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By John Horvat II

 

The real problem is the moral model that Hollywood adopted long ago.

 

Entertainment should provide individuals and families with relief from the daily trials that all must face. That’s at least the way it should be. However, the words “family” and “entertainment” don’t often appear together anymore, especially in Hollywood. All the big studios have long produced films that are far from wholesome. A recent court case underscores just how far they have gone.

The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California has just handed a victory to the three giant studios, Walt Disney, 21st Century Fox and Time Warner. They have secured a preliminary injunction against VidAngel, a small Utah-based video-streaming business that provides family entertainment to clients.

The company’s crime? Stripping Hollywood movies of nudity, violence and profanity.

VidAngel is a company that custom filters objectionable material from movies and streams this sanitized version to homes at a cost of one dollar a day. Business is, unfortunately, booming for the family-owned business—there is so much to be filtered these days.

The giant film studios claim the VidAngel’s business model deprives them of revenue by undercutting and disrupting distribution networks. The company counters such claims by saying it merely works under the protection of the Family Movie Act, a 2005 law that specifically allows companies to stream lawfully obtained movies for home viewing with offensive content filtered out. Tiny VidAngel, like David against Goliath, has vowed to appeal the court decision. Nearly 30,000 donors have contributed to a legal defense fund. The company sees this latest effort as the last stand in a decades-long campaign to run the movie filter services out of business.

The business model argument used to secure the court victory sidesteps the real issues surrounding the controversy. The real problem is not the business model of VidAngel but the moral model long adopted by Hollywood.

 


DisneylandHollywood Could Clean Up Its Act

Hollywood could easily put VidAngel out of business by simply keeping nudity, profanity and violence out of its movies as it once did. Instead, business in the filter services is booming because Hollywood insists upon putting a constant stream of offensive material in their films.

The Hollywood model works on the assumption that it has no obligation to uplift moral standards in America or the world. It bears no responsibility for the behaviors it promotes and glorifies. Thus, when Hollywood films are targeted to appeal to base instincts, studios claim they only aim to stimulate, excite or make people laugh. When people start to imitate the nudity, profanity and violence they see on the screen, the studios deny any connection. All of this is done in the name of entertainment. It really isn’t entertainment but gratification.

The problem with gratifying base instincts is that they are never satisfied. The unruly passions always demand more, and Hollywood responds by lowering the standards yet further and pushing the envelope to levels once deemed unacceptable. That is why VidAngel is successful since many parents naturally want to take measures of self-defense against this immoral cultural offensive.

By denying its responsibility to uplift culture, Hollywood actively brings it down. It presents violent role models in which the distinction between good and evil are often confused. With its nudity and promiscuity, it glorifies a hypersexual culture. With its crass narratives, Hollywood has brought vulgarity to language, behavior and relationships.

But Hollywood has done much more than simply promote objectionable conduct. The effects of this “entertainment” would certainly be less if it were merely a pastime or fad. However, entertainment now permeates everything. It is to be found in university “safe spaces,” the evening news, national elections and religious sermons. Everything must be in some way entertaining, vulgar or funny. This “entertainment” obsession imposes itself upon the nation so that things no longer have consequences and nothing can be taken seriously anymore.

Worst of all, such “entertainment” separates individuals from the seriousness of those important life questions that explore the meaning and purpose of existence. In their place, modern “entertainment” fills the void with false content, artificial rules and trivial goals, which contributes to a spirit of unhappiness and depression that haunts all modern societies that relentlessly pursue material happiness.

There was a time when the Disney name was itself a filter against profanity, nudity and violence. It could be trusted to filter out harmful content. Now, Disney and others are unapologetically suing to preserve their right to continue producing films with objectionable content and prevent their filtering.

Entertainment needs to return to its roots of uplifting culture. Anything else is not culture and not entertainment. Why not call it what it is—dirt that the studios need to filter out.

 


 

 

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for July 16, 2020

Today God invites you to do good; do it therefore today. Tom...

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July 16

 

Today God invites you to do good;
do it therefore today.
Tomorrow you may not have time, or
God may no longer call you to do it.

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori


My Mother, I will stand with you on OCTOBER 10, 2020

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Elias saw the cloud as a symbol of the Virgin mentioned in t...

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Our Lady of Mount Carmel

The title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel can be traced back to the hermits living on Mount Carmel in Israel during the Old Testament. This ancient community prayed for the advent of the Virgin-Mother through whom salvation was promised to mankind. In Hebrew, “Carmel” means “garden”. In ancient times this mountain was celebrated for its lush, verdant, and flowery beauty.

