It should come as no surprise that Hollywood has devolved from its lofty expectations when it first began to what it has become today.
Tinseltown, as it is often affectionately referred to, is really a pretty trashy city. I recall going there after I graduated high school, and I was not impressed, even as a young rebellious teenager.
I was told by several people we met there that it is a city that steals the souls of many of those who go there seeking fame and fortune but often end up working several jobs simply to support themselves or they fall into the trap of drugs and alcohol in order to escape the reality of destroyed dreams.
Still, it is the product that Hollywood puts out that is seeking to steal the soul of America.
While G rated films garner some of the biggest profits, they are produced far less than other films. This is probably due to the fact that they encompass a wider audience for sure, but even the message of many of the G rated films are often against the foundations of America, which were based on the teachings of the Bible.
Socialism, Communism, hedonism and all sorts of perversion do come out of many Hollywood films. I’m not saying that one cannot be discerning in watching a film. One can and should be so, but it is important to understand that say, when you enjoy the latest Stars Wars film, you understand that a lot of it deals with dualism and Buddhism, not Christianity. And when you view a mafia film, such as The Godfather series, you are seeing the idolatry of family and the wickedness of men due to a lust for power, money and control.
Are there certain things we can take away from those films? Of course, but only if we are grounded in the truth, which only comes from God’s Word. I often see things play out in these types of films that the Scriptures warn about.
For example, read the words of Proverbs 1:
The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: To know wisdom and instruction, To discern the sayings of understanding, To receive instruction in wise behavior, Righteousness, justice and equity; To give prudence to the naive, To the youth knowledge and discretion, A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel, To understand a proverb and a figure, The words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Hear, my son, your father’s instruction And do not forsake your mother’s teaching; Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head And ornaments about your neck. My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. If they say, “Come with us, Let us lie in wait for blood, Let us ambush the innocent without cause; Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, Even whole, as those who go down to the pit; We will find all kinds of precious wealth, We will fill our houses with spoil; Throw in your lot with us, We shall all have one purse,” My son, do not walk in the way with them. Keep your feet from their path, For their feet run to evil And they hasten to shed blood. Indeed, it is useless to spread the baited net In the sight of any bird; But they lie in wait for their own blood; They ambush their own lives. So are the ways of everyone who gains by violence; It takes away the life of its possessors.
I thought of this when I view the Godfather series. The violence would always come back to those who thought they were doing what they needed to do to protect those they loved, but in the end, it would often cost them their lives and the lives of those they loved.
However, I say all that to simply introduce a video from Prager University by commentator Ben Shapiro on the subject of Hollywood going for your minds.
Imagine a group of activists so powerful that they could beam their propaganda directly into your brain. Now also imagine that they’re so sophisticated, they actually get you to pay them to do it.
Unfortunately, you don’t have to imagine it. It’s real. It’s Hollywood.
As big as the internet has become, Hollywood—and here, I’m talking specifically about television—is still king. Not only does it reach hundreds of millions of people with its messaging, it embeds that messaging in seemingly innocuous stories—stories that distract us from the hardships of daily life; stories that make us feel good, compassionate, and decent.
We watch TV, in other words, because we like it. And just as Americans didn’t think much about the carcinogens in the cigarettes they smoked for decades, most Americans don’t think much about the toxic politics in the television they watch.
But those who create that content do. They spin out hour after hour of slickly-produced left-wing propaganda and give themselves awards for doing it. They applaud each other’s “courage,” even though all their friends think exactly as they do.
I spoke with nearly a hundred members of the Hollywood community when I wrote my book, Primetime Propaganda, and many of them openly admitted they inserted “social justice” messages into their shows.
How they do it is both clever and effective.
Hollywood writers, producers, directors, actors create characters we keep wanting to spend time with, then have those characters act in ways most of us would judge wrong. Then, in effect, they ask us a question: Isn’t it really okay that Rachel from Friends decided to have a baby without first marrying Ross? After all, you like Ross and you like Rachel! How can what they do be bad?
It hasn’t always been this way. For decades, Hollywood promoted traditional American values. That changed, as did so much else in the late 1960s and ‘70s, when Hollywood stopped celebrating American values and started transforming them.
For example, in the early 1970s, abortion was a hotly-contested issue. A year before the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case, the top-rated TV sitcom, Maude, featured a storyline in which the title character of the show has an abortion. The LA Times described it as “a watershed moment” in TV history. Why? Well, because it removed the stigma of abortion. Millions of Americans, sitting in their living rooms, saw a beloved character do something they did not approve of—and felt sympathy.
Something similar happened in the early 2000s. Vice President Joe Biden was right when he said that Will & Grace had a major impact on how Americans think about same-sex marriage. Before the hit NBC show, though most Americans had a live-and-let-live attitude toward private sexual behavior, few supported the idea of men marrying men or women marrying women. But seeing the charming and funny Will Truman live his life week after week paved the way for a much wider acceptance of same-sex marriage.
You may think these are all good things. Or that some are, and some aren’t. That’s not my point. My point is that Hollywood has had a tremendous influence on our culture, and that influence has been all to the left side of the political spectrum.
And it isn’t just social issues. Chevy Chase likes to boast that he helped Jimmy Carter defeat Gerald Ford in 1976. He may be right. Week after week on Saturday Night Live, Chase portrayed Ford, probably the most athletic president in American history, as a bumbling, uncoordinated idiot. In the early 2000s, Comedy Central had a show, That’s My Bush!, that openly mocked the 43rd president. And, of course, Hollywood despises Donald Trump. From crime dramas to the late-night comedy shows, he’s relentlessly ridiculed.
Somehow, Hollywood managed to take an eight-year hiatus from mocking presidents during the Obama years. But maybe that’s just a coincidence.
All of this programming has an effect. Scientific studies suggest that watching TV acts like a “habit-forming drug.” According to the market research firm Childwise, teenage boys spend 8 hours per day in front of screens, much of it consuming Hollywood propaganda.
Dedicated religious parents might expose their children to two hours a week of religious instruction. Hands-on parents might spend thirty minutes a day discussing essential values with their kids. Hollywood gets up to forty hours a week. Every week.
By all means, enjoy television. I do! But remember, the people making TV don’t merely want to entertain you; they want to influence you. They want you to think like they think. And, unless you’re aware of what they’re trying to do, chances are, you will.
I’m Ben Shapiro, editor of the Daily Wire, for Prager University.