How Low Will Our Culture Go?

In Featured, Pop Culture by eric holmberg2 Comments

Last Friday night, Netflix began streaming the first season—ten episodes—of Big Mouth, a half-hour, animated “edgy comedy” (their words) that invites the viewer to “relive puberty from the safety of their sofa.” And mainstream critics so far have been unanimous in their praise of the series, garnering the show a coveted 100% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The twelve reviews posted so far shine a bright light on the worldview that animates much of the modern media industry as well as the broader culture that feeds from its trough. Each of them acknowledge the “really, really gross,” “explicit,” “filthy,” “lewd,” “bawdy,” “disgusting” manner in which the show treats adolescents’ “vigorous pursuit of carnal pleasure.” But it’s all fine because Big Mouth supposedly has a big heart as well. As Hillary Busis of Vanity Fair described it, “by underpinning (its) creatively dirty impulses with earnestness—while each one is occasionally a lot to swallow (snicker, snicker), as long as you know what you’re getting into, you’re likely to leave each feeling satisfied.” (“American Vandal and Big Mouth Are More Than Dick Jokes (Though the Dick Jokes Are Pretty Good)” Sept. 15, 2017)

A lot to swallow, indeed. Because when you boil it all down, the only earnestness that is being celebrated on Big Mouth and more and more throughout the broader culture is that human sexuality is a largely amoral enterprise—with informed consent being the one and only commandment. Gender is fluid, orgasms the holy grail, children should enjoy and fully explore their erotic potential, and the only taboo when it comes to sexual matters is that there’s to be no taboos.

Explore away, kiddies. It’s all good.

This is a profoundly curious thing that may very well lift the curtain on the supreme “god” at the heart of our culture. Because if you accept that it is manifest in the one agency or thing that a person or people will sacrifice the most to attain, then sex—even more than great money, fame or power (which most of us will never attain, while orgasms are readily available to everyone)—has all but become the lord of lords in our land.

Ridiculous, you say? Consider: we live in a time when the destructive potential of pollution, globalism, guns, genetically modified food, unchecked immigration, run-away capitalism, racism, artificial intelligence, vaccines…on and on…are endlessly discussed, legislated and protested against. Even something as comparatively minor as second-hand cigarette smoke has been subdued by the force of law and popular opinion.

But now consider “second-hand sex”, by which I mean the by-products and unintended consequences of absolutizing sexual “freedom.” Only God knows the extent of the myriad of whirlwinds our culture has here reaped. From sexually transmitted diseases on the blunt end of the stick to single-parent families on the other—with a hundred-and-one things in between—there is likely no other human enterprise that has cost us more and in so many ways.

Yet, we either ignore this hard truth or excuse it away. Worse, like Baal’s prophets of old, we continue to praise our idol, singing songs and creating cultural artifacts in its honor, all the while cutting ourselves and limping about its altar. (1 Kings 18:26,28)

I heard about Big Mouth and watched the trailers Netflix had posted online just a few hours before I happened to catch an interview NPR’s Terry Gross had with the creators of The Deuce, a new series on HBO. Set on the streets of New York in the early 1970s, this semi-fictional drama explores the legalization and ensuing rise of the porn industry. I was fascinated as first Terry and then the creators blithely owned up to the vast unintended culture consequences—the plumes of second-hand sex smoke—that arose from normalizing and then mainlining pornography. (LISTEN TO A THREE-MINUTE EXCERPT HERE)

So why be so alarmed by a mere cartoon, a propaganda piece with only a fraction of the voyeuristic power of, say, a Deep Throat? Well, here the much despised and rejected by progressives “slippery slope” paradigm comes into play. (Listen again to the interview. None of the three participants are conservative cranks.) Reducing sex down to only its erotic component lit the fuse on the bomb that was the beginning of the sexual revolution. Un-tethering it from marriage then threw it. As the resulting fire has blazed throughout the intervening decades, we have seen it progressively burn through one cultural cultural firewall after another: modesty scorched by pornography; respect and honor blackened by objectification; covenantal marriage wilted before the ravages of no-fault divorce; marriage disconnected from gender; and gender from biology.

And the final firewall?

I have interviewed a number of pastors and therapists, as well as people God has delivered from sex addictions. They have all said pretty much same thing: in the same way Sheol and Abaddon (the grave and destruction) are never satisfied, so the eyes of those who’ve been given over to lust. (Proverbs 27:20) The ensnared find they need things with a harder hit to still get the “high,” moving progressively further into depravity to keep in front of their ever-deadening sensibilities. As these steps become ever more transgressive, they lose sight of how far afield they have gone. Eventually, after exhausting other forms of perversion, vampirizing the innocence of children becomes the final frontier.

