top of page

The Subdue and Rule Mandate, Delving Into Domains: Entertainment Media


HighBeamMinistry.com

“Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)


“Movies can and do have tremendous influence in shaping young lives in the realm of entertainment towards the ideals and objectives of normal adulthood.” (Walt Disney)


“Anyone who tries to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn’t know the first thing about either.” (Marshall McLuhan)


We can only scratch the surface as we move into the following two parts of the Media and Technology Domain section, entertainment and social media. But once you become aware of how entertainment and social media tools can be used to either Subdue and Rule or Conquer and Dominate, you’ll begin to see them in action, and you are their target.


As before, Subdue and Rule is about our inherent drive to bring our personal world, the world we experience daily, under control and maintain that control. Because our urge to Subdue and Rule motivates us, we evaluate, plan, and execute daily activities to cultivate and protect our little circle of life and the sphere of influence we extend into the general world.


Interaction is necessary because other people’s worlds intersect with ours, such as it was with Adam and Eve. Interaction necessitates coordination. Interaction is desirable because it multiplies efforts and expands results. A house becomes a home. A marriage often becomes a family, an extension of both parents into the world through their children, grandchildren, and descendants. The impact of what we’ve taught our children echoes in some measure through all successive generations.


So, what are we teaching them?


Information conveys knowledge. Knowledge, forged in the fires of experience, creates wisdom. Information is our essential starting point. Information about God is foundational because it conveys knowledge about God. Knowledge about God, forged in the fires of walking with God experientially, creates godly wisdom and builds our relationship with Him.


Paul puts it this way, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about him (there’s the needed information)? And how can they hear without a preacher (there’s the medium of conveyance)? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news…So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ” (Romans 10:13-17, italics author)


The most important information we can share with our children is our experiential knowledge of God. Then as they put that knowledge into practice, we guide our children, training them to walk with God after they let go of our hands and take His.


But alas, there’s information that conveys a different kind of knowledge, which competes with and often contradicts godly knowledge. Worldly knowledge leads to foolishness, the wrong way to live, as opposed to righteousness, living God’s way. Hebraically speaking, foolishness means making immoral, ungodly, and anti-God choices about how to live our God-given lives.


Since receiving the right or wrong information about God greatly determines our course in life and our ultimate destiny, we must ask, “What information are we getting and from whom?” It’s either about God from His sources leading us to Jesus or about sin from rebellious sources leading us away from Him.


From a Christian worldview, those are the only two choices.


So, which is louder, the lone voice that speaks for God or the combined voices of our culture? Sadly, it’s all too often the culture’s voice.


Sure, we don’t want to raise socially isolated children or live isolated lives (although that’s very tempting at times). Remember, God sent us into the world to inform everyone about Jesus. But we must be prepared for culture’s onslaught crashing against the gates of ourselves, family, friends, and nation, trying to Conquer and Dominate as many persons as possible.


In the last part, we looked at how the media can be a tool to help humanity subdue and rule the world in cooperation with other people or conquer and dominate it to control as many people as possible.


In the following two parts, I want to highlight how entertainment and social media can benefit humanity’s Subdue and Rule Mandate and how they can be used to Conquer and Dominate people to drive them toward predetermined thinking and living and keep them submissive.


Entertainment and social media hugely benefit humanity as news media does through cultivating, conveying, and expressing information and ideas. Ponder for a moment the immense amount of information and ideas you receive throughout your day. Now consider how many times just today you’ve actively searched for information to help you shape, secure, and maintain your life.


Go ahead. I’ll wait.


Amazing, isn’t it? I wake up to news and commentary, search the internet over my morning coffee, and then research topics with my eye on the Bible throughout the day. I tune in to streaming services to learn about cooking, history, or local events and news and slide into social media to see what’s up with friends and acquaintances and who is ranting about what. In the evening, I wind down with a movie or television series with my wife and cap off my media feast with a quick look at what’s happening on the other side of the world that’s already at work as I drift off to sleep.


