." Ah, it's the dream of every junior and senior-High School student. I won't even mention the car wash scene.
The message of this movie is, I guess, you can get students to learn by being a naughty, sexually-inappropriate teacher. That gets their attention in this social media-driven, YouTube visualization world we live in. The ethical message is to hold out narcissistic behavior as the norm, promote inane behavior, and objectify woman.
On to movie #2 -- Horrible Bosses that opens on July 8. Now, we all have experienced horrible bosses but for me those people were over-bearing, over-demanding, under-appreciating, lack of warmth and social skill people who are focused only on the pursuit of their self-interests. In my world, disgruntled employees don't go around figuring ways to kill their bosses. But that's exactly what we get from the movie. I'm disappointed that so many good actors would attach their name to such a negative message-sending movie. Here is the statement promoting the movie: "Sexual harassment is a serious issue. Which is why Jennifer Aniston is kinda sorta making it seriously funny. Aniston gets even more blatant in her very inappropriate office behavior in the ... trailer for the workplace/crime caper comedy, "Horrible Bosses," in which she plays one of three titular awful employers alongside Kevin Spacey and Colin Farrell. Together, the trio make the lives of stars Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis so awful that the beleaguered employees decide to make the ultimate career move: killing their bosses." So what's the message here? If your boss is a jerk -- a complete jerk -- and you feel mistreated, it's OK to plot their demise. Wow, I used to think quitting was the answer. It seems to me that is the more honorable of the two choices.
I know what you (immature) kids out there are saying: "Lighten up. It's just a movie." That's true, but it's also an integral part of pop culture and like tasteless Internet websites and reality TV, it's the major source of information about how others view society today. The others I am talking about, of course, are those who look for an easy laugh, see no personal responsibility in what they do, and look for a cheap way to make a buck.
Blog by Steven Mintz, aka Ethics Sage, June 18, 2011
Video from YouTube -- sorry, "mea culpa"