Television shows plan to “out porn” each other this season

I can’t recall (and I’m too tired to look it up) if I commented here back in March when Showtime’s “The Tudors ” was being heralded. One of the comments that grabbed me at the time was a sentence in the Wall Street Journal that “the first two installments feature an over-the-top sex scene about every eight minutes” (“Tony vs. the Tudors,” March 2, 2007). Another comment that caught my eye was one made by Gail Pennington, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch TV critic, who wrote (on April 1, 2007) of the show: “This is Showtime, after all, with violence, strong language, and lots and lots of nudity and graphic sex.”I remember reading that sentence in Ms. Pennington’s article and thinking to myself: How sad that the presence of violence and vulgar language and ‘lots and lots of nudity and graphic sex’ should so characterize a channel’s programming so well that it would prompt the statement, “this is Showtime, after all.”

Well, soon we may be able to make the same statement but about all television in general. From no fewer than three different sources did I receive a link to the same Christian Science Monitor article: “This Fall’s TV Season Is Rated X” — summary sentence: “Shows Are Diving Beneath Bedroom Sheets as Porn Goes Mainstream and Programs Try to Compete for Attention.”

I won’t go into it in detail; instead, I encourage you to read the article. I will note, however, that there is a book mentioned in the article coauthored by Kevin Scott entitled The Porning of America: Choosing Our Sexual Future. From the article:

“The combination of adult erotica moving onto Main Street America by the mid 1990s, along with the emergence of the Internet as a massive distribution network, has created what Mr. Scott calls a ‘perfect storm’ of cultural change. “Our general view of sexuality today is so much broader than what it was just 15 years ago,’ he adds.”

A perfect storm, indeed. I remember an evening a few years ago when my wife and I were watching a sitcom in which the male and female characters — otherwise, generally likable folks — were discussing how much they enjoyed watching pornography, and it struck me how broadly accepted that perverse form of entertainment had become. In what I think was the first telecast I taped for Tomorrow’s World I referred to the mainstreaming of pornography, and I believe to my utter depths that the damaging impact of this mainstreaming has yet to be fully felt in our society. If Mr. Scott’s book addresses this, it might be worth a read.

Sadly, our nation is losing the ability to distinguish between the impure and the pure, the “unclean and the clean” (Ezek. 22:26) and lewdness has become, more and more, our favorite form of entertainment. Our television writers and producers are generally an intelligent and talented lot, but the wickedness that comes from their hearts (cf. Mark 7:20-23) and onto our TV screens is to be rejected, lest we risk becoming in any way like that which we behold. Though he was writing of the dangers of certain apostate Christians, the words of Peter come to mind concerning the creators of such programming:

“For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.”

2 Peter 2:18-19

Whether they understand it or not — or care or not — those who create these shows are, indeed, slaves of corruption. And they know that there is an audience hungry for it.

These shows may be “artistic.” They may contain “finely crafted drama” and “incredible acting.” But lewdness is still lewdness, filth is still filth, corruption is still corruption, and God’s opinion on it hasn’t changed.

Knowing the sort of judgment ahead for this nation for rejecting God’s ways (a lá, Lev. 26, Deut. 28, et al.) and knowing that television programmers will be working passionately to “out sin” each other this season, the future does not look bright. I suppose that we can hope that seeing the depths to which TV will plunge in the months ahead will wake some up to how far we have fallen.

9 thoughts on “Television shows plan to “out porn” each other this season

  1. Glory Talbott

    Eww, I see we’re not missing anything on TV. I encouraged my husband to cancel our cable (and we refuse to get “bunny ears”) back in Jan 2005. His main complaint at the time was that it was BEFORE the Superbowl. Somehow, we always manage to see the Superbowl at the inlaws or at a friend’s. 🙂
    We can see Tomorrow’s World via the internet! And there are many internet sites with news clippings/nature shows for the kids (national geographic kids). Also, we can check out educational video at the library. We don’t miss the TV at all!!

  2. Yes, you commented on March 2 about “The Tudors”, in “Hollywood’s Recipe for Success: Read Philippians 4:8 and Do The Opposite”.

    A perfect verse for this “perfect storm” is Romans 6:19. The Revised Standard Version has the perfect rendition: “For just as you yielded your members to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now yield your members to righteousness for sanctification.”

  3. Farthel

    Well, is just sex, there’s nothing wrong with that. Violence I don’t like and I agree that there might be way too much violence.

    Yes, maybe somepeople try to keep their kids “safe” from sex, at least untill they can understand how wonderful it is. But if you are 13 or older you know pretty much everything there’s to know about sex. And if you have not been blinded, you’ll probably know haw bad the world is and how much hate there is.

    I’m not saying that everything on T.V. should be sex, its kind of boring having just one topic. I’m saying that is natural, and probably one of the best parts of our nature. There is no need to make it vulgar, but there is no need either to forget about it.

  4. Howdy, Farthel, and thanks for the comment!

    I agree that sex is not vulgar — quite the contrary: God created it, and it’s wonderful! But like anything else, it is only wonderful when it is used properly. Eating is pretty natural, too, and kids know all they really “need” to know about how to eat food by the time they are adolescents; but that doesn’t mean that there are no guidelines as to what to eat, what’s good for us, what’s not, etc. (Actually: If you think 13-year-olds know all there is to know about sex, then you don’t fully understand the amazing gift that God has given us, which takes much more maturity than most 13-year-olds can muster to be understood and appreciated.)

    Properly experienced according to the design of the One who created sex for us — a beautiful, private experience intended for husband and wife — it is, indeed, a wonderful blessing. Experienced outside of its intended environment (e.g., treated like a publicly viewed spectator sport) and against its design (e.g., within a loving marriage, self-governed by God’s laws and way of life), it invariably brings pain and heartache — in the long term if not in the short.

    I wrote a commentary titled “The Sex Age” that we published on our church’s website some time back that you might be interested in. It discusses some of this in more detail:

    http://www.tomorrowsworld.org/cgi-bin/tw/commentary/tw-comm.cgi?category=Commentary1&item=1178301706

    Thanks again for the comment!

    Best regards,
    Wallace Smith

  5. Howdy, again, Farthel —

    Actually, 13-year-olds in general — whether they know their Creator or not — don’t know “all there is to know” about sex. But at least the ones who know God will have an opportunity to learn as they mature.

    (And you might be right about there being a lot of 13-year-olds who don’t believe in God. I’m not sure how it’s relevant to anything we are talking about, but you might be right. Thankfully, the nature of reality is not defined by the collective wisdom of 13-year-olds.)

    Thanks, again —
    Wallace Smith

  6. Deano

    Ya know what televisions are good for? Video games! Some of them anyways. Other than that they’re really really good when they’re OFF.

  7. I planned to watch a TV program this Sunday night, where I presumed there would be no corruption or cheating.

    But now that the N.F.L. has fined the New England Patriots coach $500,000, everything’s changed.

  8. Mark Sandor

    What exactly are you trying to say about the collective wisdom of 13-year-olds? Why just this week my students corrected me several times in matters that are very diverse. I was, according to them, wrong about giving someone the middle finger (it is respectful), the location of Indonesia (in the continent of Africa) and which party President Bush is a member of (the Democrats). I could have ignorantly gone on teaching them that giving someone the finger was disrespectful, Indonesia is in Asia, and Bush is a Republican without their collective wisdom.

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