Monday, January 16, 2012

Romanticizing Outliers

So I've been watching a lot of How I Met Your Mother since Christmas break started. Netflix streaming has revolutionized watching TV. How else could you watch an entire 6 seasons worth of TV in a couple weeks? (Well OK, my wife watched 6 seasons of Bones in about 1 week -- but she made it a full time job. She doesn't read my blog so I can say that :)).

I love the show. Very funny. Neil Patrick Harris is great. But here's the problem: these people drink a ton and have a lot of sex. And I just said NPH is great -- he has the most sex. As an adult, I watch the program and I realize how silly those parts of it are. But at times while I stream it my teenage stepsons watch with me. And it occurs to me: do they think this is what REAL adults do? Are they going to think that people like Barney really are cool? Or that drinking a lot everyday is normal? That kind of scares me.

Surely there are people that drink that much and have that many sexual partners, but they're outside of the bell curve. They're outliers. Does the curve shift, though, if the bell thinks those outliers are "normal"? Some research shows it does. Market studies on sex on campus are an example (see Premarital Sex in America and here). But if we don't romanticize outliers, who are we going to romanticize? Life inside the bell simply isn't exciting enough, now is it? ;)

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