Saturday, September 23, 2006

Vegetable Adulteration, or a sign of our anti-Christian times

The New York Times ran an article about NBC drawing criticism for planning to air a blasphemous Madonna concert (for her, nothing really new here - remember "Like a Prayer?") and for editing references to God out of the Veggie Tales episodes airing on Saturday mornings. I find the second infraction positively outrageous on two levels.

One does not draw a mustache on the Mona Lisa. The genius of the Veggie Tales is that it presents broad Christian values (ones that can certainly be accepted by most if not all denominations) in a format both appropriate for children and amusing for teens and adults (especially those adults who are familiar with Monty Python!). God, of course, is central, and if one misses the centrality during the story, the explanatory sequence at the end clears up any ambiguity on that point. It is beautiful art the way unabashed Biblical values are mixed with humor and music. Taking God out destroys that art.

What would Handel have done if he had been trying to sell The Messiah to the networks today? The Messiah was not written for the church, but for the concert hall. It just happens that it has a religious theme. Had he had to deal with NBC or one of the other networks, it might have gone something like this:

Exec: Georg, baby! I gotta say I love your new oratorio. Man, that "Halellujah" Chorus is going to be a big hit. Straight to the top, baby! Numero Uno with a bullet. And that's the sort of thing we like to have. There's just one teensy detail we need to work out, babe. You see, we need to have that broad appeal. We need to reach out to that crucial 18 to 35 demographic that makes our sponsor happy. You know what I mean? We've gotta tone down that God stuff. It makes the execs nervous and it might turn off some sponsors. Ya with me Georg, baby? How's about we change a word or two here or there -- instead of "the Lord God omnipotent reigneth," you have them sing something like "I just got my new car with low payments" or some thing like that. So, whaddya say?

On another level, I believe that the aduleration is just another reflection of anti-Christianism (not secularism or atheism) from the guardians of our popular media. The Madonna concert plays into this as well, but I expect to see Madonna offend. Perhaps Phil Vischer, one of Veggie Tales's creators, puts it best when he writes: ". . . it is a bit ironic that telling kids God loves them is 'not okay,' but singing a song while mocking the crucifixion is fine and dandy." Anti-Christian art is ok, Christian art needs modification before it is acceptable.
Hat tip to, of all places, The Huffington Post for leading me to the Times article.

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Blogger The unconventional mother said...

I don't know if I would go so far as to compare it to drawing a "mustache on the Mona Lisa", but I think it is outright stupid. It is a Christian themed show for goodness sake.

7:22 PM  

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