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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Blurring The Line

UPDATE: Hat tip to one of my readers, who pointed me to this article at StopTheACLU. Jon gives another example of what I'm talking about in that post.
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Alright guys, I've got a lot on my plate tomorrow, so here's just a quick post of something that's been weighing on my mind.
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In all civilizations, in all cultures, in all times, there has been a line-- a line without which no nation can survive. It separates citizens from criminals-- patriots, from traitors-- friends, from enemies-- order, from chaos—liberty, from oppression-- salvation, from destruction. It is paramount to keeping the demon that lurks inside all of us at bay.

It is not the thin blue line: for all their work, courage, and goodwill, the honorable men and women of our nation’s police force can only do so much in defense of justice. If we, as a people, were to forget what justice is or lose our faith in it, even their arms would turn against us.

That line, is the line between Good and Evil.

And for all its importance to society, we seem happy to ax away at each fragile chord until the entire superstructure collapses with the first gust of wind.

I just came home after watching Shrek Three with my family, and I have to confess (though I know I’m not the first) that I am saddened by what I see coming out of Hollywood these days.

The theatre played a trailer for the new Transformers movie coming out. Now, I’ve been excited about this since I heard of it; next to Lego’s, Transformers were my childhood obsession. But apparently the whole premise of this movie is that the Transformers are here to stop mankind because we are destroying Earth, and humanity doesn’t realize that the robots they believe are evil, are actually good.

I’m not complaining about the blatent leftist environmentalism; that’s bad enough, but most people are intelligent enough to see that for what it is.

What really bothers me about the new Transformers movie, is that it blurs the crucial line between Good and Evil.

In the original Transformers—the ones I used to watch and play with as a kid—there was a moral clarity exuded in every character. You wanted Optimus Prime and his Autobots to win. They were the good guys. They were fighting for what’s right.

That is not the message of the new Transformers. Nor, for that matter, of Shrek Three; the ogre (typically the bad guy) is the hero.

That’s not to say that doubt or dilemma don’t have a place in media. The ambiguity of Hamlet is what places it among the finest works of literature of all time. But what we have to ask ourselves, is whether we are truly wrestling with fundamental questions, or whether we are sacrificing our morality—our future—our children’s souls—all for the mere pretext of “sophistication.” Because that’s what I see.

I know it’s subtle. I’m sure it’s not on purpose. But when I watch movie after movie, TV show after TV show, making the character who should be good evil, or emotionally justifying immoral acts, or making the man who sticks to his principles seem “stiff” and “overbearing,” I cannot help but question the direction of our society.

We need to recognize the difference between Good and Evil, because if we don’t, we are nothing more than blind men wandering aimlessly in the dark. We will drink poison instead of water, and eat rubbish instead of food.

And we shall surely die.

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