50 shades of opinions

(if you decide to read this post please commit to reading it until the end, there is a lot of rambling but if you stop in the middle you will not get to my conclusions) (duh…)

FIFTY-SHADES-TIE_720x1080I have learned this week, through the power of social media and the predictable judgment of Christians that I am a horrible person. You see I am planning on seeing the movie 50 Shades of Grey. I also read the books. All 3 of them. Yet surprisingly I do not have a pornography addiction. Nor do I have an issue with being controlled by men.

I liked the books. I liked the story. I have no issue with the steamy scenes. Any time a book I like turns into a movie, I will see it. And I am very curious how these characters are revealed on the big screen.

Every rated R movie is full of sex. Jerry McGuire starts with a graphic sex scene. Top Gun is known for its sex scene. People talked about Ben Affleck’s penis when they saw Gone Girl.

Movies are filled with sex and nudity. I am not saying this is right or wrong, but I am saying that it is across the board. Those who criticize 50 Shades, I believe are upset with the sex, but also with the S&M piece. But what is important to recognize in this book and one of the reasons I liked it so much, is because this book is about his realization that he does not need S&M. It is about Christian realizing that he can be loved and does not need “Control in all things”.

It is about a girl standing up for herself, not falling for the charismatic boy who tries to change her. It is about compromise and struggle and love. It is about overcoming fears and independence.

You do not have to see the movie. You do not have to read the book. But you also do not have to judge me.

American-Sniper-2014So now I am going to move on to my next movie review. American Sniper. And now I am going to walk a fine line about judgment, because I just asked you all not to judge me, but I am going to judge this movie and it may seem like I have a double standard (“Sarah says we can like this movie she likes, but not the movie she doesn’t like cause she has crazy opinions about war, guns and killing”). So … here is my disclaimer, I am about to process something that I do not understand. 50 Shades of Grey is not hard for me to understand. It doesn’t bother me. It can bother you. American Sniper is hard for me, maybe not for you. So here goes, with no intended judgment.

When I first heard there was a new movie coming out with Bradley Cooper I was excited. I was indifferent about Cooper’s acting until I saw Silver Linings Play book and then I was hooked. So I watched a few other movies he was in… except they were lame. So when I saw he was in a more serious movie I was excited. I did not even think about what the movie was about.

Then the publicity hit, the movie publicity and the real life story. And I started feeling really uncomfortable. The media was saying things like “He was credited with over 160 kills!” They call him “The Devil”. One article stated “He terrorized his enemies in true folkhero fashion”

Now I am not here to debate war, or what needs to happen in a war to save the masses and protect the innocent, but what I am frustrated with is the language used. This sniper did his job. He did it well according to the standards of the Navy SEALS. What I am conflicted about is how the media, Hollywood etc have portrayed this.

I do not want to argue if he is a hero or not. I do not want to slander his name, but I do want to challenge the media in how they are portraying this “sniper”. He did his job, but does that mean we should glorify it? Does that mean we should celebrate deaths? Is it the smart or social conscious to state that “terrorizing enemies” is a “true folkhere”?

It is no secret I hate it. I am not sure how the movie portrays him, but in the articles I have read it seems that not only is the sniper celebrated, but so is the act of killing. And as I said earlier, killing is a necessary evil and a reality of war, but I do not think it is something we should ever be desensitized to or celebrate.

And I know what you are thinking….50 Shades of Grey does all the same stuff but with sex instead of killing. Yup, it probably does. But that was not my argument… my argument is this: do not make judgments against people for watching a movie. Do not question their Christianity based on their entertainment.

What I want to see, what I always hope people will do, and what standard I hold myself to, is educate yourself. Stand by your beliefs and your opinions and your experiences, but know what you are talking about. Research all sides of the story. Know what you can handle and what you cannot, but do not put that expectation on others.

I am full of double standards and contradictions. I have strong biases that may not be based in reality, and I am working hard on these. I challenge my students, my peers and my clients to do the same.

But with all of this rambling, I guess what I want to say is that Hollywood is just glitter, glamour, and desire for fame and fortune. And sex sells and war sells and so do super heroes and broken hearts. And if we cannot critically think about all of this (including the magazines and tv shows and commercials and social media advertisements) we are falling into the trap of Hollywood. Is it really about sex and war and Christianity being questioned or is about being able to make appropriate decisions for yourself and knowing what is real and what is not. Knowing the motivation behind the movie, tv show, advertisement….And I wonder if you are boycotting 50 Shades, and I am boycotting American Sniper, shouldn’t we really be boycotting everything?

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