How about these blurred lines…

September 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

blurred tv

Sometimes, in my downtime and just for fun I will spend a few minutes viewing the latest movie trailers hoping to catch something that I will vow to go to the movies and see, but usually forget about until it ends up on Netflix or Redbox.  Nonetheless the pleasure is in the process, and so I click, view and mentally save this movie or that movie for some future date when it is released.  Lately though I find myself less and less impressed with the films that are being put out.  They are all too dark, too racy, too violent or too stupid to bother with.  And it’s not just film, it’s television too.  After five years of not having a television, my dad kindly bestowed one to us after he realized that I was sitting at home oblivious to the Boston Marathon Bombings because I was working on my laptop, and there are no breaking news interruptions that come through word processing apps.  So with appreciation we accepted the TV, after all we were paying for basic cable anyway through our internet plan, so why not use it?  Well, that idea was short-lived.  Don’t get me wrong I love to flip through the three public broadcasting stations we have, catch the occasional episode of America’s Got Talent, and see all the interesting things chefs prepare on Create TV.  Not to mention my little one loves having direct access to Thomas and Friends and Curious George.  But that’s about where the joy ends.

If many of the films and upcoming television shows are not full of murder and other forms of mayhem, then they are full of sexually explicit content, violence, and drug use.  Is this the kind of programming we use to unwind?   Airing this summer was a show about mistresses, murders (ABC’s Whodunnit) and coming this fall is another about cheating…but if that’s not sufficient I’m sure there are about a dozen other programs that will focus on serial killers, rape and other violent crimes this fall.  Recently, my mother-in-law had a conversation with a teen-ager who was watching a program with some “suggestive” content and when she expressed that the content was inappropriate for her, the teen-ager replied with ‘this is life.’  Yes, this is life, people cheat on their spouses and break-up their families, people kill others, and die senseless deaths, human beings steal one another’s joy, but is this the life we want to live – or better yet is this the life we want our children to live?

I believe there is a big difference between exploring an issue and reveling in the nightmare, and we tend to do the latter.  We go on and on about Miley Cyrus’ performance at the VMA’s while two channels over some equally disheartening display of misguided sexuality is playing out every week.  We revel in these fictional nightmares until real life shakes us awake and we realize that three women were actually kidnapped and held in a house for a decade and that their horrors were very real; or that two brothers living in Cambridge actually were downloading jihadist content to their laptops, creating pressure cooker bombs to maim, kill and go down in a blaze of glory – much like a chase scene in an action movie.  We revel in these nightmares until they come back to haunt us.

Last week we recognized the anniversary of 9/11, and we remembered the victims and the tremendous healing that their families have had to undergo, but how many times did we think about the slate of films featuring acts of terror that were created in the years leading up to 9/11?  This week we are met with yet another mass shooting, this time on a secure Navy Base in DC, and while many shows feature cops and undercover agents running around trying to catch or stop a terrorist, very few show families dealing with the aftermath, the loss and the trauma of these events.  You see, I also believe that there is a place for discussions of violence, drug use, mass incarceration, pornography, and cheating/divorce, after all these are very real and painful parts of our lives.  But the true art is not in objectifying the wrong, but in demonstrating a better way forward.  To be fair, there are many films like “Unconditional,” “Bella,” and “Take me Home,” that do this very well, and I am thankful for them because when the day’s news seems to play too much like an episode of CSI, you need a way to productively and peacefully unwind.

In Prayer,


 unconditional movie Bella Take me home


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