Missed last week? Read from the beginning.
On Curses and Cussing, Part 5: The Christian Movie Industrial Complex/Echo Chamber
The last couple of weeks of Dust entries may have left you wondering what all this has to do with the Church or our Faith. I have contended that to write a compelling story, your characters need to sound believable in how they think and speak. The genius with Battlestar’s invented cuss word is that everyone understood that it was a stand-in for the F-bomb.
To have hardened space-fighter pilots, stressed-out politicians and soldiers in tense situations with failing equipment depicted with no swearing is not real to life. Such an element would be more fantasy than the spaceships and aliens. As a result, incomplete as the effort was, it enabled a certain liveliness to the dialogue that soon became normative and helpful.
Have you ever considered the way Christian media and movies get such a limited audience in the society we live? First, the production values have been poor, always a semi-generation behind the big budgets. But second, and my main point: when we draw moral lines in the sand which God has not drawn, and stand behind them to wag our fingers through our art, we should expect our stories to be more annoying than entertaining to anyone not already allied with our views.
A goody two-shoe approach to righteousness, the assumption that taming the tongue means correcting its sounds and avoiding Germanic root words in favor of Latin ones, and the belief that we can teach people to bless while sheltering them from curses, all serve to dilute our voice in the white noise water cooler of the 21st century media climate. Conversely, carefully chosen words, used for full effect, keeping with personalities that are being portrayed, and, consequently, using words God has never actually forbidden, is simply a matter of taking the First Article for what it is, and refusing to confuse potty language with authentic blasphemy.
More to come...