The cultural majority in America is up in arms over the rising levels of violence and horrific images that have seeped into popular entertainment. Movies, television, and music have always been controversial, but even they can cross the line between poor taste and immorality. Entertainment corporations and record labels don’t even blink, when told of the excessive torture or satanic lyrics found in material. Producers and directors continue to push the envelop on what is done in good taste. Gangsta rap is one of the current problems of society.
Popular music for teens has always been controversial, or at least in conflict with middle class attitudes. Teen music has always been under scrutiny by those who are older. Parents, whether from the 60’s or 90’s, never welcome the sounds of the younger generation. Unfortunately this fact does not comfort someone when listening to Snoop Doggy Dog or Ice Cube talk of sex, violence, beatings, and suicide. Hollywood, the country’s Mecca for TV and movies, is another contaminated disaster area. This area has given us hero’s such as Clint
Eastwood, Humphrey Bogart, and Bruce Willis. Once filmmakers would evoke sexual interests through eye contact or a touch of the leg. Today cinematographers resort to graphic sexual acts and horrific beatings. A poll by Newsweek stated that sexual moderation and fidelity are normal for both married people and for those who live together. In contrast, 7 out of 8 televised sexual encounters involve extramarital sex (Newsweek, 1994). This trend is startling when compared to the fact that children spend more time watching television than they pend in school. According to the American Psychological Association, a typical child sees 8,000 murders and 100,000 acts of violence on TV before graduating from elementary school (Nation, 1994). The results of how television, specifically sex and violence, affect children is not completely known. Although psychologists state, Aggressive children like to watch violent TV shows, and it appears that watching violent TV shows makes children more aggressive; this is presumably due to their exposure to aggressive models (Eron, 1987).
One of Hollywood’s more remarkable aspects, is that it has produced approximately 400 pictures that convey traditional integrity and the mainstream virtues of love, loyalty, honor, duty, and compassion. Consider movies such as Forrest Gump, Little Women, and The Lion King. In contrast, a movie such as Natural Born Killers was intended to imitate the link between violence and media attention in our culture. In the long run, individuals will make decisions about what they will buy, read, or see. Some will lean towards the vulgar and the pornographic. The
American society has some sense of this. They may be irritated or outraged by pop culture, but the polls state that the principal courses of violence and other national problems lie beyond the entertainment industry (Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, 1995). Parents are already aware that children are affected by the general decline of public morality, family breakdown, lack of religion, and poor parenting. The price we pay for our cultural freedom is the movies and songs that influence people to act out their fantasies of grandeur. I would rather the haos of the free market than the government telling us what or what not to see and hear. Our culture would be definitely poorer without those who bring us daily news, weather, and sports. What would happen if government began to censor our music, movies, and literature? Children would grow-up never knowing the internal conflicts faced by Huck Finn, the violent nature of the Wild West or the songs that built America Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution, may sound like a excerpt from a Snoop Dog song, It is actually part of the of the Star Spangled Banner.