Sunday, September 4, 2011

This Could Get Uglee

I'm going to write some posts about a few movies that I've seen lately, one of which is Scarface.  However, that won't happen today.  I've been waylaid.  Waylaid by James Dobson--not really him specifically, though.

While looking around online for material about some of the films that have captured or recaptured my imagination lately, something reminded me of Plugged In, Focus on the Family's movie review site. I remembered how I threw back my head and laughed out loud when I read their review of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and learned that "sexual content" can include Hermione Granger wearing a revealing dress.  I couldn't help but look up the article just now, and the direct quote is, "One of Hermione's dresses shows a lot of cleavage."  Pictured here is said character in said frock.  I confess that in this [un-messed with, true to the original] still, one can discern two humanoid forms, and most people [with no mild visual impairments] can conclude that one of the humans is a female.  For some in Focus on the Family's employ, this may, in fact, be wildly erotic.

I snickered as I scanned a few reviews of movies that I've seen lately, including Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  I expected a diatribe about evolution vs. creation; however, I found that something else was more concerning to the Plugged In reviewer who noted that a "negative element" of the film was that "Caesar picks someone's pocket and steals his knife."

Caesar.  Who is a chimp.  Stole.  This is bad.*

I haven't seen Glee: The 3D Concert Movie (and don't plan to, though I enjoy the show and love the music), but I was mildly befuddled by the part of the Plugged In review of it when the author cried "profanity" because Gwyneth Paltrow sang Cee Lo Green's Forget You, the sanitized version of Fuck You.  But wait a minute...she sang the edited version.  This still gets a mention?  I don't get it.

All of this is amusing.  I mean, people whose concept of whether or not a film is good hinges on their willingness to watch it with their homeschooled six year-old are just kinda cute, and not to be taken too seriously, right?  That is, until they start up with this stuff.  Here is a portion of the Glee movie review, which frankly makes my blood boil.  I'm tempted to embolden phrases that do so, or to edit down the milder parts, but instead copy it here with no changes:

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It's from a position of high moral ground, then, that Glee glams up the messages of individual self-worth, acceptance of differences … and homosexuality. Again and again eager fans echo the fact that Glee has tremendously influenced their lives for the better. It's inspired them to view the social fringes—the outcasts and nerds, if you will—in a more compassionate light. And because the show depicts how everyone is different in some way, fans also speak of experiencing greater self-esteem. It's given them a voice when they had none before and taught them that social, emotional, physical and cultural differences are to be celebrated, not ridiculed or shunned.

So is it true that entertainment does actually influence us, just as Plugged In has been preaching for so many years?

And if that's now been firmly established by all involved parties, can we talk honestly about what, exactly, Glee: The 3D Concert Movie is influencing us to think? And do? Some of the values Glee dispenses are great. Accepting others' emotional and physical differences is fantastic. Depicting how diverse groups can foster a community of friendship, trust and fun is also a huge plus. But what about the super-sexy exhibition from these performers who, remember, are ostensibly still in high school? What about them acting out Britney Spears' S and M fantasies onstage? What about the embrace of casual sex by fistfuls of other songs? What about the drumbeat of homosexual acceptance—for kids as young as middle school?

The stated goal of Glee's producers is tearing down what they consider to be prejudices and intolerance by making homosexuality shine. And along with it any other sort of sexual choice tweens and teens want to pursue.

And you just can't isolate that influence from the others.

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Oh, I am not amused.

In chronological order, here are the points from above which chap my ass:

  • Can't you just hear the sinister music (BUM bum BUUMMMMMM!!!) after the first sentance, "...and homosexuality."?
  •  Second one-sentence paragraph, "...is it true that entertainment does really influence us?" In some ways yes, but more importantly, I think that some entertainment is a reflection of what's already happening.  People of all ages, but particularly those in their youth, understand that they can step back from whatever background, creed or religion in which they've been brought up and say, "But what do my eyes tell me?  What do my experiences teach me?  What do I notice as I learn about people and cultures from all over the globe?"  The answers to those questions are what terrify institutions like Focus on the Family:  gay people aren't child molestors lurking in the bushes, they're my nice neighbors and co-workers; gay people aren't mentally ill, they're some of the most intelligent and creative people that I've ever known; gay people aren't anti-family and anti-marriage, otherwise why do so many of them want these things for their own?  More and more people who towed the line, followed like sheep (and, make no mistake, funded organizations like Focus on the Family through donations) are not as willing to listen, obey and place their own experience and doubts on the shelf anymore.
  • Farther down, "What about the drumbeat of homosexual acceptance—for kids as young as middle school?"  What about it?  What about it?  Are they serious?  Here's what about it.  Maybe if kids as young as middle school (and younger, please) understand that homosexuals have worth and dignity and deserve respect like everyone else, they won't grow up to kick the shit out of people like Dane Hall and Matthew Shepherd and Marcellus Andrews and...need I go on?  What about it?  Please.
  • Second to last paragraph, "...tearing down what they consider to be prejudice and intolerance."  Right.  This persecution of gays is all just a bunch of hooey.  (See bullet point directly above).
  • Same paragrapgh, "sexual choice."  This is really beating a dead horse.  I think we're all over this one, right?  Heterosexuals do not choose heterosexuality, ergo, vis a vis, concordantly, homosexuals do not choose homosexuality.  Are we really still talking about this?
The last point I'd like to make is so important, that I'm pulling it away from the others.  Plugged In, and therefore Focus on the Family, charges Ryan Murphy and the other producers (and I would say by default the actors, crew members and all participants) of Glee with "making homosexuality shine."

Plugged In, Focus on the Family, and James Dobson, I say to you:  Gay people don't need Glee or anyone's help to shine.  They do it on their own.

People in Ellen's audience get up to dance with her everyday, because she's so much fun.  She shines.

People tune in for news and information from Rachel Maddow, because she is so brilliant.  She shines.

People ask my friend Chris to sing at and DJ their weddings, because he's so talented.  He shines.

People read gay themed blogs like this, and this and this, because the authors have unique voices and have so much to say.  They shine.

Some people can't see, because they're afraid of the light.

Plugged In, Focus on the Family, James Dobson--I'll say this in a way that won't attack your sensibilities:

Forget You.



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*I should insert that he needed the knife in order to escape a stinky, dirty monkey prison and was being abused and provoked by Draco Malfoy, so maybe his chimp theft can be excused.**
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**I should insert that Draco did, in fact, view Hermione in her slutted-up state at Slughorn's party, so some of his angst and chimp-hate may have been caused by unsought-after witch cleavage arousal.



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