There are some believers (Catholic and non) who will not watch movies with actors who are immoral in their personal lives (even if one or two of their movies are clean an moral). I’m curious, if those who know of or act according to the way I described, do you allow yourselves or your children to watch older movies (ones with Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, Joan Crawford, etc.)? If so, why the double standard since many of the old time movie stars also lived immoral lives?
I’m going to make an attempt at answering this question, but I don’t know if it’s the “right” answer.
Back then, if a star behaved badly, everyone–all us “normal” people–recognized it and condemned it. Most Americans practiced Judeo-Christian religions, and the code of right and wrong was clear-cut and agreed upon by almost everyone.
These stars generally didn’t drag the public down with them. They were bad, they went into “hospitals” or “mental institutions,” and sometimes they committed suicide. No one, NO ONE, wanted to imitate their bad behavior! All of the “normals” were shocked and horrified whenever the stars behaved badly.
I think??? that this started to change when actors like James Dean came along. He blurred the lines between bad and good, and many kids (and adults) to this day admire his rebelliousness. And maybe Elizabeth Taylor–she made marriage and divorce seem like a hobby.
Nowaday, when certain stars behave badly, many people excuse the star or even admire their “bad” personna. Kids are especially vulnerable, and start emulating their “bad” idol.
But even adults are susceptible. E.g., a divorce seems a little more “normal” when everyone in Hollywood is marrying and divorcing many times and living happy lives in spite of it. (In the past, divorces were hard on stars, too.)
**These “bad stars” can lead many many people astray, people who are already confused about good and evil, and who have no God and no religion. **
Back then, the only source of information that we had about the “stars” was the “movie magazines,” many of which were clearly exaggerated. But today, we can follow the daily lives of our favorite stars online and on TV. This makes it so much easier for these “bad stars” to lead us astray.
I think it is justifiable to avoid the “bad” contemporary stars who flaunt their sins and convince innocent fans that their bad behavior is actually “good.”
I think it is justifiable to watch the “bad” past stars because we have seen their tragic lives pass and end miserably (in most cases). Their lives are reminders to us of how sin can destroy us and those we love.
I personally won’t attend movies starring Susan Sarandon because of her politics. She leads many women astray with her extreme moral liberalism and her pro-choice views. She is an ACTRESS, a storyteller, and yet she claims expertise on political issues that our most veteran Congressmen struggle with. I find her most offensive, and I’m sure she would probably find me most offensive.
There are probably some but i would be surprised if there are very many who actually shun this actor or that actor based solely on private behavior unless they flaunt such behavior and thereby put out the message that it’s okay to do whatever they’re doing (committing adultery, doing drugs, etc). I think more commonly Christians take exception and take action (or inaction, i suppose, with boycotting) with those entertainers that publicly mock Christians either in a direct way (such as the actress who told Jesus to “shove it”) or else indirectly by mocking the values that Christians hold dear.
Otherwise i doubt there are many who boycott a movie simply based on what a person’s private life is like. Perhaps if you could furnish some examples though. Mostly my experience is much more along the lines of hearing people say they won’t watch this movie or that tv program based on what some actor said that offended them in some way.
As for the early movie stars, no, they weren’t as wholesome as they were made out to be back then, but by and large they limited themselves to trying to entertain us rather than trying to break down the traditional values that most Christians hold dear. The phrase “shut up and sing” comes to mind. Back then that’s what they did, just sang and danced and acted. Nowadays a large number aren’t content with that but instead they want to use the bullhorn of celebrity in order to bash those people or those values that they don’t care much for. But if they are going to sneak into politics in such a roundabout fashion then it shouldn’t come as a surprise when the people they’ve insulted decide to vote against by not paying to go and watch them on the big screen.
But there is another difference between then and now. There really is a culture war going on and many feel that entertainment is at the heart of this war. So why support someone who is essentially warring against you and the values you hold dear? Further, why support someone who obviously holds you in contempt? Why go pay money and see someone who makes you upset the moment you remember how much they look down upon you and the things you hold dear?
My husband pointed out that many of the stars who were bad in the past are no longer with us and therefore, they aren’t getting any money that we spend renting their videos, etc. So if we watch their stuff, at least we aren’t supporting their “badness.”
However, the “bad” stars of today ARE getting money from us, and they can use our money to continue to be “bad.”
