TV has been a mainstay of American culture for 70 plus years now. Almost every home in the US owns one, and many have more. It is such a part of us, that even at live shows there are cameras that project the stars on giant TV’s. We go to sports games and watch all the action on the Jumbotron. Advertising is even giving up traditional billboards in favor of giant TV’s running their visions. In this chapter we are going to look at 5 values of the Après Post that are present in Television. They are sexuality and sensuality, violence and honor, sports, polytheism, and materialism. Some of these thoughts will be revisited in the Cult of Personality, Movies, and Superheroes, but I will try my best not to be too redundant.
We must remember that TV serves two purposes today. First it mirrors culture. People want to see themselves and their values in what they watch. If something doesn’t resonate with us, we don’t continue to watch it. The shows that do best are the ones that “speak” to us. They are the ones that reinforce our own thoughts, values, and desires. But TV also does something else, it drives culture as well. The most culturally powerful people work in entertainment, and as such, they get to choose the agenda. They change the landscape slowly though, so as to still appeal to the masses.
We can see how this has worked by studying briefly the history of acceptable television. There was a time when nudity was nowhere to be found on televison. More than this, everyone was married, there were no one night stands. Casual sex was not even joked about. It was thought inappropriate to show a couple in the same bed, even when that couple had been married for decades. We look back and laugh at old sitcoms with their two twin beds, but forget that even showing the bedroom was risqué. The culture of the 40’s would not have it, and so TV didn’t show it. But slowly the media began to push the boundaries. TV first showed a bedroom, and then this became common. Soon a genie bared her stomach[i] (for shame). After that a man had female roommates[ii]. The youth grew up seeing men and women share a house, and with a little bit of skin. This was the new norm. Slowly, sexual encounters began to be shown. By the 80’s soap operas and their night time equivalents are filming all manner of depravity. Things that couldn’t even be insinuated are now present in all their “glory”. And then cable arrives, and HBO. Nudity and sex were now available. Because it wasn't broadcast, it was accepted (this will be revisited in greater detail on the chapter in movies).
Today HBO originals are aired on a variety of different networks. By pushing the boundaries slowly, TV executives were able to slide their agenda along. They reflected the culture with one hand, and enlarged it with another. People watched because it resonated, and then they assimilated the new values into their world view. Après Post culture began to seep into the contemporary script. And largely we were not aware. I think the Simpsons said it best when in the future, Marge says, “Fox turned into a porno channel so slowly, I didn’t even notice.”[iii] This is what has happened today. The values that were portrayed 50 years ago changed so slowly nobody noticed. The new prophets and priests convinced the world to bow to their gods.
Now that we have explored how this has happened, it begs the question, “What are the new values we are being sold?” As I already said, I believe there are five of them, so let’s look at each one. Sexuality and sensuality are the easiest to see, so we shall start there.
I want to first assert that there is not much difference between the two, which is why I list them together. One always follows the other. Sensuality, in its barest form, is just lust for all the senses. Its power is in sexualizing everything. Strawberries are sensual because we associate them with sex. The sexuality sold to us today is sensual. It strives to enflame the senses. Sex is sold as something elegant and sexy. Not as messy and clumsy (although beautiful and worshipful within marriage). This is part of the lie. If TV were to show sex as it really is, I doubt we would watch. But it is sold as something different. It is poetry and champagne. The two, sexuality and sensuality are the same. I will be using them interchangeably for the remainder of the book.
As we already saw with my previous example, sexuality creeped into television. It was once taboo to even say the word, and now it is almost impossible to not see the act. More than this, the type of sexual relationship changed as well. Once we saw happily married couples. Now we see one night stands. Promiscuity is the rule. Sure, there are still families in the traditional sense, but these are being fazed out. Most shows that are not sitcoms have divorcees, casual hook ups, and live together boyfriends and girlfriends. We see shows like Sex and the City where the women are sexual huntresses, have, multiple partners, and are proud of this, and shows like Swingtown, where key parties are celebrated.
