by Jason Kovar
In the latter half of the 20th century, the United States and the Soviet Union squared off as enemies in a massive arms race that subsequently plunged the world into what has become known as the "Cold War." However, in the 21st century, the Cold War is no longer against a foreign aggressor on the other side of the globe, but at home in our nation's schools. Our new arms race is against the youth and now Americans are scrambling to face this enemy within their own borders. In a 3/19/01 article entitled "The Columbine Effect," Time magazine reported on dozens of schools that have been forced to undergo Columbine like tragedies as the progeny of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold continue to reenact the nations newest social ill- school shootings. Moreover, scores of students live in fear in our nations educational institutions as the likelihood of school shootings becomes more and more of a real threat. This article will present eye-opening evidence that will account for the mayhem and carnage that now plague our youth.
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It has been argued that the gross effects of the nonstop and influential media cannot be glossed over or denied. By way of comparison, the 20th century's most lethal propaganda machine was Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler. Hitler positioned Joseph Goebbels as his Minister of Enlightenment and Propaganda for the brainwashing of a nation through the utilization of film. Goebbels clearly stated that cinema was "one of the most modern means of mass persuasion" and "that film was one of the most modern and far reaching means for influencing the public that has ever existed." The haunting results of this era are tragic. Does our modern day American media elite influence the populace for ill? Hollywood insider, David Puttnam, the producer for the films The Mission and Chariots of Fire, made an amazing statement that bears striking resemblance to Nazi Germany's mindset:
"Movies are powerful. Good or bad they tinker around inside your brain. They steal up on you in the darkness of the cinema to form or conform social attitudes...In short, cinema is propaganda."
And what is the bottom line effect of this "propaganda?" Shock rocker Marilyn Manson, who has stated that his controversial goal is to bring an end to Christianity, clearly understands it. He stated: "The more bad movies, bad TV shows, and bad music I hear, the dumber I think it's making America." Far beyond an intellectual dumbing down of the youth, the entertainment industry is systematically hardening the hearts of the youth from following in the footsteps of what many contend to be appropriate.
As Marilyn Manson observed, the effects of the television and motion picture industry reach far and wide. One thoughtful observer commented: "TV is not unlike letting your children play in a toxic waste dump. I mean they're going to get sick from this stuff." Too late, they already are – Columbine ad infinitum. Ken Wales, former vice president at Disney studios and veteran producer to more than twenty feature films clarifies the reality of this cinematic sickness:
"As a member of this industry I wish that there were hundreds of stars and writers and directors standing here with me. I suppose they are out protesting toxic waste! Let me tell you there happens to be toxic waste in other areas besides our rivers. That happens in the pollution of our minds, our souls and our spirits!"
The National Institutes of Mental Health has over 1,000 studies confirming that TV violence and aggressive behavior are conjoined. This is amazing, for if the medical community released over 1,000 clear studies revealing that cancer was caused by milk, the dairy business would go out of business overnight. Yet 50,000 TV's continue to be sold each day in our country alone. One TV network study found that television programming is implicated in 22 percent of juvenile crime. Hollywood's incredible influence even has the ability to sway upstanding citizens to destructive ends. Homicide rates doubled in 10 to 15 years after TV was first introduced into specific areas of the United States and Canada.
Interestingly, the networks know the ramifications of their shows yet refuse to curb their violent content. Popular media personality Steve Allen adamantly turned on the medium that had previously brought him his success, declaring: "TV is leading children down a moral sewer." Could he be right? World renown for a liberal mindset, media mogul Ted Turner thinks so and believes movies ignite violent behavior like a tinderbox. He explains:
"You know that everything we're exposed to influences us…Those [violent] films influence us, and the TV programs we see influence us. The weaker your family is, the more they influence you…The problems with families in our cities are catastrophic-but when you put violent programs before people who haven't had a lot of love in their lives, who are angry anyway, it's like pouring gasoline on the fire."