Personally, I don’t give a frig what celebrites do in their private lives. Their job is to entertain me. Period. I could really care less what they do with their lives outside of that. Now, if one came out publicly advocating things in the extreme (most stars are pro-choice, but like, making it a huge issue in everything they do) then I will avoid their movies. However, so far the only two celebrities I’ve decided not to watch anything they’re in have been Mike Tyson and Tupac Shukar. I have no time or money to glorify rapists.
There is no double standard. In the 1960s, there was scarce mention of the personal problems of Hollywood stars and yes, there were gossip and movie magazines, but such activities were, generally, the private property and concern of the individual actors and actresses. Generally, reports were brief and the problem, whatever it was, was treated in a respectful manner. “So and so has a problem with alcohol.” But that was it. Aside from gossip magazines, most people were unconcerned. Stars who wanted to bare it all had a very few outlets to do this and those publications were considered obscene and immoral. There was a general concensus about this.
That was the difference between the 1950s and 1960s and now. A person strove to lead a respectable life. Whatever went on behind closed doors was not meant to be shared with anybody. Those God-fearing individuals made certain to try their best to avoid sin and go to confession when they did sin. In 1930, because of scandalous motion pictures made by Hollywood in the 1920s, the Hays Code was enacted:
I agree with every word in it, and it remained in effect until 1968. Not coincidentally, when Hollywood began its decline into unGodly filmmaking. So if you are looking for good movies, the years 1930 through 1968 contain really good and clean films.
Next, Britney on the cover of magazines in her underwear? Gwyneth Paltrow in a dress with a gauze top area that shows her breasts. This is where Hollywood is heading. Stripper images, partial nudity, and then, everything porn. And divorce, it seems no one in Hollywood is untouched. It is very sad that young people can walk into a supermarket and pick up partial nudity magazines, often featuring celebrities.
I wonder if Britney’s or Gwyneth’s mothers care that their daughters are parading their bodies like hookers. And where is the National Organization of Women?
Well, I think the Hays Code is major overkill, personally, but I do think we could do without the glorification of the lives these celebrites live. Look at the OJ Simpson case right now! It’s all over the bloody media. I don’t believe in this culture of celebrity. They are “ENTERTAINERS”…their job is to sing, dance, act, write, etc. for our entertainment. Off stage, they’re just people. They don’t deserve to be glorified to an almost God-like stance just because they are in a movie. That’s their job. When was the last time a cop or teacher or doctor became a celebrity for just doing their job?
I say if we stop watching/reading about the celebrities then the media will find out we don’t give a frig who Jennifer Aniston is boinking or Jessica Simpson’s new nose job.
I don’t think celebrities should be glorified either but they are people. At one time, your neighbor’s son or daughter might end up as an “entertainer” which was once an honorable profession. Betty Grable singing for the troops over the radio during World War II and sending her heartfelt good wishes to them. Sincerity and upstanding role models did exist, and were appropriately appreciated and admired for their God-given talent and sincerity.
A correction to my agreeing with every word of the Hays Code. I somehow missed Miscegenation, which refers to relations between black and white people. I have no problem with black and white dating. Sorry about that.
Gwyneth Paltrow has breasts? Hmm. Must have blinked and missed them.
- bah-dum-ching! *
– Mark L. Chance.
Was immorality 50 plus years ago in your face, as it is today?
Seems today, pushing the envelope seems to be a sort of “extra helping” of entertainment from the golden people for us gray little drones to be dazzled by. ick.
Also, I don’t recall the stars from the “olden days” having a bully pulpit to preach on anything and everything, with just their celebrity status given as credentials for their bloviating opinion.
There could be actors with great acting legacies, if they’d know when to get off the stage.
This is an excellent post and I thank edwest2 for it.
I always try to remember that the movie stars are the only ones we actually see, but most of the people involved in making the movie or tv show are production staff. Many of these people work in a studio just like many of us work in hospitals, offices, or factories–that’s the industry in their town, and that’s where the jobs are. They are decent people just trying to earn a living and support their families. And I’ll bet many of them are Christians or are seriously considering Christianity.
My daughter is a professional production stage manager, and she is converting to Catholicism. She just started RCIA a week ago.
In response to the OP, I boycott certain actors or entertainers. After The DaVinci Code, I am deeply disappointed in Tom Hanks and Ron Howard for making a movie offensive to Catholics. Despite having been a fan of both, I feel I cannot support their careers anymore. As a Catholic, I was personally offended.
