Hollywood is a cesspool of filth and stupidity. This is not news to anyone.
Last night, the industry gave its top award to a love story about a woman and a fish monster. It also handed an award to “Call Me By Your Name,” a romance about a grown man and a teenage boy. The majority of the nominated films were some combination of idiotic, depraved, and pointless. “Darkest Hour” and “Dunkirk” are notable exceptions here.
As the awards show dragged into its 14th hour, Netflix announced the next season of “House of Cards.” The show will apparently go on without Kevin Spacey. When I suggested on Twitter that perhaps we shouldn’t watch the new season, due to the minor fact that the star for the past five seasons has been a child sex predator, I was informed that it’s perfectly fine to keep watching because — after profiting off of him for five years — Netflix finally fired him.
Okay. Here’s another reason not to watch: it’s stupid, gross, and empty, and you become quantifiably dumber every second that you spend in front of it. I watched it myself for a few seasons and gave up around the time that Spacey’s character had a threesome with his wife and a Secret Service Agent. I had no good reason to have stayed with it for as long as I did. I could feel my brain cells committing hara-kiri as I watched, yet I kept watching. I could have just read a book instead. Or done literally anything else with my time. Why didn’t I? Why don’t we?
Why do we Christians and conservatives, who complain constantly about Hollywood, still give Hollywood so much of our time and money? Without us, the industry couldn’t stay in business. We are the ones who keep it afloat. Sure, we generally avoid films like “Call Me By Your Name” and the like, but do you think the “50 Shades” franchise made a billion dollars just based entirely on ticket sales from liberals? Do you think “The Walking Dead” became the biggest show in cable history because of atheists? Do you think the idiotic sitcoms get their ratings without us? Do you think the nihilistic “prestige dramas” survive by appealing only to professed nihilists? The average American spends five hours a day watching TV. Do you think that number is any lower for Christians?
Of course, when you try to have this conversation, you’ll be mocked by the same people who complain about the “liberal bias” in the news media. But the liberal bias in the news media doesn’t matter. For one thing, everyone knows it’s there. For another, the message isn’t nearly as harmful, comparatively speaking. If you buy into the propaganda on MSNBC, you’ll believe that Donald Trump is a bad president. If you buy into the propaganda on “House of Cards,” you’ll believe that there is no God and the only point of life is to dominate your fellow man. And because you aren’t looking for the propaganda — “it’s just entertainment,” you say — you’ll be much more likely to absorb and adopt it.
The clueless person laughs again. “Nobody takes entertainment seriously enough to be that influenced by it,” he rationalizes. But that is exactly the point. Nobody takes it seriously. We just passively ingest it. For hours and hours and hours and hours a day. And, without noticing, we are conditioned by it. Yes, it’s true that nobody will watch one episode of “The Walking Dead” and decide to go feast on human flesh. Few people have become willing sex slaves because of “50 Shades.” But many of us have become morally and spiritually numb because of these shows and films. We have allowed the ideas and beliefs of a godless culture to be implanted in our hearts, where they begin, after a while, to seem normal and harmless. We have allowed Hollywood to shape and form us, even as we pretend to be so disgusted by Hollywood.
Maybe it’s time we back up our tough talk. Maybe it’s time we turn off the TV and start using our minds. I’m not saying that we should never watch a film or television show ever again. Every once in a while a Hollywood production company will accidentally produce something good and meaningful. But the problem is that we think we have to watch something in the meantime, because we can’t imagine spending even one night without staring into a screen. So, we reward the good stuff — the ‘Darkest Hours” and the “Dunkirks” and so on — but we also reward the bad stuff. To us, bad and good are irrelevant. We just want to watch. We don’t care what we’re watching.
If we really want to send a message to Hollywood, that’s the attitude that needs to change.