The evidence strongly implicates Hollywood's top brass in actively pursuing some type of social revolution in the culture. Film actor and director, Dennis Hopper, has successfully portrayed druggies, alcoholics and psychotic characters, and has stated the purpose of his films as the following: "What we're doing is f------ with the rules. There should be no rules, man." Researchers from George Washington University found that Hollywood's producers, writers and directors view themselves as:
"…crusaders for social reform in America. They see it as their duty to restructure our culture into their image."
The belief systems of those who run Hollywood are for the most part opposite the mainstream views held by the vast majority of Americans. Newsweek magazine reported a survey that was conducted by the Center for Media and Public Affairs. It concluded:
"The Center found that on issues of sexual morality, abortion and religion, the people at the top in television and movie making were far more liberal than the rest of the country."
This is a sobering fact considering that two out of every three executives feel that film "should be a major force for social reform."
Eddy Manson, a popular composer for motion pictures stated this "social reform" is accomplished through manipulation, stating:
"We manipulate people like crazy in films…It's a tremendous release. I can make you feel any emotion I want you to feel at any time. It's a Machiavellian power we project gut to gut."
And what is the culture being manipulated to receive? The renowned Gus Van Sant, acclaimed director of My Own Private Idaho, answered this question when he offered a memorable statement of the Hollywood artistic credo:
"I believe the properly manipulated image can provoke an audience to the Burroughsian limit of riot, rampant sex, instantaneous death…The raw materials of inspiration include elements as primal and potentially frightening as violence, sex, and death…the primitive world of blood and flame is still with us."
Today's images become tomorrow's realities.
Filmmakers primarily effect change by specifically targeting the emotions of their audiences. Even George Lucas, who has what many consider to be a "clean" image is part of the equation. He stated:
"I'm very much of a visual filmmaker, and very much of a filmmaker who is going for emotions over ideas." And, "Emotionally involving the audience is easy. Anyone can do it blindfolded, get a little kitten and have some guy wring its neck."
Fascinatingly, filmmakers like Lucas hold little regard for their easily manipulated audiences. Lucas has openly declared:
"Popcorn pictures have always ruled. Why do people go see these popcorn pictures…Why is the public so stupid?…I just understood what people liked to go see, and Steven [Spielberg] has too, and we go for that."
With these kinds of accusations leveled at the movie going public by Hollywood's elite, it becomes increasingly difficult to defend the industry.
Clive Barker, a homosexual activist and award-winning creator of countless horror stories turned movie, including Hellraiser and Nightbreed, has a clear purpose for his fans. By cloaking his own belief systems in the seduction of the story, Barker slyly uses his films to blindside his audiences with his own philosophies and usher a change into their lives in the process. He says:
"The idea of getting up in the morning and saying, 'I'm going to scare the hell out of somebody' or 'I'm going to create some wonderland and not connect it with some transformative story, something which is going to take the reader and change them a little bit,' doesn't interest me. I need to have the energy, the motive force of a story which is going to change people." Further, "I do love story. I do love the energy that comes from story, which is making people feel things, often things they don't even want to feel. I love trapping people in the process of a story into feeling something where they're perhaps blindsided by the feeling they're having."
What types of stories and feelings does he like to change his viewers with? He said:
"I always used to side with the demons. I never used to care two hoots about the hero. I was interested in the dark, mysterious creature that the hero faces."
How has Hollywood's tampering with the emotional makeup of individuals through aggressive images influenced our society? One of the industry's skilled directors, Alan J. Pakula, who directed All the President's Men and Presumed Innocent, replies:
"Movie violence is like eating salt. The more you eat, the more you need to eat to taste it at all. People are becoming immune to the effects: The death counts have quadrupled…they're becoming deaf to it. They've developed an insatiability for raw sensation."
One horror star openly commented on TV violence, stating: "We're getting away with murder." Sadly, they are not. The old saying that you reap what you sow bears true. We are reaping a society of psychopaths who engorge themselves with violence on a daily basis. As a result America is the most violent nation in the world bar none. Our reputation precedes us as being a wicked, barbarous people in the eyes of other countries because of the messages we send in our movies.
