Friday, June 27, 2008

How Fundamentalists View Movie Characters

The other day, I was listening to a Focus on the Family broadcast, as I routinely do with those whom I disagree with, for the purposes of knowing one's enemy. On the day I listened, they did a review of a movie, as they do on most broadcasts.

The comments about the movie were pretty unremarkable, until the reviewer said that he really liked that there was "no blurring between good and bad" with the characters; but that the difference between bad and good was sharply and clearly defined.

In other words, he liked predictable, simplistic, cardboard cutout, one-note bad (and good) guys that have absolutely nothing to with real life.

Never mind that both "good" and "bad" guys often have mixed motives for what they do: people doing good things for self-serving reasons, and people doing stuff that is normally considered wrong for good motives that serve the greater good (or at least they believe it does).

"Bad" guys don't think they're bad and heroes frequently shy away from being described as such. And no one is all bad or all good; we're all a complex, multifaceted jumble of mixed motives and conflicting desires.

And this is precisely what makes stories about real people more compelling than one-dimensional, "clearly-defined" good and bad guys.

But I'm not surprised that Focus on the Family would prefer this type of character. It fits in neatly with their simplistic, black and white, dualistic and absolute morality worldview, where there is no room for shades of grey.


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