Doug Gamble- Contributor
Gamble is a former writer for President Ronald Reagan and
in Carmel. [go to Gamble index]
Lows In The Culture War
Hollywood's assault on conventional values keeps getting more outrageous
is proving a red-letter month in the culture war pitting Hollywood
against mainstream America. It began Sunday, Feb.
1, when Janet Jackson assaulted the sensibilities of Super
Bowl TV viewers with her breast, and will end Sunday, Feb.
29, when Hollywood liberals at the Academy Awards assault President
George W. Bush with their mouths.
In between, Hollywood continues to bombard society with its
weapons of mass corruption, including music and reality TV shows,
as Washington lawmakers attempt to fight back by giving the Federal
Communications Commission more power to punish transgressors
when indecent material is broadcast on the public airwaves.
But this is the same
FCC that recently ruled it's fine for the "f" word
to be spoken on TV, as long as it's used as an adjective and
not to describe a sex act. When Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., said
at congressional hearings last week, "The FCC has failed
to enforce the rules," he identified one of the reasons
Hollywood is emboldened to inflict so much garbage on Americans,
such as the Super Bowl outrage. And he also proved a master of
understatement in saying, "We appear to be in an unfortunate
race to the bottom with an emphasis on more profit and less dignified
If there's any doubt
the race to the bottom is proceeding apace, consider this example:
It was seven years ago when sportscaster
Marv Albert was fired by NBC when it was revealed he had bitten
an ex-girlfriend in a Virginia hotel room. Presumably the network
determined it did not want to be associated with someone guilty
of such behavior. Yet Fox Television had no problem the last
few months broadcasting a reality show called "The Simple
Life," starring famous-for- being famous Paris Hilton and
Lionel Richie's daughter Nicole, even after a widely circulated
video showed Hilton in a naked sex romp with her boyfriend and
Richie pleaded guilty to felony heroin possession. These two
make Albert look like Pat Robertson by comparison, yet Fox sees
their behavior not as an embarrassment but a ratings booster.
There was a time when
Ms. Jackson would have sabotaged her career by performing a
strip show before a TV audience with 20 percent
of its viewers age 11 or under. But not in 2004 America. On Feb.
2, the day after the Super Bowl, her new single, "Just a
Little While," was released. According to Rolling Stone
magazine, more than 120 radio stations immediately picked it
up, and the same day there were more Web searches for "Janet
Jackson" than anything else on a single day in Internet
Think she appeared
chastened during her public "apology" for
the Super Bowl incident? Her new CD, "Damita Jo," hitting
music stores March 30, features her naked from the waist up on
From the corrupting influence of MTV to hip-hop music that glorifies
crime and denigrates women to TV reality shows that demean and
humiliate - Fox's latest is dwarf women competing with averaged-sized
females for the affections of a dwarf bachelor - mainstreamers
are in retreat. Hollywood has contributed to the creation of
a culture where the cream rising to the top is overshadowed by
the scum sinking to the bottom, because cream doesn't get ratings.
And temporary congressional bluster will do nothing to change
Hollywood's Super Bowl is this month's Academy Awards show,
and it promises to be a perfect storm aimed at President Bush.
Last year, filmmaker
Michael Moore ripped Bush while accepting his award for best
documentary, the disingenuous "Bowling
for Columbine." This year, Bush will be triple-teamed with
leftists Sean Penn, Alec Baldwin and Tim Robbins all nominated,
the first for best actor and the latter two for best supporting
actor. The show's five-second tape delay might keep vulgarity
from viewers, but it won't keep Penn, Baldwin, Robbins and other
Bush haters, either as presenters or winners, from any political
tirade they choose to unleash.
They're entitled to their opinions. Too bad we're not entitled
to a society free of the Roman circuses their Hollywood represents.
2004 Doug Gamble