Skip to comments.Conservatives in Hollywood?
Posted on 11/06/2005 9:10:57 PM PST by LorianneEdited on 11/06/2005 9:25:45 PM PST by Sidebar Moderator. [history]
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I admire his choice in Smith & Wesson .45 Magnums but he is not a paragon of personal morality as attested by his long-time live in, Sondra Locke, who complained bitterly and publicly, when Clint traded her in for a new model live-in, of the multiple abortions she was pressed by Eastwood to undergo as a condition of their "relationship." Eastwood's Republicanism was a matter of libertarian resentment of coastal commies interfering in Carmel with his plans for the Hog's Breath Inn.
I am familiar with Kuosawa, Shakespeare (within limits) and Homer but I confess to having difficulty seeing the comparison. As I understand it, the Million Dollar Baby is a female prize fighter conveniently done away with when, gravely injured in the ring, she is no longer a promising mealticket. Whatever tears and flapdoodle may have been added to comfort those who need a pragmatism over morality fix, Million Dollar Baby sounds like a waste of time and money and received Academy awards accordingly from the cultureCong of Hollywood. Thanks, but no thanks.
The Godfather triklogy is great. I hope they make another while Andy Garcia is young enough. I (and mu children) could have enjoyed the movie more without Sonny Corleone and Lucy Mancini aggressively conceiving Vincent Mancini against a door at the Corleone manse on Connie's wedding day, without the scene in the second movie of the addled senatir sitting on the cathouse bed with the prostitute he has massacred and without Kay's murder in utero of her and Michael's second son because "All this must come to an end!!!!!!!", among other scenes.
We did not need the nude-breasted prostitute sitting oin the jockey's bed scene to "enhance" an otherwise great kids' movie like Seabiscuit. It had nothing whatever to do with the plot. Was it the mandatory minimum adult nudity quota for the movie or merely an assault on kids wanting to see a movie with a moral message about horses, races and underdog triumph?
Suffice it to say that the evaporation of the profits that subsidize this tripe will be the only real threat to your enjoyment of "morally complex" movies about "unresolved issues" of human depravity. Take heart. There are decades of similar tripe on DVD and VCR from the accumulated body of Hollyweird corruption. If I do not wish to patronize this stuff, if an increasing number (including now aging boomers) of former theatergoers are saying "Enough is more than enough," what is the alternative? Taxing us to subsidize the "art" which we have come to despise?????
Why frequent such bilge as Million Dollar Baby???? What unresolved moral conflicts? Suicide is wrong. Euthanasia is wrong. I don't think much of the morality, if any, of female boxing exhibitions catering to a certain prurient interest in our neo-pagans of Hollywood and in the theater seats. Speculation ought not to replace reason.
Parables were a literary art form by which Jesus Christ instructed his listeners and readers as to how they ought to live. Parables are, well, stories. Do you think that J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis were simply speculating, challenging, playing with the rules, and providing catharsis? I don't think so and neither did they, if you are familiar with their lives.
Heavy handed moral messages???? From Hollywierd???? How about heavy-handed antimoral attitudes????
To say nothing of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, so utterly successful, so totally despised by the usual gang of Hollyweird suspects. Good for Mel who understands morality and, however imperfectly, practices it, even in his art, as Eastwood does not.
Clint Eastwood: great actor, director, producer, but an horrendously flawed human being.
Wow. I like Andy Garcia, too.
Gee, four minutes from post to your response!!!! I want you on my team for the next and every war! God bless you and yours!
Same to you! I was just on my way to nap, but it was worth putting off (for just a few minutes, though) to read one of your fun posts :-).
Your nephew is obviously one of our magnificient..
MODERN DAY HEROES: In Defense of America
Hit: 'Resource Center'
Hit: 'Aloha Ronnie'
Good bye Hollywood.
Thank him for his service from me.
Click "multimedia" once you get to the main site.
This movie won the Heartland Film Festival Grand Prize, and will release in January. This is one of those movies Christians and Conservatives need to get behind and support.
Check it out!
Click "multimedia" once you get to the main site.
This movie won the Heartland Film Festival Grand Prize, and will release in January. This is one of those movies Christians and Conservatives need to get behind and support.
Check it out!
I so agree.
I can list a number of movies that I would love to be able to show my children, but I can't because of the extensive use of profanity.
Welcome to the concept of supply and demand. This is only true as long as the supply of kids' movies stays low. As more and more are out at the same time, the entertainment buck will be spread thinner and fewer earnings will arrive to each movie. Since the R-rated movies way out pace the Gs in quantity, they get less spend. Furthermore, unlike the R movies, G (and a lot of PG) movies are pushed by every fast food joint and Chinese toy manufacturer and as such get much more commercial time.
"I have not seen Million Dollar Baby. I will not see Million Dollar Baby. I will not subsidize Million Dollar Baby. I do not need moral guidance on "life issues" from Clint Eastwood, whatever his virtues as producer, director and actor."
