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Puritan Nation Destroying Creative Expression

 

By James Donahue

April 2006

 

A complaint by Hollywood film director Paul Verhoeven that America’s puritan/Christian attitudes from top government levels is effecting creativity in the arts is duly noted.

 

Verhoeven, best remembered as the director of the erotic multi-million dollar thriller “Basic Instinct,” is among a line of movie makers who say eroticism is dead today in the film industry.

 

“Anything that is erotic has been banned in the United States,” he said in a recent interview. “Look at the people at the top. We are living under a government that is constantly hammering out Christian values. And Christianity and sex have never been good friends.”

 

“We’re in a big puritanical mode,” said writer Nicholas Meyer, who helped create the script for Fatal Attraction. “Now it’s like the McCarthy era, except it’s not ‘Are you a communist?’ but ‘Have you ever put sex in a movie?’”

 

Indeed, Hollywood is suffering from a box office slump that was first noticed in 2005 and has been hitting harder over the winter. The problem has been getting serious enough that some of the highest paid stars have been reportedly offering their services at discount prices just to get contracts for work.

 

Book publishers have been struggling with declining sales, libraries have been closing their doors for lack of traffic, and newspapers are battling declining readership as the youth turn to the Internet for news and entertainment.

 

It has been no secret that the music industry in America also is suffering. Sales of CDs in music stores has gone flat in spite of efforts by the industry to curb illegal pirating of new releases and the development of new technology that allows fans to carry volumes of favorite music with them in pocket-sized computerized players.

 

Theories for this strange decline in interest in the “arts” include a failure of good marketing, rising prices of gasoline and heating, the lure of alternative entertainment, and a variety of other possibilities. Perhaps they are looking in the wrong places.

 

One story in the New York Times noted that “many movie executives and industry experts are beginning to conclude that something more fundamental is at work. Too many Hollywood movies these days, they say, just are not good enough.”

 

Indeed, throughout history the arts have suffered when creativity is suppressed. And creativity is clearly suppressed in America where the Christian dominated culture has demonized sex, has pressed “political correctness” into all print and recorded media, and destroyed the careers of popular personalities that dare to use a “naughty” four-letter word or accidentally say something politically incorrect while on the air.

 

The forcing of popular shock-jock Howard Stern from public radio is a prime example of what we are talking about.

 

But there is something else that has happened in America that has probably done more to destroy creative art than anything else. That is the nation’s ugly drug war. Those in the business know that the greatest writings and some of the finest music ever produced came from the minds of men and women while under the influence of certain drugs now listed as illegal and a felony crime to possess or use.

 

Thus it should be no surprise that the great music of the 1950s and 60s is the last of its kind. If the Beadles were living and recording today, their music would be as flat as the stuff that is being produced by the contemporary songsters. There is nothing exciting about the new music. It all sounds the same because everybody is copying everybody else. The writing is dull because the plots are old. When we read a new book we get the sense that we have been down that dusty old road before. We end up not bothering to finish the book. Why bother? We already know the conclusion.

 

The film industry hid its secrets for a while with big screen computer animated thrills, but even that is getting to be old hat. Without a good movie plot, even the best stars can’t make a bad movie look good.

 

All of this reflects a dying culture. And that is a shame. America was a great nation only a few years ago. But it has been falling into a slump since the day they shot President John F. Kennedy. Now that the fundamental Christians have gained control of Capital Hill, we wonder if the pendulum is ever going to start swinging in the other direction. Can anything bring us back to our senses or will America topple before its time?

 

 

 

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