What’s The Message?

While watching the Olympics this summer, an advertisement for a new television show, Revolution, caught my attention and curiosity. The premise of the show seemed intriguing and interesting so I looked forward to checking it out.

The first episode went rather well and held my attention so as to want to watch the following week’s episode. Then it happened. I realized quickly while watching the second week’s episode that two things were unsettling to us, so much so that we turned it off and are now not going to watch any more. Those things were inordinate killing and gratuitous profanity.

Granted, the title of this series is “Revolution” and one can expect there to be a war in there somewhere. But the ease and frequency that the show featured the killing of people, coupled with the mindset of one of the main characters, took it to an unhealthy level in my opinion. This might seem odd coming from someone who thoroughly enjoyed The Hunger Games movie. But there is a huge difference.

In The Hunger Games, killing was actually seen as something that was bad in the eyes of the main characters as well as the citizens of the country. Katniss and Peeta loathed the very existence of the Games, let alone the expectation that they were to kill others. The message of the movie was clear. Killing is bad.

While one may, if you look really hard, be able to find that message in Revolution, to me it wasn’t nearly as clear, and could have been absent altogether. At the very least, the second episode gave the clear message that restraining from killing was a bad idea and shouldn’t be restrained henceforth.

I posted a message on Revolution’s Facebook page saying they lost a viewer because of the killing and profanity. One replier bemoaned my stance, asking if this was 1970? What’s that supposed to mean? Does the fact that we live in a day that is later than 1970 mean that violence and profanity is all of a sudden O.K? Who made that determination? Or is it that what most people call “progress” is actually desensitization to evil?

So where should we draw the line on violence in entertainment? Is a little bit O.K. but a lot not? Are there certain themes for movies/shows where it is expected? I suspect the answer to these questions will depend on who is being asked. But for me, it comes down to what message is coming through. Is violence and killing being done grudgingly in self-defense, or is it somehow embraced as just another accepted part of life? Is violence just the product of people saving the day (I’m thinking superhero movies) or is it being used specifically as  the focus to try to entertain? The answers to these questions, to me and my family, make all the difference in the world.

As for profanity, it’s just not needed. I can handle a little D-word slip here and there, but when a movie or TV show seems to be littered all throughout with the B-bombs and S-bombs or worse, it’s time to turn it off. Whatever you subject yourself to (hearing and watching) will become a part of you and your thinking, and eventually will come out in your actions. As Christians, we need to be separating ourselves from that.

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God.As God has said, “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing,  and I will receive you.” And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” (2 Corinthians 6:14 – 7:1)

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2 Responses to What’s The Message?

  1. Violence in the media has always been a sticky subject for me. On the one hand, there was a lot of violence in the Old Testament, so I don’t think we can reject it wholesale, but on the other hand, the Bible isn’t a movie or a TV show. It isn’t entertainment. I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned desensitization. Someone’s always going to be able to find the good in any TV show or movie, but these are lessons I think we can almost certainly learn elsewhere. At some point, when we watch too many shows, we begin to associate violence with make-believe, and that’s a dangerous place to be.

  2. Lara says:

    Great blog, Rob! I couldn’t agree more. I might also add that there is also a constant Hollywood need to push the gay agenda in just about every show and movie. Some of my favorite memories growing up (in the 70’s) were of the entire family gathered around the television to watch Little House on the Prarie, The Walton’s or Sunday night’s Wonderful World of Disney. My parents, unlike parents of today, could sit back and relax with us and not fear for what we might see or hear! The messages were always clear and wholesome.

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