The impact that movies have on their viewers is due to the purposeful way their creators design them. Alfred Hitchcock, considered the horror film director and Master of Suspense in his day declared his intent:
"The point is to draw the audience right into the situation-instead of leaving them to watch it from outside, from a distance…If you played the whole scene straight through… you would lose your power over the audience. They would watch the scene without becoming really involved in it, and you would have no means of concentrating their attention on those particular visual details which make them feel what the characters are feeling."
The powers Hitchcock's films have wielded have been a detriment to society.
Renowned forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Park Dietz, is a FBI consultant, UCLA professor, and media consultant. He has served as expert witness on many notorious cases such as those of attempted Reagan assassin John Hinckley Jr., O.J. Simpson, and Joel Rifkin. Many of his colleagues concur that Dietz has changed the practice of forensic psychiatry. "He has become the model for psychiatrists testifying in court," says Hinckley's prosecuting attorney, Roger Adelman.
Concerning sex offenders, Dietz explains in his characteristically blunt way how someone ends up with a perversion: "You don't have to have a genetic predisposition… You can take any boy and make a pervert out of him," he contends, merely by associating something specific over and over again with sexual arousal. One British study found that it took only 20 minutes to condition a teenage boy to become aroused by looking at a picture of a boot. First the boys were shown slides of naked women wearing boots, then just the boots. The association was that strong. Joel Rifkin, Dietz discovered, was hooked on a specific scene in the Hitchcock film Frenzy, in which the killer attempts to strangle the victim right before she consents to become intimate with him. "For Rifkin, that was the sexiest thing he'd ever seen, and he ended up strangling 17 prostitutes in the same way."
A recent meting of Hollywood screenwriters billed it's gathering, "Guns Don't Kill People…Writers Do." In their discussion of the topic, at least one veteran writer declared: "We who create entertainment must honestly acknowledge and urgently address the responsibility we all have to eliminate excessive or gratuitous or unpunished violence. Otherwise, children will continue to kill children." Screenwriters admit their responsibility to the adverse decay of influence affecting those who place these films before their eyes.
One of Alfred Hitchcock's most successful screenwriters, Ben Hecht, painted a grim picture of the effects of his own industry. He confessed:
"Movies are one of the bad habits that corrupted our country. Of their many sins, I offer as the worst their effect on the intellectual side of the nation. It is chiefly from that viewpoint I write of them- as an eruption of trash that has lamed the American mind and retarded Americans from becoming a cultured people."
Scriptwriter, Kevin Williamson, partnered with his lifelong idol, Wes Craven, to produce the blockbuster Scream series aimed primarily at teens. Williamson's other productions include Scream 2, Scary Movie, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Dawson's Creek, The Faculty and Teaching Mrs. Tingle. Amazingly, his exploitation of violence possibly surpasses that of even Craven, known primarily for his Nightmare on Elm Street series. Scream contains numerous scenes of blood and gore, which just fifty years ago would have been condemned as depraved. Sarah Michelle Gellar of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, also starred in Williamson's Scream 2 and I Know What You Did Last Summer. She haphazardly praises Williamson for his ability to twist people's minds and realizes the effects of these types of films. She stated:
"I think Kevin Williamson almost began a new genre of horror. It's intelligent horror, it's horror that scares your mind, and I think that what can be done is that the [audience] can be scared in reality…The thought of actually killing someone on the road, the thought of someone actually stalking you in your school or your house…it plays with the mind."
The minds of the youth are at the breaking point. James Fox, Dean of the Criminology Department at the Northwestern University, uses computer modeling to show future trends. The forecast? Murder. "This is the lull before the crime storm, " he says. "There is a tremendous crime wave coming in the next ten years and not by hardened criminals but by the young and ruthless, young people who are turning murderous." In the year 2005, the number of teenagers age 14-17 will peak. This age group commits far more murders, up 165% between 1983 and 1993, and according to Fox, the nation's murder rate will follow suit. Fox says teenagers are exceedingly more threatening than adults:
"Because…murder is just not the taboo that it once was. A lot of that is television. Now, kids have become desensitized. They'll rent movies and play their favorite scenes-often the most violent-over and over. What do you think the effect is on a kid when his first exposure to sex is a brutal rape scene? That is a very powerful image…Kids are the least deterrable."
