The teenagers in our kitchen were talking about The Grapes of Wrath (the book) and The Grapes of Wrath (the movie). They wondered why the 1940 movie changed the ending.

It didn’t occur to teens living on the verge of the 1990s that back in the 1940s it would have been unthinkable to show a young woman feeding a starving old man at her breast.

Times have changed and our mores with them. A movie without mammary display seems rare enough these days—although I doubt that any recent movie has used a bared breast as a powerful and high-minded symbol of compassion (as Steinbeck’s classic novel did).

Parents of today’s teens need to reckon with today’s film content—the violence, the sex, the nudity, the misogyny, the occultism. They must also reckon with the movie industry’s ineffective and meaningless rating system. Roy Anker is one parent (with teens 12 and 16) and scholar who has made it his business to find out just what our youth are being exposed to in the movies they see. He teaches both film and literature at Northwestern College, Orange City, Iowa. This past school year, however, he and frequent CT contributor Quentin Schultze have been working at the Calvin Center for Christian Scholarship to study the relationship between teen culture and the electronic media.

Roy’s report on the flash and trash that Hollywood exports for teen consumption (and his suggestions for church leaders and parents) begins on page 18.

DAVID NEFF, Senior Associate Editor.

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