Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Sledgehammer Approach

"Art is not a mirror to reflect reality, but a hammer with which to shape it."
Bertolt Brecht

This quote from Dr. Mardy Grothe's book, I Never Metaphore I Didn't Like got me to thinking about art in general and specifically the "art" that comes out of Hollywood.

It seems to me, genuine artists use small taps of the hammer, then sandpaper, to shape their final image. Think of the great writers you've read and I think you'll find their writings have a common characteristic: they attempt to shape one's thinking through small, gentle nudges. In this manner, some authors have fundamentally altered the way generations think.

Hollywood, on the other hand, seems to prefer to take a sledgehammer approach to force their opinions upon all who view their shows or movies. Used to be, Bogart would passionately embrace his leading lady, and then... nothing. A passionate embrace, that's all. Viewers were left to assume more happened than was shown, or nothing more happened. Or, Bogart would fire his gun and viewers would see a shadowy figure fall down, presumably dead. Perhaps Heston would carry a couple of stone tablets down a mountain. Even Hollywood used to have some art & occasionally supported the Bible. Today, we're treated to, well to graphic depictions of sexual encounters and exploding body parts, and evolutionary dogma assumed as fact. The sledgehammer approach. And what it does is smash down our defenses and open an generation to baseness as a way of life. And fundamentally alters our thinking, because, after all, who has time think when there's so much good stuff to watch.

So what's the answer? Enact laws to force Hollywood to clean up their act? We already have such laws that aren't being enforced. No, I think a better solution is to get rid of the television, as Donna & I did around 10 years ago. Go ahead, cut the cable, eliminate the desensitizing distractions, and spend some quality time with a good book, perhaps even The Good Book. Am I saying it's wrong to watch TV or movies? Absolutely not. Though some TV and movies are clearly immoral and ought to be avoided. Am I advocating taking a sledgehammer to your TV? Not really, though it may be a good idea to sell it if you're addicted to movies. Christians have the liberty to watch TV or movies of any sort, but we also have a Biblical mandate to carefully consider what we allow to influence our thinking.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

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