Monday, July 17, 2006

RUN TO THE CATACOMBS? NOT SO FAST
Disputations and Zippy have engaged Kathy Shaidle on the question of whether it's proper for third parties to cut material from movies that they found objectionable.

I'm on the bus to prevent people from presenting edited versions of movies as the original, or not compensating the original artists, but this is where I get off the bus...


Ned Flanders type Christians have to choose. Do they want their own counterculture, with its Veggie Tales and end times video games, or do they want to be able to sample "what normal people are watching" as well? Because they can't have it both ways. Then again, I doubt they are quite clever enough to even be bothered by the contradiction.

I'm guessing most of the clientele for these bowlderized films are a certain species of anti-intellectual Protestant, whose big concerns are swearing and nudity and whose idea of high culture is Friday night football.

My objection to Titanic, on the other hand, was the morbid romanticization of the drowning deaths of 2,000 people. Probably too "deep" a concern for the average CleanFlick's customer. They should stick to their Left Behind sequels and Davey & Goliath, and leave the making of and thinking about film to the Catholics and Jews who've been at it since the beginning.

and this:

Hollywood is a leftwing cesspool of gays and crazies, interested in just one thing: making millions of dollars. They undermine my values at every opportunity and 99% of what they produce is derivative, unwatchable dross.

But -- I want to watch Titanic just like everyone else! Waaaah!

Look: you have to pick one or the other.

At this point, it would be tempting to conclude that, yes, we ought to just build our own culture and make ourselves happy with that.

But then...

Looking more at Ms. Shaidle's blog, she also has a post linking to this post about a pro-lifer who didn't know that The Onion is a parody site, and has been piled on since.

There's some current political developments that are bad news for Catholics, and it is our job to witness against them. But if we isolate ourselves and our childresn to a subculture of Veggie Tales and Left Behind, then when we go out to the larger world and debate embryonic research or marriage, the story won't be about how we defend life, it will be about how we don't even know who Tom Hanks is!

We live in a society that is eager to distract itself from the hard truths that we have to tell. If people can talk about how stupid that pro-lifer is for not catching the Seinfeld reference rather than whether abortion is killing, they'll do it. With the world as it is, having some familiarity with popular culture is part of being an effective witness.

So, I don't think our call is back to the catacombs. And if we do go back there, it damn well better be for a better reason than that we don't want to offend the artistic integrity of millionare Hollywood directors.
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