Relearning Disgust

One thing that didn’t occur to me immediately after returning to Christianity was just how desensitised I have become to things that really should disgust me. This is with regard to basically everything including violent and sexual imagery and vulgar language. It isn’t that I don’t know whether or not something is wrong – I do. The problem is that I don’t feel the disgust I should and that would have been commonly felt not too long ago.

Think simply for example about a movie like Back to the Future which is generally considered suitable for children. In that movie the main character screams “Holy sh*t!” multiple times. That’s just one example from a movie and running through the film, I could probably find a whole series of issues. Drawing on from this, think how casual people have become about using phrases like “God damn it!” which has lost most of it’s meaning in modern times since people will employ it for any slight discomfort they may have and are unconscious of its etymology

What originally got me thinking about this was a post by Ann Barnhardt about the Ariana Grande concert massacre in Manchester last year. This event seems to be all but down the memory hole but her main point is just as relevant. Put simply; that a terrorist or a madman can certainly take your life, but they can’t take your soul. Ariana Grande’s music is marketed towards young women and the content is blatantly pornographic. This is what can take your soul. What shocked me reading this though was not so much the content but just how little innuendo there was.

Early last year, I wanted to use a song by a pop group that I remembered when I was a teenager. It seemed like a nice, wholesome song for a farewell theme. When I listened to it though, I noticed the innuendo immediately and a quick Internet search confirmed this though it was certainly obvious. If you must know the song in question can be found here.  I got thinking just how conscious I could have been about this when I was younger and began wondering how much media would effect me subconsciously. I honestly wouldn’t have a good answer.

To get back to the purpose of the post, I have noticed that while my eyes have become aware of how awful this content is, I don’t find myself personally disgusted by any of it. This bothers me and I think I am right to be bothered. I am also well aware that most people not only aren’t bothered by it; they aren’t bothered that they aren’t bothered. I expect I would be called a prude and maybe I want to be. Because if being prudish means being disgusted by eight year old girls singing songs about getting sodomised until they can’t walk properly, then I certainly want to be a prude.

The problem is I’m just not really offended, disgusted, appalled or shocked by any of this. Can it be relearned? I don’t know. If it can be, it seems that the only way is to consciously avoid such content. This is what I’m trying to do. None of this is to say I’ll be acting in a way that people would enjoy lampooning such as putting covers on piano legs. I just mean that I should consciously avoid exposing myself to media that is violent or vulgar just for the sake of being violent and vulgar. There is more to pornography than the merely sexual after-all. Much of the horror genre for example just delights in showing grotesque creatures or people killing in the most visually gruesome ways. There is nothing edifying about it.

As with my pledge to stop supporting Hollywood, this will be difficult if only because of how easy it is (even indirectly), to support such content: but I will try. I hope that my children can grow up with a better sense of the sacred and profane than I have.

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