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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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In lieu of Jane Austen Season (PBS decided to interrupt it in order to raise funds), I watched an episode of Masterpiece’s Kidnapped last night.  Kidnapped is the classic by Robert Louis Stevenson, author of the more popular Treasure Island.  Set in Scotland, the movie features some nice music and wonderful scenery.  Acting is touch and go, but the dialogue, which I assume is mostly taken straight from Stevenson, is excellent. 

 

I caught a touch of an exploration of pacifism in the story.  I don’t know about you, but if you’re like me (I should preface all of my opinions like that; I’m so constantly being told that not everyone is like me) you think better in the context of a story.  So if you are interested, see the DVD, or tune in for subsequent episodes in future weeks. 

 

By the way, the movie stars at least one recurring actors from other Masterpiece (BBC) movies, the actor who played Mr. Preston in Wives and Daughters, Iain Glen.  His role in Kidnapped as the bold Alan Beck sets him in a stronger, more favorable light than the “terrible flirt” Mr. Preston.  The beard helps too. 

 

My only other exposure to Kidnapped is the black and white 1960 version with James MacArthur.  I was delighted to hear the actor from Swiss Family Robinson and Hawaii 5-0 (Book ‘im, Danno) use a Scottish accent.  The book, however, is on my list of must-reads, being set in a romantic Scottish period.  With any luck Robert Louis Stevenson will have written in the Scottish pronunciation like JM Barrie did in The Little Minister. 

To God be all glory, 

Lisa of Longbourn 

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In the vein of Debate about Fantasy Literature, I’ve been continuing my thoughts recently.

1. I’m part of a small group for high school girls at my church that is just starting. No, I’m not in high school. We’re working on planning the format and lessons (along with getting people to come, finding a place to meet, etc.). I had the idea that we could watch an episode of Joan of Arcadia each week and then talk about it. Not only does Joan bring up theological questions and experiences; she is popular media’s version of a modern teenager. She and her friends and family have strengths, weaknesses, triumphs and struggles that I can relate to, let alone other high school girls.

Thing is, Joan of Arcadia’s theology is very off. And there is some content that is lacking virtue. There’s that verse in Philippians 4. Yet the show could be iron against which to sharpen our own worldviews. We could take their theology (similar to that offered by peers, neighbors, clerks, teachers, and obviously TV) and look at the Bible’s take on it. The benefits would be preparation for apologetics; and critical thinking whenever we’re consuming media.

2. Yesterday I saw August Rush for the second time. I like the music. And Keri Russell is beautiful. Jonathan Rhys-Meyers has a wonderful accent. Freddie Highmore is an excellent young actor. The ending is satisfying. The entire movie is poetic and like a fairy tale. But there is some bad language, and the whole story revolves around the fact that a single woman lost contact with her child as an infant and is now looking for him. Clearly we can object to that, and refuse to emulate it. On the other hand, the consequences of giving yourself away without commitment are pretty well laid out. I thought the movie was a pretty good argument for abstinence until marriage.

3. Tylerray at Elect Exiles posted an analysis of the movie (which I have not and will not see), There Will be Blood. I want to just encourage you, if you are going to consume media, to be interactive. Ask questions about it. Hold it to the light of God’s Word. To quote Tyler: If we passively consume media, we actively assume it.

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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