Getting “Graphic:” What Effectively Inspires Us?

I interned at a movie review company two summers ago. A Christian movie review company. Over the course of two months, I had the privilege of enduring hours of horrendous L.A. traffic to attend screenings, red carpet events, and press junkets in the name of responsible family entertainment. To each screening I carried a small notepad on which I kept a tally beside large initials, such as “V,” “Vv,”  “L,” “Ab, and “ACap.” Those stand for “Brief or action violence,” “Moderate violence,” “Language” “Anti-biblical or anti-Jewish worldview,” and “anti-capitalist, anti-wealth worldview,” respectively. A tally mark was made each time a line of dialogue or scene in the film affected one of these criteria. As you can imagine, I hardly had a chance to look up during non-rated G movies! Every time a beer bottle was included in a shot, I had to make a mark beside the “A” for “alcohol.” Even Barbie’s boyfriend Ken in Toy Story 3 was cited for “slight cross-dressing tendencies” in the film’s credits. I’m not joking. 

Despite having often felt like the biggest goody two-shoes on Planet Hollywood, I’m extremely thankful for that internship experience. But I have to admit, I couldn’t stop myself from chuckling as I, as mandated by my superiors, placed a tick mark beside “Dd” (light smoking and moderate drug use) when catnip metaphorically implied drug use in Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (see James Marsden propose to me below).


I recall thinking:

Does every single scene have to be absolutely perfect? Movies, simply put, are about conflicts and resolutions. Conflicts can get ugly. There will be violence. There will be allusions to drugs and alcohol use. There will be anti-biblical worldviews. There may be a goofy moment in which we see Ken dressed up in Barbie clothes, and that’s okay, in my opinion (I strongly doubt “Pixar” was subtly suggesting a questionable sexual orientation). Not until we get to heaven will we see the celestial sorts of matinees that might have shown at the “Garden of Eden Megaplex” before Eve swapped her Junior Mints for a mysterious new fruit at the concession stand.

I read something over the weekend addressed to Christian bloggers. The writer, among other things, believes that including the details of an eating disorder (anorexia, binge-eating disorder, bulimia, etc.) is  “too graphic.” The writer stated that bloggers should speak in broader, more general terms as not to “turn people off.” As someone who was once ninety-eight pounds and still (yes, STILL!) struggles off and on with eating “issues,” if you will, I couldn’t disagree more with this writer’s advice.

Transparency, honesty, authenticity…details. It takes guts to write with those elements freely flowing from your fingertips onto a website ready and waiting to transmit them to the rest of the world. Such blogs are the ones I eagerly anticipate reading most.

Why? Because I relate to them. Because there’s no question these bloggers know their subject. And there’s no question they desire to help others significantly more than those who write in less “graphic,” “more general terms.” If they didn’t care as much, they sure as Hades wouldn’t be bearing their souls to hundreds, thousands, if not millions of hurting, often hopeless individuals who hide behind laptop screens and smart phones searching for wisdom from a person – a courageous stranger – who knows how dismal and dark the world can look behind tear-stung eyes, how heavy a heart can feel, ticking mournfully like a grandfather clock in a forgotten, locked up chamber.

 

Eating disorders, drug addiction, alcoholism…none of it’s pretty. But the hope people receive from reading how others have overcome and gained victory? There’s no beauty like it. I thank and respect to the utmost those who passionately publish posts that provide hope, supply peace, and bring encouragement to the struggling. They may never know just what impact they’re making.

“But everything exposed by the light becomes visible – and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’” –Ephesians 5:14

Stay fit, stay faithful ~<3 Di

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