April 3rd 2010

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: How toxic culture exploits our children

EDITORIAL: Stern Hu trial: implications for Australia

CANBERRA OBSERVED: PM Rudd kicks off a very long campaign on health

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: $16 billion education fiasco traps Julia Gillard

PAID PARENTAL LEAVE: Voters want equality for all mothers: Galaxy poll

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Rann hangs on after big anti-Labor swing

BORDER CONTROL: Rudd's time bomb on a boat: asylum-seekers

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Behind the US-China trade dispute

LEGAL AFFAIRS: Human rights legislation through the back door

EAST TIMOR: East Timor - the quiet revolution

SCHOOLS: New national English curriculum scores only C+

SCHOOL FUNDING: Governments should support parental choice

UNITED STATES: Is Obamacare destined to be a disaster?

UNITED NATIONS: UN feminist gab-fest gets up steam

Firemen hose down political correctness (letter)

Gigantic scam (letter)

Atheistic arrogance misplaced (letter)

Too tough on Tony Abbott? (letter)

AS THE WORLD TURNS: Turkey's 100,000 Armenians; Al-Qaeda nuclear threat to Britain; Can Christian organisations survive in a 'tolerant' age?

CINEMA: Hollywood perplexed by family values - The Blind Side, rated PG

BOOK REVIEW: ISLAM AT THE GATES: How Christendom Defeated the Ottoman Turks, by Diane Moczar


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Hollywood perplexed by family values - The Blind Side, rated PG

by Bill Muehlenberg

News Weekly, April 3, 2010
Hollywood has a big problem. It constantly faces a major dilemma involving two well-established facts.
Quinton Aaron and Sandra Bullock
in The Blind Side

Fact number one: The denizens of Hollywood are overwhelmingly secular leftists. They mostly are well left-of-centre, generally despise people of faith, and usually push radical social engineering agendas.

Fact number two: More often than not, the best money-making films are those with a pro-faith and pro-family message. Films reflecting the Judeo-Christian worldview, and/or emphasising traditional values regularly tend to be the big box-office winners.

Since the Hollywood crowd is very keen on making money, what are they to do? The bulk of Americans are conservative, Christian and strong family types. Yet the Hollywood elite prefer to slam those values in their films.

But if they want to get rich and stay rich, then they have to cater to the tastes of most Americans. They really are in a dilemma. But love of money tends to triumph over pushing radical leftist agendas, so family-friendly films still keep coming out of Hollywood.

The most obvious recent case of this is The Blind Side, which recently saw the film's main star, Sandra Bullock, win the Oscar for Best Actress. Being based on a true story makes it an even more powerful film, centring on the twin themes of a strong faith and a strong family.

Of course, this is Hollywood, so the film is not perfect. Yet the Christian and family themes come through quite strongly in this film. As mentioned, it must leave many Hollywoodians in a real bind - getting rich off a decent film which does not bag family or faith!

Those not familiar with the story are encouraged to go see the film, to help send Hollywood the message that they should be making more of these sorts of movies. But a quick plot summary can be provided here:

A wealthy white family in America's south takes into their hearts and home a poor struggling black youth.

Their love, support and dedication result in his going on to become a leading successful National Football League (NFL) player. Without their tremendous love and concern, he very likely would have ended up as just another sad statistic - another young person with a life tragically cut short.

This is quite a breath of fresh air. So often Hollywood portrays both families and faith as wretched, destructive and ugly affairs. Families are usually depicted as dysfunctional, psychopathic freak shows, and Christianity is usually denigrated, slammed and mocked.

To see both coming out as clear winners is quite astounding, really. And that is why the film has done so very well at the box office. The truth is, the majority of Americans relate to such families. Indeed, the truth is even more profound: there exist million of families just like the family featured in this film.

Many, many millions of strong, functional, loving and faith-based families can be found in the US, and around the world. They see their story in this film. They know that this is what the real America is like. They are sick and tired of seeing their faith denigrated and their family lives mocked in most other films.

An article by Christopher Goodwin in Britain's Sunday Times (February 21) about the film compared the heroic supermum in the film with Republican former Alaskan governor and US Vice-Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin. And, indeed, the two are in many respects quite alike - which makes this film even more remarkable. For the secular left, the most hated woman in America today is clearly Sarah Palin.

Thus for Hollywood - the very heartland of the secular left - to actually make a film which celebrates and glorifies a Sarah Palin twin must be one of the most ironic and perplexing things to come out of Tinseltown in a very long time.

But who cares about what internal agonies and contradictions they are experiencing? The truth is, this time they actually got things right for a change. We all know there are dysfunctional families, and Christians who have not lived up to the standards they profess.

But there are also millions of very healthy families, and millions of very committed and Christ-like Christians. It is about time Hollywood woke up to this reality. And, even though it may not like it, if it wants to continue with such box-office hits, it should stay on this winning formula and not go back to its tired old ways.

I encourage all News Weekly readers to see the film. We all need affirmation and encouragement, as well as inspiration and uplifting.

This film will help remind you that faith is vitally important, and that vibrant, healthy families can and do exist. So, in this instance at least, hooray for Hollywood!

Bill Muehlenberg is a commentator on contemporary issues, and lectures on ethics and philosophy. His website CultureWatch is at: www.billmuehlenberg.com

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