It is near impossible to find shows where partial nudity is not found. We have elevated sex to levels only held in pagan societies. Music videos are glorified orgies, and reality TV is soft-core porn. All women of any worth are perfect. It is hard to find normal looking people anywhere in a staring role. They are all beautiful. Men shave their bodies and have rippling abs, women shave their bodies and have gigantic breasts. Après Post is selling us gods. These beautiful people have sex with very little consequences. It is just what they do. We are told that it is what we should do too. Woman should be 100 pounds, wrinkle free, and leggy, men 200 pounds, pure muscle, and also wrinkle free. Sensuality is held in the highest. If we smell good, look good, have white teeth, appeal to the senses, then we can have lots of sex. Look at commercials for Axe body spray. Perfect Greek gods spray themselves with a can of good smelling liquid, and then have casual sex with other Greek gods.
It is pagan culture that elevates sex and sensuality to such lofty expectations and ideals. Jesus, remember, was an average looking man. It was the Parthenon that had the ideal human forms. I don’t believe anyone would argue with me that TV is sexy. But we have mainly attributed this to Post Modern culture. We see it as an overthrow of the Modern morality. I don’t believe this has been true since the 70’s. In the 60’s there was free sex that I would say was Post Modern, or at least more Post Modern than today (I am unsure if any sexual culture can be anything but pagan). Women were celebrated the way they were. Men could have beards or not. There was a return to the natural. There was no ideal body. In true Post Modern form, you could look like you wanted.
This is not Après Post though. Après Post has absolutes. There are ideals that need to be worshipped. There are expectations we need to live up to. We have a moral duty to be sensual. There are shows like Queer Eye For the Straight Guy, What Not to Wear, etc, that correct the way people look. They stop the individuals from their un-sensuality. They are reinforcing the idea that we all have an obligation to look as sexually appealing as we can. We must be sensual. The Hollywood icons that are paraded before us are our models and gods, and we should try to be as like them as possible. The greatest thing a woman can be is sexy. She knows she is doing good when she has lots of sex. This is the hidden theme in many TV shows today. It is no different for the man.
Après Post is consistent in its morality. Men and women alike are to be sexually promiscuous and good looking. Metro-sexuality, the idea that men should primp and preen as long as women, go to stylist instead of barbers, get pedicures, etc, is all around. Shows on networks like E! and VH1 constantly remind us who the sexiest people are, and who they are sleeping with. There are constant fashion tips on the TV guide network, and even broadcast television got in the game, with shows like Extreme Makeover, and The Swan, a show where ugly people (un-sensual) were given plastic surgery to “fix” them. Sensuality is everywhere on television.
And it is everywhere in our culture because of it. Girls have eating disorders, guys go to gyms and take steroids. Clothes are made that hide little, and what they do hide have words on them to draw our attention to it. The highest ideal is being desired. This is not love. Desire is lust. It is never satisfied. It is selfish. It is pagan. Love looks beyond the skin, desire only wants it. TV has been able for a generation to sell its pagan ideals, and culture has adapted. We will look more in depth at this when we talk about pornography, so I want to stop the discussion here for now.
What is important is that TV both reinforces and drives the culture. If sex and sexuality are major themes in TV shows, then they must also be major ideals in society. I don’t think any would disagree. Keep in mind though, this new sexuality is not a revolution against “repressive” Modernity. It is something more. It is far more insidious. It is not a lack of moral values that is driving American cinematic sexuality anymore, but an embrace of pagan values. This means it can be far longer lasting, and far wider reaching. Its impact will be far greater than that of Post Modern sexuality, which has already been caste aside. Tell teenagers to stop shaving and wearing deodorant because they are “of the man”, and watch the reaction you will get. They won’t do it. They know that they have to try to be like the ideals set before them. They have fully embraced a pagan sexuality that idolizes and idealizes sex. Their sexual orientation may be a choice, but their sexuality isn’t. Their gods look perfect and so must they.
