‘Toxic Fiction’ (2013)

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Remember the classic (1978-91) hit TV show, Dallas–and its mega-popular villain, J.R. Ewing (played by Larry Hagman)? J.R. did a lot of really nasty things to a lot of people.

And in real life, there were actually adult human beings who… well, who wanted to be like him.

Toxic Fiction

I suppose it could be worse. Someone might want to be like Hillary Clinton. But we’re talking adults here, and adults are supposed to be past that kind of thing.

And we’re also talking pop culture “entertainment”–a slow-acting but exceedingly powerful toxin.

Unless it’s our sleazy culture that generates our sleazy entertainment. Could we be talking about a vicious circle here?

5 comments on “‘Toxic Fiction’ (2013)

  1. I remember this show very well. Back then, I was watching a lot of shows I would only give a flip of the dial to. I saw nothing in the character of J R to be desirable.

  2. I’ve often thought of this; our exposure to bad behavior via the entertainment industry has almost certainly eroded the collective morality of the masses. In past times, drama was a rare treat, and mostly reserved for the wealthy. Until the last few centuries, even books were a relative rarity and, once again, mostly reserved for the wealthy. Nowadays, anybody with a TV (and TVs are relatively inexpensive these days) has virtually unlimited access to all the cheap drama they could ask for.

    1. Au contraire, mon ami! The 19th century was awash with popular entertainment. Charles Dickens in the newspapers. Nick Carter. Traveling Shakespeare troupes–even way out West. Penny dreadfuls and dime novels. Horatio Alger. And before that, before the printing press, there were still traveling shows, minstrels, the local storyteller, etc. Cheap drama has always been with us: Solon complained about it in the 6th century B.C.

      I don’t know why our entertainment is so sleazy now. You hear “That’s what people want.” I’m unwilling to believe that’s true. Slob art has always been popular, but it hasn’t always been morally corrosive. I don’t know why it is, now.

    2. I will concede that it’s much worse in our day, but my point is that there’s a lot more entertainment, overall, than there used to be. Anyone with a TV set has 24 hours per day available and usually numerous choices. Entertainment used to be an exception, now it’s ubiquitous.

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