Good evening Mr. & Mrs. Catholic, and all you other Christians at sea. Welcome back to the Newsreel, sponsored as always by the fine folks at Acts of the Apostasy, home of the 3 1/2 Time-Outs Tuesday. Now off to press.
In case you haven’t yet heard about it elsewhere, acclaimed director Nick Cassavetes recently destroyed most of his credibility in an interview with The Wrap wherein he defended the incestuous relationship portrayed in his latest film Yellow. “We had heard a few stories where brothers and sisters were completely, absolutely in love with one another.” Cassavetes said, “You know what? This whole movie is about judgment, and lack of it, and doing what you want. Who gives a **** if people judge you? I’m not saying this is an absolute but in a way, if you’re not having kids – who gives a damn? Love who you want. Isn’t that what we say? Gay marriage – love who you want? If it’s your brother or sister it’s super-weird, but if you look at it, you’re not hurting anybody except every single person who freaks out because you’re in love with one another.” Well, gee whiz, Nick, perhaps you missed the extensive studies made on the subject of sibling incest (Cole, 1982; Higgs, Canavan, & Meyer, 1992; Russell, 1986) which concluded that "long-term effects on the individual include: shattered trust of brothers and men in general; never marrying or making poor choices in marriage; poor self-concept; sexual promiscuity and using sex as the only way to relate to men; a tendency toward revictimization, sexual and otherwise; substance abuse; depression and other psychiatric symptoms such as dissociative experiences or loss of memory for large periods of the past; confusion between intimacy and sexuality; and a lack of support from family and society, who tend to blame the victim.” You see, Nick, (or perhaps you’ll still refuse to) there’s actual real scientific reasons behind the Church’s disapproval of non-traditional sexual relationships besides some twisted desire to meddle in people’s private bedrooms.
Speaking of misguided filmmakers, you may remember a few weeks ago when The B-Movie Catechism poked a little fun at our Protestant brethren who make well meaning, but often not very good, movies. Well, turnabout is fair play (or so we’ve heard), so it’s only right that we pass along a link to an article by Br. Gabriel Torretta, O.P., who asks the simple question, “Why are Catholic movies so bad?” “We can learn a lot about the problems of Catholic filmmaking from Christian Duguay’s new film Restless Heart, a dramatized account of St. Augustine’s life and conversion.” Br. Torretta posits. “As a film, Restless Heart has its high points, even if in general it suffers from poor pacing and uninspiring dialogue. As a biography of a great theologian, the film fares worse; recognizing the difficulties in staging most of Augustine’s life (How does one film a gradual conversion from Skepticism to Neo-platonism?), Restless Heart blithely invents a more exciting history for him, turning the troubled young professor of rhetoric into a hotshot lawyer with a devil-may-care attitude who, after cooperating in a massacre of Milanese Christians, miraculously converts and triumphs over all his adversaries, notably including a scene in which all the heretical Donatist bishops in North Africa agree that the Roman Church has the true faith, and seal their conversion with group hugs. If we abstract from the religious character of the film, we can easily understand why Restless Heart is unlikely to win any Academy Awards; whatever its other problems, it ultimately fails to entertain. Viewed from a Christian perspective, the occasional moments of real drama don’t justify vitiating one of Christianity’s most compelling conversion stories and replacing it with a boilerplate fourth-century knock-off of a John Grisham novel.” Harsh, but Br. Torretta does offer some suggestions along with his criticisms, however, so the article is definitely worth a read.
While not everyone agrees, one of the films which is generally considered among the best examples of mixing religion and celluloid storytelling is The Exorcist. So it is with some trepidation that we hear from The Vulture that writer-director Sean Durkin “is adapting the fiendish classic into a ten-episode television series… Unlike the iconic 1973 film, Durkin’s version of The Exorcist follows the events leading up to a demonic possession and especially the after-effects of how a family copes with it: In short, not well, and when medical and psychiatric explanations fail, the desperate family turns to the church, with Father Damien Karras finally brought in to attempt the exorcism.” We’ll reserve judgment until more details come out. Ten episodes could allow the story some breathing room to include details in the novel the original film didn’t have space to include. But it could also allow the whole thing to become a meandering mess. About all we can say right now is that as long as the project doesn’t take the route of John Boorman’s Exorcist II: The Heretic, which completely missed the point and tried to be spiritual without being religious (has that ever worked), it should have a decent chance of being interesting.
Whether it be due to over-familiarity with the material or just jaded modern sensibilities, there are some out there who have forgotten the impact The Exorcist’s portrayal of the evil of Satan had upon its release. To help you remember…
Well, we won’t wish you pleasant dreams after that, but we will, as is our custom, sign off the Newsreel with the immortal words of the great Les Nessman. Good evening, and may the good news be yours.
Dave, don't forget the philosophical natural law reasoning that argues for both the unitative and procreative ends of sexual relationships (though, a Catholic needs further theology/revelation to argue for marriage as a sacrament). When moderns forget the end of the sexual act by, say, separating sex from procreation using contraception, there doesn't seem to be any other goal for sex besides pleasure, with having children becoming an "option." All that matters “morally” for the modern sexual libertine is that both sex partners have sexual desire (however disordered) for each other and consent.
BTW, thanks for adding me to your blogroll! I’ve followed your blog for a few months and I’ve enjoyed your posts (especially the ones on Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Turkish Star Wars, and the Star Wars Holiday Special). You’re very kind to say that my blog (RPG Catholic) makes more sense than yours, though I do wonder if trying to extract philosophical and theological lessons for Catholics from a children’s cartoon about talking ponies does indeed make more sense than reconciling your Catholic faith with a love for really, really bad movies. Also, I should mention our friend DGD, whose blogging not only led me to join the Brony herd, but also to start a blog of my own.
Hi Eric, You couldn't be more right about the natural law aspect of the argument. I was just addressing the common argument that Cassavetes was parroting that these kind of actions don't hurt anyone when it's clearly demonstrable that they do.
I can't say enough good things about DGD, who was one of the first people out there to notice my blog. Unfortunately, I can't join the two of you as Bronys because my nine year old boy rushes to change channels anytime they so much as show a commercial for the program. I try to explain that grown men are watching it, but he remains skeptical. Oh well, what can you do?
"They aren't hurting anyone" sounds great until you consider the Canadian professor whose sexual relationship with his daughter only came to light when she left him and he fought in court for custody of their sons. She had lived as his wife for years as he traveled from university to university. Was it only harmful because they had children? Was it a great relationship like any other until she decided it wasn't? Somehow the idea of a father having sex with his daughter is icky in a way that siblings isn't, but I wonder how long that will last.
Case in point: When I decided to get a teaching certificate in the '90s, I ended up taking classes taught by working teachers. One of them explained that early in her career, teachers were taught "warning signs" that sexual abuse was going on, including sexual precociousness and sexualized play. By the '90s, more children exhibited those traits - not because they were being personally abused but because the entire culture had become saturated with sex.
So we have more and more a culture in which sex is a given, but having a loving relationship without sex is strange.
Your experience actually shines a little more light on one of my own. Back when my daughter was in middle school in the early 90s there was an incident where one of her teachers pulled 4 to 5 girls out of class to have discussions with them because he noticed what he believed were signs of sexual abuse. When none of his suspicions turned out to be true (and the school did investigate), he was instructed to knock it off. I wonder how many real cases of abuse go undetected these days because the warning signs have become "normal" behavior?
Post a Comment