He is spot on. Consider eighteen-year-old Pete Roland who acquiesced to the messages in the slice and dice films and brutally gang-murdered his friend. One of the baseball bats used to beat in the brains of the victim had the words "the ultraviolence stick" written on it, a phrase from Stanley Kubrik's A Clockwork Orange, about violent gangs in England. While ritualistically beating him, he chanted, "Sacrifice for Satan." After his capture, Roland reflected back on his decent into Satanism, stating: "I gave up my soul, but I didn't get anything back. Satan stole it." Carl Raschke of the University of Denver, a leading authority on the occult, as well as an expert witness at Roland's trial, explained that Roland was immersed into beliefs that led him to a state of "diminished competence." What formed these beliefs and in Roland's words cost him his soul? Raschke tells us, explaining that it was no wonder he acted the way he did considering that
"He became obsessed with horror movies, of which his favorite was The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. At the end of the summer of 1987, Roland had assured himself that 'killing is a way of life.'"
A world famous murder case in Liverpool, England, regarded two eleven year old boys who were caught on camera leading James Bulger, a small two-year-old along the railroad tracks to his death. Sadly, the murder was found to be a direct result of the movie Child's Play and it's indoctrinating glorification of murder. Child's Play revolves around a doll named Chuckie who is possessed by an evil spirit. The story line comprises his rampage on a murderous killing frenzy connoting sacrifice to his occult gods. These messages were continuously instilled as one of the boys admitted to repeatedly watching the film over and over again just before the murder. The judge presiding over the case pointedly deliberated:
"The horror movie depicts a baby doll who comes to life and gets blue paint splashed in its face. There was blue paint on the dead child's face…. The movie depicts a kidnapping. James was abducted by the two older boys before they killed him…. The climax of the movie comes as two boys murder the doll on the train, mutilating the doll's face…. James was first mutilated and bludgeoned by the older boys and then left on a railroad track to be run over."
The news initially hyped the story at its onset, but conveniently failed to report the ultimate determinant.
By way of comparison, just as Timothy McVeigh bombed an Oklahoma building and is fully responsible for acting out his perverse fantasies of murder, so is Hollywood. For example, take a drug dealer on the street that sells drugs to your children, or somebody else's children. Is he responsible, or is it just the child's fault when he dies? Obviously, both neglected to heed what was right, but because he supplied the drugs, the dealer is responsible. In fact, the law states that the higher that you are in the distribution chain, the more culpable you are. Hollywood's higher placement in the distribution chain denotes them as guilty.
In Houston, Texas, Scott May, mind drenched in violent/horror movies and the occult, Viciously attacked his date after viewing The Cutting Edge. May reported to authorities that he had an infatuation with murder for some time. He stated:
"I love knives. I like to go to the movies a lot. A lot of people get stabbed in the movies. I really liked the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. A lot of people got stabbed in that."
Hailed as one of the most notorious movies for inciting viewers to duplicate crimes is Silence of the Lambs; a movie that revels in a serial killer's escapades of mutilation, murder, and cannibalism. The same week that Silence of the Lambs won the Oscar for the Best Picture, a man decapitated his handicapped mother while yelling, "I'm Hannibal the Cannibal!" as he was taken into custody by police.
It's no coincidence ABC found that 22-34 percent of young felons imprisoned for violent crimes said that they had consciously imitated crime techniques learned from watching television programs. After viewing a screening of his film, Natural Born Killers, director Oliver Stone declared: "This movie is great. It makes you want to go out and kill somebody." This controversial movie was reported to be a favorite among the Columbine killers, who watched it repeatedly before being worked up into a frenzy for their mission of death. Oliver Stone's philosophy is worth repeating:
I think America has to bleed. I think the corpses have to pile up. I think American boys have to die again. Let the mothers weep and mourn."
