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Sex versus violence. June 30, 2014

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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Our friend Ben and Silence Dogood were outraged by yesterday’s coverage of some preacher doing a video rant about how watching the giant HBO hit series “Game of Thrones” was like “crucifying Jesus twice.” We have watched the first three seasons of the show (not having HBO, we won’t see the fourth season until after the fifth has aired in spring of 2015). And it is unquestionably the most violent show either of us has ever seen, with routine murder, death, and torture (physical and mental), as well as the seemingly relentless killing of every noble, virtuous character on the show and corruption of the rest.

To say the least, “Game of Thrones” is not a cheerful, upbeat show, and its point seems to be that morality is doomed and corruption conquers all in a violent conflagration that leaves thousands of innocents dead in its wake. Not to mention that one character does indulge in a mass crucifixion, and others in enthusiastic flayings, both of which Jesus endured. You would think, no wonder a preacher would caution his followers against this show.

But the violence wasn’t what outraged the preacher at all. It was the female nudity on the show, the intimations of sex, that got his blood in an uproar and caused his furious condemnation of the show. Apparently, showing some woman naked crucified Jesus, but endless and endlessly bloody, horrific violence did not. A woman’s naked rump was far more horrifying to this man than someone losing his hand or having his head cut off or his eyes gouged out or a woman being forced to have sex with her own father or having her baby cut out of her womb as she was murdered. Oh, no. It was the naughty bits that got this preacher all riled up.

This reminds us of a wonderful recurring theme in the very great movie “Cinema Paradiso,” where the local priest had every movie screened before it was shown in the town’s cinema, and forced the poor guy who ran the films to cut out everything the priest found unacceptable, such as kissing. (He didn’t censor violence either.) It also reminds us of the notorious trial of the pornographer and publisher Larry Flynt, where Flynt showed photos of his spreads from his magazine “Hustler,” very mild by today’s standards, next to photos of Holocaust victims, and asked which was the true atrocity. Flynt was ultimately acquitted. But the sex/nudity quotient still drives the movie ratings over violence, hatred, bad language, and the like: You’ll get a PG-17 rating for sex or nudity, but a PG-13 rating for horrific violence and mutilation. For shame!!!

As Supreme Court Justice Byron White famously said when ruling on the film “Carnal Knowledge,” “The only thing obscene about this film is that it is obscenely boring.” Our friend Ben and Silence don’t indulge in watching pornography ourselves, but feel that as long as it doesn’t involve children, animals, or sadism, those who do choose to indulge should be left alone. Films and shows that promote and revel in mindless, horrific violence in the name of “entertainment” are quite another matter. What’s a bare bum compared to somebody’s head being blown off?

We certainly don’t think that Jesus would be a fan of gratuitous nudity or pornography. He respected the sanctity and dignity of every human being. But to think that He, the Prince of Peace, would uphold media violence while denouncing media sexuality is blasphemy. Beyonce or Miley Cyrus or Kim Kardashian in a see-through costume is surely better than the Taliban cutting off a beautiful girl’s ears and nose because she advocated education for women, or someone shooting a Pakistani girl in the head for doing the same, or setting a woman on fire because she declined to marry someone, or stoning her to death for having dared to marry the man she loved.

Preachers, direct your rants to things that matter.

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