Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Keeping it Moving--Hollywood and Christianity
There’s nothing, NOTHING, more exciting than waking up in the morning and [fighting] for something that you believe—Eduardo Verástegui
I took some blows this week from a group of folk on an obscure online forum. Because I’m polite, I’ve chosen not troll their forum, but instead to respond respectfully on my own site. Three problems emerge from this. 1) People didn’t read the article, but had repugnant things to say. 2) People who couldn’t reasonably disagree with my article chose to attack me personally; the words “idiot”, “moron”, and “retard” were used. One person chose to criticize the text and colors I use on the blog. I suppose that if I had selected more “masculine” colors my words would be more valid? Another person attacked the way I look, implying that I was so unattractive as to not be able to find a mate in the first place. (That’s old. That’s what all people think of feminists it seems.) I really believe a lot of the hatred was racially motivated. As a black women, I’m certainly not suppose to have opinions no less than have the audacity to express them candidly. The hate goes on. 3) The reason this whole situation started was because a friend of mine took content from my blog without asking me and published it in this particular forum. That same “friend” didn’t even bother to defend my character when these cyber bullies were trying to take me a part. Of course this “friend” is a male. Had someone said such things about him I would have defended him to the last ounce, but isn’t that how woman are with men and folk they love. It’s amazing how little reciprocity we receive in circumstances where we need it. Lastly folk, you have to understand that there are some places I just don’t want my material going and had I been asked first, I would have NEVER allowed my work to enter such a seedy medium.
But after all that “discussion” on that forum, and all the bitter criticism I receive, my post Boycott All Men still stands! I’m NOT taking it down. I WILL NOT CENSOR MYSELF ON MY OWN WEBSITE And I WILL NOT BE COWED INTO RETRACTING MY OPINIONS!!! If you really hate what I have to say so much and/or you can't disagree with me in a civil manner LEAVE! DON’T READ ME! And I mean that with all the forcefulness and intensity in which it was relayed.
Now on to today’s posts.
Because no matter what I say I’m going to take heat, my resolve to be unapologetically honest has been reinforced. I’m not walking away from controversial topics, which brings me to one I’m sure I’ll get heat for: Media and Christianity. Yesterday, I took some time out from studying to check out some of the upcoming flicks. It’s the usually fare: gratuitous sex, barbaric violence, and sordid profanity all packaged in films with very little plot and character development, but amazing choreography and stellar special effects. It boils down to a ton of immorality skillfully wrapped with all the bells and whistles. Is anybody shocked? I’m not.
One movie in particular has Christian audiences talking. That movie is the upcoming novel turned film The Golden Compass starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. The novel is avowed atheist Philip Pullman’s twisted version of Christian C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia. One Christian website has summarized Pullman’s work as “atheism for kids.” You can read a very well written assessment of the movie and books here.
All this reminds me of when the church publicly protested The Da Vinci Code. The movie remained a success, grossing over 758 million dollars, despite, and perhaps because of the criticism. In other words, I really don’t think that appeals from the church are going to stop people from watching blasphemous and heretical content. That’s sad too. (Btw I don’t think that The Da Vinci Code sold all of those millions without some help from alleged Christians. I know many of us were in the theaters patronizing that blasphemy.)
My disclaimer is that I’ve not seen the Golden Compass, but I would be pretty leery about allowing “Christian raised” children to see a morality film or read a morality tale by someone who is openly hostile to Christianity. I don’t have any children either, BUT I think some things are just common sense. I didn’t have to read the books or the criticism about the movie to come to the conclusion that the movie is not for the child audience for which it aims. I did something very simple: I watched a trailer. Before I even knew who Pullman was, before I even knew what the church’s position was on the movie, I came to one conclusion: This aint Narnia! The movie, though it stars a brilliant child actress, is dark, gloomy, and cold. Those aren’t words that we usually use when we think of a children’s movie. I’ll tell you one thing, based on the violent, mournful trailer, that’s one film I won’t be taking my kid nephew to see.