Wow, after writing this, I realize that I gorge myself on information daily, and there’s no end. Solomon wrote, “There is no end to the making of many books, and much study wearies the body” (Ecclesiastes 12:12). Well, he had no idea what entertainment and social media would bring!


We must be discriminating because there’s so much information coming at us from these two media outlets. As I wrote, we must learn to choose between reliable and unreliable sources. Now I suggest we learn to discriminate between worthwhile and unworthy information, which seeks to set us free and help us work well with others, versus that which tries to take control of our thinking and lives. Food is food, but there’s a vast difference between a well-balanced, nutritious meal and a high-fat, high-sugar gluttony fest. One helps, and the other hurts, which pretty much describes entertainment and social media.


Both have the same Conquer and Dominate functions as the news media. Those are:


· To control the narrative to control people.


· To curate information to influence thinking and action. This is not about whether the information is accurate or inaccurate but about controlling the information we receive via those seeking power to shape our thinking and move us toward their desired goals.


· To attack people who refuse to submit to control and remain compliant. While entertainment media has been one prong of the attack, social media has proven much more vicious and destructive, as attackers often use what we share as justification to hurt us.


There is no doubt that entertainment and social media are highly effective tools for social manipulation. Both can be dangerous because they lull and lure us into dropping our mental guard, making it easy for the creator/artist to insert ideas, viewpoints, and philosophies in our heads to steer our worldview and, subsequently, the culture. “The media, a powerful social system, heavily influence an individual’s perception of the world. It is important to remember that even people who limit their time in front of the TV still feel the consequences of media exposure” (tutorialspoint.com).


So true. As an experiment, note what you watch on television throughout the evening. What has been communicated to you? How did it affect your emotions? Has it changed your thinking in any way? You may be surprised at how much it influenced you, for good or bad. As Marshall McLuhan puts it, “Anyone who tries to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn’t know the first thing about either.”


Entertainment media

The worst poison is the one that tastes sweet. At least bitter poison repulses us, giving us a chance to push it away. Sweet poison lures us into consuming increasing amounts until we’re doomed. Entertainment media can be used like sweet poison, deceptively enticing us to drink increasing drafts while the poisoner’s agenda spreads through our minds as they attempt to kill whatever aspect of culture they’ve targeted.


“When content creators are vested in a certain societal aim, that interest will alter the message they send through the media. The producers provide media content to either support or counteract specific arguments. Most institutions, including governments, businesses, NGOs, and educational institutions, actively influence media coverage to further their agendas and ideals. At its most oppressive, governmental level, this media influence can constitute propaganda, defined as communication that aims to influence its target audience for ideological, political, or commercial reasons. The truth is typically twisted, facts are cherry-picked, and emotional appeals are used in propaganda, though this is not always the case” (tutorialspoint.com, italics author).


Nothing illustrates this more effectively than today’s entertainment media.


Using Art and Entertainment as social commentary and influence is nothing new. Humanity’s Subdue and Rule Mandate constantly pushes us to improve the world around us for everyone’s benefit. The Arts and Entertainment have served that purpose well. “Through caricature, satire, symbolism, and allegory, artists have commented both explicitly and subversively on everything from vanity and excess to corruption and greed, and poked fun at everyone from the anonymous masses to the privileged elite” (learner.org). The artist often astutely reveals what is right or wrong in their view and, by doing so, implies what could be if specific corrections were made.


But when a particular art form is used to push society in a specific direction, the creator’s motive shifts from Subdue and Rule to Conquer and Dominate as they seek control over people and the culture. Sadly, as Neville Naidoo of Movieweb.com puts it, too many recent movies push “so much wokeness by forcing cultural agendas down audiences’ throats, they can often kill the plots of such movies, or at least draw attention away from what could’ve been a gripping narrative.”


