Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Transformers
Sicko
Ratatouille
Disturbia
Paris - Sonic Jihad
David Bazan - Fewer Moving Parts
Todd Steed and the Suns of Phere - Heartbreak and Duct Tape
Starflyer 59 - Leave Here a Stranger
Mustard - Eureka Grande
My Photo
Name:
Location: Illinois, United States

The peaches, apples, plums and pears are guarded by ferocious bears.

Powered by Blogger


Resumes
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J.K. Rowling
My Secret - Frank Warren
Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi

04 September 2006

Your Commitment To Sparkle Motion

I don't think that you have a clue what it's like to communicate with these kids. We are losing them to apathy... to this prescribed nonsense. They are slipping away. -- Karen Pommeroy, Donnie Darko



One of my favourite films has stirred up some trouble. According to a recent article in AgapePress ("Reliable News from a Christian Source"), a Los Angeles pastor and his wife are suing a school "for showing an obscene, sexually explicit, R-rated movie in their daughter's ninth-grade English class last February." In other words, for screening Donnie Darko.

Notes the article (original spelling errors intact):

According to Pastor Brian Lewis and his wife Tara, Animo Venice Charter Public High School, a school serving the city of Venice, California, and the Los Angeles Westside, violated their parental rights when school officials failed to inform the parents that the school would be showing his daughter Alexis and fellow students the R-rated movie, Donnie Darko.

The Motion Picture Association of America gave Donnie Darko the restricted rating "for language, some drug use, and violence." But the Lewises say the movie is filled with all kinds of offensive subject matter, including "gross obscenities, various types of deviant sexual activity, and misogynistic fantasy."

The Internet Movie Database describes Donnie Darko as the story of "a troubled teenager who is plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes." Tara Lewis says the film's disturbing and obscene content has negatively affected her daughter both spiritually and emotionally.

"My daughter likes to write. She generally writes poems and things of that sort," Tara explains. "And right after she saw the movie, I started seeing poems with profanity, sexual content -- things that I have never seen her write before, never even found in some of her poems," the distraught mother says. She has no doubt Donny Darko was the source of this new and disturbing bent in her daughter's writing, she says, "because this movie was pretty graphic."

Brian Lewis is likewise convinced that his daughter's mind was invaded by the film's explicit content; he even goes so far as to say that Animo Venice High School officials are responsible for the "emotional kidnapping and psychological rape" of his daughter's "Christian innocence," which is why he says he and his wife plan to sue the school for showing Donnie Darko to their daughter without giving them prior notice.

The California pastor notes that he has rejected an offer from the school's insurance company to settle his complaint out of court. Far from being prepared to settle, he says he and Tara would like to bring others into his fight with the school over its decision to allow the inappropriate film to be shown to kids without giving parents advance warning and an opportunity to opt their children out.

"We would love to launch a class-action suit," Brian says, "because it was shown to approximately 148 fifteen-year-olds. And the thing is that they violated the law when they showed it without parental consent. You know, these movies are restricted for a reason, and these guidelines are put there for a reason. You can't just show anything to a teenager."
A few assorted thoughts on this:

1) This is some of the worst reporting I've ever read. I'm hardly a fan of the mainstream U.S. media, but this makes even its pathetic claptrap look good. The writer of the article, Jim Brown, apparently made no attempt to get the school's side of the story for this piece, which is atrocious by both Christian and journalistic standards. Brown obviously didn't watch the film before writing his story either, or he would have known that there is no "deviant sexual activity" in the movie, except perhaps a frank discussion of the mating habits of Smurfs. That is unless he considers teenagers having sex to be deviance.

2) If these parents, Brian and Tara Lewis, have in fact watched Donnie Darko, they have missed one of its most important themes. The film concerns itself with clueless parents who do not know how to communicate with their children. In other words, it concerns itself with them.

3) If the Lewises are worried about "gross obscenities, various types of deviant sexual activity, and misogynistic fantasy," I hope they haven't left their daughter alone with a copy of the Christian Bible.

4) Many Christians believe that people don't like them because they are Christians. In fact, many people don't like Christians because many Christians are assholes. This is a perfect example of that. It may indeed have been a mistake for a school to show an R-rated film to a group of 15-year olds. But bringing a class action lawsuit against the school six months after the fact is the act of a bully. And most people find great satisfaction in seeing a bully fall on his ass.

