The End of Adulthood Here's a nice article (from GQ) about how Hollywood has systematically fostered a culture of childhood -- every movie has to appeal to both children and people trying not to grow up. What struck me was the idea that we are gradually losing the idea that there is such a thing as being adult, and that we're exporting this attitude to the rest of the world. The routine avoidance of any adult themes in our public discourse ends up stifling cultural expression. An is the history of American comic books. Where other cultures have thriving adult comic book scenes, the US has Archie and Jughead. Why? Because of a ratings system meant to protect children, comic book companies couldn't sell mature-themed comic books. Efforts to protect children by imposing ratings systems (movies, comic books, and now video games) have consistently resulted in the suppression of artistic freedom, as financing for the arts is drawn towards lowest-common-denominator fare that doesn't (and can't) offend anyone. It would be interesting to further explore the connection between art and financing. Popular arts (most art that most people see), including movies, books, comic books, and popular music, depend on investment by studios, publishers etc. If we try to protect children by blocking harmful material from coming their way, we are effectively telling the investors in these companies "if you want to reach that part of the market that you can effectively sell to, you'd better not do anything that will lose you that kid-safe rating." Au revoir subtlety, insight, depth and real creativity.
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