Tag Archives: entertainment’s influence on culture

So You Want Your Teen to be Reading… This?

I’ve been saying we all have to be careful about the entertainment that we stuff into our brains. Especially our children’s brains, and that includes teenagers–who are smart enough to get in trouble, but not yet smart enough to avoid it.

Which brings me to I Hunt Killers, by Barry Lyga–which, not too long ago, was an amazon.com “Kids’ Daily Deal” of the day.

One reader described it as “like Silence of the Lambs for kids.” Lovely. Reviewer Joe Hill waxed even more enthusiastic, likening it to “an out-of-control hearse with one busted headlight, blood on the grille, a madman at the wheel, and laughter pouring out of the open windows.”

I Hunt Killers is about the teenage son of a prolific serial killer. The boy’s name is Jazz–somehow “Jazz” has become a popular name for exceedingly disturbed teenagers. Jazz’s old man has taught his boy everything he knows about being a serial killer, in hopes that Jazz will grow up to murder even more people than he did.

Meanwhile, there’s a serial killer on the loose in their hometown. Could it be Jazz, following in his pappy’s footsteps–or will Jazz have to use his special knowledge to stop him?

This could turn out to be pretty unwholesome.

But this is the curriculum material we’re using to educate ourselves and our children.

If it’s what you want, you’re welcome to it. But I wish you lived farther away.

Self-Education… Through Entertainment

I have been dipping into R.J. Rushdoony’s The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum (Ross House Books, Vallecito, CA: 1981, 2001 reprint–available from http://www.chalcedon.edu ), and it has set my mind on fire.

Culture, said Henry Van Til, “is religion externalized.” In light of that statement, one good, hard look at our culture of today should send us running madly for the exits. And one of the chief determining factors of a culture is, of course, the education provided to its members.

And here’s the thought that blows my mind:

Our consumption of “entertainment”–novels, movies, stories, television programs, etc.–is a form of self-education.

This entertainment is what we pour into our heads when we are not in a formal “educational” setting. As a society, we have more leisure time than we used to have; and much of that time is spent consuming entertainment.

The horror! The horror!

Take a good look, kimosabe, at what we’re stuffing into our minds. Is it any wonder we’re in such a mess? Given what we educate ourselves into, of course we’re going to redefine marriage, excuse all forms of lawlessness, lie and cheat six ways from Sunday, and in general behave as if there is no God.

Because so much of our entertainment, our self-education, is absolutely, positively Godless.

Think it over–long and hard and carefully. What are we learning from our entertainment?

Our elite “educators” have labored mightily to wean our nation away from Christianity. But their efforts are a drop in the bucket, compared to the weaning-away accomplished by our entertainment.

The point is so subtle as to be well-nigh invisible. We thus defend ourselves: “It’s only a movie, it’s only a novel, it’s only a TV show”–as if our steady diet of it had no effect at all.

I thank Rushdoony for this insight.

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