Jon Kennedy
Jon Kennedy

Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
the Nanty Glo in My Mind'

'It's only a movie'

The thesis of my 1976 book, The Message of the Movies, was that every offering made to the world by creative people (which includes virtually all able-bodied people and many physically challenged people), whether fiction stories in book form, movies, or representational art like paintings, or musical compositions and performances...all are created to fulfill God's orders to our first parents to create, sustain, and nurture culture in Genesis 1:26-28:

Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

Christianity and Judaism teach that mankind is made in God's image, and therefore being creative—making something new with our hands and/or our imaginations or enabling others to see things in new ways—is the most godlike activity human beings engage in. Parenting, in every sense of the word, is the highest form of this, I think, but also making things that range from gardens and flower arrangements to houses and photographs, parks and recreational centers, movies and songs, are high callings to express our godly creativity. Our creativity is one of the highest aspects of our priesthood as mediators between God and the rest of His creation.

It was dismaying, therefore, to read posts on the list recently saying, basically, "it's only a movie" in reference to The Da Vinci Code in the first such post, and to Doctor Zhivago and Camelot in a second. There have been lots of letters to editors and blogs around the world also since the Da Vinci movie became a major controversy, making the same unexamined claim: "it's only a movie." Literally, of course, none of these three movies were "only" movies: The Da Vinci Code and Doctor Zhivago were also first best-selling novels, and Camelot was a broadway musical.

But that's beside the point, which is that a movie, a book, a stage production is never "only" entertainment, but is also intended to edify, to convey messages, and transcend everyday malaise. Not only are the creators of such literary vehicles as these trying to influence people's thinking, hoardes of people see movies (if not in their theatrical release, months and years later on DVD and television broadcast) who never read a book. There's no doubt in my mind that to at least hundreds of thousands of people (possibly millions) the most in-depth exposure to Christian ideas and "doctrines" (perverted as they are in the Da Vinci movie and book) that they've had has been through this movie and/or the book. They've never read a single Gospel in the Bible, much less the whole of it, much less any credible book on the historicity of the Gospels and the life of Jesus Christ and the beliefs the church preaches about Him, and why the church does so.

A member of the list asked me, in an attempt to undercut my claim that Doctor Zhivago and Camelot glorify adultery, if I really believe "Hollywood" cares what anyone in Nanty Glo believes about adultery. The answer is an unequivocal "absolutely." "Hollywood" may not know Nanty Glo exists, but the people who make movies glorifying adultery are playing to their natural human instinct to consider themselves just as good as anyone else, and if they are willing to dabble in adultery as many of those involved in any Hollywood production are, from all accounts from as far back as the 1930s, they're certainly not going to miss a chance to "preach" their gospel of adultery, by making it look glorious if in the service of "true love," every chance they get.

No, it's not "just a movie."

Webmaster Jon Kennedy


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I'm always amazed to hear of air crash victims so badly mutilated that they have to be identified by their dental records. What I can't understand is, if they don't know who you are, how do they know who your dentist is?

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