Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Corruption of Popular Culture

I'm sure I'm not the first person to notice that about 90% of popular culture is a cesspool. But how bad is it? And what does it have to do with "Game?"

Last week, Peter Suderman deconstructed the love that many women have for Don Draper, a character on the hit TV show Mad Men.

Draper isn't sexy so much because he's a cad or a lout or a sexist; he's sexy because he's a fictionalized, idealized fantasy of an iconic form of masculinity.

Draper's womanizing and crude beliefs aren't what make him appealing so much as his impeccable suits -- always carefully pressed and form fitting -- and his posed cigarette smoking, his immaculately lit surroundings and the elegant way he holds a glass of scotch. As a fictional dreamboat, Draper never has to participate in the unsexy realities of life: He doesn't change diapers, or use the restroom, or spill coffee on his shirt on the way to work. Thanks to a team of screenwriters, he always has the right words to say, or not say, and those around him always provide him with opportunities for pregnant pauses and dramatic silences. We never see Draper except when he's at his most posed and perfect.

Your average cheating, borderline alcoholic sexist doesn't have these luxuries, and thus isn't nearly as charming or magnetic. Draper, on the other hand, is sexy and cool because he doesn't have to deal with any of the real world's un-sexy, un-cool realities. In other words, he's a product of TV's image-making process -- deeply and truly attractive, but in large part because he's made to be.

What does this have to do with Game? Well, for many young men, pornography (and especially Internet porn) is ubiquitous. Without getting into a long debate as to whether porn is moral or immoral, can we at least consider the possibility that porn may have distorted our opinions of women (in the same way Mad Men - and other shows - distort the opinion of men)?

Over time, porn may hinder a man's ability to distinguish between what's real and isn't real. We may begin to think it's normal for beautiful women to throw themselves at "the boy next door" (obviously the target for most porn) and fulfill his sexual desires. And that's where Game comes in. The proponents of Game are tapping into an anxiety felt in the hearts of many young men. The message is, "If your life isn't regularly filled with scenes from a 2-minute Internet porn clip, then there's something wrong with you. You need Game. And we can help."


No comments: