Location: Forest Town, California, United States

Many people ask where Helga and I (Vinnie) met. It was at a Jesus Freak festival in the days of my squandered youth. Some brownies were going around that tasted funny and the next thing I know, I'm married to a hippie. But she was cute, and I wouldn't serve a church that hired a divorced pastor, so we are still together till Judgement Day, when I assume we will go our seperate ways. Let me (Helga) add, that it seems the Universe brought Vinnie and I together, who am I to argue. He does have a judgmental nature though, which I find unforgivable.

Friday, April 28, 2006

A Proposal for Posting the Ten Commandments in Movie Theaters

Vinton here, with an important public policy proposal.

We all have shared outrage at the movement of the courts banning the posting of the Ten Commandment on public lands, such as schools, parks and sewage treatment plants --everywhere except courthouses. It is therefore all the more important that the Ten Commandments be posted on private property, and what better place than those dens of iniquity, the local movie theater?

My hope is that such postings will eventually lead to a change in the content of the film. Let us consider how this proposal may improve the motion picture industry.

(And remember, these are Commandments interpreted by an ordained minister. Moses did not bring down the 10 Suggestions. That would be more like the morally relativistic tripe my lovely wife, Helga, will be offering following my post.)

1) "You shall have no other Gods Before Me"

There are a great many folks in the motion picture industry who have a mighty high opinion of themselves, seeing themselves as godlike. I'm not just talking about studio chiefs, agency execs and movie stars, but even local movie theater managers. (Such as the local tin horn dictator who still will not allow me into his theater, years after a little incident involving Shakespeare in Love. I was kicked out of the theater when I simply encouraged people to cover their eyes so as not to observe Gwyneth Paltrow's nakedness. I'm sure I was just expressing the outrage the Bard himself would have expressed if he knew sexuality was being injected into his work. I never saw the words "tart" or "tramp" when looking in my Bartlett's for Shakespeare quotes for use in a sermon.)

2) "You Shall Not Make for Yourself an Idol"

This is definitely a commandment for the film industry (let alone the TV industry with their Randys, Paulas, and Simons). They are always intoducing new "Stars" that we are to bow down to. This was not a problem in the beginning days of the film industry. Until the '20s, there were usually not even cast lists in the credits. Now we have allowed actors and actresses become idols. As deplorable as those films made from video games are, at least they are peopled with people you have not heard of and will probably never hear from again. If we must have "stars", they should be people no one would worship. Rob Schnieder comes quickly to mind.

3) "You Shall Not Take the Name of the Lord in Vain"

Hear that, scriptwriters with your potty-mouthed pens!

4) "Remember the Sabbath and Keep it Holy"

Now I know, sadly, that we are no longer a Christian nation, and there is little hope of reviving the blue laws (look for a petition I will soon be circulating to bring them back). But the trend of the day is to respect the traditions of Jews and Muslims. That is why movie theaters should be closed not just on Sundays, but on Fridays and Saturdays as well. (People who handle their money well would never consider going to theaters at any time other than the midweek bargain shows anyway.)

5) "Honor Your Father and Mother"

Oh, how film history would have improved if James Dean had just said, "You're right, Dad" and fallen in line.

6) "Thou Shalt Not Kill"

Now I'm not saying there shouldn't be killing in films. The Bible is chock full of killing, so there is a place for it in films. But John Wayne had a reason to kill, and some secret agents were even licensed to do so. It is certainly true that seeing extreme violence and graphic gore will not corrupt a young mind like seeing a woman's "no-no" parts, but violence has still gone too far.

7) "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery"

No one stands before old Vinton in his contempt for slasher films. But at least they rightly show the deadly consequences of unlawful relationships outside of marriage. We need to be teaching our children that hanky panky leads to hockey masks, chainsaws and ice picks.

8) "Thou Shalt Not Steal"

Ever since The Great Train Robbery, Hollywood has been inspiring criminal minds. When Ocean's 13 comes out, you can expect another spree of casino robberies. It's not like that is as heinous as taking money out of the offering plate, but it is still wrong.

If films must depict crime, why not jaywalking or keeping library books past their due dates?

9) "Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness"

Doing away with John Grisham films would greatly lessen the occurance of false witness in films, and that would just be the beginning of the numerous benefits that absence would provide.

