Writing my last post about the movie "Easy A", I realized that my assumptions might not be as obvious as I had hoped they would be. Therefore, this post is to lay out my assumptions.
1) This may be obvious, but I cannot discuss everything about a particular movie, tv show, book, etc. As a result, I must choose what to talk about. This is not to say that there are not and cannot be other important (or possibly more important) points to draw from a particular cultural artifact (movie, book, tv show, etc.). For example, I discussed the portrayal of Christians and, by extension, Christ when I examined "Easy A." However, there were many good portrayals of the family, a good moral lesson about lying, and several other approaches I could have taken. This is simply the nature of what I am doing. I can only type so much until you (or I) get bored and move on to something else. Furthermore, I assume you don't really want a full point-by-point examination of the artifact. I assume that ruins it for you, as it does for me.
Anyway, you might be asking, how I choose what to discuss. In response, I say I will always try to find points that help you "flex your filtering muscle." What does this mean? Well, anyone who watches "Easy A" knows the lesson being conveyed by the movie is "You shouldn't lie." However, they may not know that the portrayal of Christians makes a statement about Christ. This statement may or may not be intended by the writers, director, or actors, but that does not really matter. The statement, I believe, is being made anyway. So, my hope is that once you know this, you can filter that garbage and enjoy the movie and appreciate the good things it says and does. Therefore, hopefully you will learn how to use your filtering muscle and be able to do it more and more.
2) I assume you have already or plan to see the movie or television show, read the book, or heard the music, etc. This is important, because it tells you what this blog is NOT. It is not a collection of reviews. I am not in the business of telling you what artifacts to engage and what artifacts not to engage. Frankly, you do not need such a website/blog. You don't need someone making decisions for you, do you? Of course not! In fact, who am I (or anyone else, for that matter) to tell you what is acceptable in the culture and what is not? I once listened to a reviewer who told me to avoid a certain movie. I listened to him, because his argument was good, and went to see another movie. When I did finally see the movie I was convinced to avoid, I was surprised to find myself deeply impacted by it. The person who told me to avoid the movie was wrong. He didn't know it and I don't blame him for it. However, I tell you this, because I will not be using this blog to tell you what to do. I hope to help you understand what you engage so you can better decide what you want to and can engage.
Furthermore, because I assume you've seen the movie, I may include "spoilers" in my filtering process. I will, however, be sure to inform you at the beginning of the post if I give something away that may ruin the movie if you have not engaged with the artifact. Finally, even if you have not seen a particular movie, television show, or read a particular book, etc., you can certainly still benefit from the posts. You will be able to anticipate that which I point out and work on filtering it.
3) I assume the entertainment culture is unavoidable. Individuals are able to avoid it for a variety of reasons, even small cultures (like a particular church or group) may avoid it. Individuals or small cultures may even condemn it. However, the entertainment culture is not going anywhere. Why not? Well, I may someday explain a deeper reason why entertainment will never go away, but money will suffice as a reason for now. And money is indeed a very good reason for entertainment, as we know it, to be around. Americans spent $10.57 billion on movies (in theaters alone), $1.5 billion on music, and $405.4 million on video games last year. Though I cannot back this up quite as well, I think it is safe to assume Americans spent at least $25 billion on entertainment last year, if you include DVD sales, cable, internet, and book sales. I know that estimate is probably pretty low too. What do you make of these figures? Well, you can either deny or accept the reality that people spend a good amount of time, energy, and money in the entertainment culture. If you accept it, then the question that follows is, "What are you going to do about it?" My hope is this blog will help you know what to do and prepare you to do it: witness.
4) Another assumption of mine needed more space to discuss. It discusses tolerance.