July 23, 2017


I always forget that "GOT" is "Game of Thrones." When I saw this ad on the back of "Entertainment Weekly,"
I drew a blank. What did it mean? Add an "A" and you have GOAT (devil?). Change "T" to "D" and you have GOD.
Add "DO" and you have "GODOT." Yes, that's how my mind works.

Q: I was asked recently: "Should a Christian watch 'Game of Thrones'"?


I would just like to say that I watched a few episodes of GoT and was utterly, utterly horrified by the violence. Exploding human heads? There was a time when the camera (on TV or film--except for campy horror films) would look away when someone got shot or hurt. That final moment was not depicted, only its prelude and aftermath. (See also "13 Reasons Why" where the camera shows a full-on "perfect, poetic suicide" and never, ever looks away.) In the past, even horror films that weren't campy and strove to shock, just didn't have the realistic prosthetics, FX and ultraHD that we have today. All the more need to be delicate, discerning and discreet.

The egregious, graphic desecration of the human body--the sacred image of God--in visual storytelling today is becoming the norm.

Here's an acronym for you: TOB. "Theology of the Body--it isn't just about sex."


For quite some time now, I have been convinced that Hollywood's* deep, deep skepticism and profound cynicism about human goodness, human potential and ability to love is really deconstructionism. When did this start? Perhaps sometime after World War II--when many say postmodernism really took hold. Definitely by the 60's, and firmly by the 90's. Hollywood likes to tell stories like this: "See that happy, shiny family? They're not happy at all! Anything that appears good and harmonious is actually seething with deep, dark, depraved secrets that we are about to expose to you! We reveal--not just for the sake of entertainment--this is how the world really is!" 

What is deconstructionism? In a nutshell:

"You see this watch that you think is so great? [takes watch apart and leaves its guts on the table] It's not great at all! Why, it doesn't even work!"

"You see this text or work of art that you think is pregnant with meaning? It isn't! It means da da da. Because I just said 'da da da.'"

"Goodfellas" is the most chilling horror film I have ever seen. Everyday people, neighborhood friends will slaughter each other at the slightest provocation over wiseguy, petty crime posturing.

A plethora of "CSI"-style police and crime TV shows--now in endless syndication--serve up mangled body after mangled body that has suffered every kind of indignity, alive and/or dead.

It's all a kind of banal blasphemy.
*I'm using "Hollywood" in its broadest meaning here: mainstream visual storytelling. And of course, not all of it is deconstructionist. But it's amazing how popular the deconstructionist pieces become: "Breaking Bad," "Gone Girl," "Dexter," "Bloodline," "How To Get Away With Murder," "Game of Thrones," "House of Cards," "Ozark," etc. These stories are not just stories of power and betrayal and murder, they are of a particular ilk, with a particular anthropology: Man is thoroughly corrupt. All is "red in tooth and claw," so we might as well enjoy it, glean some entertainment from it. And deconstructionism doesn't have to be all brooding mayhem. Even comedies that have given up on humanity can say bascially the same thing--with a smile.


Human beings are not "thoroughly corrupt." We have been seriously wounded after the Fall, but we are still "good" as God made us, because we are not more powerful than God to change that. Our minds have been darkened--it's harder to know the truth. Our wills have been weakened--it's harder to do the good. Our heart/passions have become unruly--it's harder to practice self-control. Human beings are capable of great evil and great good.

Christian worldview(s) in a nutshell:

"See that happy, shiny family? Well, they've got some struggles that you don't see, but they're working at it. And they may not know this, but their reality is even deeper and more beautiful than they realize. Their attempts to love and keep at it will bear fruit here and in eternity. In fact, every human being is a precious image of God. But husband and wife? They are even more in the image of God as a mirror of the love between Christ and the Church."

"See that happy, shiny family? Well, they're really not. There are some awful things going on that you don't see. Husband and wife brought their woundedness and sinfulness together and don't know how to heal, so they're hurting each other and their kids. Things could go better for them if they get help and make better choices."

"See that happy, shiny family? They actually are."

"You see this watch that you think is so great? Let's see if it is. Hmmm. [takes it apart, sees how it works, puts it back together] You're right, this watch is pretty great!"

"You see this text or work of art that you think is pregnant with meaning? It is! The author/artist had certain intentions (even if they say they didn't), but certainly you will bring your own imagination and life experience to it also and it will become all the richer."


The first stage of "the mainstreaming of porn" began with the now-debunked criminal-charlatan-deviant, Alfred Kinsey (who inspired Hugh Hefner). The second stage (moving porn/film) began around the time of cable, with the relaxing of laws and regulations, with porn stars writing books and going on talk shows, and then it exploded with the internet, and was rather complete with the untethered internet on personal devices. Who could escape? Porn was now ubiquitous, anonymous, accessible, affordable (often free) and, most tragic of all, accepted. Perhaps 90% of people who use porn today, would never have, pre-cable and pre-internet. They would never have acquired porn mags or gone to adult bookstores or seedy theaters (virtually the only places to find porn before cable/internet times).

But the third stage of the mainstreaming of porn is the embedding of porn in all media. But I'm afraid the third stage finds us asleep--a sleep unto spiritual death. Because porn use is so prevalent (by old, young, male, female), we think nothing of, or rather, we don't even notice "a little" porn mixed in here and there in a mainstream film, TV show, video, ad. Porn is referenced everywhere (even if not shown). It's not shocking any more. There is no moral outrage. There is wholesale denial about porn's addictive nature and the many victims it leaves in its wake. There is no care to porn-proof children. Fathers joke with young sons about it. (I have heard many, many sorrowful real-life anecdotes--let alone screen portrayals--about porn use in families being no big deal.) Gen-Xers forget that Playboy magazine photo stills (harmful as they are) are a far cry from starting to watch hardcore, perverse, violent, moving film-porn when you're a little kid (and what that does to a developing brain).

What to do? If you use, stop. If you can't stop, get help. Educate yourself about porn. We have all the brain science. The bad news? Porn rewires your brain. The good news? You can re-rewire it, but it'll be the hardest fight of your life, but the most worthy fight you've ever fought. Let's rout porn back to the fringe. Or better, back to the abyss. Let's say "no" to our fav shows that sneak porn in. Future generations are depending on us.

www.tinyurl.com/PornPreventionResources (& Recovery) includes resources for parents

"We can't protect people, but we can make them strong." --Dr. Jordan B. Peterson


--"Did you ever notice in GoT how the women are strong and the men are weak?" --Scott Adams, creator of "Dilbert"

--"GoT vindicates our view of the world as a hostile place where reason has no reward and relationships are meaningless." "Epic thinking facilitates our disregard of fellow humans."

--"If You're Watching 'Game of Thrones' You're Watching Porn"

--"Hollywood, 'Art,' Sex, Violence & Your Kids" (includes some stats about "Game of Thrones")

--"If It Quacks Like a Duck, It's Porn" (lengthy article that refutes a defense of GoT as "not porn")

--Here's Fr. Mike Schmitz talking about the violence of MMA (as entertainment):

part I -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzBq7wXPOh4&index=2&list=PLeXS0cAkuTPpJ6j3eH59WudJhJ4q1tpwH

part II -- (law of exposure) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRqB3zgC6mA&list=PLeXS0cAkuTPpJ6j3eH59WudJhJ4q1tpwH

--At the same time, we have nonfictional "Dunkirk" doing great box office. Good people (though not thoroughly good, no one is) fighting bad people (though not thoroughly bad, no one is)--or rather good vs. evil. And good won.

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