Let me go on record saying thus far I’ve never picked a urinal for a serious discussion. According to Hollywood means I’m hopelessly uncool. Because you see urinals are the latest convention.
This year that word mostly has a political meaning. But there’s a more important one: “A convention is an accepted usage or way of behaving in a society.” They provide predictability and order. For instance it’s deemed conventional that children address adults by their titles…women not men wear dresses…bathing suits aren’t worn at formal affairs…men and women use separate toilets.
But here’s my problem.
Whenever Hollywood creates another convention on the screen, the cool people tend to adopt it. For example it’s now conventional in some quarters that junior highs have proms…senior highs have proms with limos and weekend trips…dating has been replaced by hooking-up and hooking-up includes protected sex… drugs and fast cars are part of modern manhood; no-strings-attached is part of modern womanhood…and as for virginity, well it’s probably not part of either!
I don’t mean this as another Hate-Horrible-Hollywood diatribe. Hollywood has also generated positive conventions over the years. Boy-meets-girl-boy-gets-girl…courage trumps cowardice… honor wins in the end…and we always find a hero by the last reel.
And yet here’s what’s happening. The cool conventions are generating the hottest gate-receipts, while the positive ones are sorta left to Disney. Boy-girl plots have grown darker…courage is often defeated by conspiracy…honor and heroes get replaced by horror and anti-heroes. All the while the actual headlines — from doped athletes to corrupt pols to predator coaches and clergy — seem to keep confirming Hollywood’s worst conventions.
Who’s left to trust…? Who’s left to honor…? Oh wait! Instead of finding the answers, maybe we have to become the answers.
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