Violence is probably the second most prevalent truth in television today. I will throughout associate violence with honor culture, a pagan virtue that has no place in Christendom. We can all agree that there is violence in almost every non-sitcom TV right now, but that in and off itself doesn’t prove anything, except that there is a lot of violence on TV. So instead of looking at all violence on TV, I want to look at two specific cases that I feel are the most Après Post. These are Reality TV and Ultimate Fighting.
First let us examine Reality TV. We have all seen some of the craziness that Reality TV has produced. As for me, I weekly watch The Soup and Best Week Ever to keep up with pop culture and not have to sit through any of it. These shows give highlights of almost all things relevant to the week. These aren’t my only sources, but they are too good not to use. And what I have learned from watching them and briefly watching a reality show here or there, is that they are all about honor, and honor breeds violence.
Before we look at specific examples of Reality TV violence, it will behoove us to see why honor begets violence. And it is a rather simple explanation. Honor is a selfish virtue. It is about maintaining your good name, your appearance to others. When honor is threatened, we are threatened, and the usual reaction to threat is fight or flight. But if we take flight in an honor culture, we have disgraced ourselves even more. So there is really only once choice when threatened and that is fight. If we don’t then we are giving up our standing forever. People seem to know this instinctually on some level, and this instinct can be honed and refined if the culture is right for it. Honor is the natural cause of selfishness. Again, this has its roots in Post Modernity, but it has grown beyond them. Post Modernity in casting off all truth, also cast off the idea that others should be cared for. When it decided it would not accept some Judeo-Christian morality, like bans on premarital sex, it couldn’t accept any of them, like love as the greatest virtue. What was left was a vacuum, a theme that has, and will continue to emerge throughout or cultural survey. The only thing left was the self. All other truth was caste aside. These are conditions ripe for honor culture.
When people began to look for truths again, as Post Modernity is left in the past, a new value system has to emerge. Having abandoned Judeo-Christian morality, Après Post is left with really only one choice, pagan morality. And pagan morality will place honor at the top of its list of virtues. The others are bravery, strength, and self reliance. The moralities of pagan society elevates things that Christianity sees as vices.
And so we have an honor culture. And the only way to protect one’s honor is to fight if needed, how else can you get an apology? One person wrongs another, and they want the wrong to be righted, but to apologize would show weakness and violate the second man’s honor. Violence is the only solution. And this is exactly the interaction I se on reality TV all the time. Roommates fight because so and so did thus and thus, and won’t apologize. And she won’t apologize because she was wronged first, etc. And so they must fight, or someone must be dishonored. The trashier the show, the more prevalent this is. The “higher class” reality shows on primetime usually have people who can be civilized to some extent, even if their honor is being threatened. However, watch VH1 and it is a completely different story. There are fights all the time; people even get spit on, one of the most dishonoring things one can do to another! And this should be expected if we think about it. The people watching VH1 at 11 pm are much younger than those watching ABC at 8. If this honor culture is beginning with the generation after me, then we should expect to see it in shows that speak to youth culture more.
But it is not only on VH1. It truly is everywhere. There may not be actual fists involved, but I have yet to see a fight on reality TV that didn’t involve honor. It is always about lying to someone, or backstabbing, or making fun of, and these pierce honor’s heart. Being made a fool of is dishonoring, being mocked is dishonoring. And so there must be a defense. Think about dueleing for a moment. Why did people duel? It was because their honor had been violated. Then, as now, the only way to right this was through violence. This has always been the solution for dishonoring somebody. It was the reason the Greeks fought the Trojan War. Violence is always the way to restore ones honor. It says to the community around that you are not a coward and won’t take what is being done lying down. It lets the people watching know that they should not dishonor you or they may be hurt as well. It is the only safeguard against not being dishonored.
Ultimate Fighting display all these traits as well. It appears that some of the fighters are friends before and after the match, and at first this would appear inconsistent with my thesis. How can I be friends with someone who dishonors me? But we will see it actually can fit into this world view. First, I would bet that for as many friends, I can find some life long enemies. Exceptions do not disprove rules. Second, I would also bet that they are not friends in the weeks leading up to the fight, even of they were years earlier.
