Peggy Noonan takes a hard line against the vulgar fare that seems to be so ubiquitous in the material coming out of Hollywood. She begins by noting the general malaise that has fallen over our country. She writes:
We are making more sick teenagers and young men now, not fewer, and this is going to continue as our culture breaks up. I think we all know this, deep down.
Let that land on you. She says “we” are making more “sick teenagers and you men.” By that, she means that we as a society are failing to raise up boys to be good sturdy men. I agree with her. The fact that the majority of young men today fail to make all the major transitions to adulthood until they’re nearly 30 years old easily proves the point (e.g., moving out of their parents home, becoming financially independent, getting married, having children).
I also agree that much of the material that Hollywood churns out every year is not helping. It is coarsening our culture, not ennobling it. On this point, Noonan really takes Hollywood to task, and it is worth quoting her at length:
Everyone who has warned for a quarter-century now that our national culture has become a culture of death—movies, TV shows, videogames drenched in blood and violence—has been correct. Deep down we all know it, as deep down we know our culture has a bad impact on the young and unstable who aren’t sturdy enough to withstand and resist sick messages and imagery.
When Hollywood wants to discourage cigarette smoking it knows exactly how to do it, because it knows exactly how much power it has to deliver cultural messages. When Hollywood wants to encourage environmentalism it knows how to do it. But there’s a lot of money to be made in violence, and God knows there’s a market for it—in fact, the more people are fed violence the bigger the market grows, so it’s an ever hungry, always growing market. This is exactly what you want if you’re in a tough business and don’t have a conscience.
Republicans have no sway in Hollywood, none. They are figures of mockery, sometimes deservedly so. If they get into the act here, Hollywood will be able to ignore them, and nothing will change. But the Democrats and the president are in a different position. They could change things for the better.
President Obama should have a Nixon-to-China moment. If he tells Hollywood it has made America sicker, Hollywood will be forced to listen. It won’t be so easy for them to turn away.
If the president had strong, clear, uncompromising words—if he made an address aimed only at them, a clear and unsparing one that told the truth as everyone knows it—that would make a real difference.
Read the rest here.