Friday, July 06, 2012
One of the saddest things about China is the heavy influence of the worst parts of American culture, especially Hollywood and the movies that flow from America. In Hollywood, if you haven’t noticed, the heroes of our movies tend to be rebellious, social misfits living immoral lifestyles. The impact of these movies in China is rather unfortunate, as my Chinese tutor explained. She sees a “cultural revolution” taking place in which the culture of China is being affected–adversely–by the values imparted through American media.
In Chinese culture, young people who are respectful of parents and teachers have long been the standard. But now, influenced by American movies, it is increasingly acceptable for students to be brats. Our teacher told us that some parents even worry about the good, quiet, obedient students and feel that they will be too quiet and too unpopular. They want them to be “cool” like those darling brats in the movies, and so they push them to be a little more “normal.” So the role models held up for young people have been turned on their heads, thanks in part to the negative influence of American movies. Yes, that's just anecdotal and perhaps not an accurate reflection of national trends, but the impact of America on dress and behavior is not hard to miss on the streets of China.
So pervasive is the influence of American movies that our Chinese teacher, a well educated woman in her late 20s, was shocked when she found out that many Americans, including my wife and I, find the immorality of American movies to be disgusting and raunchy, and that we seek to live very different lifestyles rooted in morality. She gasped. She put her hand on her throat in surprise and amazement and said, “What? We thought all you Americans are that way! That's all we know from the movies.”
We had been meeting with her for some time. I thought she knew us relatively well. And yet she thought we were moral libertines who had no problem with sleeping around and with the degraded, immature lifestyle embraced by Hollywood and its celebrities. Hmm, so much for the idea that people can just look into the eyes of Mormons and see something good. She looked into my eyes and saw Hugh Hefner. I wasn’t leering, really!
We need to let people know who we are and what we stand for or they just won’t get it. Here in China, where we can’t do missionary work, we can still talk about our support of family values and our distaste for the values of Hollywood. And perhaps we can help like-minded people here recognize the downward pull of this second cultural revolution, made in America by but opposed by many Americans, and resist it before it causes more severe harm and pain in this great nation. And I hope you folks over there can help preserve fundamental values in your culture as well and throw out Hollywood as the source of American morality. That would be a revolution worth fighting for.
Posted by Jeff Lindsay at 5:35 PM