Our media has relied on "shock value" to entice its audience for decades. The problem with this is, the method is self-defeating. Eventually, the thing that was shocking becomes common, and they have to come back with something even more shocking to achieve the same result. Where will this downward spiral take us? How numb can we make ourselves before the whole system implodes?
As a designer, when looking at color swatches, I have noticed that it's really difficult to accurately tell what percentage of gray you have unless you compare it to a scale of white to black. Gray is just gray. You can discern a really light gray or a really dark gray pretty easily, but there is a wide range of middle gray that is very hard to place on the percentage scale. Without something to compare it to, 30% looks very much like 60%. Not having TV in our home for so many years made it really easy to discern the contrast of quality and morality that existed when we turned it on again. On the other hand, I have been surprised by what my friends, whom I know honor the same values as me, consider "clean family programming." After so many of my friends had raved about a certain popular show, I decided to watch an episode of it online. I was surprised at all the subtle, and even not so subtle sexual references, and the destructive worldly philosophies presented in such a favorable light. Okay, so maybe no one was getting shot, or hopping into bed together, but the doctrines being preached were not something I wanted for my family. Setting my children down in front of the TV and turning on a program for them as good as says, "This is what we believe, what I want you to believe." And I don't want to forever be adding in my own disclaimers, like, "That thing you just saw? We don't do that." Or, "We don't say words like that, okay, kids?" Are they more likely to listen to their mom in sweats lounging on the couch, or the perfectly coiffed, stylishly wardrobed, gorgeously lit teenage actress with a catchy soundtrack and well-scripted wittiness?
Relative goodness is a precarious measuring stick. When we look around at all the evil in the world, and use that as our gage to determine how good the things we surround ourselves with are, we can easily be deceived. If we find ourselves saying, "At least it's not as bad as..." then we are probably treading on dangerous ground. The gospel must always be our source of judgement. It's our white swatch at the edge of the gradient. When we start playing with shades of gray, we may not know how dark things are getting until we've gotten into the 80% or darker range.