Ok, this is what I don't understand, and someone can explain this to me. Why dooes anyone need moral guidance, period, from films or TV shows or books? Are you not already an ethical person? Do you not know right and wrong? Are we not adults? We are not monkeys, we can discern and use our God-given reason to separate fiction from non-fiction. We gain moral guidance from non-fiction, from our beliefs about how the world *is*. Fiction is about how the world *might* be, *could* be. So what, Clint Eastwood might be a wretched human being--why is anyone trying to learn morality from him? Why do people think that Million Dollar Baby is a treatise on ethics? It's a story about how a couple of people saw the world, and they had a flawed perception of it. Why do we need the movie to make the moral judgement for us? Should movies think for us, too? Eat for us, exercise for us, do our taxes?
"I am familiar with Kurosawa, Shakespeare (within limits) and Homer but I confess to having difficulty seeing the comparison."
Because all these directors, writers didn't deal with homily stories, at least w/ all their great works. They are not C.S. Lewis and JRR Tolkein. They did not provide "moral guidance". You are not going to know how to live from King Lear, or Romeo and Juliet, or the Iliad, or Kagemusha, or Anne Karenina, or Citizen Kane, or Frankenstein, or the Godfather. They did not have this checklist of guidelines they had to hit in their stories, so that the audience would know that heroes go to heaven and villains get punished.
I agree with you an things like Seabiscuit, as I noted in my earlier post, there are legitimate complaints about Hollywood being irresponsible around children and family oriented films. There is a difference, however, between films aimed at families and films aimed at adults, and I don't mean porn. I wouldn't recommend a 10 year old child read Agamemnon, Notes From the Underground, or the Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldricht. However, that doesn't mean that said child should abstain from reading them when he's 17.
" Why frequent such bilge as Million Dollar Baby???? What unresolved moral conflicts? Suicide is wrong. Euthanasia is wrong."
Yes, they are wrong. Why does the film need to tell us that? Does Romeo and Juliet need an epilogue where one of the Capulets gives a soliliquy straight to the audience and preaches to them, "and don't you kill yourself or you might burn in hell like Romeo and Juliet are doing right now!" What I meant by unresolved moral conflicts is that--the answer isn't provided by the outcome of the story. The nonfiction--which is real--instead of fiction--which isn't real--must answer the questions. Fiction asks, nonfiction solves.
"Parables were a literary art form by which Jesus Christ instructed his listeners and readers as to how they ought to live. Parables are, well, stories. Do you think that J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis were simply speculating, challenging, playing with the rules, and providing catharsis? I don't think so and neither did they, if you are familiar with their lives."
Since you are being snarky, I feel justified in responding in kind. No, parables *aren't* stories. Parables are *parables*. That is the category they are assigned to. They are no more a story than a poem or a song or a haiku or a painting or five seconds out of a two hour film. They have a *specific* point they are trying to convey to an audience. The argument made in the parable supercedes the form. Not every story is trying to convey a specific point to the audience. Some may, and it could be a good point, like Lord of the Rings or Spiderman 2. Fine, those are nice to have as well (I love Spidey 2, Batman Begins and the Incredibles). Some stories may have a message, and it could be a *bad* one, like Syriana or the Cider House Rules. Many however, if not most, *don't*. C.S. Lewis and JRR Tolkein are *not* the standard by which all fiction must align, any more than Homer or Shakespeare. It's a logical fallacy, a strawman to hold up the thin and limited form of the parable, and suggest that's the standard by which all stories are to fall in line.
I may be lenient and say every parable is a story, but the reverse is not true. A story is an artform that involves plotting, characterization, metaphor (maybe), pace, language, imagery. Message or *theme* is not a requirement. It may have one, but doesn't have to in order to be a story. You either appreciate the artform as is and what it can offer, or you don't.
Speculation drives most great fiction. When the writer sits at his desk, he speculates. A story--whether it has a good message, a bad message, or no message at all--is based on something that should not be. A contradiction, a conflict, a challenge, and the writer takes that gem of an idea and runs with it, sometimes not sure where it's going when he seizes it! I hit speculation hard, because I am mainly a science fiction geek first, and that's what so called "speculative fiction" does--it asks, "What if?" It's a joy, the imagination, and unfortunately I see too many people whom I agree with politically attack the freedom of the imagination, and thus alienate potential "converts" to our side.
Two books I recommend are "Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from it's Cultural Capativy" by Nancy Pearcy and "The Well Educated Mind" by Susan Bauer. They are conservative Christian authors (Bauer's a homeschooler and Pearcy praises Martin Olavsky), and they challenge and refute the "only good story is that one that teaches moral guidance" philosophy.
Your distinction between fiction and non-fiction is wrong. Either can be used to convey moral and amoral or immoral messages.
Kurosawa's Seven Samurai is the obvious model for The Magnificent Seven. Fictional? Yes. Moral? Also, yes. You aren't really serious in suggesting that Shakespeare is not a purveyor of moral guidance in his dramas???? Do you really think Homer was not an author of moral guidance in The Iliad and the Odyssey???? The Godfather Trilogy, regardless of subthemes is a VERRRRRY moral tale and derives its fanatic audience from those of us who recognize that fact. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (check her biography, husband and friends) never planned to deliver a moral guidance but rather an antimoral one.
Enough of specific refutation of the authors you chose. Let us add a few others.