Countless innocent people have died and others have lost their loved ones to callous acts that are encouraged by the images of the silver screen. The messages that the Clive Barker's of the movie screens disseminate to their fans are deemed by many to be irresponsible. However, in reply, Barker has stated:
"That's my responsibility, to kill as many people as possible…And some of that truth may not be palatable to anybody. My responsibility is not to give a f--- about that. My responsibility is not to care."
Hollywood is transforming the culture and doesn't even bat an eye.
As previously mentioned, Natural Born Killers as well as The Basketball Diaries, which depicts Leo DiCaprio dressed in a black trench coat as he blows away classmates at his school, have both been implicated as the influential factors in Eric Harris's and Dylan Klebold's Columbine killing spree. In fact, the head of New Line Cinema, who made The Basketball Diaries, admitted that the movie might have caused the carnage at Columbine. He stated: "It could be that our movie was the final moment of dark inspiration, the last straw that caused the crimes."
The parents of Cassie Bernall, one of the victims of the Columbine massacre who was specifically targeted for her faith in Jesus Christ, knows the veracity of these facts all too well. In a personal interview, Brad Bernall, Cassie's father, stated that he was shown a video the two murderers made prior to the killings in which they made their intent clear. Their goal in their own words was "to shoot Christians in the [expletive deleted] head." They also mocked the WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) bracelets worn by Christians and said: "What would Jesus do? What would I do…I would shoot you in the head." Mr. Bernall said that he strongly believes that the media has purposely covered up these facts and turned a blind eye to other obvious truths. Mr. Bernall credits his ability to weather the incredible loss of his daughter to his own faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus promised that those who lose their lives for his sake would find them and that not one hair on their head would perish because of the eternal life that he gives his followers. Mr. Bernall knows this to be true of his daughter.
Jesus warned that there were two paths that human beings could go by. He said:
"Enter by the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction and many enter that way. For the gate is small and the road is narrow that leads to life and few are those who find it." (Matthew 7:13-4)
What road are you on? The road that the vast majority of this world is on or the road that God wants you on?
Hollywood is rapidly funneling the world onto the spiritual broad path of rebellion that is directed away from God. Satan is identified as the leader of this rebellion against God and is described as a real and incredibly powerful being in the Bible. The apostle Peter wrote:
"Be sober, be on the alert, your adversary the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour."
The Bible states that Satan is the one who deceives the whole world into following him through his deceptions. Crafty to the core, Satan knows that he does not have to get someone to fall on their knees and worship him to get their soul for eternity. He just has to keep them from worshipping God through the distractions this world offers.
The Scriptures definitively say that "we all like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way." (Isaiah 53:6) This means that if you are honest with yourself, you will acknowledge instances in your life when you have done things you know to be wrong. As a result, the book of Romans states that "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) God is perfect and the wrongs, or sins, that we have committed in our lives separate us from Him. (Isaiah 59:2)
The Ten Commandments are absolute in their instruction. "You shall not lie." There is no room for leeway. If you have ever lied, it makes you a liar. "You shall not steal." If you have ever stolen anything – even something as small as a paperclip – you are a thief. Down through the commandments we could go; if you have ever lusted after a woman, Jesus said it was as the sin of adultery. If you have ever uttered God's name in vain, you are a blasphemer. And so on. Every person who has ever lived has not perfectly kept these commandments. Therefore, before God every person has fallen short and is guilty. You cannot escape this. The result of this is eternal separation from God for eternity in fiery torment as punishment for our disobedience to God's holy calling. It is akin to a rapist who stands before a judge. The judge has a responsibility to act righteously and execute judgement on the offender for his actions. Justice demands this. God's judgement upon us is no different.
But God is also a God of love and His answer to the disease of sin and the eternal penalty of hell was to become a man in the person of Jesus Christ and to live a sinless life. He then allowed Himself to be murdered on the cross as a payment for the penalty of our sins that demands to be met. He Himself paid the price that each person should pay themselves. Forgiveness for sins through His sacrifice is available for anyone who will turn from their sins and place their faith in Jesus Christ.
