Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A cult of ugliness born from an admission of defeat...

It was Professor Duncan Williams, in his book Trousered Apes, who wrote, "What shocks an audience today will be acceptable tomorrow and thus the contemporary dramatist is constantly impelled to seek further excesses to gratify a warped taste which he has himself implanted in the public mind....The whole modern cult of violence and animalism is in essence an admission of defeat. Since we cannot be men to any idealistic extent, let us lapse into barbaric animalism but, still clinging to vestiges of a past which we hate but cannot escape, let us clothe our defeat in high-sounding terms: 'alienation,' 'cult of unpleasure,' 'realism,' and similar jargon. Yet all this fashionable phraseology cannot conceal the fact that the Emperor has no clothes. The literature of today lacks certain essential qualities. It no longer satisfies man's need for beauty, order and elevation, and to this extent it is incomplete and stunted. It contains, as Trilling has observed, an anti-civilizing trend, and to this is closely linked a cult of ugliness, a morbid concentration on the baser elements of life, a clinical obsession with the bizarre and with the grossly sensual and degrading aspects of human nature...The contemporary playwright or producer might well take as his motto, Apres moi, la secheresse (After me, the drought), and congratulate himself that he is writing before a morbid public appetite demands scenes of such repellent realism that actors and actresses will have to be killed on stage in order to satisfy it."

In his book, Professor Williams argues (quite effectively) that because we have banished God from our society, "..the Western world and its culture is saturated with violence and animalism...We are teaching savagery and are naively appalled at the success of our instruction." He then proceeds to demonstrate how the literature of our times is a reflection of this savagery and provokes an escalating barbarism and defeatism which is creating a satanic society which will then be prepared to enthusiastically welcome the Antichrist.

The Twilight film series is aptly titled. For our troubled society is indeed in twilight. It was Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas who once commented on the way that oppression can subtly arise in our midst: "As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness."

Witness how far our culture has fallen. Remember films like Citizen Kane, It's a Wonderful Life, Lillies of the Field, and The Quiet Man? What did these films have in common? Each celebrated truth, goodness and beauty. And now we have films celebrating vampirism and the occult.

Darkened minds. Troubled minds.
Meditation: Matthew 12: 35.

1 comment:

Betty said...

Not to mention movies like Saw and other "slasher" films. I don't even take my children to the movies anymore. We rent old movies or some of the Disney films.

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