Civilized societies establish taboos as signs and warnings that certain actions are beyond acceptance or even contemplation.
Freedom loving societies transmit historic wisdoms that bespeak the necessity for boundaries to man’s lust or savagery.
Mature and responsible individuals know that certain elementary public virtues must be honored if any given society is to survive.
Hollywood seems not to understand this — perhaps because it is filled with grown-ups who are childish and big shots unschooled in responsibility, devoted, apparently, only to the fads of their own self-congratulatory clique.
Robert Redford fancies himself cutting edge and his annual Sundance film festival is promoted as utterly avant garde. At its Saturday night showing, many of Hollywood’s trendy came to watch the film "Zoo," which tells the story of a group of Seattle men who routinely went to a nearby barn where they engaged erotically with horses, culminating in the death of one of them through severe perforation of his colon. Disgusting? Not for Hollywood. The trendy gave it wide acclaim and hailed it, as they always do with these sort of films, as "sensitive," "human and touching," a "story needing to be told."
To normal people, bestiality is a taboo, something not worthy of consideration nor a topic whose parameters must be discerned or understood. To the moral relativists in Hollywood , however, breaking such taboos is an act of "sophistication." But try as they may, it remains what it is: decadence.
Kenneth Turan, a movie critic for the Los Angeles Times, is indicative of the Hollywood mind-set when extolling the film precisely because "it is about a forbidden subject." He is wrong, for it is a subject that should remain forbidden and not raised to a level for "needed" discussion. But to Hollywood insiders who always see the breaking of taboos as something "brave," a film about bestiality, a taboo, is laudatory.
Nevertheless, most of us, if given the possibility of making films, would not have produced "Zoo" because, unlike Mr. Turan, we still have and believe in that quaint thing we call standards. No, "Zoo" is not today’s "To Kill a Mockingbird" or "Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner."
Too many in Hollywood remain infantilized, like school children and high school kids who think it is cool to break the rules and get away with what others are told not to do. If only they would mature, they’d realize the difference between breaking the rules at school or home as opposed to shattering the walls that separate civilization from barbarism. The ridge separating society from that which is sane from that which is insane is often delicate and fragile. Most adults realize this and thus follow a responsible course. Not so today’s Hollywood which sees in all sorts of permissiveness the breaking free of Victorian shackles. For them, it’s simply newfound permission to indulge in mere "naughtiness."
They talk of the need for "provocation" when, in fact, what they have become are despicable provocateurs. Disassembling society of its virtues and dissolving the wise and traditional glue that has sustained civilized society seems, for Hollywood, a purpose unto itself. Unfortunately, too many of our citizens do not acknowledge how corrosive to our society Hollywood has become since they look to Hollywood to provide the general entertainment that has become our society’s addiction.
Many in Tinseltown remain mental youngsters having gone straight from high school or college into an entertainment community with its own rules and values. It is a world miles apart from the real responsibilities most humans endure. It is a lifestyle in which star appeal takes precedence over character, where responsibility and virtue take a back seat to box office. It demands neither maturity nor the need, finally, to grow up. It is a world of make-believe, disengaged from reality.
For a product to be successful in America it must be something the public needs or wants. For a film to be successful for Hollywood all that is required are the accolades of those within the small entertainment community. Often, the more the public is revolted by a Hollywood project, the more it is admired and acclaimed within the precincts of Hollywood: the more distasteful the public finds it, the more "sophisticated" the film truly must be. No wonder they do not think in terms of what is best for society’s survival. Hence, down with the taboos! Such narcissism breeds disrespect for what others respect and value.
As expected, one of the people associated with the film shoveled out the usual rubbish about how the film "uncovers one of the deep secrets embedded in our American middle class life." Right, bestiality, that’s what all of us secretly crave. We hear this every time a movie is made regarding pedophilia, incest, or homosexuality. We heard this with the release of "American Beauty." More likely, it is the secret desire of those in Hollywood itself who furtively pine for these perversions and, then, legitimate it by projecting it on to the hated American middle class.
As to Hollywood’s need to provoke discussion about "forbidden subjects": I’ll believe their sincerity when they begin making movies exposing the ghastly and barbaric tortures going on daily in the Islamic world. Alas, for Hollywood, that remains a subject they deem forbidden for discussion. True to form, it is only our Judeo-Christian values and standards that Hollywood is intent on destroying.