Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Ruse By Any Other Name

Watching a movie the other day I realized the amount of brain washing that we go through. In today's movies there is no hero, only a protagonist, there is no happy ending unless we are discussing a sexual innuendo and the good guys, well there are no good guys. The movies for instance "The Mechanic" (A remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson film by the same name which I admitingly haven't seen) starring Jason Statham and "The Last Three Days" starring "Russell Crowe". Both movies depict murderers as the protagonist. Now despite what we would like to say, we can't watch a movie without a hero. We need to actually care for the lead character in order to hope that he succeeds at his endeavors. What is troubling about this binding of our affection to these protagonists is that we dismiss the evil they commit in exchange for character traits most men honor, such as loylty, fraternity and empathy. If it sounds like I just explained why dogs are man's best friend, keep that in mind and try to figure out whose the dog and whose the master the next time you watch a film. For instance in "The Mechanic" Jason Statham is suggested to be an assassin working for a legitimate government agency, presumably the CIA, although this is never made clear. He has a mentor (Donald Sutherland) and a man the supposed CIA boss who tells him whom to kill. He is instructed by the CIA team leader to of all things kill his mentor. After asking for a meeting he is shown 'proof' that his mentor is a 'double agent' who sold out operatives in the field and must subsequently be terminated. He is told by the CIA team leader that only two people knew of the operation he and the mentor and we are to assume that this quasi government agent can't himself be a liar or at least we are given the impression that he is someone Jason must assume above suspicion as a rule, even in a world where the one general rule is killed or be killed.  Jason, that is Arthur Bishop, the character he plays in the film, is convinced or at least obedient. He goes out and kills his mentor. At this point I find since there is only one main character left the viewer is given only one choice, endear yourself to this sympathetic assassin or stop watching the film. Yeah, so as I was saying... we are not just talking about any assassin, as there are an entire cast of them, but, our more noble assassin, Jason Statham! The one who gives a top shelf bottle of Scotch to the old African-American man on the docks whose boats he uses to shuttle back and forth from his luxurious assassin mansion and yes, the one who is remorseful over the murder he committed of his fatherly mentor. Yes, the assassin who was noble enough to take his mentor's son under his wing and to train him how to be like him, a noble assassin. From here on end it is all death and mayhem and you root for the one who at least gives integrity the old college try. You root in the end for the one who best exemplifies cool detachment and worldly 'wisdom', yeah, just as God said you ought not.

The other film (of the many) that parallels some of the traits 'good' society favours is "The Last Three Days".  In this movie Russell Crowe's wife is found guilty of murder of her boss, we are immediately sympathetic, (except if we ourself happen to be the 'boss', then we are mildly apprehensive.)  After exhausting every legal strategem his attorny is motivated to undertake, Crowe or John Brennan, his character in this movie, is confronted by his defeatist attorney who makes it clear he himself  is convinced (as is most save Crowe) of her guilt and actually works hard it seems to convince Crowe of this rather than to attempt to plea her innocence to another judge or jury and all of this at a considerable financial expense to Crowe himself. Crowe, though has decided despite even his wife's bold face lie to the contrary, told in an effort to release him of his demonstratively inordinate attachment to her that she is innocent and has decided to break his wife out of prison and move to another country. One where  the long arms of the American law would have a hard time finding him. Now while many of us could certainly imagine being so frustrated with a boss that we felt we could clunk them over the head with a fire extinguisher and kill them as in this movie and although many of us love our wives and family, the question then arises, how far would we go to  be united with them again? Will we bust them out of prison? Will we kill someone? Well, Russell Crowe's character proceeds to do exactly that.

Crowe runs out of money and is in desperate need of some more and where better to get it than the local crystal meth suppliers he saw raking in the cash days before? Although during his expeditions through the Pittsburgh streets in a clumsy attempt to garner false passports for his wife, son and himself he was clunked over the head and robbed by an African-American drug dealer and Caucasian partner days earlier, he goes to the safe house of an all white crew of dealers. Here we see how the liberal sympathies are maintained.  After crouching by the door and hammering the local dealer over the head pushing him through the door to the supplier inside Crowe sets the house on fire in a ploy to get the supplier to tell him where all his money lies. Here he is probably endangering the life of the body guard he locked in the closet and the dog he could not shoot, not to mention the suppliers unwitting neighbors but alas that is the ends our protagonist feels he has to carry out to complete his plan. Everyone knows the dog (ineffective as a guard dog) never deserves to be shot so the dog and  the body guard in the closet escape with their lives. In a final pitch to demonstrate that he too is a 'good fella' we see the newly freed (and safe) blond and muscular body guard chasing Crowe down on foot as Crowe drives as far as he can in reverse away from the house... with the dying drug dealer he shot in the back seat, whom he assures he would not let die. He gives it his best effort demonstrating that he 'has a heart' and that it was certainly the drug dealer would have done for anyone else but unfortunately the dealer does die of blood loss and Crowe deposits his body on a bus stop bench.
We are supposed to feel that the supplier he shot in self defense and the drug dealer deserved to die; that they got what they deserved for being no good drug pushers.

