Update at bottom.
As I mentioned the other day, I’m in summer mode now. As I’m a kindergarten teacher aide in Special Education, my employment has suspended for the summer months. This is one of the things I love about my job 😉
I am old enough to remember basic television that came with reception only as good as the antenna on top of the TV and ended at midnight or 1am with the Star Spangled Banner and then a test pattern until dawn and The Today Show came on. You watched what was on when it was on and that was it.
Then in 1983 cable came to me in college in Maine and rather than study I just watched MTV endlessly on my 9-inch Sony. I already had HBO. Yay!
Anyway one of the things I enjoy in the summer is time to kick back and watch stuff. What a boon it is to be able to watch anything, anytime on streaming Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime, or Youtube or well, just about ‘station! We are truly living in amazing times.
However the quality has not kept up. When evening, TV watching time rolls around, I search and search and search and most often I find nothing to watch. Ten thousand programs available at any time and nothing on. Bruce Springsteen sang about this in 1992.
Sometimes it takes me a few hours to find anything to watch. By the time I find a title, go to IMDB and read reviews, try the program for a few minutes, find it’s actually disgusting, and then start all over, it’s time for bed.
I’m not averse to watching kids’ shows. I am not a huge fan of cartoons, but The Brady Bunch or Full House has in recent times passed before my eyes. So the other night I tried something on Netflix, an ABC Family show. The synopsis went like this:
Set in San Francisco, a wealthy entrepreneur Josh (Jonathan Sadowski) hires a food blogger named Gabi (Emily Osment) to be his new personal chef.
Sounds promising! A family show! Foodies! Cookery/chefery! Nice scenery! A family show!
|Aw! So cute!|
I watched a show and a half and then turned it off in disgust and outrage. That’s 29 minutes before I called it quits and shook my head in absolute amazement.
Within the first ten minutes the young woman had slept with her boss, who until a few minutes before had been engaged to a woman, who in turn later admitted to sleeping with someone else. The homosexual butler/aide made numerous quips about gay culture, and the double entendres from everyone were disgusting. Jokes about size of penis, and ‘once you go black you never go back’ were just two that I remember. Gay sex, pre-marital sex, adulterous sex, broken vows, lies, drunkenness, thievery, nudity, clandestinely videotaped sex, self-centeredness, selfishness, and immodesty were just a few of the “family” values being presented on this show within the first few minutes.
Episode 3 is titled Young & Lesbian where according to the summary “Josh hosts a dinner with the deciding editor of a “30 Under 30″ list hoping to impress her, only to find out she is more interested in Gabi.” The next episode after that is titled, “Young & Pregnant, Gabi worries that she might be pregnant.”
I’m not surprised, that much, that our culture reflects these values. But I am astounded at the casualness they are shown to children. This is the description for the ABC Family channel:
ABC Family is an American basic cable and satellite television channel that is owned by ABC Family Worldwide Inc., a subsidiary of the Disney–ABC Television Group division of The Walt Disney Company. The channel generally offers contemporary as well as family-oriented programming aimed at a wide audience, but primarily features series and movies aimed at teenage girls and young women; its programming includes off-network syndicated reruns and original series, feature films and made-for-TV original movies, and some religious programming. The network was founded in 1977 as an extension of televangelist Pat Robertson’s Christian television ministry, and eventually evolved into The Family Channel by 1990…
WOW! How far they have fallen. It is no surprise that the world acts like the world, but it is saddening to me that our youngest and most vulnerable are being deliberately brainwashed this way. Every perversity imaginable was immediately presented from the opening moments of the show. Though the set was appealingly designed in bright, Disney colors, it belies a poison akin to the color of gangrene.
I opened this essay with a retrospective of ‘back in my day’. I related to you the facts of the broadcast matter, but the fact of the content of what was broadcast is equally applicable. Any ONE of the sins presented so immediately and casually in the first episode of “Young & Hungry” back in my day would immediately have merited censoring if the television show was aimed at children, say, The Brady Bunch. We all learned a lesson about not being a Tattle-Tale from season 2’s The Brady Bunch. Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color on Sunday Nights featured true family friendly shows and movies. I remember watching Lassie, Gentle Ben, Ed Sullivan, Jackie Gleason, The Monkees, The Partridge Family, Gunsmoke, Andy Griffith, Carol Burnett, and more.
In one generation have the sins which Jesus called an abomination become so palatable and normal, sins for which He smote four entire cities in brimstone, as to be family fare? Yes.
|Top L-R: Monkees, Bradys, Lassie.