Life is short- the Bible refers to it as a vapor. The pulse that you feel in your wrist will one-day cease to continue and you will be accountable to your Creator. Will your last breath on earth be your first breath in heaven or your first breath in hell? The Book of Acts says, "There is salvation in no one else. For there is no other name under heaven given among men, by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12) Your Creator made you and lovingly gave up His life for you. Jesus is the only remedy for the true ailment of the world- the sin problem. Take the gift he offers you. The word repent in Greek means to do an about face, a 180-degree turn. Repent and turn from your sin through placing your trust in Jesus. Read the New Testament, pray, and find a good church that preachers the truth of the Word of God. If you have received this gift then you are a part of the family of God.
The world system that we live in runs contrary to the life God calls us to. The Scriptures tell us that the world is engaged in a spiritual battle for the hearts and minds of mankind at every level. Children have steadily been force-fed a diet of information that overtly attacks the Word of God and makes this spiritual war quite evident. This is, and continues to be, the deliberate aim of the American schools system that has in many ways replaced the family and now father the nations youth. John Dewey, known as the father of the American school system, proclaimed:
"I am convinced that the battle for mankind's future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers that correctly perceive their role as proselytizers of a new faith which will replace the rotting corpse of Christianity."
Is it any wonder that kids have progressed to the point of killing each other as animals when in fact the evolutionary philosophies they are indoctrinated into teach that that is exactly what they are? School shootings, motivated by Hollywood's destructive images, are par for the course.
In conclusion, Satan is thoroughly using the Hollywood elite to thwart Gods plan for people's lives by filling their minds with ungodly propaganda. As the television screenwriter Lloyd Billingsley observed:
"In the unwritten constitution of television…God is effectively written out of existence and Judeo Christian values on such things as adultery and divorce are disregarded."
Satan is taking advantage of the world through this medium and it is therefore important to guard yourself against its seductions. Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan, whose aim it is to establish the kingdom of antichrist on the earth for his master Satan, wrote the following:
"Many of you have read my writings identifying TV as the new God. There is a little thing I failed to mention up until now- television is the major mainstream infiltration of the New Satanic religion."
Violence is not the only influential aspect of film: sexual immorality and perversions, drugs and occult messages also carry tremendously powerful abilities to sway the culture for the worse. We have already witnessed the confessed powers film holds over its viewers and documented unfortunate cases where people have even lost their very lives as a result.
In conclusion, we would do well to consider a letter from a prison inmate who perceptively enunciated the amazing leverage that film's messages had on fellow inmates:
In many (perhaps most) prisons…would it surprise you to learn that the favored genres are those containing the most naked flesh engaging in fornication, the most horrific gore and the most gratuitous violence? I've observed groups of convicts watching violent films…A gruesome bloodbath may bring forth much response-everything from increased attention to involuntary facial expression (clenched teeth, twitches) and quite often inappropriate responses (smiles, laughter, cheers, etc.). These inappropriate responses ultimately translate to joy at the suffering of others. It doesn't matter in the least whether good guys or bad guys get killed, as long as somebody gets killed. …I spoke with an older repeat offender…[who said], 'Sometimes I watch a video and get real angry. Takes me an hour or so afterward to stop being p----- off. I don't like that. I've tried very hard for a long time to get over my anger, but these videos bring it out.'
Drastic changes in personality can happen in the space of a ninety-minute film. Allow me to be blunt: IT IS AN ABSURDITY TO BELIEVE THAT THE EFFECT OF SEX AND VIOLENCE IN MOVIES IS ANY DIFFERENT UPON YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN THAN IT IS UPON ME AND MY FELLOW INMATES. A short while ago many of us stood in the same ticket lines as you. We've sat in the same movie theatres, watching the same movies. We've rented videos from the same video stores as you. The world system touches every life, and every person is led into sin in the same ways, through the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the sinful pride of life. How many minds out there are being programmed right now to do the things that could result in their joining us in prison? How many young people are being desensitized, emotionally manipulated to follow harmful role models and conditioned to accept aberrant sexual behavior as normal? How many hearts are being turned to stone?"
Very wise words from a man rightly using his life in seeking to warn others of real perils from the popular film menu that is predominantly offered to our world. Let his encouragement not be in vain.