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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 February 25, 2021

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what...

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February 25

 

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and
reject what you don't like,
it is not the gospels that you believe,
but in yourself.

Saint Augustine of Hippo

  
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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Tarasius of Constantinople

The emperor became enamored of Theodotah, a maid of his wife...

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St. Tarasius of Constantinople

Tarasius was born around the middle of the eighth century. Raised in a patrician family, Tarasius was surrounded by earthly wealth and possessions, but lived a most austere and holy life. His virtue gained the esteem of the empire, and Tarasius was made Patriarch of Constantinople.

The emperor of the time, Constantine VI, became enamored of Theodotah, a maid of his wife, and sought to divorce his wife and marry her maid. As he strove to convince Tarasius to marry him to Theodota, the emperor sent a message to the holy man. Tarasius adamantly refused, replying to the emperor's ambassador, “I would rather suffer death and all manner of torments than consent to his design." He continued to reject the emperor’s requests, and the ceremony was performed by another.

Just before his death, Tarasius fell into a trance. As his biographer, who was an eyewitness, relates, he was heard arguing with a number of unseen accusers. Tarasius defended himself against the accusers, and answered everything laid to his charge. Later, a great peacefulness came over him, and Tarasius gave up his soul to God in 806.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

Alphonsus, King of Leon and Galicia, very much wanted all hi...

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Our Lady Rewards the Public Use of the Rosary

Alphonsus, King of Leon and Galicia, very much wanted all his servants to honor the Blessed Virgin by saying the Rosary. So he would hang a large rosary on his belt and always wear it, but unfortunately never said it himself. Nevertheless, his wearing it encouraged everyone to say the Rosary very devoutly.

One day he fell seriously ill and was given up for dead. He found himself, in a vision, before the judgment seat of Our Lord with many devils accusing him of his sins and Our Sovereign Judge about to condemn him to hell. But Our Lady appeared to intercede for him. She called for a pair of scales and had his sins placed in one of the balances and the rosary he had always worn on the other, together with all the Rosaries that had been said because of his example. It was found that the Rosaries weighed more than his sins.

Looking at him with great kindness Our Lady said, "As a reward for this little honor you paid me in wearing my Rosary, I have obtained a great grace for you from my Son. Your life will be spared for a few more years. See that you spend them wisely and do penance."

When the King regained consciousness he cried out, "Blessed be the Rosary of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, by which I have been delivered from eternal damnation!"

Having recovered his health, he spent the rest of his life spreading devotion to the Holy Rosary and said it faithfully every day.

People who love the Blessed Virgin should follow the example of King Alphonsus so they too may win other souls to say the Rosary. They will receive great graces on earth and eternal life. "They that explain me shall have life everlasting." [1] Ecclus. 24:31

Adapted from Saint Louis de Montfort’s The Secret of the Rosary (Hanover, Pa: America Needs Fatima, 2008), 12.

 

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Alphonsus, King of Leon and Galicia, very much wanted all his servants to honor the Blessed Virgin by saying the Rosary. So he would hang a large rosary on his belt and always wear it, but unfortunately never said it himself. Nevertheless, his wearing it encouraged everyone to say the Rosary very devoutly.

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