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The American Mind

Hollywood needs to look in the mirror

William Hillman

(2/2018) Am I the only one who sees the irony of Hollywood elitists pointing their fingers at the country and blaming its own sexual violence problems on us?

Oprah Winfrey’s speech at the Golden Globe Awards was, at best, misdirected. Her blanket condemnation of American males was ignorant. Instead of looking into the camera and condemning middle-class Americans watching on TV, she should have been addressing those seated right in front of her.

Many of the ills of society can be laid at the feet of the left and those in control of the messages that the media bombards us with each day.

The left has been very good at accepting this behavior among its own ranks while condemning it in others. It has just come out the Hillary Clinton protected a member of her campaign staff who was a sexual predator and was harassing lower level members of her staff during the same time she was condemning candidate Trump for use of what I would refer to as, "hurty words."

"A senior adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign who was accused of repeatedly sexually harassing a young subordinate was kept on the campaign at Mrs. Clinton’s request." – The New York Times, Jan 26, 2018

One of my all-time favorite movies is ‘The Philadelphia Story' with Katharine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart. In the movie, the character played by Katharine Hepburn asked why Macaulay Conner (played by Jimmy Stewart), did not take advantage of her when she was vulnerable from having too much Champagne and threw herself at him. Macaulay notes he could have taken advantage of the moment, but she’d been drinking and "there are rules about that." Scenes like that would end up on the cutting room floor in almost any movie in the last 50 years.

The greatest asset of a gentleman is the control he has of his emotions and his respect for others.

The history of people abusing power over others predates history. Society has evolved traditions to limit these abuses and will always struggle with this. The founding fathers understood this when they formed the federal government, by dividing power. My father understood this when, as a young man, he explained to me the "rules of proximity."

The current outing of Hollywood and political abusers is just the latest, added to the lists of priests, coaches, scout leaders, teachers, politicians (again), doctors, lawyers, police, and even judges.

Since the 1960’s, Hollywood has done its best to normalize deviant behavior and destroy the esteem of gentlemanly behavior. Macaulay Conner's definition of a gentleman was replaced over time by James Bond types who taught us that, when a woman says "no", she really wants the man to force himself on her until she surrenders, melts in his arms, and says "yes".

Gentlemen in movies are a breed on the extinction list. Tom Hank’s character in movies like, "Sleepless in Seattle", "You’ve Got Mail", and a few other romantic comedies may be the last of their kind.

When it does not suit their purpose, Hollywood likes to pretend they have no effect on behavior and public opinion. Remember how insulted the music industry was when Tipper Gore called them out during the Congressional meetings for promoting and glamorizing violence?

During those hearings Susan Baker testified saying, "There certainly are many causes for these ills in our society, but it is our contention that the pervasive messages aimed at children which promote and glorify suicide, rape, sadomasochism, and so on, have to be numbered among the contributing factors." Tipper Gore asked record companies to voluntarily "place a warning label on music products inappropriate for younger children due to explicit sexual or violent lyrics."

The music industry went nuts, calling it censorship. Much of the opposition argument was that music is just music, it cannot make kids rape, or kill, or control their behavior.

Movies, television, and other forms of media often make the same claim when they are accused of promoting and normalizing violence. At the same time, companies spend 72 billion dollars each year on messaging that makes you buy their products. These companies are not just throwing their money around. They have the research and history that shows their money is invested wisely. They know that repetitive exposure to a message can affect how people perceive the world and act.

Hollywood, and media of all types need the public to pay attention. Classical style stories have a limited reach, but movies, songs, and shows that can get the adrenalin running sell tickets and albums. Violence is the biggest ticket seller. The problem with a media based on sensationalism is that the public gets quickly immune so the dosage needs to keep increasing.

"Portrayals of sex and sexual relationships are prevalent in mainstream media. Analyses estimate that sexual content appears in approximately 85% of major motion pictures (Jamieson, More, Lee, Busse, & Romer, 2008), 82% of television programs (Fisher, Hill, Grube, & Gruber, 2004), 59% of music videos (Turner, 2011), and 37% of music lyrics (Primack, Gold, Schwarz, & Dalton, 2008)"1. We are bombarded by these messages, for those who have been profiting to act the victim is the biggest hypocrisy of all.

Keira Knightley has made an astute point about Hollywood rape culture. The actress told Variety, "I don’t really do films set in the modern day because the female characters nearly always get raped."

Hollywood acted surprised and appalled by the actions of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, and Kevin Spacey while its acclaimed HBO show, Game of Thrones, takes great care to film violent, grotesque rape scenes.

Actors like Matt Damon denounce violence but he has spent a lot of time onscreen with guns in his hand. He is a hard-core leftist and has spoken out for gun control while promoting guns and violence on screen and reaping the financial gains that come with being an A-list actor.

In the Kill Bill films, Uma Thurman's character killed thousands of people. These movies glamorize violence and murder like no other, with the noted exception of Django Unchained. Uma Thurman then comes out in favor of gun control like she has the nerve to lecture law-abiding people about gun control.

If Hollywood and media celebrities really want to do something about violence and "rape culture", they have the power. Start making movies with characters who are true gentlemen and ladies. Refuse to take roles in movies that promote sexual aggression, and glorify violence. Stop giving awards to singers like Eminem, who has a long history of advocating for violence against women, degrading gay people, and rapping about his desire to rape women.

Hollywood and the country are seeing the results of the progressive’s attack of the moral foundation of the country. Boys are taught to "get in touch with their feelings" rather than learn how to control them. And when they do act out, they're told it's not their fault. It's no wonder when they become older, they're unable to control their urges and feel no responsibility for their actions. The Golden Rule is disappearing from the secularized society and replaced with the mantra of the sexual revolution, "if it feels good, then do it."

1 Sexual Media Content and Effects

Lucretia Monique Ward, Sarah E. Erickson, Julia R. Lippman, and Soraya Giaccardi

Read other articles by Bill Hillman