Detoxing Bad Culture

[Why I’m Not Going to Watch Deadpool]


I don’t think it’s any secret to the Internet that the Deadpool movie just came out – we’ve been bombarded for months on facebook by expectant fan posts. And up until a few days ago I was among them; even after finding out about the R-rating and what to expect content-wise, I had planned to go see it – the trailers were promisingly funny and, well, why not?

I’m not sure when exactly I changed my mind, but I decided not to go see the movie in theater and eventually, not ever. And here’s where I’m coming from. I can remember right off the top of my head when I consciously made a decision to allow less filtering in what I watched; I asked to go to a movie night with my older siblings and my parents basically left the decision up to me with the stern and unheeded warning that the movies I chose to watch would influence me. I’m paraphrasing from memory, of course. I was somewhere in the vicinity of 10-12 at the time, and still thought picking up bad language from a movie was the worst thing you could have happen to you (and was pretty sure I was too good to have my vocabulary influenced by movies anyway). Ten years later, I wish I would have chosen differently then, and continually.

See back then the very worst swear word I knew was ‘damn’ or ‘shit’ and they only came once in a sentence. Back then I didn’t really know what people looked like under their clothes and while getting hooked on pornography is a totally different story, the kind of movies that are ‘okay’ now for someone like me are chalk full of at least soft-core porn. ‘Okay’ because I’ve seen it all before – it doesn’t matter the fifth, twentieth, hundredth time anymore. Violence, gore, things that shouldn’t be celebrated or made light of. And once I decided to say one thing was okay it was just a downward spiral through filthy, senseless language, horror/thriller, increased blood, gore and violence, and soon enough pornographic content everywhere. We’re desensitized. am desensitized. And my condition hasn’t remained only within the limits of what I watch.

And I’ll tell you something else. Being desensitized to pornography–and maybe nudity in general, but namely pornography–is a serious deal. Your body doesn’t (can’t) physically react to normal, real sex the same after years of being trained to react to pornographic sex. I don’t think anybody makes a big enough issue about real affects of this kind of stuff because we’re so busy trying to prove things on moral grounds and reasoning. When I was thirteen and drowning in a newly-discovered pornography addiction I never thought that there would be a time when I would be more concerned about the affects of pornography saturation on my marriage and how I view and think about women in general than my moral condition or what God thought of my addiction, but now is that time.

And I’m shooting at probably the most obvious target more than anything, but when I was making that decision to step outside my parents’ filter system and get some dirt on my own filters, if I had heard one sentence from present-day me, I don’t think I would’ve believed it. Because words are such a little thing and I never would’ve thought then that eventually I would include such completely useless and derogatory words in my vocabulary, but I’m desensitized now and hearing more is just ‘okay’ and another day at the office. And I can just hear what some people would say – “That’s just the way society is, you’ll go to work on any given day and hear all the things,” (and I do) “You may as well just get used to it; people aren’t going to change and you should accept how they are; don’t be so sensitive!”

That’s not okay to me anymore.

It’s not okay that I go to work and it seems like every third word out of almost anyone is a swear word. It’s not classy or cool and frankly it makes a gross atmosphere. It’s not okay to me that so much null and negative energy is socially acceptable in the way we talk to each other. And I’m not making this a Christian or even moral issue on purpose; anyone can argue against Christian or even moral arguments and when it comes down to it, your filter is your own. I’m just not talking about what’s right or wrong; I’m talking about what makes me a more creative, productive person in every single thing I do or say naturally. I’m talking about real issues that I know I am not the only one to have because of being desensitized to false experiences.

And I’ll just talk to Christians for a second to say you’re so over-saturated in critiquing teachers. Every Christian teacher has a whole crowd of people vehement over even just one idea, and you’ll argue and debate till the second coming. I can’t believe how vicious Christians get toward people who teach something even a little different than what they believe personally. Someone I sincerely suggested a book to wouldn’t touch it–because they didn’t agree with some of the things the author said. But who’s getting vicious about today’s ‘entertainment-only’ books and movies? Why does it take a few words to send you ballistic over a Christian teacher, but you can go to the theater and watch any movie without batting an eye at the most obscene suggestions? Can I tell you something? You’re giving grace to the wrong things. 

So back to Deadpool.

For anyone who thought I was just being prudish, I didn’t just decide that the movie content was ‘not okay’ for me to watch. I didn’t decide not to watch Deadpool because I thought it was too high on the scale of wrong. Instead, I decided not to watch because I realized I don’t want to be desensitized to cinematized sex, violence and filthy language. I decided that I don’t want the kind of content you’ll find in Deadpool–and so many of the movies that have come out over the last decade and more–to be ‘okay’ anymore. I imagine a world where sex is too sacred and powerful and pure to show on a movie screen – where words mean enough to be used with tact – where negativity in any form isn’t mass-produced, wrapped in plastic and put on a shelf to share with everyone.

I want to detox all this bad culture.

I want to re-sensitize. I’m not saying that I’m giving up on the 99% of TV and movies that include obscene content. But I’m not saying I won’t. I want to say, “Well, there could be exceptions if the movie is good enough…” and maybe I could justify that against re-sensitizing. I mean come on, I’ve got a long way to go and everyone knows you can’t just go cold turkey on this stuff.

Or maybe all these pre-recorded tapes going off in my head are the reason everyone is still going along with it. Maybe it’s time to totally restructure how I think about the content I choose to saturate myself in. Because it’s still my choice what I let through the filter, and it always has been.

And I won’t judge or look down on you for what you choose. Yes, it makes me really sad to see my younger siblings over-saturating themselves in all this crap and becoming so desensitized. It makes me sad that what I never would have dreamed you could see in a movie ten years ago is ‘totally okay’ for teenagers to go to the theater and watch. But even at that, your filter is your filter. It’s your choice. But I’ll still be here to make sure you know what it looks like not to be saturated in the toxicity of what’s socially acceptable. I’ll still be an example to my future kids, because I’m the generation in my legacy where being desensitized isn’t okay anymore; this ends with me.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.    -Philippians 4:8