The entire sport of fighting is predicated upon an honor culture. There is no reason to lift this character trait up as a virtue unless we all needed it and wished we were better at it. And if we ever wanted to be better fighters, it was not to compete, but so we could put people in their place. It is so we could defend our honor. I would bet that that is the reason most of these guys learned how to fight, and then they found out they had a knack for it, and so continued to train. Before big matches we are pumped up for the fight by hearing the opponents talk smack about each other. They are violating each others honor. And we have conversations about what they said. Can you believe he said that? Do you think he will get away with it? These are the conversation I hear about televised fight shows. We understand that honor is on the line. It is part of the culture now. There will be a lot more on this when we look at internet violence and rising gang numbers, both of which point to honor as supreme.
Just like sexuality, this virtue of honor is mirroring culture and driving it. We can see this in the rising popularity of the sport, which means it speaks to something in people, as well as the growing acceptance of it on TV. At first it could only be found on pay-per-view, much like sex. But now it is on at least three cable channels, and one broadcast. It found some acceptance at first, and then was able to push the boundary a little farther, and inch by inch it has seeped into Après Post culture as normal and accepted and valued. It is no coincidence that these men are called modern gladiators. We like Rome are pagan.
The reason the athletes of fight shows can be friends after a fight is because their honor was upheld. Both men fought. Honor doesn’t need to win, necessarily, it needs to show up. By stepping into the ring, and getting and giving punches, both men uphold the Après Post code. We frown upon not accepting fights, not loosing them. The people we loose the most respect for (an honor culture value) are those who run, not those who “take their beating”. Honor values bravery, even if it is stupid. It is cowardice that is the greatest vice. So after a fight, both men having their honored restored, can congratulate each other and regain a friendship.
This honor culture can be seen best in the marriage of Reality TV and sports fighting. There is a television show on Spike TV that is just that. It is a reality show design to find the next Ultimate Fighter. The contestants constantly talk about honor. Their honor, their families honor, their names honor. That is why they fight. The arguments that occur are all about one man disrespecting another. And they are usually solved in the ring. It is where they can restore the honor that their competitor tried to take from them.
Violence is therefore held up as a good. We glorify it in our television because it points to the deeper values that are taking over society. Violence for violence sake though, is still not smiled upon. Violence in Après Post is a means, not an end. That said, we must always be ready to use violence to defend honor if necessary. Our honor is everything. If we loose it, we loose our standing in society. But honor can not be Christian. In Christianity we must loose ourselves. It is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us. Our honor matters not. We are to walk the second mile. This is repulsive to pagan society. You fight before you carry a Roman’s armor. Rome forced their conquered people to carry their things as a way to remind them they were conquered. It was a shot at honor. Rome knew that honor was to be most prized in its society. So it is with us. Après Post is becoming increasingly violent, and this is due to the honor-centric values it holds. Society has always tried to curb violence, and I don’t think we will see a reversal of laws making dueling illegal, but we will begin to see more and more violence on TV and a greater popularity of fighting sports. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see more and more violence in society, even as it is outlawed. The new generation will fight to preserve it honor, and we will see this clearly soon.
Ultimate Fighting is not the only sport that Après Post idolizes though. All sports point to a rise in paganism. I put sports in the chapter on TV since most of us watch them here. TV has allowed us to follow every game, every player, every thing about any given sport. And sports in general are becoming more violent. Almost every season we see entire teams fighting, and get to watch it live. These fights point to the growing groupness of culture. We are either Red Sox or Yankees fans, Lakers or Celtics, Patriots or everyone else.
This is one of the areas that pagan group think has already taken over. Christianity is the absence of group. Rich or poor, slave or free, male of female, we loose part of ourselves in Jesus. We are all Christians. The old patterns of the world are dead to us who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. We crucify our old selves, and with it our old alliances, allegiances, and groups. Paganism reinforces groups. Boundaries are of primary importance. “Who do you worship?” is one of the main questions a pagan has. Today we don’t use the arcane language of worship when we talk about sports, but we worship nonetheless.
