Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

When the Messenger Deserves to Be Heard

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

When the Messenger Deserves to Be Heard

Article excerpt

FOR his recent pronouncements on family values, Dan Quayle has been getting a lot of derision from those journalistic pundits and Hollywood producers and intellectuals that he sees as a "cultural elite."

It's hard to be taken seriously - even when you are vice president - if you're the butt of Jay Leno's nightly humor and a prime target on "Saturday Night Live."

Politics are obviously in play here; Mr. Quayle is clearly out to recapture the muttering conservative right wing of the Republican Party for President Bush.

But if the critics are taking pot shots at the credibility of the messenger, what of the message itself? Could it be that there is something valid to what Quayle is saying about the importance of religion, and family values, and patriotism?

When he deplores the TV shows that extol pregnancy out of wedlock, when he questions condom giveaways in the schools and homosexual marriages, is he really as far removed from the mainstream of American thought as his critics would have us believe?

Is there a "cultural elite" and is it, in the salons of Hollywood and Georgetown, out of touch with the quality of thought in the American heartland?

If Quayle and his advisers are right, and substantial numbers of Americans deplore an emerging culture that promotes moral permissiveness and depicts violence and bestiality as everyday occurrences, then the Bush-Quayle camp is onto something of considerable significance to the outcome of this presidential election. If Quayle is wrong, and the cultural pornographers have already subverted our society, then we are in deep trouble.

What has been clear for some time is that some creators of our movies, videotapes, popular music, books, and magazines have reached the outer limits of tastelessness.

Listen to the vulgarity on some radio shows. Listen to the obscenity in some pop-music lyrics. Witness the graphic displays of sexuality on TV. Observe the array of violence from cannibalism to exploding brains in current movies, and there can be no denying that this adds up to a concerted assault on the values Quayle wants to preserve - and hopes most Americans want to preserve. …

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