The question is just about as perennial as one can get: Is society just bad, or did the Media make it so? Should we blame our brokenness on the Pop Culture machine, or did something of our own brokenness seep into our inherently neutral Media and corrupt it from within. I think to some extent we have to say both. We cannot, like the man in the comic strip, cop out and blame our own downfall on anything external (on an individual or corporate basis)… if we find ourselves in Hell (whether you mean it literally or figuratively) it will be of our own doing, you can be sure of that. And yet, at the same time we cannot deny the power Media has to shape our culture, and those changes will inevitably express both good values and bad.
Is the Media to blame for our cultural depravity? Well according to one writer, at least Hugh Hefner is. “It's pretty hard to deny the complete cultural victory of pornography in America today.” Analizing the Playboy-effect on our society and culture, Mercer Schurchardt says, “what was really happening was that Hefner was imposing his new standards on society, making us conform to his new ideas of goodness, truth, and beauty.” Schurchardt (touching on one of CT’s favorite subjects) even goes so far as to just about blame Hefner for the rise of Abortion: “The Playboy philosophy, which requires women to be thin, infertile, and always available, essentially requires childlessness. And you can bet your birth control packet that abortion is the natural bedfellow of the successful playboy.” Does the kind of Media produced by the likes of Hugh Hefner really shape our culture that much? Is Playboy to be given credit for the wide-spread acceptance (at least behind closed doors) of pornography and sexually explicit media in general in America? Well, on at least that count I do come pretty close to agreeing. Again, we cannot underestimate the power Media has to subtly shape our perspectives on a cultural level.
I appreciate the Charlie Peacock article for its exhortation and optimism (perhaps it would work well to be quoted in our exhortation section on the wiki). His perspective, illustrated through the story of the Sarajevo cellist, applies well to the kind of message we should encourage Christians to carry into the Media. This quote summed it up well: “I should rise each day and ask God, ‘What rubble do you want me to breathe your life into today? Where do you want the Kingdom rule to be made visible? How can I help to make something or someone beautiful?’ This kind of lifestyle is world-changing, and you never know how far or how long a story will travel on its trajectory of good.”
The “Lies that Go Unchallenged” resource I found both intriguing and disturbing. First and foremost, I think it is very important for us to be AWARE of how we assume things or take things for granted in culture. We can’t ignore the subtle ways we are affected by culture because being aware of such forces is the only way we can work within culture for good.
Time for a blast from the past...Hi Luke, remember me from Westminster in the early 90s? I was Debi Kirkland then...I'm Deborah Graff now. Drop me an email if you get the chance.
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