One of my all time favorite shows is Bonanza. Reruns are aired everyday at 1 PM on a local station and if I'm at home, I usually try to watch while having lunch and cleaning the kitchen. Bonanza was one of the TV shows that my parents allowed us to watch (on DVD) when we were younger and I've enjoyed getting to know Ben and Little Joe, Adam and Hoss all over again.
Now, keeping in mind that these are fictional characters on a TV show, I can't help but ask, where in the world is Ben Cartwright? Or more specifically, where is he on TV today? Ben Cartwright is a man's man. He carries a gun, herds cattle, fixes fences, breaks horses and commands his hired men. He cares for his neighbors and friends. He gives of his resources to help out others in need. He defends those who are too weak or helpless to defend themselves. He's always respectful of women. He's kind to children. He's tough and gentle with his sons who he has raised to manhood. He's a man that others respect (except the lawless element of course). He thinks before he speaks and rarely speaks rashly. As far as I know, he didn't receive any formal education (college) but he reads a lot and is always improving his mind. He's intelligent and wise and is able to solve problems using brains rather than guns. However, in that time, sometimes guns were the only option and he knew when they had to be used but was careful and did not shoot unnecessarily. He believed a man was innocent until proven guilty. He believed in and trusted his sons. He knew how to take a joke and could laugh at himself instead of getting defensive. He was, in some sense, the ideal man. To measure a flesh and blood man against him today would be, to a certain extent, unfair. But to measure how men and fathers are portrayed on TV today against Ben Cartwright is not. So again I must ask, where is he today? There are a few modern TV shows that my husband and I watch - Everybody Loves Raymond, Seinfeld, The Big Bang Theory, The Office. And I see previews of TV shows during football games so I have a fairly decent handle on what TV shows are like today. Not once have I seen a man or father portrayed in a positive light, let alone coming close to Ben Cartwright. Men act like spoiled children, fathers are stupid and the butt of the joke, women and children mock men and never give them any respect. It amazes me that men are willing to play those roles for TV.
Where are the men who are respectful of women and kind to children? Where are the husbands and fathers who lead their families with love and kindness and a firm commitment to the right? Where are the men that we, the viewers, can look up to? It's frankly nauseating to see how men are portrayed and treated in TV shows. Hopefully it sickens you too.