Culture,  Entertainment

Receding Men and Rotting Hollywood

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.


  • Patrick Duncan

    Peggy Noonan’s right, but I don’t think she realizes what we’re up against. I don’t usually recommend PBS shows, but every person and especially, every parent, should watch the video “The Merchants of Cool”, which you can easily find with a Google search. After you watch that video, you’ll understand why we have so many anti-social kids and now, adults.

  • Nephos

    I’m currently reading “Vulgarians at the Gate” by Steve Allen (first host of the Tonight Show). It is a critical assessment of the immorality and filth produced by Hollywood by an insider who does not write from a Christian perspective, but simply a concerned one. Definitely worth the read.

  • Don Johnson

    There is no question that media influences people to actions. That is why ads exist, and you can bet money is the reason they exist is that ads work, if they did not no one would make them. So why do ads work to influence behavior but supposedly the TV shows airing around them do not. It is so obvious.

  • Debbie Kaufman

    I always find it interesting when those who claim Complementarianism point to women to support whatever agenda they are attempting to support. I thought men reading women and learning from them was the unpardonable sin. Evidently it’s only certain women which actually goes against what the Complementarian or patriarchist teaches using the Bible out of context.

    • Akash Charles

      you serious?!! unpardonable sin!!

      well if this is true of the complementarians you know, how do they talk / communicate to their wife/husband!!

      Read note/suggestion from wife-SIN!!

      Listen to your wife-SIN!!

      Wife teaches you to cook a particular dish-SIN!!

      seriously-if this si what you think complementarianism is no wonder your an egalitarian!,I am slowly beginning to realize that egals have a lot of false fears and that why they are egals.

      now back to Peggy

      what is exactly being done to stimulate men to become useful, cause hollywood ultimately goes the way people want it too and currently people want such vulgarity, this demand needs to change

  • James Stanton

    While I don’t think Peggy Noonan is wrong on the merits I find it interesting that she does the same thing that she accuses the left of doing by focusing the blame on something else tangentially related to the issue.

    Leave aside that many other Western countries also consume the muck that emanates out of Hollywood in similar levels and yet don’t suffer our degree of violence.

  • Shaun DuFault

    Sadly, it is the feminizing of our culture that has helped create the issues we see in men not growing up not Complimentarianism. If you took an honest look, our society is more egalitarian/feminized than not and what has that gotten us? Men who do not grow up until 30 at best.

    One would rightly argue that the “egalitarianism” of our culture bears some if not much of the responsibility of how boys are being raised today and how the young men of our culture are now being called the “Peter Pan” generation. When we forsake the proper roles outline in Scripture, what else would we think would have happen.

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