(Note: This is an update of an earlier blog. I am on vacation this week.)
Over a year ago, I wrote my blog on seeing The Monuments Men. The film was based on a true story in book form by American author Robert Edsel. What great irony to have a film purporting to honor men who cared passionately about preserving great works of art, while often blaspheming the name of the Creator and using vile speech. A truly classic moment of the most vile of ironies came near the end of the film.
If you haven’t seen it, this should be noted as a spoiler alert: a precious art treasure had been located in a German mine: The Madonna of Bruges sculpture. It was an art piece that had been most sought-after by the lead, played by George Clooney. In discovering its location, The Monuments Men had to scramble to get the sculpture out of the mine before the Russians could arrive to claim the grounds. As the men were taking this beautiful piece from the mine—this Madonna figure of Mary holding the Christ child—several men repeated over and over, “Holy Sh—-!!” Let the reader interpret.
You’ve got to be kidding me!!?? Did NO ONE catch the absolutely totally inappropriate use of that phrase at that moment? Rather than stand in awe and respect of both the art and its meaning, the film despicably cheapens the moment with vile sacrilege. Abominable.
Okay. So I should know better about this next one. Several friends recommended the movie Spy to my wife and I recently. It stars Melissa McCarthy, Jude Law, and Jason Statham.
We often check Rotten Tomatoes for critics’ reviews and that of filmgoers. But neither would tell us the kind of information we could have learned from the excellent resource for families known as Movieguide. My friend Ted Baehr has been putting this out for years.
Here is the Movieguide concerns over Spy: “Strong pagan worldview with elements of revenge and a funeral where they mention the universe’s “plane,”…about 77 “f” words, 29 light obscenities, 26 light profanities, 12 strong profanities, lots of crude commentary about women’s private parts and man’s private parts…”
Did you get that?? The film has about 77 “f” words! And 67 additional words your children do not need to hear. Were there children in the theatre? Of course!
Now some would tell us this kind of language only mirrors “real life.” Maybe in rare places. For example, I have read that Navy Seals use the “F-word” so commonly that it is seemingly an essential part of their work jargon!
However, when we are creating entertainment, must we so offend the sensibilities of many moviegoers? No. This is a choice. It was a bad decision on my part to endure this assault. My wife and I felt we needed to get disinfected when we left!
Last fall, we were in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and saw a very family friendly entertainment show. And this past Saturday, Rhonda and I enjoyed a production that has been running for 56 years in Branson, Missouri. It’s called Shepherd of the Hills. Good, clean, family entertainment. We will also see a production called Jonah, which has only the best reviews. Both of these shows have faith angles.
This blog is geared toward a message for the workplace. So let me summarize by saying that vile talk and cursing has become much more common everywhere. While we cannot mandate people change speech behavior in their private worlds, people of faith can and should become more vocal about its offensiveness. In a culture saturated by “political correctness,” this demand for correctness may be our fortress of opportunity.
The Bible tells us in Ephesians 5: “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” The chapter has more to say on our moral conditioning and is worth a read. Christ followers may need a refresher course on these matters.
If you are in a position of leadership, then set some standards for appropriate speech in the workplace. And if you are offended by the increasing use of foul language, speak up. If you dare.
Getting this message across to an increasingly vile world, is a true work of art.
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