We agree on Seabiscuit. Good. Next is Cinderella Man, telling the very moral tale of James J. Braddock, Heavyweight Champion, played by the none too moral Russel Crowe, who is a truly professional actor nonetheless and brought to the screen a substantially forgotten morality tale of American sport. Unfortunately, we were required to witness and ponder the lowlife behavior of Max Baer lest the crassness quota remain unfilled. Barely, I would let my kids see this movie because the moral content would outweigh the unnecessary cold sores.
J.R.R. Tolkien was a committed Catholic and wrote a three volume allegory to lead his readers to the Truth. C. S. Lewis, though a close friend of Tolkien and of Charles Williams, was a committed Protestant and anti-Catholic but well worth reading for his moral guidance and his craft. They are two of the standards of fiction. Can anyone even name the author of Million Dollar Baby????? Will anyone be able to name that author five years from now???? No. And the obscurity will be no surprise. Euthanasia is one of our cultural antimoral fads. Five years from now it will be old hat. We may be pondering the WHAT IFs of sex with anti-war culturally diverse reptiles who operate abortion mills for anti-nuclear gay whales or some such abomination that may be capturing the interest of the bored culturati of that time and Hollywood will rush to the screen with cinematic portrayals of WHAT IF to make such things seem attractive to ever more jaded audiences. None dare call Hollywood related even accidentally to actual Western Civilization.
As to whether 17-year olds ought to spend their time wallowing in morally corrupt and corrupting literature, plays, movies, and other questionable works of "art", the short answer is no for seventeen-year olds and no for those younger and no for those older. You are free to frequent what we Catholics promise in the Sacrament of Penance to avoid---the near occasion of sin. You are also free to suffer the temporal and eternal consequences of doing so. A man who claims to be committed to avoid adultery is wise not to hang out at cathouses just to enjoy the humor and repartee available through the companionship of the ladies lest he find himself compelled to enjoy other aspects of their hospitality as well. If he falls, he can hardly blame the ladies when he ought not to have been in their company in the first place and could easily have avoided the temptation.
Suicide and euthanasia are wrong. WHY DOES A MOVIE NEED TO SUGGEST THAT THEY ARE RIGHT OR WISE OR PRAGMATIC OR OTHERWISE WORTH INDULGING??????
You don't think haiku or other forms of poetry carry moral guidance??????
I have spent the better part of my life acting in what was the conservative movement. It has boundaries. The idea of substituting a loyalty to "freedom of imagination" for the boundaries and principles of what was a great movement and will be a great movement again is not attractive.
To do so for the mere reason of not offending potential "converts" is positively craven. If you told me that you wanted to "convert" to Catholicism but could not believe that Jesus Christ was God, that you cold not believe that He is present Body and Blood in the Eucharist under the continued appearance of bread and wine, that you could not believe in the Resurrection, etc., I would not say welcome, convert. I would say: Get back to us when you have changed your mind on those things and any other doctrines you reject.
The conservative movement was and will be made up of, well, conservatives and not of "free thinkers." We may agree, from time to time with libertarians but it is merely coincidence. John Cornwell, who purports to write non-fiction, has delivered an antimoral message in his "Hitler's Pope" vilifying the memory of Pope Pius XII who saved more Jews than any other human being during the Holocaust and was publicly recognized for it by Golda Meir, the Israeli government, and more recently by Rabbi Dallin in Commentary, the Weekly Standard and several books on the subect. The Rabbi uses non-fiction as a moral message and moral guidance to correct the "non-fiction" lies and expressed evil of Cornwell.
Ayn Rand was no paragon of moral virtue. Hers was a life of militant atheism and serial adultery, complete with a phony "philosophy" concocted to justify both. Nonetheless, even Rand understood (The Romantic Manifesto) that it would not be a moral act to commission a great artist to paint a life-size portrait of a beautiful woman but to be sure to include a cold sore on her lip to reflect a temporary condition marring her beauty while she posed. Hollywood is in the moral cold sore business. It is not challenge. It is not speculation. It is antimoral cultural graffiti. Morality is well-settled. WHAT IF? is merely an invitation to the seduction of one's morality to place it in service to him who persuaded Eve. On matters such as euthanasia, abortion, homosexuality, there is and never will be any open questions. The questions are long-since resolved.
I know right from wrong. So do you and so does every other human courtesy of Adam and Eve saying yes to the forbidden fruit of the tree. I am an adult, whatever that has to do with frequenting the near occasion of intellectual sin. "Adult" themes in literature, photos and movies are often claimed to be those which maximize the portrayal of the maximum number of genital and eliminatory organs in various stages of mindless heat as graphically as the producer dares. As to whether "we" are adults, I cannot offer an opinion. I can only speak for myself. I am an adult and that description bears no resemblance to the warped view of adulthood expressed as various disordered forms of WHAT IF?
I am not a monkey. Darwin may well have been one. You can speak for yourself since we are not acquainted.
The question is not as to whether we "need moral guidance" from films or TV shows or books. It is whether we need antimoral conditioning conveyed through films, TV shows or books.
I am more ethical than I used to be and hope that I am less ethical than I intend to be.
The last two sentences of your second paragraph are obviously rhetorical, do not follow logically and need no answers.
"Your distinction between fiction and non-fiction is wrong. Either can be used to convey moral and amoral or immoral messages."