If you are a true Red Sox fan you are expected to watch the games, go to them, and buy the apparel. You wear your favorite players jersey, have many hats, maybe even a license plate. You give your time and money to the team, and set its best up as gods. And you by no means ever say anything good about other teams. You hate them vehemently. This is how groups work. It is the only way they can work. We choose our side and pay homage only to it. The association of the layman to his team is so great often they claim credit for victories. He feels like he is really part of the team.
To properly worship we need to make sacrifices. So people buy larger TV sets, season tickets, travel to see away games. The average trip to a baseball game in Boston in over 200 dollars for a family, and this is just for tickets. You are not a good fan unless you also but stuff while you are there. How else do the gods know whom you are loyal to? Not to mention the sacrifice of time and energy. The average baseball game is 2-3 hours, and there is one almost daily. But we can’t watch just the game, we need to watch Sports Center and Baseball Tonight as well. We need to have our fantasy team, and check it continually. We give almost all we have to our group, to our gods, and what is left over goes to other things. We tithe off the top, and give the best to what we worship. Everything else must take a back burner.
The athletes function as gods. I will talk about this more when we look at superheroes, but I want to mention it here. Pagan gods have always operated in this reality and outside it. What I mean is that they are allowed to go against the moral code of society for their own good. They are by nature better than us, and can’t be expected to adhere to the same rules we have to. Cults of personality raise people to godlike stature, and this is as true of athletes as it is of Actors. How often do we hear of athletes breaking the law and getting more lenient sentences? Steroid use, abhorred in Congress, is not as hated by the new man. In his opinion the athlete can do what ever he needs to be the best. He must be allowed to, he is a god. Drunk driving and affairs are seen as norms, and almost necessary. We give the best shots of cortisone so that they can perform despite injury. This is foolishness for the mere mortal. Athletes are paid astronomical sums of money, and we find it to be justified. The gods must live in luxury. They need to be better than us in every way. And TV perpetuates this modern mythology.
Contemporary commercials for Gatorade and other sports drinks lift the athlete even higher. These are the new nectar of the gods, and give them super human ability. We have created whole sciences and economies around athletic performance of the super elite, training them to be even better than they could have dreamed of. We put up posters of them in our rooms so the idol can watch over us. We buy their brand of shoe, wear their name on our backs, and wait for hours in lines only to have them charge us to sign a card. We put balls they have thrown under glass, sell their autograph for thousands of dollars, and collect all the memorabilia we can. We worship them as gods. Again this is not true of just athletes, but we will talk about the other gods on Olympus later.
TV produces one more clearly pagan ideal- polytheism. We have just briefly seen how athletes, as promoted on TV, have become gods, but they are not alone. I will not talk here about celebrities, but rather shows that are out right pagan. Recently we have seen an upsurge in shows about ghosts, aliens, the occult, and heroes. All of these have at their root a pagan understanding of the world. From network televisions dramas about ghost whisperers and mediums, to cables love of haunted houses and alien abductions, we are inundated with a world view that is not Modern, Post Modern, or Christian. Modernity brushes off all paranormal things as false. Christianity castes them aside as evil. Neither one allows or its people to explore them. Post modernity does allow for it, but is skeptical and holds that there is no truth. Après Post culture is none of these things. It is assumed there is an afterlife, that there is truth, and that we can explore it. There is no longer the Christian fear of it, or the modern disbelief.
People are watching these shows because they believe them to be true. Almost weekly on A and E or the Travel Channel there are documentaries about ghosts, demons, and the occult. People go to haunted places and try to help others who are being haunted. We are told of good spirits and bad spirits, good ghosts and bad ghosts. They exorcise them for us, live on our Television. There is a truth in the spiritual world. It is assumed that we know this. The shows don’t try to prove anything, but rather already assume (and know) the people watching believe. And these shows are growing in number and popularity, which means people do believe. They are watching because they care. It touches their world view. It speaks to them. But none of these shows take the Christian view. None of them say that all these things are evil, or that we shouldn’t mess with it. They give ways to control the spirits, to live along side them. It is all very close to true Buddhism more than anything else. Spirits are all around us and we should work with them.
