The Ongoing Quest for Uplifting Moral Entertainment

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It’s a lament we’ve long heard from cultural scolds: Entertainment these days is just too raunchy. Whatever happened to nice, decent, moral films and television? Whether the halcyon days of wholesome pop culture ever actually existed is debatable, but the CAMIE (Character And Morality In Entertainment) Awards intend to put the brakes on our culture’s collective backslide by recognizing films and shows that, according to the organization’s website, “provide positive role models for building character, overcoming adversity, correcting unwise choices, strengthening families, living moral lives, and solving life’s problems with integrity and perseverance–realizing some lessons of life come with pain and sorrow.”

The 2008 CAMIE awards were held last month, and the winners included such family-friendly films as Miss Potter and Bridge to Terabithia as well as the Hallmark Hall of Fame‘s presentation of The Note. (In fact, four of the five nominees in the made-for-TV movie category were produced under the aegis of the Hallmark corporation, which has apparently cornered the wholesome TV-movie market.)

CAMIE is just one component of what Reason‘s Greg Beato calls “Hollywood’s Decency Epidemic,” as the mainstream media, particularly big Hollywood studios, are dedicating unprecedented dollars to the sort of G-rated entertainment frequently advocated by religious groups and other conservative culture warriors; one example of this supposed paradigm shift is Fox’s new Christian media division, Fox Faith. But what neither Beato nor CAMIE seem to acknowledge is that money talks nowhere as loudly as in Hollywood, where the major studios collect the lion’s share of their revenue from 17-year-olds who pay to see shoot-em-up blockbusters and teen sex comedies.

All the same, after perusing the entries in CAMIE’s 2008 winners’ circle, this impressionable pop culture blogger is considering expunging the more salacious items on his Netflix queue in favor of more uplifting fare like The Ultimate Gift and Love’s Unending Legacy.

Image of A Fair Puritan by E. Percy Moran licensed under Wikimedia Commons.

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