When you have a point to make, or rather a point you simply WANT to make, where does the line between making said point and pure hubris lie?
Converting someone to your line of thinking or convincing them that you have merit to what you speak of can be subtle as a sly innuendo or blunt as a kick to the nuts yet both will end up reeking of ego and self righteousness. Both methods work in making people hear your argument but neither are likely to sway another person one way or the other yet both end up effecting the message regardless. You are in essence preaching to the already perverted and yes I mean perverted as their minds have already been perverted to think as you do, no matter what direction you are attempting to turn them.
There is a movie coming out later this week called The Lock In, this movie is a found footage movie* about the evils of pornography from a (distinctly sheltered) christian perspective. In the movie** some boys sneak a “dirty magazine” into a church lock in and the pure vileness of the naked human female manifests as a demon child that proceeds to kill everyone who dared look at the “dirty magazine” (what they insist on calling it). This is that kind of blunt kick to the nuts I was referring to previous… one that flashes “MESSAGE!!” for it’s entire runtime and is frankly naked propaganda rather than a movie in the traditional sense. Think I am reading too much into this and adding my own issues with this kind of scare film (message scare, not horror scare)? Lets hear from the producers of this film and then note how I am NOT adding layers unintended.
The producers, christian comedians Rich Praytor and Beverly Banks, say they want The Lock In to be used “as a tool for conversations about the dangers of pornography and the importance of being aware.” In regard to the demonic aspect tied to the film, they explain that the “demon is a metaphor for the true damage pornography can have in the lives of youth.” So yes, this is what it seems to be, if you look at a “dirty magazine” you will get killed by a child porno ghost, I did not make this up, although now I wish I had… it would have made an amazing (intentional) comedy rather than the (unintentional) comedy this actually is. The “dangers” of porn are nothing new for religious groups to proselytize against and they rarely do so in a way that would speak to you in a less than propagandas manner.
I write for the Green Bay magazine Scene in which I have a monthly column there called The Shadows Of Pop Culture and now and then I do assignments for them as well… one such assignment was to cover a local short film that won some awards… this film was called Escape The Matrix and was also a religious film about the dangers and evils of porno… and I did not know this before accepting the assignment to review the film and interview the director of it. At first I thought my editor was setting me up knowing full well what my stance on religion was but alas, he was just as surprised as I was when he saw my review (and my “not to be published” notes about how hard this was for me to remain journalistic about). Then a few weeks later my wife was watching some movie on TV about fidelity through tough times and it ended up that GOD WANTED THIS COUPLE TO STAY TOGETHER and I began to realize, for some reason the christian “MESSAGE!!” film lacks any form of restraint just as the christian religion lacks any form of restraint***. Hell just look at Innocence Of Muslims and tell me that is not the least subtle religious hate film ever made (by americans anyway).
Lack of subtlety is not isolated to the right wing though, oh no, the left have theirs as well… it just happens theirs tends to be a message that comes across as more… sane than “porno is evil” or “that defies god”, but make no mistake the left wing gets no pass on this. The left wing message movies tended to be about social justice or social ills and came off as less self serving and more humanitarian than their christian counterparts, that gives them no out for being “MESSAGE!!” films, just that they SEEMED to have a better message is all. Take for instance (and these are hardly the only examples) the “nuclear scare” films of the mid 1980’s… yes I said the 1980’s, not the 1950’s, those were a very different kind of scare film. In the 50’s it was all atomic monsters and hardly something you could take as anything BUT dumb fun and there really was no message to be had bar a few specific films (Invasion Of The Body Snatchers being one that was solidly built on “the red scare”). In the 1980’s you had films such as Countdown To Looking Glass, By Dawns Early Light, Special Bulletin and The Day After which were all chilling deceptions of what would happen in the event of a nuclear exchange between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.. Them being well made, well acted and as I said absolutely realistic they took on another form from the typical propaganda film (make no mistake though as they are just that… propaganda against nuclear proliferation). By making these films with higher production values they were able to do what movies such as The Lock In attempt yet fail so hilariously at, they affect their audience whereas the cheap slapdash low quality christian versions fail due to the exact reason the liberal ones succeed… quality.
What will make the people listen to you more? Cheap ranting with no cohesion or a well told tale that has a definite issue that it is trying to bring to the fore? Propaganda literally means “information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view”, now taking out the biased/misleading nature part for a second, of that description (it is a given in any form of “MESSAGE!!” product) the rest of that is nothing to be ashamed of on the surface, wanting to make a product; be it a book, a song or a film that espouses a viewpoint is fine, it is only when that biased part of this comes into play that issues of credibility arise. Now, I like to think of myself as a fair minded person**** but I don’t see how blatant spin on an ideal gets you anything but the scorn of those who are able to see it for what it is, propaganda. There is a reason that word has the stigma attached to it that it does, a rightful stigma no less. Make your point, but you WILL win more people over with a subtle act rather than a sledgehammer to the groin, because that very same brusque approach alienates those who are not already believers and simply emboldens those are already are… you are literally only preaching to the choir of the already perverted.
*Always the first and last resort of those who lack talent or creativity.
**I refuse to use the term film as that denotes actual filmmaking, this is not that.
***Take for instance how christianity in general and the church in specific denounce all other religions as false and throughout history have tried to, literally, eradicate them.
****Which might come as a hard sell with the stance I take on religion in general and christianity in particular, but I really do try to remain in the middle.