Let me be upfront about this. This post is not intended as a condemnation, condescension, or any other con you can think of towards anything. It's an honest thought with a question attached. Please read it in that light.
I've been wondering. We hear a lot from the brethren and from members of the Church in general about media as the showcase of wickedness. We hear from a lot of producers of LDS films (and other arts) about their good intentions. We hear a lot about film and how good ones challenge us. We also probably say a lot about these things. I know I do.
There's a constant banter about ratings, standards, and other measures for determining what is good to consume and what should be avoided and under what circumstances. Some want rock-solid statements by which to judge every time. Some want the kind of flexibility that takes each work individually as it comes. Both have good arguments. We all want to know how we should approach what's out there and how much of it we should let in here and how to get our product out there in an appropriate fashion.
My questions are these: why are we so eager to partake of (and sometimes emulate) the world's every offering? When we readily admit that popular films in general are getting more edgy, when we acknowledge that the people who make them do not share our standards, when we even suspect some of them of having unholy agendas, why do we rush to see what kind of fare they have created? I am not implying that there is no good answer to these questions. There may well be one or more good reasons to do this. I can see cases on either side. But I ask the question because I think it is legitimate. When we have prophetic counsel to be very guarded in what influences to allow in our lives, can we go long without asking these or similar questions?
It may be a testament to the value neutral nature of artistic and technical knowledge that some of our best and brightest are seeking education at the same institutions that train some of those who would make things even worse and calling their learning excellent. It may be a deterrent to maintenance of a spiritual perspective on film. It may be an attempt to raise the bar or bridge a gap for LDS cinema. It may verify the claim that truth, wherever it lies, should be sought out. It may describe a need: namely, a supply of high caliber, LDS or LDS-values-friendly film schools.
Perhaps one reason we are struggling to improve LDS cinema is that we are learning primarily from Gospel-incompatible sources. If so, perhaps something should be done to change that.
That's what I've been wondering about. What do you think?