Movies. Sometimes movies are used to push an agenda to control how the culture regards specific issues, such as racism. Please don’t misunderstand me. Actual racism, the “belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race” (merriam-webster.com) is evil because God created everyone equal regardless of melatonin levels.


Racism must be addressed quickly and firmly; however it appears. That’s when it’s appropriate to use Subdue and Rule to benefit people. Is it not right to bring racism under control and maintain a racism-free society? Of course. How could movies be used to Subdue and Rule racism? By expanding the cast with racially diverse characters and not using racial stereotypes. While it’s good to break racial stereotypes purposefully, there are times when race plays an essential part in a plotline, a historical period, or a specific event. In that case, race should be honestly acknowledged without the charge of racism. However, when the anti-racism agenda overrides a cinematic story’s plot or purpose, addressing racism can slip into Conquer and Dominate mode. It can also spoil a great movie.


If I may be transparent, I refused to see most movies that Christians produced with Christian themes in the past because they were just too preachy. The director’s agenda of sharing the Gospel was often done awkwardly and in a heavy-handed way to the point where I would roll my eyes and think, “If I find this preachy, what does the non-believer think?” Even a Christian film that tries to push or manipulate people toward God verges on Conquer and Dominate.


But now it’s terrific that Christian movie-makers have matured in their craft. The Jesus Revolution and Nefarious have earned critical acclaim without sacrificing their spiritual integrity. The recent hit, Sound of Freedom, is taking the world by storm, revealing the terrible evil of child sex trafficking while resting on a clear biblically moral message, “God’s children are not for sale!” (Jim Caviesal as Tim Ballard). Sound of Freedom shows how a movie can be well-crafted to present a problem, offer a positive solution, and shape godly worldviews without using Conquer and Dominate techniques.


Getting back to the racism issue, we can identify Conquer and Dominate being deployed when the movie’s drive to correct racism is reduced to glorifying the target minority while demonizing the target majority. As Mr. Naidoo points out regarding the second Black Panther movie Wakanda Forever, “One of the arguments here is that it elevated the fictional African kingdom of Wakanda to completely unrealistic proportions, while demonizing European country’s (sic) such as France - possibly as a dig against France’s Colonial history on the continent.”


What would a Subdue and Rule director do? They would combat racism by placing the characters on an equal footing or highlighting unique characteristics that transcend race. Subdue and rule recognizes race without making an issue of it except when race pertains specifically to the storyline and overall purpose of the movie.


On the other hand, a movie director’s Conquer and Dominate approach would use overt racism to combat racism, a common tactic of today’s cultural Marxist philosophy. But fighting racism with racism is contradictory, ineffective, and frankly, ridiculous. But then again, what does being self-contradictory and nonsensical mean to an institution bent on driving its viewpoints and values into its audiences’ heads?


What applies to combatting racism is true for misogyny, the “hatred of, aversion to, or prejudice against women” (merriam-webster.com). A Subdue and Rule approach would be to confront misogyny honestly when the storyline calls for it. Male and female characters should establish their value based on who they are, not according to gender stereotypes, unless you’re dealing with a genre that purposefully deploys or skewers those stereotypes because the plot calls for it to reflect historical attitudes, customs, or mores.


Conversely, a Conquer and Dominate approach often uses the same “glorify vs. demonize” technique as with racism. One example of Hollywood trying to Conquer and Dominate our culture in the area of male-female relationships is making the women in the commercial, television series, or movie super-capable people while the men, usually the husband, are portrayed as the doofus who serves as the butt of the jokes. Doubt me? Just watch an evening of commercials.


Another Conquer and Dominate technique to fight misogyny is a blatant attempt to replace men with women. Recent examples include transforming the traditional and well-established all-male team to an all-female squad in Ghostbusters (2016). Despite having three typically funny women in the starring roles, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, and Kate McKinnon (Leslie Jones, not so much), the film fell flat because the audience wasn’t buying what the director was selling. From the start, we knew this remake of Ghostbusters was intended to fight “misogynistic attitudes in society. These outward attempts to re-imagine the original cast in a diverse way was seen as nothing more than a cultural gimmick, despite featuring many talented stars” (Naidoo).


