The propaganda isn't. Not by a long shot. It is no secret that a number of writers in Hollywood were outright communists back in the days of the much villainized McCarthy, and that drips and drabs of propaganda were inserted back then, even if they rarely had the chance to make the entire movie anti-american. I've discussed before how even older plays and movies like Fiddler on the Roof were steeped in culture-destroying pro-communist propaganda. It had gotten so bad by the late 90's/early 00's that an outright self-proclaimed Trotskyite like Eric Flint could write 1632 and have it feel far more American than your typical Tor book.
The thing is that while sometimes the ugliness is overt - like the examples I showed yesterday or in American Beauty, or hell, look at the 70's (it can be argued that this current trend is a return to that kind of ugliness) - sometimes the real shiv is evil disguised as beauty.
Over at Kairos, Brian Neimeier points out the underlying evil of Pleasantville, referring to Blackpilled's discussion of the same (included at the end).
Blackpilled isn't exaggerating in the slightest. The header image of this post is a frame from Pleasantville wherein the female character pictured actually plucks an apple from a tree in a garden and gives it to the protagonist. This scene precipitates the chain of events leading to the whole town's irrevocable expulsion from the 1950's paradise kept and tended by benevolent patriarchs.
Now, you might call that an implicit critique of the characters' descent into fornication, adultery, and rebellion. It would be, had Pleasantville been written from a Christian point of view. It is not. The rebellious townspeople's eating of the forbidden fruit is strikingly portrayed as an unalloyed good in the visual language of film. Not only to those who partake change from dreary black and white to vibrant color, their rebellion is directly analogized to Atticus Finch's defense of Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird.
And that's it. I was admittedly unwise enough to not see that message when I first saw it years ago, and simply considered it a well-enough executed gimmick using black and white to color as a metaphor, playing off the "known" racism and other isms of the era, though didn't think the gimmick would hold up in repeated viewings.
Looking back, even simply thinking about the character arcs, it's far, far worse than that. I don't think Brian or Blackpilled are wrong in calling it satanic. Especially given the scene echoing Eve and the apple.
These, and many other reasons are why many of us are not only avoiding TV, but considering cutting the cord entirely.
The truth is I just don’t enjoy movies or television. Compared to reading or listening to audiobooks I find the process tedious and unstimulating. I can’t thing of the last time I really enjoyed a new movie. I find streaming services like Netflix especially irritating because of the choice paralysis involved. Every time I sit down I spend forty-five minutes scrolling through the lackluster choices until I pick something I’m not really that excited to about but feel compelled to watch because I just spent forty-five minutes looking for it. I would rather spend the time reading, writing, talking, cooking, or just about anything including just sitting in silence napping.
Yesterday my wife and I were discussing children, our childhood, and parenting styles. Television screen time came up. I don’t exactly remember how the conversation developed but my wife asked me if I thought getting rid of the television would be a good idea. As in getting rid of it completely and making a living room without one as the centerpiece. The point being that we would raise Juniper free of television.
My initial reaction was immediate approval. The only one who watches it regularly is my wife so my life would remain mostly unchanged. It would be a improvement because it would force us to come up with some better activities on weekend nights and get rid of the dread of being stuck in an endless loop of deciding what to watch.