Now, I’m not pretending that I never make bad choices in the media I consume. I have and I do. But I recognize, even in those moments, that entertainment is not a neutral exercise. In every instance, it’s going to be a net positive or a net negative for my mental and spiritual welfare. I am inviting these messages, images, and ideas into my mind. I am doing something that is active and purposeful, and it will either help me or hurt me in the end.
Music, movies, TV, games — we spend so much of our lives wrapped up in all this stuff because it affects us. There’s a reason why, in this economy, Americans still commit an inordinate amount of their income to cable bills, Netflix accounts, movie tickets, and video games. It’s important to us. Too important, clearly. But even in proper proportion, this is art, and art is a powerful thing. Art says something to us and about us. It drives us. Transforms us. Art moves the heart and the mind in a particular direction. It can pull us closer to Him or push us further away, but whatever it does, it does something.
So anytime we sit in front of the tube, we should ask: am I progressing or regressing? Is this drawing me to God or away from Him? What am I getting out of this?
The opposing argument, however, says that entertainment is never a moral concern. A thing is pleasurable because it is, and it is because it is because it is. Why worry about it? Why analyze it? Just sit back and let it sweep you away into its world. Be so utterly passive and lethargic that you don’t even stop to think about what you’re thinking about. Become like a vacant shell, filled in and emptied again according to the whims of these glowing screens. If the entertainment industry says, “here, stuff this in your brain, it’ll feel good,” just do it. Take whatever they give you. Take it and go with the flow.
Actually, I guess that’s not so much an argument as it is a whimper.
Category Archives: Television
The Washington Post reports, “ESPN 980 began developing a morning program built around [Jason] Reid and Chris Paul, a veteran radio and TV personality . . . The idea: a local sports-talk show hosted by two white personalities and aimed at white men . . . ”
Just kidding! Of course, the show was to be hosted by “two African American personalities” and was to be “aimed at African American men.” That’s fine, whereas the former would have been illegal and racist.
But far from protecting its territory by reminding people that Stewart is in no sense of the word a journalist, the news media embraced the idea. He was bringing millennials into the national conversation, after all; and where there are millennials, there is money. The myth that “The Daily Show” was the best place to go to understand what was happening in the world grew. At the same time, legitimate news began to sound more and more like Stewart’s preachy bullying.
This is likely a case of correlation, not causation, which is why I am doubtful that Stewart has left any real mark on journalism. He has been the perfect poster child for the smug age of outrage we live in. Real conversations have become harder and harder, because who wants to talk to someone who is pointing and laughing at them? Worse, many real journalists and far too many people at large have no idea that is what they are doing.
This is how so many people have come to believe that Stewart is somehow nonpartisan. This belief boggles the minds of the majority of conservatives. After all, when Stephen Colbert launched the “conservative” counterpoint to “The Daily Show” he was obviously playing a clown. Stewart never was. In fact, the depth of Stewart’s sincerity was on display for his entire tenure at “The Daily Show”—perhaps never more so than at his bizarre rally at the National Mall which is still one of the stranger events in recent American political history.
In satirizing the news, Stewart understood and exemplified so much of what is broken about it. But for all his successes, it is important to understand one thing very clearly. Jon Stewart was never a newsman.
Akil Malik, the 24-year-youth who has been hogging the limelight for the last two days for slapping model and actress Gauhar Khan on the set of a TV show, stunned everyone again by providing insensitive justification for his action.
When police enquired as to why he slapped the actress, the accused said girls who wear revealing clothes “damage the brains of the youngsters and provoke them to commit crimes.”
“Actresses are the face of society and they should not wear skirts and short clothes as they make youngsters get attracted to them sexually. These days, boys who are minors are also committing crimes such as rape and molestation and many of them keep obscene photographs of actresses in their pockets. If actresses stop wearing short clothes, crime will decrease and lead to a better society,” said an unapologetic Malik, according to Mid-day.
So does stupidity and Islam…
Parents can become less sensitive to violence and sex in movies after watching only a few scenes with disturbing content, according to a study published in Pediatrics that was conducted by researchers at the Annenberg Public Policy Center.
Parents viewed three brief pairs of movie scenes featuring either violent or sexual content. After seeing the first movie clip, the parents thought the minimum age on average to see a movie with that content should be 16.9 years old for violence or 17.2 years old for sex. After watching the sixth and final scene, the parents were more willing to let younger teens see the movies, 13.9 years for violence and 14 years for sex – lowering the minimum age by three years or more.
“We know these scenes are somewhat disturbing to parents,” said Dan Romer, associate director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) and the study’s lead author. “When they first see them, they say you shouldn’t let someone younger than 17 see them – which is comparable to an R rating. But they get more and more accepting of that content as they’re watching it.”
The study “Parental Desensitization to Violence and Sex in Movies,” will be published in the November 2014 issue of Pediatrics. It was made available online on Oct. 20. The findings were based on an online survey of 1,000 parents who have children from ages 6 to 17. The movie scenes came from popular films targeted at youth (PG-13), rated R (under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian) or unrated in DVD versions.
