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— Truly, this generation is a "movie generation." Kids today watch far more movies than I ever knew were in existence. And to someone as old as me, it's kind of hard to believe that anyone, much less a whole generation, could be so obsessed with such things.

But just walk into the living room or bedroom of most young people and what do you see? A full entertainment center with a large-screen TV, DVD player, big speakers and surround sound. You'll find a whole stack of CDs and DVDs and maybe other computer hardware to download and view the latest movies straight off the Internet!

And when this generation watches a movie, the sound is unbearable. Things are booming and roaring, and the windows are vibrating and rattling from all the commotion.

I'm sure that some of these kids have spent more on their entertainment systems than I spent on most of the cars I've driven, including the new Volkswagen I bought back in 1971!

And, what for? Television was more entertaining back in the days when we had one black and white TV and could receive only one station. We didn't have a remote, and we didn't fight over which program we were going to watch - and no, we didn't even have to pay for the programming we did watch. We watched a few programs a week, and turned off the set in between time. There were often days and maybe even weeks when the television set was quiet and displayed nothing at all but a blank dark-green screen. During the summer months, the screen remained blank for even longer.

Now that we have hundreds of channels to choose from, I do like the "off" position best and keep trying to convince Mrs. Griz that we don't need a TV and monthly payments to watch programs we'd rather not see. I haven't succeeded at that one yet. I haven't even convinced her of the benefits of silence; and when I complain too much about all the TV noise, I sometimes end up with a lot more silence than I was hoping for.

And, just listen to today's kids talk! You'll hear them talking about this movie or that and who played what. I must admit that I haven't a clue what they are talking about because I haven't watched or even heard of most of the movies that are the topic of their conversations. I recognize some of the prominent actors when they are on the screen but don't usually know their names because that just never was all that important to me.

If it's not John Wayne, James Arness, Ken Curtis or one of the other actors who starred in movie after movie or show after show on channel 12, well, I just don't know them by name.

To be honest with you, I don't even know who the "hot" super models are that folks keep talking about. If I saw one of them on the street, I don't think I'd recognize them and I'd probably question the "hot" part too.

If I see someone on the television set and want to know who it is, I ask Mrs. Griz. Half the time she doesn't know either because she seems to turn on the TV set more for the noise than for the content.

My own kids, though they should know better, like to start telling me all about what happened in some "flick" they've recently watched. I finally just have to interrupt them and tell them to stop because I can't even begin to visualize the creatures and things they are describing. In fact, I don't even want to try!

What effect will all this movie watching have on the new generation? Will they have a false sense of reality and a Hollywood spin on history? I suspect so.

But I suppose, if we give them time, they'll find out that movies aren't reality and that there are far more important things in life - at least I'm hoping that will be the case.

And, just maybe, some of those movies they watch will motivate them to do some studying and reading of history to find out what really happened "way back when."

I just hope they have actually learned how to read, study and research somewhere in there between watching all the latest releases. Otherwise, they may go through life as a generation with no grasp on reality.

Opinion, Pages 5 on 09/16/2009

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