Should Christian adults go to see this movie? Of course that’s a matter of personal conviction, but I won’t be seeing it. I’d rather watch Enchanted a light parody of Disney’s old classics—which is a heck of a lot more family friendly. The real world is dark enough for me; I don’t need to pay money to see bleakness!
Which brings me to my next point--Hollywood! Any person who believes that Hollywood has his interests at heart needs to take off his rose colored blinders. Hollywood is essentially a money-making machine. Why do salacious acts, graphic violence, and lewd profanity mar our films? Give up? Because it SELLS! If it didn’t sell than Hollywood would be making innocent family films. People often feel like they are powerless to control the media, as if they can’t do anything about the obscenity that’s further polluting our world and the mind’s of our children. It’s almost like folk are saying “oh no, I just can’t control my remote!” and “oh no, the movie made me buy it!” I loathe most of the content in our media so I don’t indulge in it! Ah simplicity.
That means I don’t usually watch television, except to see a political debate from time to time or catch pieces of the news. Here’s why? Even if, by some miracle, I am able to find decent content to watch, we live in a world where even our advertisements are scandalous. It seems folk gotta be naked just to sell a tube of toothpaste. I happened to catch a show last week and had to change the channel every time the commercials came on. I also don’t have the time to watch TV. I really don’t understand where people get the time to dedicate to hours of TV/movie watching.
Additionally, I don’t purchase movies with questionable content. A friend of mine invited me out to see a movie that I will leave nameless. I thanked him for his invitation, but politely declined to come. This was a very popular film that people were swarming to the movies to see, so he asked me why I didn’t want to go. I told him. He laughed at me, not in a callous/sarcastic way, but in a way the indicated that he thought I was overreacting. As a very broke person I have to be especially careful about how I spend my money. And as I’ve said on this blog before, I will not spend my money on things that go against my best interests. To do so would be funding, and thus advocating, the very things I oppose.
If only other Christians felt that way. Christians are supposed to use discernment about the types of things we take in. Even non-Christians are familiar with Philippians 4:8 which implores people to take in those things that are good, pure, and noble. Yet most of our media is blatantly evil, unpure, and filthy. Does that discourage Christians from taking part in it? Most of the folk I deal with are not Christian. They don’t call themselves by Christ’s name, yet many of them have better morals and stronger discernment than those who profess Christianity. I personally know non-Christians who won’t listen to certain music because it disparages women, yet I’ve gotten into a car with a “Christian” who’s music was saturated in obscenity. I know so-called worldly people who do not drink, smoke, and party because they believe these things are wrong, but I know so-called “Christian” people who indulge in these things! Yet we want to be a light to the world! How can we when we extol the same vices?
On a different note, is Hollywood really the biggest threat to Christianity? Some argue that it endorses everything that we are supposed to repudiate. Certainly Hollywood (and media in general) denigrates morality and promulgates corruption, yet I really don’t think Hollywood is the biggest threat to Christianity. I think Christians are. Our decisions, our cowardice, and our hypocrisy weaken Christianity. Most people would rather see a sermon than hear one any day. In other words, don’t lecture anyone about having premarital sex when every film in your house endorses it.
Lastly, I think that many people are starting to cry out for better content. I think maybe, just maybe, we’re all getting bored with the same ole violence, sex, and profanity. The evidence speaks for itself. What are the two top-rated films in theaters now? Bella, a low budget independent flick that tells a morality tale of love and friendship amidst difficulties and trials (it tells a convincing tale without one ounce of explicit content btw) and Why Did I Get Married, a drama/comedy that sings the praises of marriage, family, and friendship. Audiences want more. Even actors are getting sick of the garbage. Mexican actor and international sex symbol Eduardo Verástegui who plays Jose’s in the movie Bella states “I realized that instead of using my talents…to contribute to this world…I was poisoning our society by the projects that I was involved [in].” Well said.