Occasionally there are bad spirits, demons, but these are dealt with by invoking the power of good spirits or gods. I am reminded of the Itinerant Jewish Exorcists in Acts much more than Jesus’ commands to devils. It is so prevalent that even drama now uses spirits as plot developers. A show about a Medium who uses the spirits to solve crimes would never have flown 50 years ago. But there it is, in prime time, and not just one show, but many. The current view of Spirituality is pagan at its core. Society admits now the spiritual, but it is both good and bad. We can interact with it, we can control it. It is not a giant step from here to actual spirit worship and deification of the dead.
And it is not just a rise in shows about the dead that is driving this Après Post world view forward. The are numerous shows about magic and witches. Many of these refer to ancient gods and powers by name. From Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which actually holds on to a semi-Christian world view, believe it or not) to Charmed, to Fear Itself, there is a rise in shows that are outwardly pagan. Again there are even documentaries on channels like Discovery and The History Channel of real life vampires, werewolves, and witches. Witches remember pray to gods and goddesses for power. There is the rising belief that there are many powers out there, and we can commune with them, use them, fight them.
And a common theme in all these shows is that the heroes are usually more than human. In Buffy there is a slayer who has mystical power, Charmed has the “power of three”. The humans are more that human, they are demi-gods. They function in both realties to fight the gods who would bring destruction. This is reminiscent of Hercules, Odysseus, Theseus. No true pagan mythology is complete with out these super humans. And now we even have shows about super humans. Heroes is all about people who are more than people. They have the gifts normally associated with the gods of pagan myth- they can fly, time travel, morph shape, read minds. This show was not created in a vacuum though. As a kid I remember most of my cartoons having such heroes. Gone were cats and mice, now there were He-Man, Transformers, X-Men. All of these shows portrayed a struggle between good and evil of almost equal strength. Sure the good guys won every episode, but evil was never fully defeated. It always came back. The heroes were also divine guardians. They were the ones who knew the truth, and could fight the villains. We mortals stood no chance.
X-Men especially drove this home. The villains were exactly like the heroes. They were all mutants, gods. They were all more than human. Like Heroes, they were given strengths previously given the gods of lore. Some of them even took gods names. I want to stop here. There is an entire chapter dedicated to superheroes and villains, and I don’t want to be to redundant. What is important now is that television is the new medium that is telling these myths. We no longer go to temples to hear their stories; the altar is in our house.
What we are watching is the pagan struggle and world view. We see powers greater than ourselves either tormenting us or fighting for our race. We see super humans and ghosts, psychics and heroes, all interacting on a plane that we are barred from, but exists.
Before I finish this chapter with a quick examination of materialism and television, I want to digress for just a moment. Two paragraphs previous I made the statement that television is our altar, and I want to discuss this. The West has not seen altars and temples in its houses for quite some time. This was not always the case though, nor is it the case in the East. We find altars to gods inside houses today in Buddhist and Hindu cultures. Very often religious ceremonies are performed in the house as a way to both protect from, and obtain blessings from the gods. Shrines to dead ancestors or the house god who looks after and protects the property are common place. Pagan gods demand worship. And they demand the best. The central aspect of the houses is typically the shrine to the family’s gods. This used to be the case of the West as well. Idols were commonly placed in the place of most prestige. Carvings and pictures of Apollo or Odin were kept with the family. We even see this in the ancient paganism that Israel encountered in the Promised Land and before in Egypt. Temples in the house are a mainstay of paganism. What one holds as primary importance is always center to ones world, and this manifests itself in the material by usually being the center of ones belongings. It takes an important position. It has prominence. People can see it when they walk in.
Now think about television. Where is a TV usually located in an average house? How is the furniture arranged? Chances are, if there is only one TV owned, people spend most of their time in that room. If they own more, there is definitely one in the bedroom. The furniture is set so all can look upon it. What used to be 5 inches, now takes up entire walls, making sure everyone sees it. All chairs point to it. The Entertainment center that holds the TV is a shrine to entertainment. The TV has become central to the American house. It has become the Altar. The gods we watch may be different, just as every individual house has its own idol, but idolatry is still the rule. The picture or carving in Hinduism may be different, but the worship is always the same. So too of our television.
