Last week, in Atheist Contempt For Judeo-Christian Values, I lamented how our culture is in a downward spiral. The increasing things in our culture seem to be:
- Obscenities in our movies, games, books, music, media.
I think these increases are bad for society, in fact, I say these things, combined with a general amorality, will be the downfall of the west.
Now, if I’m right, if these things really are increasing, there should be evidence to support it, yeah? Otherwise, I’m just being a prude puritan, and these things have always existed at their current levels.
Good news: we’ve got some hard data to back this up.
For 6 years, Google has taken 5 million books (!) and turned them digital. Thanks to the internet and the ability to quickly search through millions of books in seconds, this lets us do some interesting experiments that would not have been possible in previous generations.
The experiment I want to run is on the obscenities used in pop culture in the last 100 years. And what better way to measure than than by looking at the common media form in use for this last century: books!
So, has obscenities increased in our books? Or is my prudish mind just imagining things?
Amusing, ain’t it? Up, up, and away! To Obscenity Boulevard we go!
Particularly amusing is the “s***” and “f***” lines (blue and red, respectively), showing a heavy increase in usage with the advent of the 1960s. It’s also worth noting a steady increase in all those obscenities since the 1960s.
That timing shouldn’t be surprising. As I wrote in Atheist Contempt,
In some ways, our current culture is an inheritance of the values of the 1960s: politically left, free love, drugs, free everything. But now the sexual liberation has been extended, and the “spirit in the sky” is now a myth of the ancients.
Sexual terminology, especially taboos, have likewise increased:
Rape has greatly increased. References to pornography has increased steadily since the 1960s, with a major increase during the 1980s. This timing may be explained by the invention of the internet, which put pornography at everyone’s fingertips.
The increase in references to homosexual terms is also interesting, picking up the largest gains since the 1980s, even more than pornography. The term “gay” increased as well, but there was already significant usage of that term prior to 1960s, due its alternate, innocuous meaning (“happy”).
Amusingly, the only one that hasn’t increased much is adultery, perhaps due to it being a longstanding and perhaps more common sin in western society. Or perhaps I’m just using the wrong search terms.
One thing is certain: obscenities and violence and sexuality is increasing in our pop culture, in our books, movies, music, games, and media. Our culture is in a downward spiral.
And if you don’t agree, you’re #!$%ing blind.