Oscars: Hollywood virtue-signals ‘morality’ despite their death-promoting, depression-producing, morally abysmal ‘entertaiment’
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OSCAR VIEWERSHIP IS DOWN, BUT VIRTUE SIGNALING IS UP
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I want to take you back to last Sunday night. It was the 90th edition of the Oscars. I have to admit I did not watch it, but I’ve done a lot of follow-up with stories about it.
Gary Oldham, who was the lead male actor and won an award for that in his movie, “The Darkest Hour” — he played the part of Winston Churchill — it was interesting to hear the audience basically sit on their hands as he praised America giving him a great opportunity to play the part of Winston Churchill. He also thanked Winston Churchill and, again, the audience basically sat on their hands.
On the other end of the spectrum, you had Jimmy Kimmel, who hosted the Oscars, mention that Academy Award nominated movies like “Call Me By Your Name” most likely wouldn’t get a tick of approval from Vice President Mike Pence. He said, “We don’t make films like ‘Call Me By Your Name’ for money — we make them to upset Mike Pence.”
By the way, “Call Me By Your Name” is based upon the book by the same title. It tells the coming of the age story of a 17-year-old boy and his romantic relationship with his father’s 24-year-old male research assistant.
Also, an interesting thing to note, just a few years ago, there was 40-some-million people watching the Oscars. This past week, there was only about 25 million watching.
DR. REEDER: I’m like you, Tom — first of all, I have to acknowledge that I did not watch it. In fact, the last time I watched an Oscars was with the anticipation of “Chariots of Fire” in 1982 winning the Best Picture award. I just absolutely loved that film.
As one of my compatriots that makes comments concerning these matters from a Christian world and life view said, the Oscars are probably the most refined effort and institution of self-congratulation in the world.
If you want to know who should get awards, go to the people that you’re making the movies for and what do they respond to? Well, of the ten nominees for Best Picture, most of them did not make money. Now, it’s not that I think making money is the end-all, but it does tell you whether people responded.
WHO EXACTLY IS PREACHING VIRTUE TO US?
Clearly, Hollywood has unabatedly, even with its scandals, decided, “We are going to be the institution to promote the new morality and virtue signaling of what ought to be acceptable in the American culture. Therefore, the patriotic statements, as you mentioned, that did make their way into the Oscars ceremony were either panned or you could hear the gasps — at the most, some polite applause.
However, let’s stop back for a minute. Who are these who have now taken upon themselves a calling to signal the new morality to promote the sexual revolution but, by the way, also now have the challenge of the #MeToo because of all of the harassment and molestation and even rape of women. Well, this is the institution that not only promotes, but secures, unbelievable numbers of abortion and is dominated by drugs and alcohol abuse and addiction. This is the group that now bands together to tell us what it is that we ought to believe and embrace in terms of morality as it promotes the sexual revolution, the new normalcy of gender identity.
HOLLYWOOD’S DISDAIN FOR CHRISTIANS
And then, of course, you see what’s at the heart of how they view anything that comes from a Christian world and life view. Jimmy Kimmel’s statement was highly revealing. He said, “We do these movies not for money — we do this movie to annoy Mike Pence.” Well, listen, Mike Pence is a stand-in for Christians.
They know that Christians have a sexual ethics, they know that Christians have certain virtues and, from a Christian world and life view, there are certain things that are important such as marriage between a man and a woman, sex within marriage, the family, the sanctity of life.
And what he’s saying is, “We’re going to do movies that are going to annoy you, we’re going to do movies that confront you and we’re doing movie whereby we’re trying to remake the culture into a culture of death, a culture of sexual anarchy, a culture of depression, a culture of destruction, a culture of addiction.” That’s the culture of Hollywood that is signaling to us what our culture ought to be and that are making their speeches and their statements accordingly.
SADNESS AT MISUSE OF TALENT
Well, I have another reaction when I look at all of this, Tom, and my reaction is one of a broken heart for these people. It is such a flight into the fantasy of sin and rebellion against God, whereby men and women revel in taking their God-given gifts to rebel against Him. And all that is true and all that is good and all that is beautiful is assaulted in order to declare that which is ugly and destructive and that which brings depression and death — to declare all of that as normal and to embrace all of that and, in the name of compassion, to promote that which destroys.
At one time, the Oscars were viewed because it was the moment where those who used their abilities to give us stories that intrigue us, that bring challenges to our thinking and that affirm those things that undergird a society would get together, make their presentations and it was a moment of entertainment that, yes, had a world and life view, but it was that which was wrapped around, to some degree, those things that truly are virtuous as revealed by the God of glory in His Word and in life — to some degree, not perfect by any means.
And it was a recognition that, “We are entertainers. That’s what we do.” Now, entertainers, as well as athletes, have decided, “No, we are commentators upon society to promote a culture that will destroy the culture and that is destroying it.”
OSCARS HAVE CHANGED INTO TOXIC CULTURE-CHANGER
In fact, Tom, tomorrow, we’re going to actually look at what Peggy Noonan says about our culture. She calls it “The Air We Breathe” and one of the contributors to the air we breathe that produces mass shootings in schools, that produces an avalanche of documented depression in our rising generation, that’s who decided to signal the virtue of rebellion against God and that’s who decided to make the moral declarations of that which is destructive, calling it that which is to be valued. That’s what was done in the Oscars.
I am grateful to see the plummeting viewership but what, in my heart, I long to see is for people who are unbelievably gifted, know how to use those gifts with a world and life view that lifts up a nation and a culture instead of destroy it, erode it and eat away at its very foundational institutions.
However, I know that that means the second thing is that I long to see the Gospel of Jesus Christ to move. No longer would there be a motivation to make movies that annoy Christians, but now there would be the ability to make movies that inspire, that encourage and that affirm that which is good and beautiful and true with skills that are extraordinary, with technology that is amazing and which could lift people up with an element of life that, again, would be beneficial in our society, the element of entertainment. And those who are entertainers would enjoy being entertainers and would enjoy it because they are using their gifts in a way that will honor the Lord.
PRAY THAT HOLLYWOOD CAN CHANGE INTO BEACON OF HOPE
May I finally say, Tom, that I would ask our folks not only to pray for the Gospel to be at work in “Tinseltown,” but would you also pray for those marvelous, brave, courageous and competent Christians who are entering into the industry of telling stories for entertainment that actually make a difference to communicate that which is inspirational in a manner that is inspirational that also provide instruments for us that not only could our families enjoy, but our families could use to encourage other families because the story they tell is not only well-told and well-depicted and well-acted, but is that which is excellent and of good repute so that our minds might dwell on those things.
COMING UP TOMORROW: PEGGY NOONAN’S DIAGNOSIS OF OUR CULTURE
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, as you just mentioned a few moments ago, tomorrow we will deal with that column that Peggy Noonan recently wrote, entitled “The Air We Breathe: What’s Gone Wrong with Our Culture.”
Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.
This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.