In the highly commercial world of entertainment, publicists long ago recognized the value of appealing to the voyeurism of the masses. The shill artist working the girlie show at a county fair leers at the country boy and promises more of the same—and better!—inside. The Times Square marquee froths in frenzies of comparison: “Female Animal begins where Fanny Hill left off!” Advertisements turn the theater pages of the sedate New York Times—“All the news that’s fit to print”—into a succession of titillating appeals:
An erotic odyssey … through the perverse … the phallic … the mystic and the sadistic …
Without a Stitch is a Danish sex-education film which bars no holds!
Special! Direct from Europe: The newest film from Denmark where prurient interest is legal!
A far-out collage … a catatonic young man, a bizarre madhouse, a weird doctor, a gun-fetishist teacher and wife, black humor, adultery, pregnancy, abortion, death.
These panderings appeal to the basest nature in man, whose preoccupation with the grotesque and distorted subjects of his society has always found its adequate expression. The barbarism of the Circus Maximus and the Colosseum, the tours of Bedlam, the brothel spectacles in the Tenderloin, the propositions in the Free Press and the East Village Other—these are the natural results of that unrepressed bestiality of which St. Paul speaks at the outset of his letter to the Romans.
Thus, because they have not seen fit to acknowledge God, he has given them up to their own depraved reason. This leads them to break all rules of conduct. They are filled with every kind of injustice, mischief, rapacity, and malice; they are one mass ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more