I won't give away much more of the movie. However, at this point it is clear that Crowe himself is guilty of  serious crimes, a double homicide in the course of a robbery and arson. All this is of course is the mere prerequisites for his main crime, breaking his wife out of county jail. Thus, any opportunity of rooting for a 'good guy' is gone. Who are we to follow now? Why do we stick with the Crowe character and his family when we think that everyone is guilty. Wait, there is the small boy, their son whom they go back to fetch from a woman Crowe met at the park and whom the mother loved so much she would rather die than leave. Remember the first commandment? There is no mention of that here. here the husband loves the wife to point of murder and the wife loves their son to point of attempting suicide.

 I have come to realize that we don't have any actual 'heros' in the movies or on television anymore. I come to question if we ever had, we used to have those who honored the State, honored the law but not in the more modern films. Everyone is a protagonist, someone who is not necessarily doing anything good in the long run but who is a character one can feel compassion for. No one gives up their life like Christ, no one empties themselves to be filled with only the things God wants. The most pressing affection in the movies today is the love of man. Husband for wife, wife for child, apprentice for mentor and fraternal camaraderie, we love each other as much as we can and the Word of God if ever that is convenient. It is less love, than affections, to the fables we will turn and self denial is completely absent.

In David Kupelian's book "The Marketing Of Evil" he makes note of Madsen and Kirk's deliberate propaganda of the homosexual culture and lifestyle in the book they have written. In it they discuss three tried and true ways of brain washing the American people into accepting homosexuality. They accomplish this through desensitizing, jamming and converting. To desensitize people to the homosexual cause they simply inundate them with affable gay characters, with Jamming, the jam the messages of those opposed to homosexuality like Dr. Laura Schlesinger whom they badgered off the air. In conversion it is a basically substituting the affection one has for one thing with that of another. As Kirk and Madsen explains it:
"In Conversion, we mimic the natural process of stereotype-learning, with the following effect: we take the bigot's good feelings about all-right guys, and attach them to the label "gay." either weakening or, eventually, replacing his bad feelings toward the label and the prior stereotype......Whereas in Jamming the target is shown a bigot being rejected by his crowd for his prejudice against gays, in Conversion the target is shown his crowd actually associating with gays in good fellowship. Once again, it's very difficult for the average person, who, by nature and training, almost invariably feels what he sees his fellows feeling, not to respond in this knee-jerk fashion to a sufficiently calculated advertisement." *
In today's Hollywood (doublet of the Holy Rood) we find that all values that are common amongst the average man is converted or employed in a grammatical moral syntax but substituting the immoral or immoral behavior as the terms. For instance, we root not for the good and honest hero, never for the priest and never for those faithful to Christ's teachings. In fact I came across one self-defense website that had a huge banner which declared, "WARNING: Do Not Watch This Free Presentation if You Have Moral, Ethical Or Religious Reasons Forcing You To Cower Helplessly While Someone Attacks You, Your Wife Or Your Kids..."** We root for the murder (albeit he murders a drug dealer), we root for the professional assassin (because after all he is only doing his job) and currently,  we root for the self-affirming homosexual but how did we get that way? Through systematic brain washing.

Take heed of what you watch next time your at the movies, then try to get a healthy dose of your Bible in or watch some E.W.T.N, believe me, it is important to refresh oneself with the truth and even the yearning and effort to do good. If you are not returning to the Catholic well, where else can you receive the paradigms of the Catholic values. If we constantly and exclusively watch the television and the movies slowly (or perhaps not so slowly) the birds will take the seeds away that have fallen by the wayside and all our Catholic values and expected modes of behaviour our very values will be supplanted by that of the enemy and make no mistake about it, Russell Crowe is the enemy. I'm kidding but only slightly. Russell Crowe recently ranted over Twitter (if that's possible) that children are born perfect and so there is no need for the 'barbaric and stupid' practice of circumcision. While as a Catholic I don't see anything with him foregoing circumcision for his son but this notion that children are born perfect and some how ruined at some later time perhaps around puberty is one that is deeply enmeshed in a belief that children are born well, perfect. That they do not have any original sin, are only corrupted from the world around them. This is exactly the same argument Lady Gaga uses in defence of homosexuals. They are born that way and therefore, perfect as they are. Yet, what is a child who is not disciplined? How can the angel of light fall to corruption of pride and yet the children of men be much less susceptible? The notion that children are born perfect is what really added fuel to the fire over the Church sex scandal. It is very difficult to speak to people on the subject when they hold this honestly non-Catholic view.

I am further reminded of when I told a woman working at ACS that a young man in question whom she was giving counsel 'ought' to finish high school, she just kept repeating the world 'ought' over and over again as if it were fairy tale idealization unsuited for such practical matters as 'real life'. It was immaterial and thus dispensable yet she never come to realize that the 'oughts' in life is what gives the person the impetus to strive for better and decent and even while occupied at that he is not engaging in the demeaning and the base.

We ought to watch critically the movies we can often passively enjoy as mere entertainment and like actor Neal McDonough not participate in activities or watch movies where the main employment of the actors and the script is to desensitise, jam or convert our values to that of the world.

Kupelian, David. The Marketing Of Evil. Tennessee Cumberland House Publishing, Inc

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