What you see on the screen plays second fiddle to the message a movie puts forth. What you see is what you get is not all you get. So, what else do you get?
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The whole country is talking about the film Brokeback Mountain and it has created no small stir. On a Sunday morning TV editorial Charles Osgood pointed out that Hollywood is not tying to put forth a gay liberal agenda but rather are interested only in the bottom line – money. Although not inferred, it sounded like capturing the minds of adults or poisoning the minds of our youth was merely an incidental that happened on the way to the bank.
For over thirty years I have warned that it is not just what we see on films that can influence us. Each film has a philosophy attached to it whether it was intended or not. Sex, violence and profanity are blaringly obvious but subtle philosophies are not. Today the philosophies are becoming more blatant and are far less subtle. The race for box office cash is not all that fuels this raw open ended kind of expression in the film industry.
The mention of any kind of control (even self control) is met with cries of violated first amendment rights and the old freedom of expression hype. It may seem a bit over used but remains true nevertheless that Hollywood has never bothered to discern the difference between freedom and license.
A recent poll discovered that only one out of a thousand Americans knows all of the rights our constitution provides for them. On average the poll said that most people can name only one of our constitutional rights. Contrasted with that fact, it was discovered that the same people could name three or more of the characters in the TV animated sitcom, “The Simpsons.” The bottom line says that movie makers know what their rights are but the movie viewing public either doesn’t have a clue or they just don’t care.
Anyone who thinks TV and Movies don’t influence our society has to be living in another country. Yet even that is not true. Another poll recently discovered that one of the reasons that almost every major country in the world hates Americans is because of the film industry. All they know about America is what they see in the movies. Immorality, frivolous romance, rebellion, crime, gay cowboys and general mayhem is all they see. Any country trying to keep order and develop would naturally reject this kind of example and that is exactly what they do.
Could we get Hollywood’s attention on this, not so far but maybe we could catch them on the way to the bank and let them know. It is estimated that Americans will spend fifteen years on average of their entire lives watching TV and Movies. Perhaps it is not reasonable to think John Q television watching public is going to take any time out of their fifteen years to grab a few Hollywood producers on their way to the bank. Maybe they could protest a bit during the commercials which comprise about five of the fifteen years of their TV and movie watching lives.
Actors and others in the film industry are paid huge sums of money to do and say things most Americans don’t believe should ever be seen or uttered. Are they showing us our mind, or is art coaxing life rather than imitating it. I suppose when actors or thespians are offered small fortunes to behave and talk badly they must think they are living right. They too probably laugh all the way to the bank. Most Americans don’t act like actors but Hollywood can afford to make them act anyway they choose.
It all seems Ok if the end (the trip to the bank) seems to justify the means. Some Americans are a bit sick of Hollywood suggesting how to live instead of depicting how they actually live. The Bible isn’t sick of anything but has a lot to say about how sick human behavior can become. Perhaps it is best said by the bible regardless of whether Hollywood is listening or not. There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Proverbs 14:12