You didn't read what I wrote. Fiction is NOT non-Fiction. They are no more than same than a dream is reality or a word is an object. You are blurring lines, blurring concepts, and not *discerning*. Yes, fiction *can* offer a moral or immoral message (how many times do I need to type this?), but just because they can doesn't mean they *do*. This is a false choice you are offering--another logical fallacy. Just because a car *can* have a male or female driver, doesn't mean that every car has someone in the car at all times. 75% of cars are unoccupied, parked somewhere, likewise 75% of fiction can be a stimulus instead of a conclusion.
Fiction is basically a lie. It's about how things *aren't*. Fiction really isn't a lie, if you admit it's fiction and thus FREE from representing reality. It does make fiction a lie when you make the insistence you have made, that fiction = non-fiction. Morality is supposed to be true. If you suggest that morality should come from fiction, you are suggesting morality should come from a lie. Which is not only bad to base ethics on lying (ie the Plato, Hitler, Stalin worldview), but an argument in bad faith, as truth is generally considered a cornerstone of morality.
"Kurosawa's Seven Samurai is the obvious model for The Magnificent Seven. Fictional? Yes. Moral? Also, yes. You aren't really serious in suggesting that Shakespeare is not a purveyor of moral guidance in his dramas???? Do you really think Homer was not an author of moral guidance in The Iliad and the Odyssey????"
What about Rashomon? Or Kagemusha? Or Kurosawa's adaptation of King Lear, Ran? Iliad presented an ethical worldview, but hardly one's that's Catholic or Christian. If you agree with the ethics presented in the Iliad, you are a pagan. If you distance yourself from it, parcel it, discern and go "Woah woah woah, that's not what I mean, I mean I just like the cool violence you know people getting heads ripped open or the part about Achilles reclaiming his honor", well guess what, you're *discerning* and appreciating it for what it is! You're not condemning the entire work because it is either a.) written by and for pagans and presenting a pagan ethos or b.) exceedingly vulgar and x-rated (You *have* read the Iliad haven't you, and you know it has sex and dismemberment and child sacrifice in it?) You're thinking like *me*! You can't do that, I'm the Satanic enemy! It is not consistent to defend Kurosawa, the Godfather, and the Iliad, and then make the arguments you have made. These examples do *not* present the Catholic ethos you believe must be presented in every example of fiction, or haiku, or song, or poem, or whatever.
"As to whether 17-year olds ought to spend their time wallowing in morally corrupt and corrupting literature, plays, movies, and other questionable works of "art", the short answer is no for seventeen-year olds and no for those younger and no for those older...I would not say welcome, convert. I would say: Get back to us when you have changed your mind on those things and any other doctrines you reject."
Great, goodbye reading and thinking! Let's have a book burning while we're at it! Frankenstein, the works of Euripedes and Aeschylus, Tolstoy, all morally corrupting becuase they do not provide explicit moral guidance for the reader and/or they provide alternative worldviews to what we believe in real life. I think you should email every Conservative, and tell them that they shouldn't read Frankenstein, that their kids shouldn't read it, and that they aren't members in good standing of the conservative movement if they like it and appreciate it. See how large the conservative movement is then, with this notion that works of great literature or great music or mediocre literature or mediocre filmmaking shouldn't be read/viewed by anyone of any age. I doubt William F. Buckley, Francis Schaeffer and Condi Rice (Led Zeppelin fans), Rush Limbaugh (big Sopranos fan), G.W. Bush (big Austin Powers fan), agree with your definition of the Conservative movement and what traits are attractive or unattractive in it.
I guess those mentioned above would have to deconvert from the conservative movement, to accept your Catholicism analogy, because they willfully expose themselves to "intellectual sin", whether the nihilism of Led Zeppelin or the Sopranos or the sexual lewdness of Austin Powers. That must be the case, if people who like these things aren't members of your conservative movement. Wow.
You are confusing cause-effect, with stimulus-response. This is a problem in the conservative Christian movememtn. When you knock a water bottle on the floor, you cause the effect of water spilling on the floor. When someone whispers in your ear to kill your neighbor--and you do it--the neighbor has not caused you to kill your neighbor, he has provided a stimulus, and you have provided the response. You didn't have to kill your neighbor, no one forced you to like you forced the water to spill on the floor. You could have ignored the message of the whisper, you could have refuted the whisper, you could have punched the whisperer in the face. Stimulus-Response is NOT Cause-Effect. You have a will that decides what "corrupts" you.
You have a choice, when presented with a stimulus--agree to it, renounce it, or do nothing. When you watched the Godfather, the Godfather provided some bad "role models" for you. It gave you behavior choices--stimuli--and you had a varied amount of responses available to what was on screen. You could emulate it and join the mob, you could believe in the nihilistic worldviews of the characters, or you could do none of the above and just observe, and watch, and appreciate the creative arc of the fictional story as is. If the Godfather didn't cause you to join the mob, to kill and to steal, then Million Dollar Baby, Frankenstein, and Notes from the Underground don't cause these things either.