10) "Thou Shalt Not Covet Your Neighbor's House, His Wife, or Servant, or Ox, or Donkey, or Anything Else That Belongs to You Neighbor"

Now I'm not a big one on "contemporizing" Scripture. But substitute "automobile" for "ox" or "donkey," and you can see how movies tempt us to covet. I was glad to see that in the next James Bond movie, Casino Royale, Bond will be driving a bulldozer from Fiat. This will be a much less covetable vehicle than Bond's Aston-Martin or BMWs. Why haven't we seen Bond driving a Ford Citation, an old Mecury Comet or a Yugo?

Until these changes are made, I continue to recommend staying away from the movie theater. After all, a good sermon is all the fun you need.

Ten Positive Affirmations for Movie Theaters

Anyone who attends movies these days knows there is a lack of positive, harmonic karma in our society, particularly in pop culture. But the attempts of some politicians to post Ten Commandments in public schools, courts and (my husband's suggestion) to post the same antiquated laws in movie theaters, would be a futile gesture.

Commandments are such downers, I prefer affirmations. That is why I would like to see the following postitive affirmations (perhaps adorned with some colorful decoupage) posted in every American movie theater. The positive aura alone may shame the negative vibrations emanating from the screen.

1) "Begone Lookism and Ageism!"

For too long Hollywood has overvalued youth and beauty. Hollywood gives no hope for love to the elderly and attractiveness-challenged. Why can't we see love stories between Martin Lawrence and Kathy Bates? Sandra Bernhard and Kirk Douglas? Betty White and Catherine Zeta-Jones? It is just sad that it is too late for a Jamie Foxx-Shelly Winters love scene that would have stirred us all.

2) "Begone Guns and Weapons!"

Not even a children's movie like The Incredibles is free of weapons. Bruce, Colin, Wesley, and even you Angelina -- why can't we all get along? Talk it out! Remember, arms are for hugging! Even teenage boys will eventually look forward to action films ending with the big negotation scene followed by a big group hug.

3) "Begone Fossil Fuel Vehicles!"

I remember how I looked forward to seeing Run, Lola, Run, and my disapointment when I found out it wasn't car-free. Though I can't recommend Breaking Away, at least its bicycle-to-car radio was better than your average Hollywood potections. (Sure, Westerns didn't have cars, but the oppression of our horse brethren and sistren may have been worse.)

But I am grateful for the little blessings of the Universe, like the fact there is yet to be a Speed III.

4) "Begone Animal Abuse!"

Do you know anyone who found the abuse of the little doggies and fishes and cats in There's Something About Mary or A Fish Called Wanda or Meet the Parents funny? My friends in PASA (People Acknowledging the Superiority of Animals) didn't find those scenes funny. (Though a lot of my NOW friends think there could be a lot more of those Mary zipper scenes.)

5) "Begone Make-Up and Other Desecrations of the Human Face and Form!"

Be free Michelle Pfeiffer, Sharon Stone, and Susan Sarandon of the foundation and blush that hides your lovely wrinkles. I can't tell you how my stomach turned when I witnessed the devastion the razor has wrought on, say, Nicole Kidman's legs and underarms. If only we could see those lovely legs and underarms with free and flowing red locks.

6) "Begone Smoking!"

I do not mean, of course, that films should not portray the legitimate use of medicinal marijuana in films. But tobacco must go. Fortunately, computer technology has opened avenues to digitally erase those cancersticks from the mouths of Bogey and Bacall, and they can instead enjoy carrot sticks. (For purists, there still could be R-rated versions of The Big Sleep that include the cigarettes, as long as the film was followed by X-Rays of Bogart's lungs.)

7) "Begone Meat Eating!"

And I'm not just talking about the next Silence of the Lambs prequel. Protect Brother Cow and Sister Chicken not only from carnage on the screen, but also from fast food tie-in deals.

8) "Begone Saturated Fats and Processed Sugars!"

Hear that, Ms. and Mr. Concession Worker? People will come to appreciate snow peas and celery with a variety of tofu dips as a part of the film going experience.

9) "Begone Corporate Greed!"

Why should the rich enjoy movies more frequently than the poor? I see no reason to charge money for the filmgoing experience.

10) "Begone Dangerous Chemicals!"

Are the nitrates used for film safe for the environment? Till a decade's worth of scientific studies let us know for sure, we should return to the example of our ancestors and enjoy good old-fashioned storytelling around the fire. (As long as the fire is produced by environmentally senstive materials.)

Yours with Love, Peace, and Bioharmony,

Helga Lilith Goodearth


Blogger Jared said...

I'm surprised Helga is against smoking. Most of the hippies I know could be mistaken for chimnes.

9:04 PM  

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