Comments on "Your Commitment To Sparkle Motion"

 

Blogger shelly said ... (9/04/2006 09:10:00 PM) : 

That is unless he considers teenagers having sex to be deviance.

If he's a Christian (and I'm guessing Jim Brown must be), of course he does! The teens aren't married; and--if you ask most Christians--they'll tell you they believe premarital sex is a sin.

If the Lewises are worried about "gross obscenities, various types of deviant sexual activity, and misogynistic fantasy," I hope they haven't left their daughter alone with a copy of the Christian Bible.

But...but...but...it's the freakin' Bible! ;) Seriously, though, I hear what you're saying.

Many Christians believe that people don't like them because they are Christians. In fact, many people don't like Christians because many Christians are assholes.

Word up. It's also why the faith has gotten a bad name in recent times, IMO. And that's also why I'd dare say most sane Christians have to qualify their identifying themselves as Christians with, "...but I'm not one of them."

 

Blogger Jenny said ... (9/04/2006 10:23:00 PM) : 

True story: In my feed reader, Sage, the title of your post comes up as "Your Commitment..." and the first thing I thought of to complete that phrase was "...Sparkle Motion," before I even clicked on the link!

We are on the same wavelength, my friend.

My devout Christian brother and his equally devout group of cronies went through a period a couple years ago where Donnie Darko was almost literally the only movie they ever watched. If you asked him, "What did you all watch last night?" there was a 90% chance the answer would be "Donnie Darko." He was never able to articulate exactly why they enjoyed experiencing the film again and again.

Also, he made a kick-ass Bunny mask. For real, it was the awesomest thing ever. I have to ask him what happened to it.

 

Blogger Bonita said ... (9/05/2006 06:11:00 AM) : 

david will be back the end of the month.

 

Blogger Mike said ... (9/06/2006 09:37:00 AM) : 

Many Christians believe that people don't like them because they are Christians. In fact, many people don't like Christians because many Christians are assholes.


yes.

 

Blogger myste said ... (9/11/2006 04:43:00 PM) : 

a classic case of the awakening of their daughter's sexuality and their desperate attempt to characterize something natural as an aberration and owing to a deviant source.

"oh no brian! i was reading alexis' locked diary the other day and some of her poems talk about sex, how could this happen to our virginal daughter and to our family's honor"

"well tara, it is clearly a result of some perverted liberal agenda that has filtered its way into the public school system, lets see, did alexis have any exposure to pop culture in the last year? ...aha! donnie darko. tara i hate to say this but our daughter has been emotionally kidnapped and psychologically raped!"

"oh no brian, how will we restore her christian innocence and our family's good name, how will we ever ensure that she finds a nice christian husband?"

"thats easy tara, we will subject our daughter to public shame and drag her name through the media, initiate a class action lawsuit, and paint ourselves as martyrs. then no non-christian boy will want to have anything to do with her and we will have loads of money for her dowry."

 

Blogger Geosomin said ... (9/14/2006 05:40:00 PM) : 

Wow... I cannot fathom why anyone would insist on being this assinine.
How incredibly deluded - their daughter is a teenager. She's learning to express herself.
Blaming things on "the evils of the world" is a rediculous way of removing yourself from any wrong things you may do - because after all you were corrupted into it. Way to raise your children to supress their feelings and learn to never have independant thought and react to things...
And seriously - Donny Darko? R-rated films to a class of 15 year olds without parental consent may not have been the smartest thing, but chances are all the kids had already seen it anyways...
*sigh*

 

Blogger Wasp Jerky said ... (9/16/2006 07:10:00 PM) : 

Thanks for the thoughts, all. A couple of additional ones:

1) Christians are still very puritanical about sexuality. I can't speak for this particular family, of course, but I'd be willing to bet that most fundamentalist and/or evangelical Christians in the U.S. wouldn't have nearly as much a problem if this were a film with a lot of violence.

2) I'd imagine that a lot of Christians also have a problem with films like Donnie Darko because they're open ended. This movie isn't tidy. A lot of U.S. Christians like neat, easy answers, and there aren't any to be found here.

 

post a comment