Decadence in societies begins at a moment when there is no longer any discernable meaning within society. The entertainment industry, specifically in American Hollywood, is critical to understand society’s values. Over the past decades, we have seen Hollywood’s influence on our society. Often circular, both reflective and with initiatives, Hollywood has moved the culture of our society.
So how has culture moved under the influence of Hollywood? For the betterment of society or leading us into decadence? Rember, as we are sure you have heard before, politics is downstream from culture. So it is relevant to a scan back over the decades to see its evolution. Let’s explore some of the Hollywood trends we have seen, both in music and television.
First, take a look at imagery over the decades in the music industry. Go back to the mid-1960s when Nancy Sinatra hit the charts with her song, “These Boots Are Made for Walking.” Beautiful photo of a woman, a bit sexualized with then-new mini-skirt, but one can remember our parents aghast as over the top at the time. Seems rather funny today. Moving onto the 1980s, Madonna came on to the scene with her provocative lude portrayal of what modern sexualize women should be. In more recent times, take a look at Lady Gaga. Her music videos would be considered pornography in the 1960s. This once pornography is now the mainstay of music videos today consumed by our youth.
It’s not just the imagery in music, but in the lyrics as well. Music can be a powerful medium to power change in society. Take a look at this chronology historical view of examples of how music lyrics descended into cultural rot.
- The most typical and patriotic American song is, of course, the national anthem, the “Star-Spangled Banner,” written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key, a lawyer.
- “America the Beautiful” is also a very popular patriotic song written in 1895 by songwriter Katharine Lee Bates.
- From the 1900s to the 1960s-70s, the new music styles appeared like gospel, blues, jazz, and country music.
- Sinatra covered the song “Chicago,” written in 1922 by Fred Fisher. The lyrics are quite obvious: it is a love song from a man to his native city and America in general.
- After World War 2, people were eager to enjoy life and have fun, a spirit marked by the 1960s and the exploration of new artistic and musical styles – “rock and roll.” The Beach Boys, with their friendly song “Surfin’ USA,” attest to the generation’s global feeling.
- But new young and rebellious poets traveled around the country like “rolling stones” and wrote songs about this wave of change: Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Jim Morrison. Sowing seeds of future change.
- There were still some patriotic songs being written. Neil Diamond wrote in 1981 a famous patriotic song called “America.” He delivered a positive interpretation of American immigration history. James Brown also sang about those joyful young Americans, traveling on the road to find who they are and discover the US’s beauty and majesty. In “Living in America.” But this would be short-lived.
- In 1984, Big Black, an independent heavy metal rock group, released “The Ugly American,” which transmits a violent disdain and shame of being American, far from the patriotic songs of the early 1900s. “I am an ugly American,” “I hate what I am,” “We’re so ugly,” “I hate what you are,” “I know what I am.”
- Blur, an English rock group, released “Magic America” in 1994. They convey their disillusion towards the American Dream as they tell the story of a poor man who keeps on believing in this fantasy.
- In 1997, David Bowie expressed his concern towards the phenomenon of globalization and the important influence of America on the rest of the world with his song “I’m Afraid of Americans.”
- Green Day wrote “American Idiot” in 2004 to criticize this American phenomenon.
- “B*tches Ain’t Sh*t” but hoes and tricks and lick on these nuts and suck the d*ck.” Nice thoughts from Snoop Dogg huh?
- “NOW” by Miguel says singing the extorts if open borders and illegal immigration.
- “Fuck a War” by Ghetto boys who writes, “Of this United g*ddamn States of that b*tch America.”
- Joey Bada$$ ” Land of the Free” declares, “Three K’s, Two A’s in AmeriKKKa” and “In the land of the free, is for the freeloaders
Leave us dead in the street then be your organ donors.”
- And the latest cultural rot by Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion Drops Super Raunchy “WAP” Video.
Hollywood movies with their various genres have tremendously evolved over the decades. In its early days, most moves were largely family-oriented and had themes consumable for most people. This began to change in the late sixties and seventies when Hollywood had to implement a rating system to account for new storylines that began to push the envelopes of norms. The norms of explicit violence, sexual content, and just downright bizarre themes, to titillate every unwholesome thought that the masses may be able to absorb. More recently every social justice, antisocial, and anti-patriotic storylines, have come out – all efforts to tear down society into a numbing sense decadence.
Nothing has been more dramatic than the fall of the traditional American family on television. In the 1950-60s television series, “Leave It to Beaver,” it almost seems surreal. Did America really have families back then where the father was looked up to as an integral part of the family? Dare I even say, leader? Today it is mocked and is consider sexist – it most likely would be banned on any social media platform.
By the late 1970s, the father image was declared dead by the popular satirical series, “All In the Family.” Every ugly white male stereotype was ridiculed by the character Archie Bunker. Certainly, by this point in American cultural evolution, no self-respecting male would want to be a father.
Today the American family is all about feminism. The man in the family is tangential at best. When he is there, he is often the dufus that is merely tolerated. The kids rule the roost while the exploits of women are the only thing that holds it together, whether that be by being a super mom or the career seeking successful executive changing the world. The male son is a typical gay or a soy boy. The female daughter is soon to be a Hollywood star or more intelligent than Einstien. On the television set, there seems always to be an LGBTQ character floating around to keep it all questionable.
But the story of a great society falling is not new. Everyone has heard of the story of the decant fall of the Roman Empire. It became “decadent,” meaning weak in character, immorality, and distracted by the cares of the world. The Romans were so busy with their orgies, often with their siblings, throwing Christians to the lions, poisoning their spouses, parents, and children, and eating exotic parts of animals like hummingbird tongues, that they could not or were unable to defend themselves of growing dangers. The Fall of the Roman Empire that the Roman system was simply overwhelmed by the numbers of the immigrating tribes.
Some of the most famous Roman emperors were perverted, megalomaniacal, or just plain crazy. The weird fixations of Caligula and Nero made them household names. But these stories have always raised a difficult question: If these emperors were really so deranged, how did they become leaders of one of the greatest empires the world has ever known? Perhaps they were just a reflection of their own cultural society, driven by their own Roman Hollywood.
Our Sunday thoughts turn to another historical book that prophesied these very types of events. Whether or not you believe in Biblical text or not, these prophecies of an end-time period (see here if we are close to the end: Is Nuclear War Inevitable?) are bone-chillingly accurate. Here are just a few to consider:
- Isaiah 5:20: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil” … is this not what is happening today?
- Jeremiah 6:15: “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush.” … how many over the age of 12 can blush today?
- Isaiah 3-4: “I will give children to be their princes, And babes shall rule over them.” … AOC and Greta Thunberg?
- 2 Tim 3:1-5: “There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power.” … ouch, I am afraid this describes many of us today all too well.
- Rev 17:2-4: ” … the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication … and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication.” … the decadent rich of Hollywood?
- Mat 24:38-39: “For as in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark … and they knew not until the flood came, and took them all away, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
Is history repeating itself once again? Perhaps these Biblical prophecies are not that difficult to believe after all. Read more here on The Moral Decline and Fall of the American Empire. It is a sad reality. Give us your thoughts in the comment section below.