Ever wonder to what extent films, TV shows, books and other forms of entertainment are censored for content? The answer is clear if you pay attention to trends that dominate the industry––particularly lately. Villians in 2016 are typically rich, white men and to the extent that their religion is revealed they are Christians. Protagonists, on the other hand, are women of any ethnicity, minorities, and to the extent their religion is revealed, they are Muslim.
No clearer example of the shift away from portrarying Islamic terrorists as the feared villains of American society can be seen from the appearance of Kiefer Sutherland, once the fearless Jack Bauer of 24 fame, as the unpresidential president in Designated Survivor. In episodes two and three, President Kirkman (Sutherland) faces down the governor of Michigan and the head of the state national guard, both of whom support the efforts by local police in Dearborn, Michigan to crack down on one of the largest, most concentrated Muslim populations in the U.S. in the aftermath of the bombing of the U.S. Capitol and murder of one thousand of the country’s highest elected and appointed officials. This kind of simplistic assumption that local police and government officials are bigoted and bent on taking the law into their own hands while Washington is pure and rational is standard fare in American media as of late.
The very fact of suggesting such an event as the bombing of the nation’s Capitol Building could occur is testimony to how far the entertainment industry is willing to go to make viewers think America deserves such a fate and the country’s salvation lies in adopting Democrat Party platform.
Contrast today’s themes to the entertainment industry’s response to World War II and the Cold War when films, TV shows and books portraryed the Nazis and communists as our mortal enemies requiring heroic efforts on the part of our bravest, most dedicated citizens to prevent our destruction. Instead of shows portraying that same theme brought up to date to tackle jihadist ideology, we get stories that blame the United States for the troubles that have befallen us. It is our fault that heroin and guns are smuggled into our inner cities from Mexico. Don’t do what Donald Trump did––don’t blame Mexico. It’s our racist past and present that are to blame. Don’t blame disturbed Muslims egged on by ISIS propaganda for bombing innocent civilians. It’s the greed of our corporate society that’s to blame, not only for repressing third world peoples and turning them into terrorists, but for climate change as well.
Another TV show that echoes that story line is Quantico (although it’s hard to abstract any story line out of the show given how contradictory and ad hoc the events are that it portrays.) The bombing of Penn Station in New York City was an inside job, not the work of terrorists, and one character’s supposedly having spent time in Gaza on a humanitarian mission gives the show’s writers a chance to take a gratuitous slap at Israel. Given that Israel is our number one ally in the region that slap is meant to suggest why the U.S. deserves to be bombed.
Soon (if they’re not already there) the airwaves and book shelves will be offering stories of Trump look-alikes doing great evil while the first woman president saves the day. Orange indeed is the new black.
The problem when an entire industry is controlled by a narrow group of owners is that alternative visions are not aired. Writers with contrary ideas will not have their stories purchased by the Networks or film producers. Editors will not buy books whose stories are about the threat of jihadist terrorists or the threat sharia law represents in our schools, churches and communities. We’ll continue on the other hand to get stories about those evil rich white Christian males whose greed threatens the survival of the planet and whose personal behavior threatens the virtue of women from 9 to 90.
One can’t even escape political correctness in the world of sports. The NFL has become boring with constant stoppage of play either for imaginary penalties or non-instant replays and the national anthem is only shown so the cameras can search for athletes who are kneeling or raising their fists to protest the fact that they happen to live in the only country on the planet where athletes can earn more than corporate CEOs.
My message to the Tom Clancy’s and Joel Surnow’s who are toiling in their garrets and whose stories are not in vogue in 2016. Don’t give up. Your audience will try to be patient and hope the table turns before we’re dead and gone.