A recent star of the Conquer and Dominate drive to shape the culture via entertainment media is the LGBTQ-ETC movement. In previous decades, primarily the 60s and 70s, homosexual relationships were merely hinted at or treated as outliers in society.


However, with the rise of the LGBTQ-ETC lobby and their plethora of media sympathizers, the LGBTQ-ETC movement has been pushed front and center. The movement’s goal is simple. It’s to move from recognition to toleration to acceptance to embracing, and finally, to celebration. And as with racism and misogyny, it’s not enough to raise the victim class, but the perceived oppressor (usually straight white males) must be diminished. Homosexual couples are increasingly highlighted and centralized to be seen as mainstream and the norm, just as heterosexual couples are.


Movie examples include the same-sex relationships and kisses in Disney’s Lightyear (2022) and Eternals (2021), in addition to the increasingly frequent addition of gay and lesbian characters in Finding Dory (2016), the LeFou character in Beauty and the Beast (2017), the first lesbian parents of color in Toy Story 4 (2019), the first lesbian character, Specter, in the Disney Pixar film Onward (2020), the first major gay character, MacGregor, in Jungle Cruise (2021), and the first openly gay teen romance in Strange World (2022), among other Disney films and television shows (out.com).


Do I need to point out that all these movies were marketed to children? It clearly shows the Disney Company’s sad commitment to Conquer and Dominate the culture by subtly indoctrinating the most impressionable and intellectually unguarded people in society, children.


Disney’s founder, Walt Disney, understood the influential effect movies have on shaping children. “Movies can and do have tremendous influence in shaping young lives in the realm of entertainment towards the ideals and objectives of normal adulthood.” (Walt Disney)


It’s terrible how the Disney company has gone woke and is now using Walt’s original vision to Conquer and Dominate children into accepting lifestyles and behaviors God highly condemns (Deuteronomy 22:5; Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26-27).


It’s clear Disney has been to normalizing LGBTQ-ETC behavior and lifestyle through gradualism and has been since Disney’s first gay married couple in Zootopia (2016). The best part of the above article is that it’s from out.com, a loud and proud pro-LGBTQ-ETC website. The article reveals how Disney has been insidiously grooming families into accepting-embracing-celebrating LGBTQ-ETC sexuality.


Television. Sadly, using gradualism to indoctrinate people isn’t limited to the movie entertainment medium. Television has long been the frontier for pushing agendas to take control of the culture.


When my wife and I begin watching a new series (often “highly recommended” by friends), we start with a game. We try to guess how many episodes will play until the series introduces the obligatory gay or lesbian couple or slam the audience with a same-gender sex scene. Although it’s not scientific, my observation is that the number of episodes is getting lower and lower.


One recent series, The Last Of Us (a zombie-fest for those so inclined), made it a whole three episodes. The series was based on a video game that never had a same-sex couple in the storyline. What’s most notable is what the producer said about why he included a stand-alone episode to portray a same-sex couple sympathetically. “Peter Hoar…wanted to show that gay love is as normal as any other kind of love. He says he tricked audiences into experiencing it so he could get that message across, conveying that queerness isn’t something to shy away from” (thegamer.com).


That’s pure propaganda.


But should we be surprised? As the LGBTQ-ETC’s visibility and influence have risen over the last 50+ years since the 1969 Stonewall Riot, the movement’s efforts have intensified to encourage, cajole, and even threaten society as a whole to recognize, tolerate, accept, embrace, and celebrate homosexuality as normative.


