PART 4 of 4
By Debra Rae
April 1, 2008
Worldviews in Popular Culture
It would serve the world well to recall that, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Judaism and Christianity together unleashed the scientific revolution paired with the greatest outpouring the world has ever known in art, literature and music.
In the late 1600s, when Vienna hosted the climatic battle between Islam and Western civilization, the West won and went forward; Islam lost and went backward. All the more today, America needs leaders who understand the Culture War in which we are engaged. Even more, our moral imperative for the 21st century is to rekindle the light without which there’s no moving forward.
Humanism in Popular Culture
The prevailing worldview of Secular Humanism spurs ever-shifting faith allegiances of America’s youth. Over time, each new generation boasts even more atheists, agnostics, alternative religionists, and those with no faith orientation at all.
These categories of so-called “outsiders” have migrated far away from traditional faith’s once dominant role, and their disturbing shift of conscience is showcased in popular culture. While surfing its wave, some two-fifths of our 16-to-29-years-olds willingly subject themselves to shark-infested waters. As such, they are inundated with a secular diet of edgy plot lines glorifying sadism, sensuality and self.
Popular music and entertainment show this to be so. Acclaimed dark comedies—The Departed, for example—freely splatter blood and gore and, then, evoke laughter from audiences entertained by it.
Voted Best Motion Picture of the Year (2007), The Departed likewise won Oscars for best achievement in writing, directing and editing. On the other hand, James Verniere of the Boston Herald harshly criticized The Passion as “an exercise in sado-masochistic bullying,” thus modeling how popular culture effectively wars against the Christian worldview. Despite intense criticism by Hollywood liberals, The Passion soared to blockbuster heights; and the head of the Motion Picture Association of America at the time called it “an impressive piece of art.”
Mike Deluca learned well that social conservatism triggers disdain. When this Sony producer acknowledged his own conservatism, Hollywood’s reaction made him feel as if he were being “exposed as a serial killer.” Similarly, actress Patricia Heaton “came out” as a George W. supporter at a Hollywood dinner party and, in her words, was made to feel as though she had defecated in the middle of the table!
The music industry is similarly inclined. Winner of eight Grammys between 1975 and 1996, singer Natalie Cole expressed concern that 2008 Grammy awards actually rewarded “bad behavior.” Since 2007, Amy Winehouse and her husband have become regular tabloid fodder in their struggle with drug and alcohol addiction, not to mention self-destructive behaviors –all of which inspire award-winning lyrics for popular songs.
For example, lyrics for Addicted instruct a boyfriend to “buy his own weed” and “not wear [her own] s--- down.” It “don't make no difference if I end up alone,” Winehouse croons. “I'd rather have myself and smoke my homegrown. Its got me addicted [and] does more than any d--- did.”
Along the same lines, Winehouse sings of a couple’s breakup because he “loves blow,” and she “loves puff.” Despite her vile lifestyle and lyrics, Winehouse picked up 2008 Grammy awards in five out of six categories for which she was nominated—including trophies for best new artist, record and song of the year.
When Winehouse brags, “I’m my own man,” she embodies Secular Humanism in popular culture.
Marxism-Leninism in Popular Culture
New York Times best-selling author James Hirsen observed rightly that entertainment today is big news, and big news is entertainment— left leaning, of course. The New Media and New Hollywood run parallel in advancing a lockstep liberal worldview that consistently attacks religion and the social order of the European Industrial Revolution.
With astonishing candor, Lawrence O’Donnell (consultant on The West Wing) advised CNN host Howard Kurtz that the Writers Guild of America, his own union, is “at a minimum 99 percent leftist liberal.” No wonder left-leaning fare is the norm at The Sundance Film Festival. Movies, television programs, lyrics and other forms of entertainment go beyond amusement; they actually convey strong messages about political, social and/or cultural issues (otherwise known as propaganda).
The Marxism-Leninism worldview further argues for transformation of human life and nature. With the presumed fall of communism “communism” emerged. Four commissions laid the groundwork, and vice-president of the World Socialist Party Gro Harlem Brundtland pioneered its path. In the name of the “common heritage of mankind,” commonism transforms private intellectual assets and nationally controlled natural resources into common property.
