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The Andy Griffith Show is one of my least favorite classic television series.  There are two main reasons for this.  The first is that all of the adults and trusted authority figures are habitual liars.  They lie to make friends feel good, and they lie to protect themselves, and they lie to patronize children.  Sometimes the lie works out, and other times they get caught, but it is always “cute” and “funny.”  No one is ever shown considering the moral implications of lying.  This despite frequent references to God and church, as the quaint trappings of small town life demand. 

 

My second reason is that there are no marriages in the show.  The two main characters are in stagnate relationships with women who seem no more interested in permanent commitment and domesticity than they are.  The fashionable, fun loving gals must simply enjoy dating, and it is as casual and undirected a relationship as ever there was.  Aunt Bee is a spinster who helps her widowed nephew to raise his orphaned son.  No where is there a marriage really demonstrated for the audience or for the children.  I can recall only one married couple from the show, and that is the town drunk and his wife.  Great example. 

 

For such a long-running, highly-esteemed show, the lack of moral foundation is sad.  However, the themes, stereotypes, and worldview portrayed by Andy and his friends is representative of those seeds of corruption that blossomed in the decades to come, leaving us today with a society in which family and marriage are perverted if not meaningless, and in which the truth is grossly undervalued, unsought, and even betrayed.  Astounding percentages of students admit to lying.  A large minority of births are out of wedlock.  Divorce is rampant, as is unmarried cohabitation.  Do we want to promote this in our entertainment?  Are we so sunk in deception that we look back on the Andy Griffith era as a wholesome, family-values past? 

 

Is there any hope, any shining example of television today that portrays the truth and biblical values? 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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This weekend I picked up Ann Coulter’s book, Treason.  The first several chapters describe with multitudinous source notes the true history of the “Red Scare” in the fifties and what really happened when Senator McCarthy was in congress.  In her typical sarcasm, Ann emphasizes that the alleged persecution inflicted on suspected (and actual) Communists and Communist spies in the Cold War was nominal, especially when contrasted with two extremes: the oppression of the people under actual Communist rule in the USSR at the time; and the normal shunning and ridicule of conservatives today who are not potentially feeding national secrets to our enemies. 
 
This is an interesting contrast to the pet project of George Clooney, Good Night and Good Luck, about Edward R. Murrow, one of the first responsible for slanting the public’s view of Senator McCarthy.  My brother’s community college professor recommended the movie to him, and so after the semester was over, Michael picked it up at the library and we spent the most boring hour of the month watching a whispering, black and white, dull, impersonal movie semi-documenting the press’ coverage of McCarthy, especially when he questioned Annie Lee Moss, the black Communist washerwoman who worked in the code room at the Pentagon.  I think they even mixed actual press footage into the movie.  (By the way, the Academy nominated this film for Best Picture, which is one of the most blatant evidences for their political agenda or at least favoritism, since it in no way compares to excellent classic films sharing that distinction.) 
 
While Clooney wanted to do a movie refreshing the image of McCarthy as a man irrationally bent on censorship and discrimination, I argue the movie accomplished at least two opposite aims:  First of all, the sheer boredom of the movie supposed to show the tragic suffering of those the Republicans arbitrarily decided to pick on, highlights how insignificant the hardships of Communist spies and sympathizers were; it didn’t even make a good movie.  Secondly, I believe the movie, which focuses much more on the behind-the-scenes at the television station, generally portrays an accurate picture of the actual ambition and worldview of those who spun the myths about McCarthy in the first place.  To know the real story the press was covering, and see how they portrayed the facts, is a much more entertaining display of liberal media at work.  The moral of the movie to me is not: “See, those Republicans are mean!” but rather, “See, those liberals are miles from the facts again!” 
 
Emboldened, however, by their success at distorting the history of McCarthy-“ism”, the liberals continue in their campaign to rewrite history as it happens.  They use it in elections (usually between the casting of votes and the inaugurations, and then casually referenced as common knowledge attacking the legitimacy of whoever holds office that they don’t like), in propaganda about our enemies and defense, about economics, nature, and very frequently in the best-selling books they write after they leave office.  From the fifties they learned Hitler’s policy of the thirties: if you tell a lie long enough and loud enough, the public will believe it.  Let the example of Hollywood’s dramatization of a deceitful press contrasted with the thoroughly researched and footnoted book about history be a lesson for today. 
 
To God be all glory. 

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