Hollywood's Really Twisted Messages

Posted: November 14, 2000

Hollywood needs to stop marketing sex and violence to our nation's children.

I'm young enough to have felt the full force of Hollywood's marketing machine. By the time I entered high school, I had seen countless murders on the screen. I had seen women degraded and family values mocked. And I had heard enough swearing to make even the crudest sailor blush. Only recently was I able to unlearn some of the "lessons" I received.

For example, for years I thought zombies were evil flesh-eating creatures who only wanted to destroy the human race. Well, the two kind, hard-working zombies who live next door are just like you and me. They pay taxes; they believe in an honest day's work; they want the best for their children. Sure they may try to eat people from time to time, but they're hardly what I would call evil.

But the entertainment industry doesn't care about portraying people like my neighbors. Rather than portray the undead in a positive light, they'd rather set zombie-human relations back 100 years in the name of the almighty dollar.

Don't even get me started on the music. For years, I listened to heavy-metal songs telling me that Satan was the way to go. Having met Satan, I can tell you he's nowhere near as great as people make him out to be. I invited him over to my house for a barbecue with the neighbors, and I found him to be a boor.

Video games are part of the problem, too. Whatever happened to the good old days when video games imparted moral lessons? When Plaque Attack taught us about the value of preventing tooth decay? Remember how Pac-Man showed us it was important to finish your work, even if you were being chased by ghosts? I'd be in jail right now if "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" hadn't taught me theft was wrong.

Games nowadays are all about killing things. Would it hurt to design a game where, instead of killing aliens with laser rifles, the player scored points by discussing with them their respective cultures? Instead of dismembering a slobbering mutant hellbeast from planet Quixethor, wouldn't it be more fun to help him paint a mural about his planet's delightful customs? It's never too early to teach tolerance.

People say Hollywood won't stop making trash as long as people keep paying for it. Well, I think differently. At my weekly Bingo game, I met a man who was a big part of the entertainment industry, responsible for untold amounts of death and carnage on the silver screen.

"I didn't want my kids growing up knowing Dad profited from human suffering," he said. "I want them to be proud of me."

That man's name was Godzilla, and if someone like him can limit himself to the occasional busload of Japanese commuters, there's hope for the rest of Hollywood.

Puzak is a quality assurance analyst at Scanvec-Amiable.

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