By accessing the Internet and liberal media, young activists today are galvanized to pit themselves against authority figures. Victimization theories hook these youth; hard core action promises to ensure a just, peaceful, sustainable society in contrast. Revisionist history serves as its catalyst; and Marxism assumes center stage in directing the social revolution at hand.
In support of youth self-expression, organizations as the Daughters Sister Foundation (underwritten by the Pride Foundation) educate, inspire, and empower our young people toward realizing a new one-world order bereft of ostensibly obsolete sovereignty, traditionalism, and capitalism.
Cosmic Humanism at Large in Popular Culture
Winner of two Academy nominations, Syriana offers what has become a famous Hollywood tagline—namely, “everything is connected.” This phrase embodies Cosmic Humanism in its flawed tenant that all of life connects. So mainstream is Cosmic Humanism that HGTV features in its program lineup Eastern energy-balancing practices and spiritual house-healing. Only thing is, to be so enlightened requires an altered state of consciousness.
So what’s not to like? Perks along the way include improved sex, immortality and, yes, world transformation. Daily, countless men and women tune into Oprah, a professed disciple of The Course on Miracles, for which Marianne Williamson is the most celebrated guru. Appearing on numerous television programs, Williamson has become an emerging media star.
Her message is serious business. Published by the Foundation For Inner Peace, a 1977 pamphlet states that The Course’s “only purpose” is to provide a way to find one’s own Internal Teacher, better known in New Age circles as one’s personal "Spirit Guide." Can you say “occult”?
Another favorite guest on Oprah, Nicole Kidman recently starred in The Golden Compass, yet another introduction to the seductive realm of spirit in its portrayal of dark, even terrifying cosmological mysteries replete with witches and parallel worlds. Its website goes so far as to guide visitors through a self-help program to “Meet Your Demon.”
Face it, Pottermania is not going away. Having polled 612 teen-agers, ages 13-19, Barna Research Group found that eighty-six percent watch supernatural-themed movies or TV shows on a normal basis. Sears, Target, and JC Penney heavily market Harry Potter toys, bedding, and clothing. Mattel, Hasbro, Coca-Cola, and McDonald’s are on board as well.
On top of that, clinical psychologist James Houran goes so far as to insist that “there is a celebrity stalker in all of us.” Keep in mind that today’s list of celebrity Kabbalists is growing by leaps and bounds. Madonna is not alone in embracing this mystical, magical interpretation of the Bible which at first was an oral occult tradition from which Gnosticism emerged.
Cosmic Humanism is alive and well in popular American culture, but we’re none the better for it.
Biblical Christianity (The Holy Bible) in Popular Culture
One of Hollywood’s favorite pastimes besides dissing the United States is to diss the faith community that embraces traditional Christianity. More often than not, popular culture portrays biblical Christianity in the most unflattering light possible. Media bias labels its adherents as “extreme,” “intolerant,” “war-mongering,” “close minded,” and “judgmental” bigots. Accordingly, actress Morgan Brittany was told that she’s “out of here”—that being, Hollywood—for no other reason than her manifest identification with the cross of Christ.
Curiously, a report prepared by the Christian Film and Television Commission noted that 2003 films emphasizing “strong moral content” earned on average some six times as much as those with “immoral, negative content.” That Michael Moore has given American viewers “a renewed taste for raw meat” is characterized by critics as a good thing; however, Gibson’s film about faith, hope, love, and forgiveness met with scathing disapproval.
The Washington Post’s Ann Hornaday chastened Mel Gibson for exhibiting in The Passion “a startling lack of concern for historical context.” Nevertheless, she aligned with Hezbollah in glowing endorsement of Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11.
The Final Bow
We have examined how powerful principles of any given worldview drive geo-political policy, educate our youth, and shape popular culture; therefore, those already invested in a worldview do well to reflect upon that view’s reach and impact. Unfortunately, many choose to remain ignorant. Failing to grasp worldviews vying for supremacy in our changing times, the uninformed or misinformed, as the case may be, fall prey to winds of change that are certain to set their vessels adrift.
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Indeed, gifted orator Daniel Webster hit the mark in the 1820s with this warning-come-true: “If the power of the Gospel is not felt throughout the length and breadth of the land, anarchy and misrule, degradation and misery, corruption and darkness will reign without mitigation or end.”
Better to “buy the truth and sell it not” be it in reference to politics, education or popular culture. Only then can the tide be turned, and Webster’s prophetic word nullified.