Remember, Conquer and Dominate seeks to control the narrative to control people. That’s done by curating information to influence thinking and action, and the goal is to override the biblical principles and values that are this nation’s foundation and replace it with a distinctly un-and even anti-biblical morality and worldview. The issue is not about whether the information is accurate or inaccurate but about controlling the information we receive by those seeking power to move our thinking and actions toward their desired goals.


Television has played a significant role in influencing our culture to accept homosexuality as mainstream. According to GLAAD (the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), at the launch of the 2007-08 television season, the group estimated that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) scripted characters represent only 1.1% of all series regular characters on the five broadcast networks. GLAAD’s current research shows that this percentage has grown to 11.9%. Another statistical group notes that LGBTQ characters in the 2021-2022 seasons ranged from CBS 6.6% to 17.1% on the CW Network (statista.com).


However, the Gallup Poll and GLAAD’s research report that the range of professed LGBTQ-ETC persons in our population ranges from just 4.5% (gallup.com) to 7.2% (glaad.org) of the population. With larger percentages presented on television versus actual societal ratios, plus repeated exposure to those characters and significance to the storyline, we could reasonably conclude the unequal representation is either a mistake or intentional. However, knowing the LGBTQ-ETC community’s hunger for recognition, acceptance, and celebration, it’s obviously intentional.


There is no doubt that television entertainment pushes its homosexual agenda by increasing exposure to desensitize and promote acceptance of the LGBTQ-ETC lifestyle. That said, is it any wonder the percentage of US citizens accepting same-sex marriage rose from 27% in 1996 to 71% in 2023 (Ibid.)?


Propaganda works.


Music. Finally, the music world is an entertainment medium through which information flows, knowledge is shared, and encouragement to experience is pushed. Once again, music is simply a tool, like all other media, to cultivate, convey, and express thoughts, ideas, and feelings to other people. How that tool is used depends on the moral or immoral nature of the artist.


Every generation has had its art and artists who were viewed as rebellious iconoclasts striking at the heart of artistic convention and social norms and values. Richard Wagner’s Parsifal (1882) was deemed anti-Semitic, Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring caused a riot in 1913, and Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” (1939), based on the practice of lynching African Americans, was banned from radio play in 1941. But while these compositions challenged musical norms and, in Wagner’s case, floated offensive ideas, large segments of today’s music popularize, idealize, and promote illicit sex, gross misogyny (and by gross, I mean disgusting), drug abuse, unrestrained materialism, disturbing violence (suicide, murder, cop-killing), and nearly every kind of anti-social behavior known to man.


Yes, yes. I hear the cry, “But music has always been a medium of teenage angst and rebellion that pushes cultural boundaries.” That’s true. Older generations often lament the art forms and expressions of the younger generation trying to find its independence from their “parent generation.” But from my limited sixty-plus years of experience, I’ve listened and watched as the music world has lurched from the scandal of Elvis Presley’s hip gyrations to pornographic works like W.A.P. by Cardi B and shockingly ultra-violent songs like Kim by Eminem, both of which I reference and neither of which I recommend listening to or watching the video. Absolutely not.


My point in bringing up music is it’s part of the entertainment media and is another tool we created to help influence our world, preferably in a beneficial way. Like the news media, movies, and television, music is a Subdue and Rule creation that can (and has) been twisted and perverted into a tool to control people, albeit in subtle ways, primarily via various levels of influence.


Whether music is in Subdue and Rule or Conquer and Dominate mode depends on:


1) The artist’s intent to influence or control,


2) Whether a musical piece is morally neutral like the Little River Band’s Reminiscing (1978) (one of my longtime favorites), pro-God like Toby Mac’s Help Is On The Way (2021), or immoral and blatantly anti-God like Deicide’s Blame It On God (2207),


3) Whether the song leads people to God or is meant to seduce people away from Him, and


4) Does the song encourage, inspire, motivate, and challenge people to positive action, or does it discourage, depress, or manipulate people to emulate those with immoral, materialistic, and ungodly lives?


