Talking Points: Is Friends Sending the Wrong Message?

You know, I've been thinking about this unwed pregnancy problem we have in America, and that is the subject of this evening's Talking Points memo.

70 percent of black babies and 26 percent of white babies are now born out of wedlock, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. And about half the single mothers in America are living below the poverty line.

So this is, obviously, an enormous problem, and it is not fair to these little kids. Yet we as a society are very quiet about the problem and very accepting of messages that may subtly encourage unwed pregnancies.

Before we go any further, I want to tell you that I do not believe in censorship, and I am not a blue nose. If you read my novel Those Who Trespass, you know that. I live in the real world and am tolerant of private behavior as long as it doesn't intrude on the public good.

The NBC sitcom Friends is one of the most widely watched programs in the country, and kids love it.

In the season finale, Courteney Cox's character is thought to be pregnant prior to her marriage. This is a running gag throughout the entire program. It turns out that Jennifer Aniston's character is the one that's pregnant. Ms. Aniston plays a single lady with a low-paying job and no steady boyfriend.

Now most kids will shrug this off, and no damage will be done. But there is no question that by having two attractive characters engage in unwed pregnancy, the producers of Friends have made that situation more socially acceptable, at least to some impressionable kids who may not have mature parental guidance.

My question is: Why? Why do this? Friends is a funny program with great actors and writers. Surely you can develop plot lines that accentuate positive behavior.

Once again, this isn't a sex thing. This is a gigantic social problem thing! We're living in a world where just about anything goes, and that is damaging us as a people. Kids tend to be egocentric and live in the present. If they see certain types of behavior glamorized, that behavior becomes more attractive. I hope everybody gets that.

Millions of American babies are being born out of wedlock. Most of those children will suffer because of it. I wonder if we'll see that kind of an episode on Friends.

And that's the memo.

Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

I've just been informed that Arthel Neville said Dan Rather's haircut was fly.

Fly. Not sly.

I have no idea what any of that means. And that's why I'm ridiculous.

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