controversial entertainment

22 05 2006

In the first stop on Madonna’s latest world tour, she “crucified” herself during one song, hanging on a cross while wearing a crown of thorns.  And during that song, the video screens showed images of third-world poverty and displayed grim statistics.  So what was the point of that?  There was also another video mixing images of Bush, Hitler, Osama bin Laden, and others.  And she made a very crude reference to Bush along the lines of the Clinton scandal.  So is her strategy to be as controversial as possible, to get more attention?  Apparently it is working, as the concert ticket prices go as high as $380, yet many people go.

It seems to be a trend that there are people who use controversy to gain (or maintain) popularity.  The sad thing is that it often works!  This has also worked for certain talk shows, where they find the craziest stories to get people to watch.  A current example is The Da Vinci Code movie, which had the 2nd largest opening weekend ever.  A number of reviewers are saying the movie isn’t that great in terms of how well it was done and how the story progresses throughout it.  Yet it is highly controversial, and is doing really well in terms of profits.  This also worked for Brokeback Mountain.

This is not a new concept, though.  And looking through history, you can see where this leads to.  As we get used to the current amount of controversy, the next thing has to be even “bigger” to generate enough shock value.  Back in the days of Rome, the entertainment became very morally corrupt, as did the society.  And America is headed down that same road.  Society is getting worse, and that shows in our entertainment.  I think back to the ’80s, when on TV shows, even though there was violence (which used to not happen much on TV, think of the ’60s), hardly anyone ever got shot, and people usually didn’t die.  But these days many TV shows are quite graphic.

Anyway, the root of the problem is not the entertainment but our sinful nature.  When left unchecked (or worse, encouraged), it gets ugly in a hurry.

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