After posting Tuesday’s piece, “Christian goes to the movies,” I found this quote. It is rather comforting when you find that someone like Richard Weaver agrees with you, particularly when you made the statements before referencing him. What this actually shows is that he is probably the source of the original “seed thought” for the post, though I read him a few years ago. This remark from Ideas Have Consequences (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1948) must have incubated in my mind since I first read it:
“We need not speak of the enormous influence of this synoptic depiction of life [the motion picture] upon children and adolescents. That is a point concerning reticences and proprieties toward different classes of persons; our interest is rather in the deleterious effects of movie-going upon even adult mentalities that find satisfaction in it. That the public as a whole misses the issue of the motion picture’s influence can be seen from its attitude toward censorship. For what the public is reconciled to seeing censored are just the little breaches of decorum which fret bourgeois respectability and sense of security. The truth is that these are so far removed from the heart of the problem that they could well be ignored. The thing that needs to be censored is not the length of kisses [!] but the egotistic, selfish, and self-flaunting hero; not the relative proportion of undraped breast but the flippant, vacuous-minded, and also egotistic heroine. Let us not worry about the jokes of dubious propriety; let us rather object to the whole story, with it complacent assertion of the virtues of materialist society. We are speaking here, of course, from the fundamental point of view. A censorship of the movies, to be worthy of the name, would mean a complete reinterpretation of most of their themes, for the belief which underlie virtually every movie story are precisely the ones which are hurrying us on to perdition. The entire globe is becoming imbued with the notion that there is something normative about the insane sort of life lived in New York and Hollywood–even after that life has been exaggerated to suit the morbid appetite of the thrill seeker” (100-101).