Faith, Media & Culture

Here are today’s dispatches from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

Yes, she said “Do you think there was a reason that the killer sodomized your husband with a banana?”  On Thursdays Daily Show, Jon Stewart effectively skewered rules governing television obscenity. Read more and catch the video at The Wrap. The montage is introed at 5:55.

Comment: Stewart’s video montage was pure genius and demonstrates the depths to which network television has sunk.  I don’t think I’m the only one longing for new shows with the class of a Columbo or The Rockford Files, programs that created captivating and believable characters while unraveling mysteries that were interesting without being lurid.

Interestingly, it was a bit of nudity from one of my favorite shows NYPD Blue that actually ended up on The Supreme Court docket. I’d probably agree that the nude scene in question wasn’t necessary but it’s ironic that a program that had far more heart and was less lurid than most of the current crop of fetish-obsessed procedurals is what garnered legal action.  While I don’t think the nudity was required, I personally find it far less objectionable than the abject cruelty that litters too much the current TV landscape.

What’s needed isn’t government censorship but more consumer choice. And it’s coming. Web-to-TV technology will soon allow consumers to subscribe to individual channels (rather than entire cable menus) that meet their own tastes and values. That will change the landscape considerably by putting a crimp in the sort of demographic games that declare one sliver of the audience to be more valuable than the rest of the audience — thereby presenting non-hits as hits.

The reason, in my opinion, we’re seeing more faith and family-friendly films and less faith and family-friendly television is because films rise and fall based directly on consumer response at the box office.  They can’t hide behind demographic smoke screens.  Success is based on actual audience acceptance. And, while there’s an audience for the low-grade stuff, most people are actually seeking quality shows that celebrate qualities like faith, kindness and forgiveness.  Life is edgy enough. Most of us want aspirational programming that lifts us up and doesn’t wallow in cruelty and the worst that humanity has to offer.

And, speaking of NYPD Blue, I’ve run it here before, but here’s my favorite scene from 2004. I truly wonder if it would make air now.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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