Essay / Culture

The 5th Wheel

The 5th WheelI was working out on the treadmill watching the television they show at “LA Fitness.” Much to my horror, I discovered the Fifth Wheel. For those living in caves reading Plato unaware of afternoon television, this program brings adults, many just eighteen, together to have sex. There is not even the excuse of dating and falling in love. Conversation is crude and displays no discernible literacy skills. These are losers, elevated for the moment to be exploited by the producers of the show. Two couples mix and match until they pair off, then a good looking fifth wheel is introduced to break things up. Morality is missing, utterly missing, from the lives of these badly educated and exploited young adults. My life is full of regrets for stupid and wrong things I did as a young adult, some done in ignorance. Shame is real. Emotional hurt is also real. However, the good news is that my afternoon television, when I got home from school was not telling me that living like a barbarian was good. Society, one cannot use culture here, was not saying that value and love free sex were desirable. Of course, in the age of AIDS and the herpes epidemic, there are other dangers that by the grace of God I did not face. Here is a show that takes young men and women that the culture deems too young to drink responsibly, who in fact cannot drink responsibly, and unleashes the far more powerful sexual impulse without any restraint. Are these young adults going to become fit parents?Again, I am no prude. Few of us are perfect, but there is a difference between the stupidity of youth and rejoicing in it. There is a difference between putting down the stone, and I thank God for grace, and holding a party to celebrate sin. I am not judging the sinners, but the producers of this show who decided to encourage their sin. In our culture, most of us hope for a pass on the person we were when were in our early twenties, so I only fear sorrow for the participants of the show. However, for the producers and directors of this wicked little thing, there should only be disgust and scorn. God save us.

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