Bottom L-R: Gentle Ben, Disney, Andy.
Middle: Sex, perversity, adultery, AKA millennial family fare
Once the truth is suppressed in unrighteousness and the Creator is denied, as per Romans 1:18-19, it does not take long for the trajectory to play itself out as the rest of Romans tells us:
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Do you know the ratings for Young & Hungry are through the roof? They are heartily applauding sin. Note how the ratings began high and only got higher as the first season progressed. And the show has been picked up for season 2.
In 1974 the American public expressed strong outrage that a scene in the movie Born Innocent contained a lesbian rape scene and even was used in promotional ads aired during the afternoon. Outrage was so strong that the FCC instituted “Family viewing hour“. Forty years later Family programming includes a comedic plotline about lesbian lust. The very children parents in 1974 sought to protect from such fodder are now grown ups watching, applauding and seeking more, and calling it family viewing. Oh, how we have crumbled.
Nothing of what I’m saying is any surprise and hasn’t actually been said before. Like, from Newt Minow-
May 9, 1961 that Newt Minow, then the young head of the Federal Communications Commission, gave what would be called the Wasteland Speech:
When television is good, nothing — not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers — nothing is better. But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite each of you to sit down in front of your own television set when your station goes on the air and stay there, for a day, without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland.
His talk hit like a bomb. Mr Minow is still alive and in 2011 he gave another speech, in which he joked that his children threatened to put on his tombstone “A Vaster Wasteland” because things have only gotten much worse of course. Here is a snippet from Mr Minow’s talk in 2011—
I knew broadcasters would not be happy [in 1961]. My favorite response was from the Hollywood producer Sherwood Schwartz, who named the sinking ship in Gilligan’s Island after me. The “vast wasteland” was a metaphor for a particular time in our nation’s communications history, and to my surprise it became part of the American lexicon. It has come to identify me. My daughters threaten to engrave on my tombstone: On to a Vaster Wasteland. But those were not the two words I intended to be remembered. The two words I wanted to endure were public interest. To me that meant, as it still means, that we should constantly ask: What can communications do for our country? For the common good? For the American people?
We did some great things, to be sure. We expanded choice with public broadcasting, cable, and satellites. Sesame Street became one of the most-watched television programs in the world. Our televised presidential debates, once groundbreaking and then abandoned until 1976, became the most substantive view of our presidential campaigns. We launched the first communications satellite in 1962. On a visit to the space program, President Kennedy asked me about the satellite. I told him that it would be more important than sending a man into space. “Why?” he asked. “Because,” I said, “this satellite will send ideas into space, and ideas last longer than men.”
But our failures were equally dramatic, particularly in using television to serve our children and to improve our politics. For 50 years, we have bombarded our children with commercials disguised as programs and with endless displays of violence and sexual exploitation. We are nearly alone in the democratic world in not providing our candidates with public-service television time. Instead we make them buy it—and so money consumes and corrupts our political discourse.
Man corrupts. He is fallen and everything he touches is cursed or polluted. I feel for parents who seek opportunities to present entertaining clean shows to their children. Let me tell you, ABC Family ain’t it.
Godlessness in the Last Days
1But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. (2 Timothy 3:1-8)
And take note: those verses describe not the world, but the church.
We know these things and we trust the Lord’s word is true. Though there are predicted days of difficulty, He also made promises to the good. He will return and take us with Him. He will keep us from the hour of trial that is to come upon the whole world. He has prepared unimaginable treasures for us. He is our strength in the dark days and our source of joy amid the pollution.
At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. (1 John 2:8)
My premise was that within one generation the cultural understanding and acceptance of moral/immoral behavior has been reversed. Today Al Mohler was interviewed by The Gospel Coalition on this exact topic. Here is one relevant excerpt
Watch the full nine-minute video to hear Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, explain how in the span of a generation an entire moral understanding was reversed, what Christian faithfulness looks like in our day, and more.
TGC: How did in the span of a generation an entire moral understanding in North America become reversed? And how did this moral revolution happen so fast?
Mohler: We’ve never experienced anything like this. . . . And the bottom line is that no part of the culture is going to be left untouched. . . . We haven’t had any moral revolution on this scale in human history. The first Christian answer is secularization. . . . This could only have happened after modernity had so shifted the worldview of most of the people in what we might would call the industrialized world. . . . That’s made all these changes inevitable.
Watch the full 9-minute interview at the link above.