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The Emperor's New Clothes

Calling Filth by Name



What? An actor who is begging people not to watch his TV show? Good for him -- and for us. Stay tuned to BreakPoint.

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Eric Metaxas

You remember the classic fairy tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Against overwhelming social pressure, a young boy alone has the courage and good sense to state what everyone else was denying—that the king was parading around in his underwear!

Well, we now have another young truth-teller pointing out the obvious. Not about an emperor’s wardrobe or lack thereof, but about a popular TV sitcom that has made millions for the entertainment industry even while, to borrow a well-worn phrase from Daniel Patrick Moynihan, it has defined deviancy down.

“If you watch ‘Two and a Half Men,’” this young TV critic says, “please stop watching ... Please stop filling your head with filth.” It’s the kind of verbal—if you’ll pardon the pun—dressing down of Hollywood decadence we don’t often hear these days.

What makes it all the more striking is its source. The critic of “Two and a Half Men,” is also one of its stars—19-year old Angus T. Jones, the proverbial “half a man” in the show’s title.

Unlike a lot of people on TV and in the movies, Jones doesn’t gloss over the fact that what we watch can be harmful to our souls. “If I am doing any harm,” he said, “I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be contributing to the enemy’s plan.”  Wow!

Even more amazing, this young man is starting to see the personal implications for his role on the program. “You cannot be a true God-fearing person and be on a television show like that,” Jones said. “I’m not okay with what I’m learning, what the Bible says, and being on that television show.”

Now Jones, who, according to WORLD magazine is a convert to Seventh Day Adventism, has since apologized for his remarks—apologized, that is, if his remarks showed any disrespect to the people he has worked with on the show over the years.

But his point about “filling your head with filth” remains.

Jones, of course, is not the first star to question the appropriateness of Hollywood fare. Just earlier this year, actress Julia Roberts told People magazine she doesn’t allow her children to watch her movies. “We’re more book people in our house,” she told the magazine, adding that her family enjoys “stories and poetry and talking, sharing ideas.”

What Jones and Roberts are saying is something we Christians should know already: What we put into our heads affects us, for good or for ill. The steady drip-drip-drip of sexual humor showcased on “Two and a Half Men” and other shows conditions us to accept ideas that are antithetical to what God says about sexuality and the good life. It conforms us to the world.

There’s a reason Scripture exhorts us: “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).

But there’s another lesson here: As Christians, we have to reach the culture—which is the air most people breathe. Shockingly, except for a few shining examples, we’ve all but ceded the culture to the secular left. Our story—about Christ, grace, redemption, and hope—is almost never represented in the public square outside of the narrow realms of politics or theology.

If we want to turn back the tide of unbelief, we cannot neglect the culture. We need to be creating sitcoms and movies and plant Christ’s flag in that world. After all, He owns it all.

It’s good to tell the truth about the darkness that is so prevalent in Hollywood. But it’s even better to light a candle.

 

Further Reading and Information

How 'Two and a Half Men' Star Became a 'Paid Hypocrite'
Maria Cowell | Christianity Today | November 27, 2012

Two and a Half Men star apologizes for remarks
Angela Lu | World magazine | November 28, 2012

 


Comments:

hypocrite
Someone needed to sit down with angus and give him some wisdom before he started spouting off and how bad the show that made him very rich.
Im a born-again believer and he just made us all look so stupid and the world always tries to show us.
He could have chosen his words more delicately and waited until he stopped working on the show. Dont bite the hand that feeds you even if its the devil himself.
MW, you're asking some very good questions. One of our feature writers, Alex Wainer, is actually working on an article on this very subject. Keep an eye out for it in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, you ask what the worldly people know that Christians don't know. They knew this: that the entertainment world was worth getting involved in. For too long, too many Christians held themselves aloof from it because they thought it was inherently sinful, frivolous, and beneath their notice. And today, we see the result.

In short, the worldly people took control of the entertainment industry because we handed it to them.
How?
I appreciate the fact there are Christians in these walks of life. What did the "Worldly Thinking" people know, that the Christians did not know, that has given them the upper hand in this matter of dominating the themes in media. I use the term "Worldly Thinking" to indicate their are influences other than the "gay rights" that must have some power. It seems that the majority of the leaders in the show industry feel compelled to work these immoral story lines in to remain up in the ratings. Without question this has had a tremendous influence in society's thinking. I agree we have to "engage the culture" Unfortunately we are not singing the song many people want to hear. Can we really ever do so without compromise?
From the Administrator
Dear MW,

In answer to your question:

How? It will take a purposeful effort by people in entertainment and in business: Christian screenwriters, producers, entertainment executives, actors, venture capitalists, business owners, corporate sponsors, etc. There are Christians in all these areas. And Eric says over and over creating culture doesn't mean creating OVERTLY Christian things. We need to think about creating things that are wholesome and redemptive: "good and beautiful and true".
How?
How do we "create sitcoms and movies and plant Christ's flags in that world'? I know as individuals we need to attempt to "change the world " in our sphere of influence, but comment on practical ways to overcome this hold the World has on media. I would really like to get a response to this question. Can we help? I try not to support these type of programs in any way, but that doesn't slow them down obviously.
seriously?
aren't you making quite the leap? julia roberts doesn't allow her her twins (just turned 8 last month) and son (5) to watch her PG-13 & R-rated films. that is simply responsible parenting. that does not mean JR and danny consider hollywood entertainment "filth." in fact, i'm pretty darn sure JR wouldn't want to be referenced in this article. if she heard this, i would bet my life, she'd burst out laughing.