Sometimes I get to wondering if media effects culture, if culture effects media, or maybe they work in tandem... where one encourages the fantasy of the other wherein they feed off of each other.
Certainly, one can never expect a 1950's episode of "I Love Lucy", where Lil Ricky comes out of the closet unless he was actually getting his coat or something...
Closer to home for most of us: You do remember that 'The Brady's' and 'The Partridge's' were products of widowhood, as was "Nanny And The Professor."
Most kids that I knew growing up who were missing a parent were missing it for social reasons (divorce, illegitimacy, etc.). A few widows, but very few.
Safe to say, in my early time, media wasn't presenting the norm as I knew it, just the fantasy that we wished was the reality. *
Media folks ( screen writers, news reporters... and all those in between who work in that field) are as human as the rest of us.
They have their fantasies and their realities, just like we do.
They see the world through their lense-of-the-moment, yet will find value in the ideal when the money says to, or not to.
It's about the money, after all.
As media types, they eventually have to market to the audience if they hope to keep cashing paychecks.
Being 'cutting edge' is part of that.
Societal norms, the acceptance by people of what most people see happening in their own lives, is a larger part of that... the envelope can only be pushed so far before a career is ended, or... riding a once edgy trend that becomes the norm of acceptance.
The question of how complicit the media (in all of it's forms) is in spreading the more negative aspects of our culture (like gun violence, sexual promiscuity, casual disregard for others) can best be answered with 'Yes, No, Maybe.'
Go ahead and weigh in.
* I still remember when my best friend from grade school learned, after her death, that
his maternal grandmother never had that 'grandfather' for him who
'passed' before his mother was born. But he was passing through,
a fighter in The Spanish Civil War who never returned to claim the
bride who waited for him, who's pregnancy he had yet to learn of. (Maybe because he couldn't? It was a bloody
affair... he will never know. But when the subject came up, she spoke
lovingly of him as if he was her husband, and remained unmarried through life.)
That was a shock!
It wasn't acceptable in her culture to have sex before marriage. She was too embarrassed to allow her grandson to know the truth.