Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith and media.
Tower Heist raises moral questions. Over the weekend I caught up with the comedy starring Ben Stiller as the leader of a group of working stiffs (that includes Matthew Broderick) in a caper that involves hiring a professional thief (Eddie Murphy) to break into the penthouse apartment of a Bernie Madoff-like portfolio manager/swindler (Alan Alda) to steal back the millions he ripped off from their pension plans which Stiller’s character feels certain is stashed within a secret safe inside his luxury condo. Stiller’s character knows this because he used to manage the building’s staff (including security) until he was fired for vandalizing the millionaire’s prized auto in a fit of rage over the Ponzi scheme.
First off, I’d recommend this movie as an escapist diversion. It is fun and definitely holds your interest throughout. If I were to tinker with the script, it would only be to have Stiller and his gang eventually come to the ironic realization that their escapade was, in many ways, as immoral as what Alda’s millionaire had pulled off. Throughout the fast-paced story, many innocent lives are actually placed at risk by their escapades. And they’re not even stealing to divide the money (which, slight spoiler alert, ends up being more than was even personally taken from them) among all who were victimized but just to enrich themselves and the employees/victims of the building where Stiller’s character worked.
The movie is, of course, particularly timely in light of all the Occupy Wall Street-related protests going on throughout the country. As in aside, while those demonstrators certainly have a point about corporate greed and some of the super-rich so-called one percenters, they should be aware that many, if not most, of the protesters themselves are in the top one percent of the world’s wealthiest people. If they don’t believe it, they can check it out on their iPads or other personal electronic devices which, no doubt, those struggling to have enough to eat each day might find to be symbols of selfishness and greed.
I’m not saying America’s wealthiest one-percent shouldn’t give more to the poor, I’m just saying that most of us could. And, that maybe we’d all be happier if we spent less energy nurturing envy and anger toward those few who have more than us and develop a bit more compassion and generosity toward the many who have less.
Just a thought.
Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11