It was also on Mount Carmel that the Prophet Elijah prayed to God for rain during a terrible drought afflicting Israel for its sins and idolatry of Baal. The first sign that his prayer was answered was a tiny cloud that appeared in the sky out over the Mediterranean, the precursor of a great rainfall.

Elias saw the cloud as a symbol of the Virgin mentioned in the prophecies of Isaiah (7:14). The hermits took after his example and prayed likewise for the advent of the much-awaited Virgin who would become the mother of the Messiah. Praying thus became their spiritual mission.

Theologians see in that little cloud a figure of Mary, bringing salvation in the seventh age of the world. As the clouds arise out of the sea without the weight and the salinity of the waters, so has Mary arisen out of the human race without its stains.

In the twelfth century, St. Berthold, a Frenchman, pilgrim or crusader, came to Mount Carmel seeking to visit Elijah’s cave, and ended by founding a community imbued with the Marian spirit of the holy prophet and the hermits of old.

St. Brocard, successor of St. Berthold, set their way of life to a Rule, which was approved by Pope Innocent IV in 1247. From the time of St. Brocard, these monks were known as the “Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.”

Our Lady of Mount Carmel cannot be mentioned without also mentioning her brown scapular. On July 16, 1251, Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock, an English Carmelite monk, and then General of the Carmelite Order. On one arm she held the Child Jesus and on the other a brown garment called a scapular, to be draped over the front and back of a person. As she showed him this garment she said, “This shall be the privilege for you and for all the Carmelites, that anyone dying in this habit shall be saved.”

This privilege is extended to lay persons who, wishing to participate in this promise, choose to be enrolled in a small version of the scapular by an officiating priest or deacon.

This practice must not be understood superstitiously or “magically”, but in light of Catholic teaching that perseverance in the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity are required for salvation.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

John shared with me the story of his conversion from Protest...

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Walk to Conversion

In September, I brought the statue of Our Lady of Fatima to the home of Mr. John Black and his family in Kings City, California.  John shared with me the story of his conversion from Protestantism: about thirteen years ago he was visiting one of the 21 Spanish missions in California (though these are holy sites, they also serve as tourist attractions.)

“Who is this Junipero Serra anyways?”  he asked, as the tour guide shared the history of the mission. “Well,” the guide responded, “you are standing on his grave!”  Surprised, John looked down and read inscription on the stone. Sure enough, Blessed Father Junipero Serra was buried right there. “I became electrified,” John told me, “I had to learn more about this man and about the missions.”  The more he studied Blessed Serra, the founder of the first nine missions, the more impressed he became, and he decided to travel on-foot to all 21 missions. 

With the blessing of his wife, now left at home with their two infant sons, John left for his solo expedition, taking with him a single backpack, the bible and little money.  He told me that every mission he visited he felt the presence of someone receiving him, even if the mission was empty. He felt this ambiance in the missions so serene and uplifting, and began to realize it was the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament that made him feel so at home.

At one point, John collapsed from exhaustion near a mission run by Franciscans, who kindly hosted him for the night. Before he left the next day, one of the friars gave him a first-class relic of Blessed Serra. Since he was Protestant, John did not know what a relic was, but not wanting to appear rude, he accepted it. Not long after he left the Franciscans, John became lost in the wilderness in the middle of the night. Through his exhaustion and fear he heard a voice say, “Let’s help John.” He had the distinct feeling that Blessed Serra was guiding him, and gathered the strength and courage to continue. About six hours later, he stumbled upon the next mission. “It was kind of a miracle,” he said, “I was really lost!”

During his journey, John slowly came to a realization. “I know what you want from me, God,” he thought to himself one day, “you what me to became a Catholic. That is what this is all about!” However, he still had many questions about aspects of Catholicism that have been rejected by his Protestant faith – mainly about the Blessed Mother. Yet, from that point on he received answers to all of his questions, especially his reservations about devotion to Mary: he believed that it was once again Blessed Serra answering him.

With the help of Blessed Serra, one problem after another was resolved in the solitude of his travels. By the time John reached the final mission, he wholly decided to become a Catholic. “I realized that by having devotion to Mary, you love Our Lord even more,” he told me.

John returned home, filled with zeal and enthusiasm for his newfound faith. He shared his astonishing experiences with his wife, and she too converted. “I feel at home in the Catholic church,” John said, “and I have never loved Our Lord Jesus Christ more than I do now.”

by Joseph Ferrara

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John shared with me the story of his conversion from Protestantism: about fourteen years ago he was visiting one of the 21 Spanish missions in California 

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