Imagination In a Box
Prophecy - Signs
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Jack Kinsella - Omega Letter Editor
According to the public relations firms and marketing groups that represent the entertainment industry, violent movies and violent video games have absolutely no effect on a person's propensity to go out and commit violent crimes.
According to the purveyors of porn, (an industry that dwarfs Hollywood in terms of earnings) pornography has absolutely no effect on a person's propensity to seek after aberrant sex.
Former California Governor Arnold Schwarznegger joined other politicians in the rush to the microphones to demand that the government enact more gun control laws to protect people from violent crime.
Until somebody brought up his latest movie, "The Last Stand." Then he started back-pedalling as quickly as his sixty-five year old legs would carry him.
"It's entertainment, people know the difference," he says. "We have to separate the two," Schwarzenegger says of film violence and actual violence.
"What's most important is that we as a society do a better job to prevent these sort of things. You cannot totally eliminate them. There will always be some crazy guy out there shooting. There are mentally ill people. The question is, what can we do?"
The movie's producer, Lorenzo di Bonaventura quickly added,
"Sane people know the difference."
Sane people? Like Brittany Spears? Lindsey Lohan? Charlie Sheen? Quentin Tarantino? Sean Penn? Jamie Foxx?
The Culture and Media Institute, founded by Brent Bozell, sent its analysts out to review the five contenders for this year's Oscar awards. One was a musical version of the classic, "Les Miserables", another a comedy called "A Haunted House."
The other three were "Zero Dark Thirty" about the hunt to get bin-Laden, "Django Unchained" about a former slave seeking revenge on white people for his enslavement and finally, "Gangster Squad" which stars the always-lovable Senn Penn.
“In just the first 10 minutes, a man was pulled in half by two cars, another lost a hand in an elevator fight and an attempted rape was narrowly averted,” the study says about Gangster Squad. “Failing the boss resulted in being locked in a fire-bombed building for some. Another was killed with a power drill to the head.” The study also notes that Gangster Squad “has the distinction among the five films as the only one actually impacted by real-world violence,” given that a scene featuring gun murders in a movie theater was scrapped after a real-life mass murder at a Colorado theater on opening night of The Dark Knight Rises in July. “The studio shot a new ending for Gangster Squad,” the study says. "In it, nearly 25 people are shot. But they’re not in a theater."
There! That not only demonstrates how silly it is to equate movie violence with real-life violence, but it also demonstrates that Hollywood has a heart. A heart that is easily wounded. . .
"Django Unchained director Quentin Tarantino, for example, said it is "disrespectful" to connect onscreen violence to the Dec, 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and that, "obviously, the issue is gun control and mental health," not movies."
Of course, not! What in the world would make anybody think that movies influence anything? How disrespectful of us!
Jamie Foxx recently got big laughs on Saturday Night Live for saying of his character in Django Unchained, "I got to kill all the white people in the movie -- how cool is that?" Now he's making public service ads for gun control, (not that anybody thinks he can influence anything).
Former Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd easily made the transition from the Senate to the presidency of the Motion Picture Association of America. As the former Senator from Connecticut, Dodd was staunchly in favor of rigid gun control laws, garnering a 69% rating from the ACLU while earning the NRA's "F" rating on Second Amendment issues.
But as the head of the Motion Picture Association of America, he is shocked, shocked, at the notion that violent movies influence people. And he is vehemently opposed to any government restrictions on content.
"What we don't want to get involved with is content regulation. We're vehemently opposed to that. We have a free and open society that celebrates the First Amendment."
But the Second? Not so much.
"Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron" (1 Timothy 4:2)
Guns don't murder people. It isn't only insane persons that use guns to murder people. People with corrupted morals murder people. Sometimes they use guns.
What we find entertaining is reflective of our overall moral worldview. Oftentimes, it reflects a worldview that we really don't want to see.
We've discussed cognitive dissonance on previous occasions and how simultaneously holding opposing points of view can make one a bit, er, irritable. This is one of those places where cognitive dissonance makes many of us a bit dizzy. And irritable about it.
I used to like playing violent video games -- my favorites were the WWII games like Medal of Honor. I don't play them so much anymore -- they got too complicated to keep up with, but I never confused them with reality.
And I like violent shoot 'em up action movies like The Expendables. I'll watch any old war movie that's on TV. My default network choice is the Military Channel. But I don't feel the need to live out what I see on TV. I watch TV to escape reality.
With all of that, still, everything about my life experiences and powers of observation, when coupled with logic and common sense, tells me that what we see and hear does influence our thinking and ultimately our behavior.
The incredible hypocrisy of the Hollywood elite that we focused on in the first part of today's brief is reflected back on us brightly enough to be, well, irritating. Some of you are probably irritated right now as you consider your own favorite movies or TV shows.
I probably watch a couple of killings a day, on average, since I don't watch TV every day. But if I catch a couple of reruns of NCIS or one of the CSI shows, then the numbers go way up.
It is kind of shocking to me when as I write it all down -- man, I am a worse sinner than even I thought I was! But at the same time, I'm talking about network TV and mainstream Hollywood -- this is stuff one watches between commercials. It's what everybody watches, if they have cable.
"But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." (Matthew 24:37)
What were the days of Noe like? The picture is not difficult to reconstruct.
"They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. " (Luke 17:27)
But it isn't really much of a sign. It describes every generation from the days of Noah to the days of our lives. The days of Noah are recorded in Genesis Chapter Six as follows:
"And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Genesis 6:5)
It can be argued that television is imagination in a box. There, we vicariously live out all our dreams and fantasies. Somewhere on the cable dial, there is something for the imagination of everybody's heart. . .
So take a look at what is the imagination of the thoughts of THIS generation's heart. Popular culture today is full of the use of spirit guides, alien encounters, and open satanic worship.
A similar, but seldom-noted parallel between the unholy offspring of Genesis 6 and this generation is DNA and cloning research. The corruption of the human race was the main reason for the Flood. And we are in the process of corrupting it again -- as it was in the days of Noah.
The term ‘strange flesh’ means to go after an unnatural sexual union. In any case, the parallel between Sodom and this generation's moral code is self-evident.
"But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD." (Genesis 6:8)
The hypocrisy of our generation is boundless, but it is not unanticipated.
"And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. . . As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent." (Revelation 3:14-15,19)
Cognitive dissonance: being rich, increased with goods, while learning we are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked . . .
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me." (Revelation 3:20)
That's about where we are right now. About three verses away from the Rapture. . .
"After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter." (Revelation 4:1)
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