Friday, December 15, 2006

Underwear enacting evil

Jessie mentioned that the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet has changed its wording to de-emphasize ratings in favor of making informed entertainment decisions. But that leaves me with the whole burden of evaluating my entertainment for myself—exercising my free agency muscles, as santorio puts it. I love the idea, but in practice this has been very problematic. I’m afraid of indulging the oblivious inconsistency I’ve seen in others.

I’ve heard one way to evaluate questionable content is to determine whether it is portraying evil (i.e. accurately describing the consequences that come from violence, revenge, moral depravity, etc.) or actually enacting the evil itself. Media supposedly enacts evil when it makes it appear glamorous or in any way divorces it from the harsh realities that surround it. Not showing the consequences is evil in itself, the idea goes.

This sounds very wise until I actually calculate out how it might apply. So, now I can watch explicit extramarital sex as long as there’s eventually a horribly awkward confrontation with the spouse? I get aroused by underwear ads, so it seems to me that I should avoid the bothersome ones even though the men standing there in their near-nothins are being very candid and honest about the consequences of wearing underwear.

Plus, I’m horrible at putting down a book or leaving a movie if it suddenly seems out of line. I’m a sucker for finishing what I start (how does it end? I MUST KNOW!).


-L- said...

I also liked this post.

Beck said...

Funny you should bring up this subject. I've been having lengthy debates about R-rated movies with my teenage son this past week. He wants to see the violent ones and is fine in fast-forwarding through the token sex scene as long as he gets to see the battles.

He's now justifying the watching of war / battle movies if they have historical value. His history teacher reinforces such thoughts and gives extra credit for reviews of such movies. We saw "Alexander" together under the scenario of viewing it for its historical context. Now that one report is done, he's ready for the next movie - "Braveheart". Is this a pandora's box that I've opened? Of course these movies have educational value, and the ratings many times are worthless.

Though I don't want lines drawn to define me, there is comfort in having that arbitrary line drawn by someone, even if it is inaccurate or imperfect - it's still a line drawn in the sand - and that is important particularly when it now involves your own children.

Beck said...

By the way, I love underwear ads... they make me crazy! Does that make them evil?

Anonymous said...

the movies i have most regretted [but not walked out on because, basically, i'm spineless] are those with excessive violence. not the cartoon violence of lord of the rings or even current casino royale, but the graphic and unending violence of gangs of new york, for example, or just about anything by mel gibson. speaking of mel, i did not see the passion for that reason and doubt that i'll see apocalypto.

Rebecca said...

I always thought each person just has to figure out what he/she can handle, then draw the line for him/herself. I did have a film professor - at BYU - tell us that it's not the rating, or even the content, for the most part; it's what we DO with it. Do we just sit there and let it wash over us? If so, we shouldn't be watching anything at all. Do we think about it? About what the subtext is saying? About how it's getting its message across? If we're thinking about it we can handle a lot more. He said he'd rather his kids watched movies like "The Patriot" or "The Matrix" than "Bambi," because the subtextual messages were so much more beneficial. He was a pretty amazing professor.

G'pa Bob said...

Rebecca is right on in my opinion.

If a woman hater becomes a breast surgeon or a pedofile becomes a priest then they are in business for the wrong reason.

Likewise, if I watch an explicit medical or violent historical movie for entertainment then I am doing it for the wrong reason.

If I read the underware section of a catalog for entertainment then I am reading it for the wrong reason. Lieing to myself and others only compounds the problem

The key question is "Am I thinking alot about this when it requires little or no thought". Bringing sexuality or clothing or many other things that do not require thinking into the thinking process may create a problem for ourselves or others.