You can't have it both ways--that is, Story A (Rashomon, the Iliad, the Godfather) isn't morally corrupting even though it has murder, rape, sex, pagan worship, blasphemy, ect., but Story B (Frankenstein, Million Dollar Baby, ect) is morally corrupting because it has murder, rape, sex, pagan worship, ect. Just as fiction is not non-fiction, cause-effect is not stimulus-response. We are NOT monkeys, yet your arguments suggest that we must be programmed by our environment and by what we are exposed to. No such thing. We are autonomous individuals, able to wonder, discern, and use the tool of logic to separate fact from fiction, A from B, a good idea and from an ok idea, and ourselves from our media.
If someone watches Million Dollar Baby, uh oh they're going to be caused into believing in euthanasia! Uh oh, if someone watches the Godfather, he's going to cut off horses heads and shove them in beds! Uh oh, if someone reads Frankenstein, well Mary Shelley's two centuries old mindwaves will reprogram that poor soul's neurons and from the grave she has cloned herself into the mind of another, ready to spread sexual liberation through her new body. One is only morally corrupted by Frankenstein and the Godfather if he himself is *stupid*. And a stupid person has bigger problems than the movies he sees or the books he (tries to) read.
Right here, with your praise of the anti-Catholic Godfather and the Iliad, yet condemnation of Million Dollar Baby and Frankenstein, we have dismantled your view of fiction. Some films and books with bad behavior and dubious worldviews (keep in mind Coppola made the Godfather trilogy as an attack on the American Dream and the capitalistic system) are tolerable because *you* like them, others are not because you haven't seen them/read them thus don't like them. That's arbitrary.
" You don't think haiku or other forms of poetry carry moral guidance??????"
Do you know what a haiku is? Do you know the philosophy and worldview that led to the haiku? Hardly a philosophy one should expose himself to, as the haiku comes from the Japanese view of nature, that itself comes from Shintoism. And Shintoism has had some negative consequences just in the past 80 years.
"I am more ethical than I used to be and hope that I am less ethical than I intend to be."
You speak of Catholicism--I work for a Catholic services organization. I get my hands dirty to feed the poor and clothe the cold. My buddies who work with me love the Sopranos, and classic rock, and Celtic drinking songs (speaking of the temptation of "intellectual sin"), yet they do explicitly what Christ commanded us to do--feed the poor, help the needy, heal the sick (although the latter is a little hard for our organization to do). This is *non-fiction* morality. Actually DOING--not speaking, not whining, not typing--what's right.
I see this often in the Christian movement, of people who think that they have done a good deed if they complain about what someone else is doing, instead of doing the right thing that the other person isn't doing (not unlike people who claim to know the Bible, but don't know Hebrew or Greek). Again, back to the start--fiction and non-fiction is blurred. Complaining about what fictional characters are doing is somehow ethical?!? They're not real, they don't exist, no sin was actually done by Anne Karenina at the end of the novel, because she isn't real. If the sin didn't happen, than the righteous indignation over the fictional sin doesn't have any substance either. Meanwhile there are poor black kids who need tutors, homeless people with severe emotional problems who need friendship (and Christ), and atheists who need salvation, and *won't* get it from some stick-in-the-mud who whines about every little form of media that doesn't provide a perfect gameplan of morality and ethics for the reader/viewer.
"Total Truth" by Nancy Pearcey was written for you. I pray you read it, because it speaks directly to the current of anti-intellectualism and "cultural captivity" of the American Christian. Can't drink, can't dance, can't listen to secular music, can't watch R rated movies--how can one witness to the lost if you don't understand where that poor soul is coming from, what that person loves and fears and wonders about? How can that person trust you if you urinate on everything he or she likes (ie, the movies and the paintings and books he enjoys)? God made the imagination, he made the talents and skills within us all. We should appreciate them, while disagreeing with the message (again, many do not even have a message), as parts of God's GOOD, yes, GOOD creation. The imagination is what it is, speculation is what it is, "what if?" is what it is, and they aren't *sin*. They are wonderful parts of God's creation, and the most hated and misunderstood by God's servants on this earth.
I am directing this to you, my brother in Christ, not your friends you ping and probably misrepresent my post for--when we die and go to Heaven, Jesus isn't going to look at us and say "Gee, here's an addenum to your mansion because you didn't see Million Dollar Baby, what a good deed you did!", rather he will say "Here's where the extra floor of your house would have been if you had taken that atheist friend of yours to watch Million Dollar Baby, and used that shared non-sinful experience as a chance to get inside his inner world, understand it, then over a beer explain with clarity a better way."
In order to witness effectively, you have to understand, you have to relate. In order to relate, you have to expose yourself to the culture. And you might have some FUN in the process. It doesn't have to be MDB, it could be ancient greek "pagan" literature, or Japanese religion and art, or Led Zeppelin, all of which are apparently outlawed to the good conservative Christian, according to the tenets you have outlined in your post. You undermine your own strength, your own will, and thus the heart God has put in you, if you think that you will somehow be corrupted by a stimulus you have control over how to respond to. You do yourself a disservice by denying the power of discernment--that no one at any age can read something like Notes From the Underground--you lobotomize yourself, and worse ask others to do the same.
