Is it just me, or is it nearly impossible to find a TV show or movie that isn’t riddled with some subtle (or not so subtle) propaganda regarding sexuality, identity, or politics?
I’m not looking for movies with perfect endings, no profanity, or no conflict. I just want something that isn’t trying to propagandize me. The worst part is, it’s getting harder and harder to find anything for my child to watch that isn’t peppered with the same messages – she’s five!
As a counselor, my mind always goes to the individual level. I try to figure out what is going on in the minds of those who create this “art.” Why would they be determined to indoctrinate innocent children into such dark themes?
After working with lots of people and studying psychology and society, I’m convinced that the forces doing this actually believe they are doing a good thing. Behind every perversion is an individual who has been a victim of perversion. Everyone’s way seems right in their own eyes. And in some strange way, that person who was a victim of their innocence being shattered is doing their best to process the trauma of what has happened.
Unfortunately, many of these hurt people are the ones driving the train in arts and media. That’s why many of them entered into the arts – it was an outlet to process their pain. It’s a way to interpret their experience. But if they never seek a true source of healing, their interpretations will be flawed and, in their attempt to make sense of it, they will project their interpretations into their art. At best, they do this unknowingly. At worst, they’re determined to normalize or legitimize the chaos they feel inside. They will call the deviancy the “real world,” because it is the only normal they have known.
In my book Love Slows Down, I talk about how when someone has been deeply hurt or disappointed and has not processed the pain and walked through forgiveness, they will often lash out at anything that represents what hurt them – a race, a gender, a leader, the “patriarchy.” The person they are lashing out at may have never actually hurt them, but if they are similar enough to the person who hurt them in race, gender, or any other way, they become the scapegoat for the pent up anger of the hurt individual.
When these people with unresolved hurt get into the arts, or education, or politics they can’t help but project their disappointment onto the world around them. I’ll never forget a college professor who told my class, “I’m going to open your naïve minds to the cold realities your perfect country education never gave you.” He spent the entire semester talking about injustices he had incurred at the hands of an oppressive democratic system, all the while singing the praises of what communism would mean to a person like him. From time to time, I would question him on his interpretations. At one point he actually said this, “You have a stronger point than me on this. But I’m not changing my mind. I know how the world works.”
And this is the real issue. These victims of corruption of their innocence are convinced, “This is how the world works.” In their minds, the innocence of youth must be shattered by the cold realities of existence. In their mind, the best thing you can do is to expose children to these realities as early as possible.
They are willing to shatter innocence all in the name of preparing children for the real world.
Sadly, this is nothing new.
The Greeks practiced something called pederasty. It was older men having sexual experiences with young men to train them in the ways of sexuality. Sound like pedophilia? How could they think that is good? There’s nothing new under the sun. So, based on what we’re hearing bandied about in certain circles (check out California’s Senate Bill 145), I’m guessing their argument would be that the kids needed the training to be prepared for the real world. And besides, they only do it with consenting children…
Victims of shattered innocence who don’t find healing will always shatter the innocence of others. Hurt people, hurt people. All in the name of preparing the children for the real world. A public service, so to speak.
So how do we stop it?
I’d like to believe that if we just stop watching it, they’ll stop making it. But it’s not that simple. There has always been funding for perversion and those who push the limits. Look back at the art that was considered scandalous in the Middle Ages or the Renaissance. Someone funded that work.
Not watching it is a start. But it isn’t enough.
The innocence of children must be actively protected. It must be more than passive resistance (not buying or watching it). It must be active resistance. It must be pushed back against, with vocal opposition. But once isn’t enough. It must be a relentless pushback. Corruption of innocence is a constant threat because there will always be hurt people with unresolved hurt projecting their hurt on others. We cannot normalize deviancy.
We must call out deviancy for what it is – wrong. Will you get pushback? Of course. Make no mistake, you will be called “self-righteous” by the enemies of innocence. You will be criticized and have your motives questioned. If you try to do anything of value you will be criticized. You will be called a bigot or enemy of the arts. Don’t be surprised by the criticism. But consider the source. Those fighting you are fighting their own demons and hurt, it’s no surprise they would project that onto you.
Which is why we must resist it from a place of humility. We are no better than anyone else. We’ve made our own mistakes. We are not perfect. You will be attacked for your shortcomings. But again, consider the source. How is that working out for them? Are their families strong? Are their children strong? You can tell a tree by the fruit it bears. Don’t worry about criticism from hurt people. Love them, but don’t back down. Humbly stand against what you believe is harming children and keep your arms wide open to welcome them when they choose to face their pain.
Most importantly, we must find our own healing. We must face our own pain – take the log from our own eye – to ensure we aren’t passing our own hurt and disappointment on to the next generation. We must fight to preserve their innocence by recognizing that innocence is worth preserving. The world will be hard for them in due time, but there is a precious season where children must be protected from the harsh realities of the world. It is up to emotionally healthy adults to protect that space.
Fight to protect the innocence of this generation.
Joël Malm is a leadership trainer, entrepreneur, and holds an M.S. in Counseling. His book Love Slows Down: How to Keep Anger and Anxiety from Ruining Life’s Relationships is available online and wherever books are sold. Also he is the author of Really, Marriage Can Get Better, Fully You and Vision Map.