All of these reasons, plus many more that I lack the space to discuss here, come together to elevate materialism to another of Après Posts most lofty virtues. It is relatively evident how materialism is now a new virtue, but let’s discuss it anyway. TV sells us an image. As we saw with sexuality, it tells us what our ideals should be. We are told that if we buy the right products, wear the right clothes, we will be desirable. Since desire is something we want, we do as we are told. Sports force us to pick teams and be loyal to them. That means we must buy their products, wear their gear, drink their drinks. And TV itself demands we keep buying it. TV’s break, get outdated. We need to have better cable to get the better channels; we need flatter more defined pictures so we see what the television is showing us more clearly. We need to buy our favorite TV shows on DVD, and then we need a rack to display them. We have to have cool entertainment centers to display our boxed god. And then the rest of our furniture doesn’t match, so we have to buy more of it as well. Style changes ever season, and to keep up, we too must buy new clothes every season. The people we see on TV have nice stuff, and since they are our ideal, we try to emulate them. We are consistently told what it means to be a person of value in our society, and that is someone who is matching, owns nice things, and is in vogue. So from a young age we are fed this materialism.
This materialism is a further rejection of Post Modernity. Modernism was extremely materialistic because it rejected the spiritual. It was grounded in science and proof, and since spiritual things could not be proven, as such, they were rejected. This leaves one real thing to live for, stuff. Post Modern man rejected this. By the sixties spirituality was on the rise, and materialism seemed to be dying. Hippie’s made their own cloths, lived on communes, and vowed never to be like their parents. But as everything Post Modern, they had nothing backing this philosophy. And soon it was the 80’s and everything changed. Après Post was slowly creeping into fashion, although we won’t really see it for another 15-20 years. The children of hippies vowed, too, not to be like their parents, and so embraced materialism. They were still more Post Modern than not though. They embraced it as the best thing in a world of unsure truth. It was something they could grasp and taste and see. In a society were the old class system was destroyed, having more stuff was a way to tell where you stood.
This was not the end though. Après Post will take this and make it a certain truth. The more money you have, the better. Class will again become defined by economic strata. This is not Christian. The worth of someone is never about class in Christianity, but rather inherent in them as God’s creation. Après Post is pagan though. If you are richer, the gods have surely blessed you. To maintain the blessing, you worship them. You sacrifice yourself to them. If the gods tell you to buy new clothes, you do it, and as such can maintain your stature. This will be the truth that the Après Post Man clings to. And television only reinforces this. There are tons of shows about how the wealthy live. MTV’s Cribs, VH1’s the Fabulous Life Of, almost every show on E!. All we see is how the rich and famous get along. How many car they own, how big their house is, how much money they spend on dinner. We are consistently told that we too, should want all this. And so TV culminates in, and sells us materialism.
This chapter has been meant to give a quick overview of culture as seen through, and perpetuated by television. It is in no way complete. I suppose an entire book could be written on this subject alone. What I have been trying to show is that this Post Modern idea that we have taken for granted is dying or dead, depending on where we are looking. The rise of The Après Post is not going to stop. Some of the bigger themes mentioned in this chapter, will be solidified as the full theology of Après Post comes to light. What is to be sure, is that these trends won’t be ending soon. We will see more nudity earlier in the day, more violence, more vengeance, more riots over sports games, more materialism, more altars in our homes.
I want to move on to the next big indicator of culture though, movies. In the next chapter I will look at a few examples and the general genre of Horror. I plan to draw a lot off the conclusion reached here, and won’t re-explain everything. Movies, we will see, are a little farther advanced than TV, because they don’t have to be censored for all ages, like primetime television, they can just be rated. This allowed them to have sex and violence first, and it will also allow them to proclaim their new truths with out as much resistance as TV has. Remember, the people in political power are sometimes behind the cultural curve, and so won’t allow the new thing to enter, like married couples sleeping in the same bed, or sexual depravity of the kinds we find in movies.