- - Friday, July 5, 2013


Hollywood was quick to take credit when the Supreme Court gave same-sex marriage a major boost last week. USA Today led its Life section with “Hollywood: The best man of gay marriage,” which showcased a Left Coast reality: TV and movies have been popularizing homosexuality for years. “The nation’s pop culture machine has for decades chipped away at a once-taboo topic so as to render it utterly familiar,” explained the paper.

From “Soap” and “Will & Grace” to “Glee” and “Modern Family,” Hollywood has been at the forefront of a major cultural revolution. Entertainment executives and stars are celebrating something we already knew: If you spend enough money advertising a product, middle America will eventually buy it.

So isn’t it time for Hollywood to own up to all the other products it’s selling us?

How about mass murder, serial killings, violence, sexual perversion, eco-extremism, terrorism and atheism? Certainly, those aspects of our society would exist without theatrical direction, but they are celebrated by our masters in Hollywood. Movies and TV shows now serve as how-to lessons about the worst of our society.

Take a look at television’s obsession with serial killers. “Dexter,” the morally complex Showtime program, just began its eighth and final season of hacking up people. None too soon. The show has sliced its way through more than 120 victims during its first seven seasons.

But Hollywood has created a mob of would-be replacements — each eager to take a stab at becoming TV’s newest and coolest killing machine. The twisted minds of Tinseltown have brought Hannibal Lecter, Jack the Ripper and Norman Bates to TV and given them their own shows. They are just three of the seven newest programs focused on serial killings. In all, there are at least 20 different TV shows focused on serial killers.

Even the FBI would call that overkill. The bureau estimates there are between 35 and 50 serial killers operating in the United States at any one time. The dark CBS drama “Criminal Minds” has had more than 100 serial killers in just the past seven seasons. It was so bad that actor Mandy Patinkin left the show in 2007, later calling it “very destructive to my soul and my personality.” Mr. Patinkin emphasized his point: “I never thought they were going to kill and rape all these women every night, every day, week after week, year after year.”

Rape. Cannibalism. Dismemberment. Torture. Just another night on TV. One “Hannibal” episode featured a victim with eyes gouged out, the body skewered with poles and other objects. It was so horrendous even one of the characters warned: “Prepare yourself, it’s gruesome.”

This season alone on TV has brought us a show devoted to mistresses, “Bates Motel” with its themes of incest, sex slavery and graphic rape, and “American Horror Story” devoting an entire season to attacking nuns.

Yet Hollywood takes no blame. Director Quentin Tarantino, who made the incredibly violent “Django Unchained” and “Inglorious Basterds,” defended the way he makes films to The Hollywood Reporter. “I believe in what I’m doing wholeheartedly and passionately. It’s my job to ignore [criticism],” he argued.

Of course. And CelebrityNetWorth.com says he has amassed $90 million as a result.

He’s certainly not alone. When Hollywood celebs were bemoaning our gun culture right after the Newtown, Conn., shootings, they were selling a far different story at the box office. The top five films depicted 65 scenes of violence, with 185 individual victims, most but not all of whom died as a result. And 38 of the scenes depicted gun violence.

A series of films this year have taken the ideas of the Occupy Wall Street loons and turned them into field guides. “Assault on Wall Street” was a bloody revenge flick showing a man who lost everything targeting and hunting down Wall Street executives and executing them. “The East” depicted an eco-terrorist group that targeted corporations and CEOs.

Violence is only one of our problems. “Spring Breakers” featured former Disney pop tarts in a threesome. It didn’t take long for that indoctrination to filter down to children. The April issue of Seventeen showed star Ashley Benson modeling patriotic-themed clothing to a target audience of 12- to 19-year-old girls. The cover read that the Disney star “opens up about her edgy new movie.” Yes, threesomes are now edgy as movies normalize depravity.

You could argue that Hollywood is the result of free-market choices. You would be wrong. Hollywood monopolizes our big- and small-screen choices and takes a strict and extreme left-wing worldview. Perhaps same-sex marriage will be the spark to truly ignite opposition to the entertainment agenda.

Meanwhile, the next time some lunatic attacks a school or a movie theater, we all know exactly what to say: “Hurray for Hollywood.”

Dan Gainor is vice president for business and culture at the Media Research Center.

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