And for those who were themselves abused when they were young—and sadly there are many—that damage can make this derailment even more likely.

Tragically, the conditions necessary to give rise to this downward spiral took place as the Victorian era of sexual restraint gave way to the creeping religious skepticism and hyper-individualism of the 20th Century. A movement to normalize all forms of erotic activity, including in young people, began.

Leaning entirely on his own deductive powers—denying both God and the reality of any transcendent truth—Freud opened the door “scientifically”, positing that many psychopathologies are caused by unresolved erotic impulses during childhood. Ellis, Kinsey and other so-called sexologists then kicked the door down while the Hugh Hefners of the world chronicled it all for the popular culture. And homosexuality, with its long history and love affair with pederasty, has steadily pushed the agenda along. In 1990, two Harvard-trained scholars, themselves homosexuals, proposed that as same-sex orientation became more broadly accepted, the homosexual community could turn and “bless” the broader culture by helping normalize the idea that adolescents should be encouraged to explore their erotic potential. And if that includes being mentored both vocationally and sexually by older men after the style of the Greeks and Romans, so much the better. (Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen, After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90’s, 1989)

Big Mouth is the latest in a long line of mainstream media offerings to portray adolescence as a time of sexual obsession and experimentation floating breezily through an amoral landscape where virtually anything goes. Episode 1—which I held my nose and watched for the sake of this review (where do I sign-up for hazardous duty pay?)—featured a non-stop barrage of f*bombs, references to masturbation, ejaculation and sexual experimentation along with a nod to homosexuality, group sex, atheism and a jarring allusion to a sexualized relationship between a mother and son.

And keep in mind that the central figures caught up in all this depravity are 7th graders, young women and men between the ages of 12 and 13, a fact that even the opening credits of Big Mouth made clear. (VIEW A ONE-MINUTE EXCERPT HERE)

How did we get to this place?

Well, one only need ask the proverbial “frog in the kettle” to get a big part of the answer. And you can start with a very recent object lesson: how the vast majority of Americans less than a generation ago—and that would include even those on the left—would have scoffed at the idea of a person ever being able to marry a person of the same sex.

But then people got used to seeing and hearing about it through songs and shows. (VIEW A ONE-MINUTE VIDEO HERE)

And now, programs like Big Mouth are using shock humor and big media support to escalate the bombardment on a major fortification against one of the last stages of sexual chaos.


The first and most important thing is to examine yourself and see if there could be “fifth column” in your own heart concerning our culture’s creep towards Gomorrah. Are you drinking in any way from the dark cup Freud, Kinsey and Hefner helped fashion?

If you are, you are helping enable this, no matter how repulsive you may find it. If you’re a Christian, I ask you to soberly take stock of how you have cooperated with the process that got us here, and how you can take meaningful action to no longer aid and abet our society’s spiral towards destruction. (Luke 12:48) Repent, receive God’s grace…and then go and sin no more.

Pure and simple.

Secondly, remember that we are not passive observers, but active participants in life and culture. Please take a moment and register your concern with the suits at Netflix by going to With the simple push of a button, you can email them with your concerns.

Additionally, it won’t take you more than a few minutes of your time to tweet, repost, and share this article and the link with others and help create a groundswell of pushback. Thanks to the internet and social media, most of us can instantly reach out to dozens, hundreds and even thousands of people with just a few clicks of a mouse.

Remember: it’s not just you and your action, but all of us collectively making our voices heard that bends the ear of the giant.

Third, if you are a Netflix subscriber, consider whether you want to help pay for shows like Big Mouth. Though it was only the smallest fraction of a cent, the bottom-line is that your monthly subscription helped produce and then broadcast this show.

Fourth and last, pray. Because Big Mouth, though significant because of the focus of its assault, is but another in a long, long line of exhibits in the true trial of the century. America has declared war on both God and its own foundations. And without the gift of grace and revival, the gavel is going to fall.

And the verdict is not going to be pretty.

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2 Comments on "How Low Will Our Culture Go?"

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Dennis Petersen

Eric.. your assessment is right on. But how can we really expect good people to take the time to voice their objection to Netflix, let alone expect Netflix to change course? Without a Godly morally right alternative and a massive cultural reformation of true faith in God, the inevitable justice of God is the cathartic that will flush a depraved society into historic oblivion.