What really did it for me, in that case, was the fact that Howard and Hanks knew Catholics were outraged. They knew their movie would offend. They had plenty of opportunity to reconsider the venture, and they went ahead and did it anyway. I think they deserve a consequence for this choice.
(I am sure they really could care less abut losing one measly Catholic woman, but maybe I am not alone )
Here’s a related question.
Let’s say that you personally knew as a friend someone who was the Assistant to the Producer, which basically means “Coffee Girl.” (Not completely, but the Assistant to the Producer is someone who will do a lot of grunt work and waiting on the producer!).
Let’s say that you knew this person was a faithful and devout Catholic Christian.
Let’s say that you knew that this person was not a zillionaire, but just an ordinary person making an ordinary salary out in Hollywood.
Assuming that the movie was not pornographic, graphically violent, full of Satanic and occult themes, or blatently anti-Christian, would you go see your friend’s movie?
I wish I could have your strength of character because of the stupid offensiveness of DVC, but one of my ABSOLUTE FAYVRUTS was in it, so I can’t do it. My friend and I actually almost went to it just to see said “absolute fayvrut” (we’re both like middle-schoolers in that respect, even if I’m an undergrad and she’s almost thirty), but didn’t because her boyfriend and my brother heard it was a waste of $7 and gas.
I would so have asked for my money back, though - at our local theater, they’ll do it if you hated the movie.
The Hayes Code was in the main fairly workable if you wanted to make movies for light entertainment rather than “mirror of reality” films like you get these days.
And, finally on topic:
Actors’ personal lives don’t concern me. That’s their business. The most interest I take in it is pity or happiness for them. What they do in the movies and how it’s shown is far more important. For instance, some of my favorite writers and musicians have led, and the living ones may well be leading right now, terrible lives, but their work points to something beyond their own human shortcomings.
For instance, one particular author, whom I’ve seen Christians point to as showing what a gentleman should be, did some terribly cowardly, unmanly things to his family. I don’t know if he ever repented; that’s his and God’s business. But they’re right about how his men are men. And if they did what he did, I can see what would have happened to them in his work.
Sometimes an actor’s personal life is so “out there” that you can’t help but be influenced by it in terms of choosing movies to watch.
I used to think the Naked Gun movies were hilarious and would watch them if I happened to come across one on TV. They ceased being funny after everything that happened with OJ Simpson. I don’t want to see him in any circumstance.
Tom Cruise is another one who has so gone over the line that I don’t want to see a movie that he’s in. There are a few others as well.
Our whole culture of celebrity has elevated these people above mere mortals. I hear more about Paris and Nicole and the like than I do about my own family. I pick up the newspaper – where I expect to get serious news, not the kind of thing they show on TV – and there’s still an awful lot of celebrity coverage.
If we’re going to constantly hear about the private lives of these people, then I don’t see how it won’t influence our movie-going or TV-watching habits.
Those who don’t watch certain actors, do you watch and/or listen to Bing Crosby (abused his children)? Even though he died years ago, the fact that he abused his children is well known, so do you ban after the fact? No more listening to “White Christmas”?
The media has made it a point, in its current battle against our Judeo-Christian values, to use celebrities to mouth vile and insulting things. Whatever Bing Crosby’s home life was really like, and I don’t hasten after any sort of gossip, is irrelevant because it was not paraded as Paris and Britney and Angelina and Brad are today.
In the past, there was gossip, rumors and reports of incidents, but not the sort of perverse, leering tabloid style nonsense that passes for serious news. I don’t care if Brad and Jen are getting back together, but the supermarket checkouts are full of faces and images covering sordid details that were NEVER in supermarket checkout lanes in the 1950s and 1960s. Media standards have gone way down. Britney dressed like a hooker on the cover of People? That sort of thing would have been on the cover of a dirty magazine back then, only sold in liquor stores, behind the counter.
There’s no battle against Christianity. There may be aspects of society that directly clash with traditional Christian beliefs and that’s another topic entirely.
But I hate when people phrase things that way, that there’s a battle or war focused solely on Christianity. There isn’t.
There is no group (and this is excluding crazy militant atheists) that, in classic supervillain fashion, aiming to snuff out your religion!
It’s the same with that whole ‘War on Christmas’ nonsense.
A look through the past 40 years of media will show a factual, identifiable decline. The fact that partial nudity magazines with celebrities are now in supermarkets, honestly, this was permitted how long ago? They didn’t just put themselves on the shelves.