(Moody Broadcasting Network, 2013)
It may be the 21st century in America, but if you listen to the roar of the culture today, you just might think we were living in ancient Rome. Witness the current attempt to win public approval for a divisive issue through entertainment.
It is the awards season. From the Golden Globes, to the Oscars, to the Screen Writers Guild, entertainers of all stripes adorn themselves with haute couture in hopes of mounting the stage to offer a rambling acceptance speech laced with thanks you's and humility. But at this year's Grammy awards, more than sequins and jewels took center stage.
The Recording Academy, grants the Grammy as a way of "honoring achievements in the recording arts and supporting the music community." This year's program began with a highly sexualized performance by Beyonce and her husband Jay Z. One reviewer called the presentation risqué and seductive, prompted tweets from outraged parents who said things like:
"Yeah Beyoncé has an amazing voice but that outfit?!?!? Completely no class. Give children something to look up to" And another who tweeted, "Sorry Beyoncé!!! Class ALWAYS wins! It wins for our children. Sad day when our kids can't even watch the Grammy's!"
The awards program only went downhill from there. At one point the group Macklemore & Ryan Lewis sang their song, Same Love. The song's lyrics, a rallying cry for gay marriage, say:
"The right-wing conservatives think it's a decision/And you can be cured with some treatment and religion/Man-made rewiring of a predisposition," "Playing God, aw nah here we go/America the brave still fears what we don't know/And God loves all his children, is somehow forgotten/But we paraphrase a book written 3500 years ago"
Then, in front of a watching world, entertainer Queen Latifah, who had been deputized by Los Angeles County, lead the ceremony of 32 couples (most of them same-sex) who exchanged rings and said, "I do."Madonna then took to the stage and sang her signature tune, "Open your heart. Do you get message here?
Just like in ancient Rome, where the phrase "panem et circenses" (bread and circus") was used as a rallying cry to win public approval by diversion or distraction and away from public virtue, so today we are seeing entertainment as the modern form of appeasement.
Now, that last bastion of family entertainment, the Disney Channel, is offering the same toxic bread to our children. They have introduced a lesbian couple on the family series, Good Luck Charlie. Disney defended their storyline by saying it was developed in consultation with child development experts and community advisors, and the inclusion of the characters "reflects themes of diversity and inclusiveness."
For those who would argue, 'that's real life, so let children be exposed,' I would offer the counter argument: so is polygamy, adultery and couples who swap mates. Will Disney be introducing those sexual appetites to children as well?
'Bread and Circus' is being offered daily in the coliseum of entertainment, and unfortunately, many are being wooed away from true virtue as a result. Let us remember that Rome's history reminds us that while the masses were temporarily satisfied by some crumbs and a good show, that great empire lays waste today.