The solutions to the entertainment media’s Conquer and Dominate mode are simple. As with the news media, we must learn to discern and to know when we’re being pushed or enticed by the artist. We must develop our “spidey senses” (hat tip to Spider-Man) to detect the metaphorical or literal spirit behind the entertainment we’re experiencing. We must develop an awareness of and submission to the Holy Spirit, who helps us set boundaries per God’s standard and stay within them.


Doing these things is challenging because so many things that entertain us are comprised of exciting and compellingly good content, except for that one little thing inserted to influence or control you and society. “No, really! That pan of brownies is wonderful, even though I used a tablespoon of poison to make them. Don’t worry. You’ll be fine.” At what point does the metaphorical poison affect us? Often, we find out too late. We must not allow entertainment media to compromise our biblical values and beliefs, no matter how alluring a movie, television show, or song is.


On a positive note, we need to support those producing outstanding entertainment content like the television series, The Chosen. I was thrilled to watch every episode because I finally found content that hit me viscerally, brought God’s word to life, and glorified Jesus without being preachy. The fun part is that such programming is top-rated and shows Hollywood they no longer corner the market on entertainment.


Yes, let’s enjoy entertainment. There’s nothing inherently sinful about it. But it’s a tool that takes on the morality of the one wielding it. As for us, let’s follow Paul’s guideline, “Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

Sources:

Movies Where a Cultural Agenda Killed the Plot, movieweb.com/woke-movies-cultural-agenda


What makes art an effective form of social commentary or political criticism?, learner.org/series/art-through-time-a-global-view/conflict-and-resistance/compare-what-makes-art-an-effective-form-of-social-commentary-or-political-criticism

The Negative Effect of Social Media on Society and Individuals, smallbusiness.chron.com/negative-effect-social-media-society-individuals-27617.html

Effects of Social Media, socialmediavictims.org/effects-of-social-media


64% of Americans say social media have a mostly negative effect on the way things are going in the U.S. today, pewresearch.org/short-reads/2020/10/15/64-of-americans-say-social-media-have-a-mostly-negative-effect-on-the-way-things-are-going-in-the-u-s-today

Just How Harmful Is Social Media? Our Experts Weigh-In., publichealth.columbia.edu/news/just-how-harmful-social-media-our-experts-weigh

How Does Media Influence Culture and Globalization?, tutorialspoint.com/how-does-media-influence-culture-and-globalization

Role of Media in Influencing Culture and Society, tutorialspoint.com/role-of-media-in-influencing-culture-and-society

The Last Of Us Director Tricked People To Show Gay Romance Is “The Same Love,” thegamer.com/the-last-of-us-director-tricked-people-gay-romance-same-love-episode-three

A Brief Timeline of Disney’s 17 ‘First Gay Characters,’ out.com/film/2022/3/22/disneys-first-out-lgbtq-gay-characters#rebelltitem31

In U.S., Estimate of LGBT Population Rises to 4.5%, gallup.com/poll/234863/estimate-lgbt-population-rises.aspx?g_source=link_NEWSV9&g_medium=TOPIC&g_campaign=item_&g_content=In%2520U.S.%2c%2520Estimate%2520of%2520LGBT%2520Population%2520Rises%2520to%25204.5%2525

Where We Are on TV Report: 2007 – 2008 Season, glaad.org/publications/tvreport08/

GLAAD’S 2021-2022 Where We Are on TV Report: LGBTQ Representation Reaches New Record Highs, glaad.org/glaads-2021-2022-where-we-are-tv-report-lgbtq-representation-reaches-new-record-highs

Homosexuality in the United States - Statistics & Facts, statista.com/topics/1249/homosexuality/#topicOverview

Seven Delightful Scandals and Controversies in Classical Music, cmuse.org/seven-delightful-scandals-and-controversies-in-classical-music


Pastor Jay Christianson

The Truth Barista, Frothy Thoughts

Comments


bottom of page