Another great gift given by God--logic. Distance. The ability to separate oneself from one's environment, from one's experience, from the film before your eyes and the "message" it may or may not propose. If you expose yourself to a pro-euthanasia "message" or "argument" (and MDB doesn't have one, but for the sake of argument) than you have bettered yourself, because you have challenged yourself and renewed and reinforced your understanding of your own arguments against euthanasia. You can better respond to what the pro-euthanasia crowd says, because you actually know what they're going to say. Cultural captivity, intentional intellectual weakness, is not ethical, but *un*ethical. It won't save souls. It won't make you better prepared for defending the faith. It's not rational. God don't make no junk, yet we have this undercurrent in Christianity that Logic and Fiction are junk, instead of using them as tools to witness, relate, understand, enjoy, and thus in the end, refute the wrong worldviews.
And I'm done, if you want the last word you can have it.
I am a Roman Catholic. I am a conservative. I am not a social worker. I am a retired and recovering attorney who represented more than 1100 people who were arrested for sitting in in abortion mills, desterilizing the suction machines with raw eggs poured into their inner works to be a very efficient medium for growth of bacteria so that the machines had to be torn down by repair engineers putting the mills out of business for far more than the one day. About 30 of the 1100 were convicted (mostly of non-criminal infractions when they had been charged with felonies) which is more of a result of their militance than of their legal representation. Most of the 30 also refused to pay fines or sign probation papers.
I have posted that I can not very well speak for your experiences since we are not acquainted. You fail to return that modesty and, accordingly, assume much that is not so. Thus, more facts: I graduated a Jesuit prep school long enough ago that the Jebbies were still quite Catholic. The Iliad is not as high on my list of Classical literature as was the Aeneid. We translated the entire Aeneid (360 pages in the Oxford edition) and the capable Jebbies did challenge us as to the ideas and lifestyles of the Trojan pagans who founded Rome. They did not promote the idea that it would be really neat to engage in all of Aeneas's behavior even though he was to pagan Rome: Pius Aeneas. Therein lies the difference.
If you think that your false distinction between the uses of fiction and the uses of non-fiction is true, you are very wrong but you are welcome to advertise your wrongness wherever those who are right are free to demolish your errors lest they be believed by the impressionable. One cannot stand up in a theater and argue with the amorality/immorality of Clint Eastwoods decidedly anti-life propaganda and lifestyle. At least not with due regard to the rights of the ticket-buying public. The late John Cardinal O'Connor strongly advised Catholics NOT to protest Kazantzakis's despicable Last Temptation of Christ lest they inadvertently encourage others to see it. It crashed and burned at the box office which ought to be the fate of all such trash.
If these views mark me as anti-intellectual in some fashion, so be it and proud of it although wallowing in every speculation is no more intellectualism than working your way through Reno cathouses constitutes love. Whatever my intellect may be and, I assure you that it is in a very high sliver of the 99th percentile, it is high enough for me to recognize that, if I disagree with God, His is far and indefinably higher and deserves deference from the likes of me and from the likes of thee. On the other hand, if I agree with God and disagree with you, you are wrong with certainty because you disagree with God. My participation in that particular comparison is utterly irrelevant other than to stick to God's side of the argument.
I most certainly have read what you have written. I most certainly disagree with and reject most of it as I ought. Much is incomprehensible faux intellectual gibberish. Your friends and associates may be wowed by what passes for your arguments. I am not. Whether fiction is what things aren't or what things are, the complaint is that Million Dollar Baby is rank propaganda and anti-moral and anti-Judaeo-Christian propaganda at that. Those who develop a habit of submitting themselves to such trash as Million Dollar Baby and providing money to subsidize its production are gravely in error. Well, God gave free will to thee and to me. You are free to go to hell in a handbasket, if you choose. Working at some soup kitchen will not ameliorate unrepented sin.
Hippocrates was a Greek pagan and a father of medicine. He admonished doctors in the words of the oath they were to take to neither perform abortions nor to facilitate them. Pagan? Yes. Moral, also yes. We Catholics believe in Natural Law. So did Hippocrates whether he would have articulated it precisely that way or not. I agree with the pagan Hippocrates on Natural Law and the evil of abortion. If that makes me a pagan in your imagination, have a party. Your argument as to Plato, Hitler, Stalin is an example of incomprehensible gibberish. I would also note that I have read the Bible and it has sex (too many instances to cite) and dismemberment (ditto) and child sacrifice (Jeremiah, inter alia). Rumor has it that the book is Truth and is for moral guidance even so. It contains parables as well which are also for moral guidance. AND, if someone wrote a totally fictional account along the same lines (faithful to the principles) and avoided the propaganda for evil that marks much of Hollywood, that fictional account would also be for moral guidance whether you admit it or not.
You keep on having the same problem of thinking that I want you propagandized by fiction. I do not. I simply want me and mine not to be propagandized by the evil that emanates from so much of Hollywood and we accomplish our purpose by avoiding that which we find unacceptable lest we encourage or subsidize more of the same.
You give yourself far too much credit by referencing yourself even sarcastically as "the Satanic Enemy." Lucifer is far more capable than thee or even Million Dollar Baby.
Your choices of Euripedes, Aeschylus and Tolstoy do not bolster your argument. Perhaps you should use the fudge-packing lit of James Baldwin as an example of that to which we ought not to waste time paying any mind. Ohhhh soooooo sensitive, soooooo intellectual, soooooo morally "complicated", sooooooo pathetic! Baldwin who long ago assumed room temperature is sorry now!
