Does the media we consume reflect our morals?


Graphic courtesy of Canva.

Thomas Hartill, Former Editor in Chief

This previously ran in our October 2021 print issue.

Am I a bad person?

I’m sure that just based on myself even asking that question, a lot of you have already made up your mind. I can’t quite blame you for that, but it’s a question I find myself mulling over fairly often. I know I’m going to be walking on eggshells here for a lot of you, but I’m gonna do my best to simply express my honest thoughts. However, I must begin with this preface: I am not trying to say that I’m some victim of oppression. That couldn’t be further from the truth. As a straight white man, I enjoy many privileges that other young people don’t. Quite simply, I just want to ask some questions and see what thoughts they lead to.

For years, I have perused the internet and heard the same story countless times: if a man likes Mac DeMarco and Tyler, the Creator, he probably gaslights women. The same goes for fans of Pulp Fiction, American Psycho, Fight Club, Joker, and much, much more. These jokes are quite frankly hilarious, and I often find myself making fun of that exact type of person. But then when I think about it more, I realize that I myself enjoy many of those same things.

I find Tyler, the Creator’s Igor to be one of the best albums of the 2010s. I watch Tarantino’s filmography on repeat fairly often. I think American Psycho and Fight Club are two really good movies (granted, I don’t view Joker as highly). Thus, many of you have likely already made your assumptions about me, which is completely understandable. Based on the quite honestly terrible track record of fans of these films and albums, it’s reasonable to infer that I’m in that same group.

But, I think instead of my original question, it’s more important to ask this: to what extent does the media one consumes reflect one’s morals? If I told someone I like Legally Blonde (which I do), what would their opinion of me be? How would it be different if I said Pulp Fiction is one of my favorite movies of all time? It’s an interesting hypothetical to think about. 

Most of the time, I just end up gauging what kind of person I’m talking to and then decide which one of my favorites to tell them. It’s needless to say that I talk to many different people with many different opinions, so I’m probably not going to say Pulp Fiction to someone that I can tell would rather hear Portrait of a Lady on Fire.

Yet, I wonder whether this is the right thing to do. Is it better to tell the truth or to tell someone what they want to hear? I know I’m kind of making a mountain out of a molehill with this line of reasoning, but I think it’s an interesting question to ask nonetheless.

Actually, I think I’ll just say to hell with it all and tell everyone I meet that Paddington 2 is the greatest film of all time.