Movies teach us morals


I’ll buy it. The LGBT rights movement really did start getting a lot more mainstream support after gay characters started popping up in popular T.V. shows in the 1990s, and back in the 1950s anti-miscegination laws were still the norm before I Love Lucy.

Oh, yes, definitely. And remember when Ellen and Portia got married and their wedding photo was on People Mag? It’s not just television and movies!

Everything teaches us morals, even books, even blogs. And if you fill your day with horrible stuff, you will become horrible.

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Ellen DeGeneres is basically a one-woman microcosm of the gay rights movement over the last couple of decades. When she first came out publicly in 1997 it was a Pretty Big Controversy, and her sitcom was cancelled a year later due to falling ratings after ABC (and its parent company Disney) basically stopped promoting it. By 2003 she was voicing one of the main characters in a Disney/Pixar film with barely a protest to be heard.

…unless you’re Alison Arngrim ; -)

(Venn intersection of Davey & Goliath, gay awareness, moral teleplays, overcoming horribleness)

Morals are taught by storytelling. Any effective form of storytelling can (and often does) teach morals.

But nothing can “instill” morals. Learning is a dynamic process, in which the student actively participates. The student, sometimes guided by one or more teachers, chooses which stories to pay attention to, and which lessons to take from them.

Or not to take, as the case may be.

We are not passive buckets, having our morality “instilled” into us by any story we happen to read/hear/watch/listen to.

Movies tell us stories. What we learn is up to us.

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Why, yes, I am in fact aware of all of this and probably far more well versed in the subject than you are, so I don’t really need your explanation of the obvious. However, having her marriage on the cover of People Magazine was a BIG FUCKING DEAL, and part of the change of how gay people were represented in media. I wish I could find the article I read but it was well over a year ago. It talked about the significance of that moment – and how it signified ACCEPTANCE, rather than mere tolerance. People Magazine is huge and read mostly by house wives and such. Her talk show was also a big deal, and also part of the acceptance rather than mere tolerance of gay people. The magazine was just an extension of that.

It was also one of the first times where gay people were represented as REAL people (getting married!), and not just caricatures of themselves, especially in MASS media (rather than niche gay magazines). Will & Grace was a great, ground-breaking show, for example, but it was still a bit “ha ha ha, look at this funny gay caricature!” rather than “these are real people doing human things”.

That People Magazine cover signified a huge change that Ellen was a big part of creating, not just because of her TV show, but because of her TALK show, wherein she talks often about LGBQT civil rights.

When I saw that magazine at my local CVS, it was the moment when I went “Ah-hah!” and realized that there was no turning back.

Trust me, for us non-straight people, seeing two lesbians get married on the cover of People mag was a Big Fucking Deal.

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I think you give humanity a little more credit than we deserve. I think we’re way more passive than you want to believe. Why do you think advertising is so damn effective, even on those of us who claim to be more enlightened?

Passive absorption is a choice.

Many people make stupid choices. They’re primates.

It’s like that on planet Earth, IME.

I hope you don’t think you’re immune to passive absorption. If so, you’re very naive, and also passively absorbing more than you even realize, which is ironic. Your assurance that you’re not doesn’t mean much. We’re only human and the brain is pretty stubborn. Just consider how shoddy our memory is and yet how SURE we are that we’re remembering things as they actually happened, which is actually not the case at all. There is a reason advertising works, and it’s because our brains take in a lot more than we – including you – are conscious of.

Also, I initially typed “passive abortion” lol

Well we tend to normalize our behavior according to those around us who we know, and the strange thing about celebreties is the extant to which it feels like we know them.

You may rest assured that I do not think what you hope I don’t.

(Honestly, I’m not even sure what “immune to passive absorption” would mean… but immune-related metaphors confuse me, probably because I have an excessively detailed understanding of the topic thanks to… um, stuff.)

I can also assure you that I’m a very long way from naive. Especially about advertising and… um… related propaganda methods, teehee!

And, yeah, I’m a primate too. I already knew that. Don’t really need a condescending lecture about it, thanks.

But hey, maybe the unwashed masses will benefit from reading it.

[I do think, though, that I’m probably immune to passive abortions. =:-) ]

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If you’re male, you’re totally immune to passive abortions! If you’re female, then probably not. :wink:

For many of us olds, gay-acceptance-via-entertainment-media was an '80s two-stage process (sadly, built on illness): first the love, then the reveal. '85 - Rock Hudson; '86 - Steve Tracy (played Nellie Oleson’s husband in Little House; '87 - Liberace.

For many middle-aged moms/aunts/grandmas (and Nancy Reagan), those three deaths took ‘gay’ out of some faraway closet and landed it right in their living rooms. Lots of dads/uncles/grandpas were suddenly no longer allowed to make ‘faggot’ remarks in mixed company, and lots of kids started getting lessons on, if not acceptance, at least tolerance.

(Not disputing your post, just augmenting it with an older generation’s view. On phones, BBS doesn’t show which post you’re responding to, so I may be missing your context.)

  1. Briefly explains the obvious.
  2. Gets mad when someone else elaborates on the obvious.
  3. Proceeds to elaborate the shit out of the obvious, because who doesn’t love those who explain the obvious?

Ouch. I was trying to voice agreement, not to be condescending. Sorry if it came off the wrong way.


It’s pretty obvious that movies affect morals when you look at how movies are updated for remakes. Current social concerns are incorporated into the storytelling. Here’s an example:


In the original Robocop (1987), major themes are human workers versus robot, the corporation versus society, workers striking, and the downfall of civilization (it takes place in a dystopia, and this was during the cold war).

In the 2014 remake, corporations are still running things, but the dystopia is gone, and the fear is now not androids, but militarized drones. In this version, dirty cops and Congress appear.

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@s2redux No, you’re totally correct, and I actually was considering that when I was making the comment but didn’t want to take up too much space. I suppose I should have clarified that I was talking about the more modern movement. :slight_smile: I was born in '81 so that’s basically my starting reference point. AND I remember your Little House example, and of course Liberace!

It definitely happened in different stages, which is why I mentioned Will & Grace. That was a groundbreaking show, but like I said, still on the caricature side of things,. And let’s consider the newer sitcom Modern Family! Less about a caricature/stereotype, and more about showing how real gay people might live (well, in TV land).

And how can we forget MTV’s Real World? People may joke about it, but the first couple of seasons were amazingly groundbreaking in regards to gay people and HIV/AIDS.

Honestly, I think TV has been bigger in the normalization of LBGTQ people than movies have. Movies always seem to be behind the times – even now they are, when you consider the TV Renaissance we’re living in right now. And just look at Orange is the New Black and the wonderful Laverne Cox!

@Brainspore Thank you. I was being a little too sensitive, though, because I just went through this with someone else (who was straight) who was a bit of a know-it-all on a similar subject they didn’t really understand. So I appreciate your apology and understanding why I was somewhat annoyed. :smile:

@bwv812 Okay? It’s been resolved. Please stay out of the conversation unless you have something to actually add to it rather than just poking the bear for amusement. I’m not falling for it.

This is perhaps a little off-topic, but consider horror movies and how they change with the culture of the times. There is a reason Zombies are such a big thing now.