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The role of television is crucial for many reasons: people get access to a new source of information and decide to follow or argue the practices showed. Pfefferman (2013) admit that there are no new lessons or facts, just new faces that make people treat the same things in a different way.
Some ethical dilemmas were developed around this show because there were no neutral opinions: people could love the characters and their styles of life or hate everything connected with Beavis, Butt-head, and their “huh-huh” and “heh-heh” conversations.
The current paper aims at describing the ethical problems that can be observed in the case of Beavis and Butt-head and its impact on people of different age like propaganda of violence, wrong behavior, senseless conversations, and poor lessons given to young viewers and the possibility to explain that people are able to control the level of media impact and decide independently whether to take a lesson or use as an example.
The Beavis and Butt-head show introduces many lessons to be understood by people of different age; still, the most serious impact of the show is possible on young children, who are under a threat of repeating the ideas offered by Beavis and Butt-head, and parents, who have to consider the threat of Beavis and Butt-head and media in general on their children and try to prevent the threats and challenges associated with the show.
The central theme for discussion is a human inability to create one particular opinion about something and define its role and impact on people: parents are not sure of how the show may influence their children, the creators want to believe in the power of their work, and appraisers/observers try to stick to some neutral still effective points of view.
Ethical Root Causes
The case of Beavis and Butt-head show proves that the way of how a show or other media source depends on the faces used and surroundings under which the content is delivered. Some people say that Beavis and Butt-head is a show about violence, rudeness, human stupidity, etc. (Newcomb, 2014; Portigal, 2012).
Some people still enjoy the way of how human life is described in the show. Some parents are even afraid of the impact of the show their children may undergo. The root causes of ethical dilemmas are as follows:
- Parents are not able to control their children behavior and decisions and blame television for promoting violent behavior or wrong solutions because they like doing the things more convenient and winning for them (Maxwell, 2005).
- Inappropriate programming defines the level of human abilities to understand poorly the events around; the case study offered by Badaracco and Useem (1997) demonstrates how the Beavis and Butt-head show is declared as the bravest show in the history and the death knell of civilization because of the incessant cackle of the main characters at the same time;
- Human inabilities to admit that they are responsible for the actions and solutions they made, and even being inspired by some television series, they have to evaluate any situation independently and take the most appropriate and right step (Oppenheim, 2014);
- People cannot understand that they have to recognize a challenge and overcome it to be sure of making something right even if they have to pay more than it is expected (Maxwell, 2005).
To understand that the case of Beavis and Butt-head is not as problematic as it may seem at first, it is possible to pay more attention to such preventive methods like the identification of the role of people on their solutions and the inabilities of media to predetermine the nature of human actions.
Though people do not have a strong will as they should have, the majority of them are egocentric enough to choose only the most convenient ways and forms of communication. What people should do is:
- Watch different shows not to copy the thoughts and ideas but observe how different actions and words can be evaluated from the inside and outside.
- Make such shows like Beavis and Butt-head not available to the viewers of all age (parents have to control the sources of inspiration for their children);
- Provide people with clear explanations that movies, shows, and other media sources are not only for entertainment or informing; they help to introduce and describe different aspects of human life and underline that the life is not that perfect and has to be changed and improved accordingly.
Right thing to do
In my opinion, the only right thing that has to be done is to provide a control over children, who may be challenged or influenced by the shows like Beavis and Butt-head.
Nowadays, there are many sources of harmful or dangerous information, and people have to be independent and strong enough to make the right choice and try to avoid mistakes because making mistakes cannot be avoided completely as a significant part of a human life.
In general, such situations like those described in the Beavis and Butt-head case are not single. People can blame other people, different shows, evident examples, books, etc. for the solutions they made saying that they are under the influence of something. However, it is only another weakness of a human being against the temptations present in the modern world.
Badaracco, J.L. & Useem, J. (1997). This case sucks: Beavis, Butt-head, and TV content (A). Harvard Business School Case 395-053.
Maxwell, J. (2005). Ethics 101: What every leader needs to know. New York, NY: Grand Central Publishing.
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Newcomb, H. (2014). Encyclopedia of television. New York, NY: Routledge.
Oppenheim, P. (2014). It’s TV’s fault I am this way: Learning from love-hating the media industries. Media Industries, 1(2). Web.
Pfefferman, R. (2013). Strategic reinvention in popular culture: The encore impulse. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
Portigal, S. (2012). Stick to the knitting. Journal of Usability Studies, 8(1), 11-15.