A scene from <i>Orange Is the New Black</i>
Handout photo
A scene from Orange Is the New Black

How Hollywood drags culture along


When I am out walking with my husband, I generally keep a few paces ahead of him, hoping I can get him to walk faster. This isn’t nice, but I divulge this unflattering fact about myself in order to tell you that the last time I did this, something clicked in my mind regarding the age-old debate over whether Hollywood is a reflector or a mover of culture. I now realize it is a mover.

I heard a public radio interview of the creator of the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black. The plot of this comedy-drama concerns the prison experiences of a sympathetic bisexual woman—and I will stop right there because there is nothing else you need to know. The most significant thing going on is that the cultural gatekeepers of America are serving up an LGBT delivery system.

Whatever else Orange deals with—inmate fights, jail food, solitary confinement, corrupt wardens, the prison-industrial complex—it will be preeminently a product-placement for bisexuality and other au courant debauchery. New sexual mores will be set before your eyes in every episode until you are so familiar with them and OK with them that you will be won over to them without even being aware you were reprogrammed.

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It has occurred to me that people I meet on the streets and at the supermarket are more decent than the people in TV stories. For the most part, my daily acquaintances are polite and conservative in behavior, and act more like the people I knew in the 1950s and ’60s than the people on our screens. In fact, I am regularly amazed by this. There must be a strong innate sense of right implanted within man that dies hard to the best efforts of spiritual rebels to kill it.

This image of man is why the entertainment industry movers and shakers must keep pushing, pulling, tugging, and yanking, with one show-topper after another. They are not innocently reflecting culture. What you are witnessing here is purposeful design: premeditated, savvy, systematic, incremental, teleological molding of the minds of the masses. They are walking a few paces ahead of us down the road, impatiently waiting for us to tag along. 

Andrée Seu Peterson
Andrée Seu Peterson

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again.


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