The study comes as scenes of sex and violence become more prevalent in movies aimed at youth. A 2013 study in Pediatrics from APPC researchers showed that the amount of violence in PG-13 movies tripled in the most popular movies since 1985. That study also found that the amount of gun violence in popular PG-13 movies in 2012 actually exceeded that in popular R-rated movies. Another APPC study in Pediatrics in 2013 found that movie violence was associated with sex and alcohol use as often in PG-13 as R-rated movies.
The Charlestown-based Teamsters Local 25 — the crew that drives for most TV and movie productions made in Massachusetts — reportedly harassed and threatened the cast and crew of Bravo’s “Top Chef” while the show was filming in Milton earlier this summer, but a network source said the ugly incident won’t deter them from returning to Boston in the future.
“It was an isolated incident but we had a great experience overall shooting in Boston,” the source told the Track. “I don’t think it would prevent us from coming back. Boston is a great city with a lot to offer.”
According to Deadline.com, the Teamsters threw up a picket line while the hit TV cooking competition was filming at the Steel & Rye restaurant in Milton. The union types were miffed because Bravo was using production assistants to drive their cars and not the union. When “Top Chef” star Padma Lakshmi arrived on the set, picketers called her a “(expletive) whore,” our source confirmed, and threatened to “bash that pretty face in.”
The picketers lobbed sexist, racist and homophobic slurs at the rest of the cast and crew for most of the day, the website reported, and when production wrapped, the “Top Chef” crew found that tires were slashed on 14 of their cars. Milton police confirmed that the union members were “threatening, heckling and harassing” but said no arrests were made. The union protest was confined to just that one day during “Top Chef’s” two-month shoot.
Local 25 president Sean O’Brien was out of town and unavailable for comment yesterday, according to spokeswoman Melissa Hurley.
“As far as we’re concerned, nothing happened,” Hurley said. “This is typical of nonunion companies who often make excuses for why they won’t hire union labor.”
The interview was lively and interesting but it did not go well for Carter, who was forced to admit his ignorance of the historical context of the situation in Iraq.
But then Carter said he hadn’t read various other books, such as Bernard Lewis’ Crisis of Islam, Robin Wright’s Dreams and Shadows, or Thomas P. M. Barnett’s The Pentagon’s New Map. He said he hadn’t read Dexter Filkins’ The Forever War but that he’d “read a lot of the stuff that he’s written for The New Yorker.” Filkins joined The New Yorker in 2011. He said he does not read politician’s memoirs, including Cheney’s or George W. Bush’s. That he was unaware that Bill Clinton had bombed Iraq in 1998 or that Gadhafi had reportedly disarmed in 2003. He admitted he doesn’t know who A. Q. Khan, the father of the Pakistan bomb and godfather of Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs, is.
It’s such a display of ignorance that it seems almost unfair. But looked at another way, it’s simply a good interview where Hewitt seeks to establish Carter’s background and breadth of knowledge in order to help listeners know on what basis he critiqued Cheney.
The real problem is the arrogance that goes with the ignorance. Remember how President Reagan once quipped, “The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn’t so”? Yeah, well, I think the ignorance may be turning into a problem.
Subcommittee chair Senator Clair McCaskill talked about the “Oz Effect.” After Oz endorses unproven products such as green coffee extract and raspberry ketone, businesses often use his own quotes to help them sell products that are ineffective at best and dangerous at worst. The weight-loss supplement industry is notorious for false advertising and tainted products. Yet it’s no wonder they quote Dr. Oz. He’s well known and liked, and his endorsements already sound like copy lifted from a dubious infomercial, although they never mention brands. “You may think magic is make-believe, but this little bean has scientists saying they found the magic weight-loss for every body type,” he once said about green coffee extract.The scientific community is almost monolithic against you in terms of the efficacy of the three products that you called miracles. And when you call a product a miracle and it’s something that you can buy and it’s something that gives people false hope, I just don’t understand why you need to go there.
Oz defended his favorite products, saying they help people ease into more sensible diet- and exercise-based weight-loss plans: “We search for tools and crutches; short-term supports so that people can jumpstart their programs.” He also defended what he called “flowery” language, as if his pseudoscience were just, like, an overlong description of a sunset: “When I can’t use language that is flowery, that is exulting, I feel like I’ve been disenfranchised.”
“Planet of the Apes” star and self-identified libertarian Gary Oldman went on a tirade about the “hypocrisy” of an increasingly politically correct culture in an interview with “Playboy” for the upcoming July/August issue.
“I just think political correctness is crap,” he said. “That’s what I think about it. I think it’s like, take a joke. Get over it.”
Asked who is honest in this culture, Oldman gave Charles Krauthammer a shoutout. “A voice I particularly like is Charles Krauthammer,” he said. “I think he’s incredibly smart. I think he’s fair, very savvy and politically insightful, so I enjoy watching him.”
He also pointed out people can “hide behind comedy and satire” in order to say politically incorrect things. “Well, if I called Nancy Pelosi a **** — I can’t really say that,” Oldman explained. “But Bill Maher and Jon Stewart can, and nobody’s going to stop them from working because of it.”