A Christian’s Heart 8-20-2012
Things I See and Hear
America, the America I was born into, is dying. You can see it in the excremental political discourse where a president of the United States of America allows his minions to accuse his opponent of killing a woman by giving her cancer. And no one in the major news media even seems to care.
When a country or society is dying, its art mirrors an aroma of decay. This happened in Northern Europe during the years of the black plague in the 14th century. Before the plague, paintings were generally about happy subjects, noble subjects such as angels, knights, and heroes. The colors were light and airy pastels. But during the plague the art turned dark: dark colors, dark themes, and tortured subjects.
So you can see the same phenomena in America. The TV programs and movies are full of perverse sex, violence, tragedy; many are just too filthy to watch. In the violence and tragedy genre, we have The Dark Knight Rises, which is akin to the wail of a dying society, the fetid stench of a decomposing sprit. It’s interesting how the people of Gotham City instinctively follow Bane, a representation of evil incarnate (though the producers and writers of the movie may not have seen it that way.) There is nothing at all socially redeeming in this movie, except as a loud and clear message that the society we baby boomers used to know has gone almost totally into the sewer of human existence. (I say almost because of The Odd Life of Timothy Green, a recently released movie I discuss below.)
Another more surprising example is the recent release of ParaNorman, marketed as an “animated zombie comedy” by the Portland, Oregon studio Liaka. (Google ParaNorman to get the particulars.) It was also clearly marketed as a movie for children. When I saw the trailers it seemed interesting. But when I got into the theater, what I saw looked like the biography of one of the kids who shot up Columbine High School in April of 1999. Norman is a kid who sees ghosts. No wonder: the wall of his bedroom is papered with skulls and crossbones, images of zombies, of dismembered bodies, and of people being brutally slain. Every image is a scream of pain. The movie has tremendously frightening images, monstrous faces in the sky and partially dismembered bodies coming out of the ground, things that would have been unthinkable as appropriate fare for children when I was growing up in the 1950s.
Now, if I had been watching this movie by myself, I might have been able to endure it, considering it an anthropological detritus of a spiritually dead and empty society. But I walked out of the movie about thirty minutes in. Why? Because people had their very young children watching it. I was so uncomfortable for those impressionable children I just could not stand being in the same theater with them and the unspeakable garbage unfolding on the screen. I felt if I stayed, I’d jump out of my seat and yell at the parents: “What do you think you’re doing feeding your two, three and four year olds this emotional and spiritual poison?” Here is the best that a film reviewer could say about it: “Prenderghast [Norman’s crazy uncle], who promptly croaks, also appears to Norman from the bowels [sic] of a school toilet. It’s the scene that took a year to shoot, and it’s when “ParaNorman” is at its best: brilliantly textured, comical and bizarre.” The bowels of a toilet? (Maybe the reviewer meant bowl of a toilet, instead.) So the best scene of the movie is when a ghost appears in a toilet bowl. I’ve never personally found the “bowels of a toilet” funny. But this is an apt evaluation of this monstrosity and of the warped and depraved mindset that created it.
But even when something’s dying, it may show a flicker of life before it goes. In America, such was the case with The Odd Life of Timothy Green made by Walt Disney Pictures. It’s amazing that a film of such unabashed sweetness could have been made in this cynical age without a shred of cynicism. Not to give too much away, Jenifer Garner and Joel Edgerton play (with great aplomb) childless parents who’ve been trying for years to have a baby. But they cannot and they are desolate. So they pretend one last time to have had a kid, and they fantasize about what he would have been like. They write down these worthy attributes on slips of paper, put them in a box and bury the box in their garden. (True to the age, they’re apparently big on eating “organic” food.) During a supernatural rain storm that night, Timothy pops out of the garden, with green leaves growing out of his legs. What are the leaves for? That’s for me to know and you to find out. Needless to say, this little boy brings unimaginable joy to these fine people.
One thing I found really interesting about the movie is this: you’d think that when a childless couple suddenly shows up in the neighborhood with a ten year old boy, calling him their son, the social services vultures and other authorities would be all over it. Not in this movie. They are never even asked where this boy came from. You too can puzzle over why that is, if you see this wonderful movie. I’d certainly recommend it for children, and parents, of any age.
Oh, one other thing: it’s ironic that a movie that shows how valuable and wonderful having a child can come out of society that has routinely murdered over 54 million children since 1973. This is also the age of the Holocaust of Blood in America. When God destroys this country, it will be remembered as one of the contributing factors, if there’s anyone left in America to remember it at all.