The Global Cultural Pollution

Back during the Cold War, TV and print media in the Soviet Block abounded with anti-American propaganda so dumb, so laughable that not even the most devout Communists could it take it seriously. Were the Cold War still going on today, the bureaucrats at the ministry of propaganda, or wherever that drivel was conceived, would not need to tax their imagination. All they had to do was cruise through the wasteland of American TV. There they would find more than enough vulgarity, bad taste, sick humor, rank materialism and idiocy to fill months-worth of propaganda videos, propaganda that would be believable because it would have provided for free by the enemy itself.

Consider, for instance, the shows, current or replays of Jerry Springer, Howard Stern, Maury Povich, Morton Downy, Rick Lake, Montel Williams, Dr. Phil, and Geraldo Rivera; sitcoms like “Desperate Housewives” and “Two and a Half Men”; reality show lie “Joe Millionaire”, “Temptation Island,” “The Littlest Groom,” “Dance Your Ass Off” , “The Swam”, and Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice”; shrill, ignoramus talk show hosts; declarations by ignoramus political candidates and office-holders; faith-healing, holy-water peddling preachers; hyper-melodramatic Hispanic soap operas; 24-hour infomercials; libelous political ads; “Wrestlemania”; Tila Tequila, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj; misogynist, angry-for-no-reason rap stars; movie-channel flicks like “The Killer Inside Me,” “American Beauty,” and “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call—New Orleans”. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Most American TV shows at the height of the Cold War, “Playhouse 90” and “I Love Lucy,” for example, and some HBO features like “John Adams” would not have made good sources of anti-American propaganda.

But the Cold War is long past, and our former enemies are now, officially anyway, our allies. They do not need to mine our TV fare for propaganda. They can flip through the hundreds of channels directly via satellite. And, much to the alarm of their cultural purists, an increasing number of their citizens are finding American TV extremely entertaining. Importing trash American shows and spawning even worse imitations have become a major industry, not only in the former Soviet Bloc, but throughout the world, including the once bastions of high culture of Western Europe. During a recent trip to Florence, my wife and I were by turns amused and appalled by the abysmal contrast between the Renaissance treasures of the city and Italian TV.

We can be sure, though, that our current enemies in radical Islam have seized on this fast spreading cultural pollution to promote their cause. On the other hand, they run the risk that their followers might succumb to it also... which, on second thought, might be a way of winning the war against them without firing a shot. Stay tuned.

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