Showing posts from 2021

How to Push Back Against the Tide of an Immoral Society

With rampant licentiousness being the societal norm, we need a robust Christian sexual ethic—something more than just a vague notion that sex should be reserved for marriage. We must reclaim a thoroughly God-centered, neighbor-serving perspective. I explore what that perspective should entail in a new article for Crosswalk : Under the surface of our society’s unabashed promiscuity is a root we can easily overlook: a climate of consumerism. Using an impersonal, utilitarian lens, our consumeristic culture encourages us to evaluate others based on their perceived usefulness. The more willing others are to play to an individual’s felt needs, the more willing he is to treat them with dignity and respect.   This tendency essentially views or treats others as objects. It points back to the end-user as the end goal: what he wants reigns supreme. The emphasis becomes inward rather than outward. The question becomes, “How can this person benefit  me ?”   An inward, consumeristic focus

If a Movie Includes Coerced Nudity, Who’s to Blame?

Whenever an actor shares the shame and humiliation of being bullied into undressing or sexually acting out for the camera, there are a plethora of responses from armchair critics. Since I write about this topic often, I’ve seen a lot of these responses, many of which can lean toward the shame-based end of the spectrum : “It’s her fault for not telling the director ‘no.’” “What did she expect, working with a bunch of perverts?” “She’s complaining now, but did she complain about the paycheck she received?” “If you don’t like the mud don’t roll around with the pigs!” For consumers far removed from the goings on of a film set, it’s easy to simplify matters so as to lay the blame at the actress’ feet, as if the most appropriate summation is, “She shouldn’t have done that.” The reality, however, is more complex, and Scripture can help us better navigate this complexity. Consider for example the story of Judah and his daughter-in-law Tamar (see Genesis 38). Childless, and after the loss of

Rape Revenge Fantasies and Male Entitlement

Revenge movies are nothing new. A staple of Hollywood throughout the decades, they run the gamut from Oscar-worthy ( Ben-Hur and Gladiator ) to cheap exploitation (no need to list specific titles here). There is something about vigilante justice that appeals to our nature, although the mileage of any given film will vary depending on how realistically, honestly, and/or cathartically it handles the topic. There is a subgenre of the revenge narrative that is especially ripe for exploitation: the rape-revenge film. Movies in this category often act as excuses for gratuitous displays of sex and violence. The victim/protagonist typically enacts vengeance on the perpetrator(s) by treating him/them the way she was treated—i.e., as an object of dehumanizing violence. Part of the fantasy, of course, is that an act of violence can actually negate or overcome or erase a previous act of violence. There’s a new movie in town, however, and it seeks to subvert the rape-revenge genre, replacing min

Third Blog’s the Charm

Four score and seven years ago (or so it seems), I staked my claim on a small corner of cyberspace . The actual date when I began my blog? January 16, 2006. The actual title of the blog? Well, Four Scores and Seven Films Ago . This title captured my love of three elements: instrumental film scores, movies, and American history (with an obvious nod to Abraham Lincoln). The aesthetic of the blog reflected its title, with an intentionally dated, parchment-paper look. Seven years later, in January of 2013, I gave the blog a serious facelift . The generic blogging URL was replaced with a custom domain name, and the original title replaced with the shorter, and more ambiguous, Happier Far . (I lifted this phase from a gospel moment in Paradise Lost , the epic poem by John Milton.) The new blog title fit the theological bent of my writings at the time. The new template also reflected a more modern aesthetic. Of course, over seven more years have passed (just over eight, actually), and the

President Biden to Replace Hyde Amendment with “Rawhide Amendment”

In one of his first acts as President of the Divided States of America, Biden has purposed to not only eliminate the Hyde Amendment, but to replace it with what he is calling the Rawhide Amendment. During a press conference awkwardly scheduled on the National Sanctity of Human Life Day, Biden said, “Why call it Rawhide? Well, why not? I mean, it even rhymes with Hyde. It’s perfect!” He continued: “We have a language problem, and it needs to stop. So many d**n people keep injecting the abortion debate with a vulgar vernacular. As such, I am introducing a legislative provision to make it a legal requirement to use only scientific terms.” First, Biden proposes that pre-born humans be referred to as fetuses—not babies. “A fetus is not yet a baby,” he said. “Science must be the determining factor here—not our emotions or personal preferences. Let’s stick to the facts, people! Our nation’s rich history illustrates how humans aren’t fully human until the United States government says th

The Top 20 of 2020

When it comes to life itself, sometimes it’s easier to see the road in the rearview mirror. When it comes to public blogging, it’s nice to sometimes take a look back and see what worked best—that is, what got the most traction and feedback. I know it has been popular to joke about how horrible the last year was ( this is my favorite 2020 meme ), but a lot of good happened too. In my own narrow corner of cyberspace, below are what you might call my Top 20 of 2020: the ten most popular blog posts of the year, and ten notable writing (or related) events that took place last year. First up, the ten most popular blog posts of 2020, listed in reverse order. 10. How Skipping Movies with Sex Scenes Prepared Me for the Coronavirus Early in the year, COVID-19 started to dominate the news, as well as our daily lives. As we all were forced to adjust to a new normal, I made a surprising discovery: one particular practice I put into place a few years ago had helped prepare me for responding be