I love the creativity surrounding movies and fictional television: the writers, directors, actors and actresses, promotional personnel, and genius minds all merging together transporting us into another world, if only for a few, short hours. Hollywood was created to make the unbelievable, believable and in times past they did an incredible job drawing us into circles of fantasy and illusion. But, the past few years the winds have changed among this once, anointed community: Its quality has been greatly tarnished in favor of extreme violence, ultra-liberal propaganda, and anti-social behavior. Primetime television used to mean, adults only, no children allowed. An R-rated movie meant parents would keep their children from venturing toward the theatre, shielding them from images they saw as detrimental to their emotional health and overall well-being. What was considered “highly abnormal and offensive” before, is currently just another page on a screenplay. Now children and teenagers watch routinely, and freely, images that would make our grandparents roll in their graves. There’s a war being fought against traditional behavior, and Hollywood is using their powerful presence to change the social landscape.
Just last night I flipped on my remote to watch “The Walking Dead” the highly-promoted, much-hyped drama on the AMC Channel garnering a cult-like following. I knew it was centered inside the horror genre and had read some about its premise, although I never watched an episode or part of one before. However, what I didn’t realize was the extent of its extremely graphic, violent scenes appearing to run nonstop throughout the programming. Almost every act showed the harshest of human cruelty and darkest of psychological behavior, making me turn the channel after a lackluster fifteen minutes of viewing. I tried hanging in there, thinking the storyline would kick in without the intense fierceness, at least pausing some allowing me to acquaint myself with the characters, but it never did. One scene after another, murder and violence in their harshest forms kept leaping from the screen. Another drama series, “Sons Of Anarchy” also carries a violent format, though not as intense. But even this show has oftentimes caused me to change the channel.
I’m a fifty-two-year-old man, seen some things, love dramas, and as an author I’m not at all afraid of making my novels as realistic as possible. My writing bends strongly towards inspirational, but I believe in creating worlds where characters are who they are, for good or bad, right or wrong, emotionally damaged maybe living in the street or atop a cloud. The difference though, between my writing and what I’m seeing coming from Hollywood, is I place limits on the depths of graphic negativity, wanting my readers to walk away feeling better about themselves and the world around them. And I firmly believe you can accomplish this without creating ultra-harsh nightmares for readers. Hollywood though, seems not to care anymore how their images are affecting society, especially our youth.
I fear that what we’re seeing is only going to increase, hardening the minds of our population and destroying what’s left of normal, human contact. Our interaction and reliance on communication devices (smartphones, etc.) is one thing, but what we watch on television, the internet, and at the movies is so very powerful. Debate me or not, it does affect our behavior. And this gives validation to the truthful sentence, “He who controls the media controls the masses.” In my opinion, this is a very dangerous line of thinking.
Fortunately, there is programming still worthy of viewership, it’s only becoming harder to find. I long for the Hollywood of old: the Bogart’s, Newman’s, Taylor’s, Sinatra’s, and Hank’s pulling us into world’s filled with love, compassion, and worthy drama’s. They gave us places to escape, hide, and be inspired. Now we’re the ones oftentimes looking to run away.
Reversing the dark course of Hollywood won’t happen until the public says they’ve had enough. The only question is, how much is too much before the damage has reached its goal?
Thanks for your readership and please take a moment to read the synopsis of my forthcoming title, The Luck Inside Me.