I don't particularly care what you may regard as consistent or inconsistent. Who was it that observed that consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds?
I must admit that I do like cool violence. The baptism scene in Godfather I is superb and likewise Michael Corleone's minions trying valiantly to rescue JP I.
On the other hand, half vast pop psychology enunciated as psychobabble is tedious and trite.
The 17-syllable Japanese poetry is a high art form and does carry moral messages. I do not have to be Shinto to think so any more than I have to be Shinto to admire the character, competence, brilliance and good fortune of the great Lord Toronaga in Clavell's Shogun and to revel in the postscript to that novel.
The Godfather is a saga of justice, and a better justice than that afforded by mere government.
I know Bill Buckley personally. I was a leader in Young Americans for Freedom on a state and regional level for some years. Bill invented YAF. I bet that you do not know Bill from what you write. He would not claim to be personally consistent with Catholicism in all of its beliefs. He is nonetheless a wonderful man who understands the actual conservative movement as you do not. He invented it which is a major advantage he enjoys over you. My wife worked for him for years. I could sic her on you on the matter of literary criticism but charity forbids. She studied under Cleanth Brooks. She says that you should, as a sci-fi fan re-read your Jerry Pornuelle (sp.?) to disabuse yourself of your curious notions as to the uses of fiction.
I could turn you over to the actual Catholic intellectuals here (some of whom have been pinged, but, again, charity suggests that I refrain.
The Rev. Mr. Francis Schaeffer was a remarkable man but decidedly NOT a fan of Catholicism. Nonetheless, like C. S. Lewis,he is well worth reading. Condoleeza Rice, Ph.D., was NOT in the conservative movement despite working at the Hoover Institute and other virtues. Rush Limbaugh, the closest thing to a movement nowadays, did not emerge in public until about nine years after the conservative movement died of euphoria over the election of Ronaldus Maximus and the simultaneous gutting of Jimmuh Peanut and the cream of the Senate Demonratic commie caucus on election night 1980. Dubya has his virtues but involvement in the conservative political movement is not one of them. He is just a good guy and good president.
AND, ummmm, please, the very idea of some misbegotten little twerp like Austin Powers having his name in the same sentence as the word "sex" is a bit much for the contemplation of anyone who is a fan of or participant in normal sex. I suppose you find Pee Wee Herman entertaining too, even when he is off duty and hanging out at porno theaters doing whatever that was that got him arrested.
In the eleventh to the last paragraph of your ramblings, you use the imperial we, which is never acceptable unless you happen to be, oh say, Queen Victoria: "We, Victoria in the fifty-sixth year of our reign....."
I am, BTW, a street-fighting Elk who patrols the periphery of Catholicism on FR and when I find someone making superficially persuasive arguments against the Faith which you do not, I can turn them over to those who care more for scholarly argument than do I. Of course, they have to have something to argue with. As I am pinging many, scholarly and otherwise, not all of them Catholic, it is not because you have earned refutation but for their entertainment.
If these authors you are promoting (the homeschooling moms who think that we should be wallowing in bad fiction/may God protect their own children) had any sense they would rethink their priorities. Save your prayers for worthwhile causes. I am well enough along in my journey that I need neither them nor you to tell me how to waste my time with the likes of Million Dollar Baby.
Well, I have to say that this exchange has left me totally muddled, but entertained. However, that's not an unusual situation for me, so you needn't feel guilty.
I can reflect on both your interesting perspectives while sitting through our twice-daily viewing of that stirring cinematic masterpiece, "There Goes a Train!" It could be worse; at least "Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus" has been returned to the video store :-).
One of the aspects that you do not mention about great art in any form - dance, music, literature, theather - is the social commentary rather than the entertainment factor. If lewdness is entertaining, grow up. It's a definite sign of immaturity.
The fact that such drivel is presented for consumption demonstrates that the truly creative people in this country aren't going into the entertainment business.
The original dustup with Osiris was over his notion that fiction cannot carry messages of moral guidance or ought not to. I was complaining about Million Dollar Baby as typical demoralizing (literally) Hollywood (pro-euthanasia in the case of that film) propaganda.
Ronald Reagan used to tell a story about Louis Mayer of MGM, who had come to America as a young Russian Jew fleeing the anti-Semitic pogroms of 1907. Some unnamed malefactor visited Mr. Mayer at his office at MGM in the late 1930s to complain about such films as the Andy Hardy movies which the malefactor felt were embarassingly moral. The malefactor suggested that MGM just had to deal with more "adult" themes (i.e. promote immorality) and that Mayer would just have to comply with the need for Hollywood to trade positive moralizing in for negative demoralizing.
Mayer responded by telling the malefactor that when Louis Mayer's time of crisis occurred in Russia in 1907, Louis Mayer could flee to an America that was not perfect but was perfect enough to welcome Louis Mayer and many others like him. Mayer told the malefactor to get lost because Mayer would NEVER use his studio to harm the good America that had welcomed him.
Mr. Mayer never made a movie about young women voluntarily beating one another senseless and on into brain damage and quadriplegia in a prize-fighting ring for money and regarding suicide as a solution to the resulting loss of "quality of life" as a good of some sort. Yes, in Mayer's time such trash was inconceivable, but it is also true that he would not have been caught dead devoting studio resources to such poisonous and lowlife dreck.
