Did anyone else watch some of the AMA’s last night? I was encouraged by the popularity of Taylor Swift. She seems pretty wholesome. Then there was Lady Gaga. She seems like a living piece of artwork. As you watch her, as strange as it is, there is something intriguing about it all. You wonder what is going to happen next or just how much more strange it can get. But there is no denying the artistry of it all. Whitney Houston made recompense at the awards with a good performance. But the saddest part of the whole thing was the popularity of Eminem. Much of his song was bleeped out but did any of you catch the opening of his song “Crack a Bottle”? If you didn’t, here it is. Said proudly, braggingly like these were his credentials:
Ladies and gentlemen!
The moment you have all been waiting for.
In this corner, weighing 175 pounds
with a record of 17 rapes, 400 assaults and 4 murders
the undisputed, most diabolical villain in the world
And we wonder why our women are being abused, children left fatherless, and our society so calloused and violent. Try playing these words in your ear over and over and over and see if it doesn’t change the way you think…then put yourself in the mindset of a 12, 15, 18 year old boy trying to figure out who he is and see what effect it has in how he views women and how he values or devalues the worth of others. What on earth is being promoted as enviable? What is being called good, desirable, worthwhile? What is being promoted as the standard of entertainment and quality in the music industry. This is not some behind the scenes, rogue group putting out this hateful music. This is by one of the most recognized “artists” in the industry. It is sad that anyone has to be exposed to this. The rest of the song was filled with the most vulgar profanity and sexual exploitation. All that and there were children in the audience, not to mention those watching at home. Unbelievable.
More Taylor, less Slim Shady. More lyrics, only this time from Isaiah 5:
“Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter.
21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
and clever in their own sight.
22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine
and champions at mixing drinks,
23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
but deny justice to the innocent.
24 Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw
and as dry grass sinks down in the flames,
so their roots will decay
and their flowers blow away like dust;
for they have rejected the law of the LORD Almighty
and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.
– Isaiah 5:20-30
Powerful post, Matt. Excellent.
amen and amen
Are you claiming that certain music is the cause for people’s having the impulses or choosing to act on the impulses to do evil things? If someone chose to listen to this music and wanted to listen to this music, doesn’t that demonstrate that he already had certain desires or inclinations or thoughts in himself that were attracted to this music? i don’t see that art can really change anyone’s mind, but only buttress or develop what’s already there.
Yes I am. If media didn’t have any influence whatsoever in what people think, choose, behave, etc then why on earth would companies spend billions on advertising?
At the same time you could effectively argue that it is circular. But I don’t think you can exclude the fact that the media and entertainment industry have a HUGE effect on the way our youth think.
Yes, advertising is built on the idea that the power of suggestion is effective. But is art designed to do what advertising does? For instance, since you watched the AMA’s, you heard Eminem’s song. Would you say that you are now more inclined to rape or murder than you were before you heard the song?
i’m not at all trying to defend Eminem’s song. And i’m certainly not saying that what we choose to enjoy doesn’t matter. All i know is that Jesus said it’s not that which goes into a man that defiles him, but that which comes out. The Pharisees avoided all sorts of things because it might defile them. But all their abstainings didn’t deal with their hearts the way Jesus saw necessary. So i don’t see how taking away someone’s violent music will really address the violent impulses he already has in him.
It just seems to me that me liking music that promotes violence is a *symptom* of a problem, not the *disease.* Thus, someone prescribing that i stop listening to the music doesn’t really fix the problem, and in a way only passes the buck.
I am hearing what you are saying here and agree with some of it. I am certainly not more inclined to go rape, pillage and murder because I heard a song because I have a foundation, identity, etc that has been formed over a long period of time and through a community of faith that has taught me that is not the correct course of action.
Not everyone is so blessed. Some people are surrounded by communities of violence, where violent music is just one piece of a gigantic puzzle that is being pieced together in their minds of what life is supposed to be like, how you value or de-value others, etc. In other words we all have norms that are set through the influence of many things. I believe there are people out there who are influenced by music like this. We can aruge chicken/egg all day long and could make all kinds of points but here is why I think this is the case.
It really boils down to the general psychology course you probably took in college. If a stimuli is repeated over and over again there are several things that can happen. It can shape the way we think. The way we think can shape the way we act. Repetition also creates a sense of normalcy. People who have a steady diet of this type of music can very easily buy into the ideals and norms the music is putting forth. I am sure they would, to a higher degree, than those who do not put this stuff in their heads.
I agree that taking away someone’s violent music won’t fix the heart. But it is a valid question to ask, “how do people start down the road of having a violent heart” I would dare to say that the entertainment industry has some pull in that area. So the next question would be, if would could keep someone from going down that road in the first place, would it be worth it? I think it would.
I get your point. I really do and I think there is some merit to it. I think we would both agree the world would be a better place without this kind of garbage being in the hands of young people who are still in the stage of figuring out who they are and how they fit into the world, what their values are going to be, etc.
One upon a time there was a prophet who had a habit of complaining to God about what was happening in the culture and why God wasn’t doing anything about it. God responded to look, watch and be amazed. Read the book of Habakkuk and ask yourself: Could it be that God is raising up people (Middle East, Islam, China?) to deal with our culture – if we don’t repent?