Our beleagured society also seems to have lost the understanding that the mere absence of morality is, in and of itself, a message in such arts as cinema. It would also be our peril to forget that pop libertarianism (I gotta be ME!!!!) is NOT conservatism.
Good for him!
Your last two sentences say it as well as it can be said.
We have a low Barbie threshold, but decided the fairly minor presence wasn't worth a real battle. The new films are actually full of moral values and uplifting themes, if the silliness and schmaltz don't kill you :-).
I would disagree. Pretty much any classic literature has Christian themes.
The Iliad does not have child sacrifice in it. I just finished reading it two weeks ago. The only event in the Iliad involving something like human sacrifice was when Achilles killed 20 Trojan captives (young men) at the tomb of Patroklus. Agamemnon may or may not have killed his daughter Iphigenia; there are two versions of the story (in one, she is killed; in the other, Artemis substitutes a doe for Iphigenia and spirits the girl away to Egypt). However, that story was not in the Iliad. Furthermore, Agamemnon was a weak and foolish king who met a nasty fate (his wife murdered him with an ax) after he defied the gods time and time again. "Do not defy the gods (or God)" is a Christian theme.
Even more so, Achilles-one of the main characters of the Iliad-stood firm on his principles. The Trojan War was fought to return a wife (Helen) to her husband. If one is fighting for this cause, you have a real problem on your hands when your king does the same thing. Even though Agamemnon was fighting to return Helen to Menelaus, Agamemnon stole Briseis from Achilles. Achilles said several times that he was going to marry Briseis and loved her. Achilles refused to fight for a king who didn't believe in the cause for which they were fighting. However, when Achilles was told by the gods to fight, he IMMEDIATELY obeyed them. No argument, no putting it off. Athena showed up and told him to fight, and Achilles said, "So be it." Immediate obedience is a Christian virtue.
When Priam (king of Troy)went to the tent of Achilles to ask for the body of his (Priam's) son Hector (greatest Trojan warrior who killed Achilles best friend and was killed by Achilles) back, Achilles had compassion on him. Indeed, they wept together over the many deaths. Achilles had Hector's body washed and wrapped in fresh linen, and was so kind to Priam that he caused Priam to exclaim, "I have gone through what no other mortal on earth has gone through; I put my lips to the hands of the man who has killed my children."
Story A (Iliad) is moral because it holds certain virtues (obedience to the gods, reverence for the gods, standing for what is right, compassion, forgiveness) in high esteem. Story B is immoral because it holds vices (killing helpless people so that they and particularly the people around them don't have to go through pain, extramarital sex, lewdity,promiscuity, blasphemy, etc., etc., etc.) to be the norm and, indeed, to be good.
By five years after my graduation, they were taking a month off every year for baking classes, modules in Modern Dance and a host of other used food posing as open-mindedness. The crash and burn had come quickly. I thought my then-retired best and most spectacularly qualified teacher ever was going to have a fatal stroke describing the degeneration of that prep school's curriculum and ideology when I visited him at the priest's residence (a palatial mansion).
Liberation theology-spouting apostates is a good start toward describing the typical Jebbies of today. Treasonous SOBs belongs in there somewhere. So does fully deserving of a century long suppression by B-16.
What's this I see???? Well-frosted Egyptian cookies! Nice work. Always a pleasure to see such demolition of even the theory that he might have even read, much less comprehended, Homer. Some deficiencies in my own education seem to have been complemented away by strengths in yours. Thanks for the help.
Not in any way.
My apologies on an incomprehensible post. It's a little difficult to concentrate amidst chaos.
The entire idea that fiction has nothing to do with morality is absurd on its face and goes well beyond Louis B. Mayer (who may not have denegrated the US in his movies, but...). Read the latest Tom Wolfe novel. It says a lot about morality - and lack of it - in the US.
Which, BTW, Max Baer Jr. claims was completely fabricated.
Given the way that Hollywood often makes things up out of whole cloth, I'm inclined to agree with him.
Any fiction (or nonfiction) will have characters and situations that illustrate either Christian morality, or the lack of it. I found "The Iliad" to more of a "bad example" sort of piece, but that's a matter for dueling term papers, perhaps :-).
However, this doesn't mean that all literature or film is worthwhile simply because one could draw a moral lesson from the content. Yes, you can watch many recent films (or so it appears from the reviews :-), and say, "Look! Here are a bunch of bad people behaving badly!" I don't think it's worth it.
To DRInan's credit, he went back to Massachusetts the next day and announced that he had been instructed by the pope to leave office and he would not continue his campaign for re-election (it was early in an election year). DRInan had been a slavering pro-abort as a Congressman wearing his priestly garb on the floor while arguing for abortion on demand. This is how Barney Frank, then a state senator, was elected to Congress.
Bob DORnan is an entirely different fellow and is a very good Catholic and was a very good Congressman. He is married with many children (practicing what he politically preaches) and as conservative as Fr. DRInan is leftist. Dorry to have confused.
Any Jebbie suggesting that Ronaldus Maximus was the anti-Christ ought to look in the mirror.
God bless you and yours.
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