Mork & Mindy, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Putt-Putt the talking car, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Judy Blume's Fudge series, Complete Savages, Spider-Man 2, Wishbone, Growing Pains, ApologetiX, Garfield, Lizzie McGuire, dc Talk, Weakest Link, Nintendo GameCube, Diff'rent Strokes, Big Fat Liar, The Magic School Bus, iCarly, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Mario Kart 64, VICTORiOUS, Scooby-Doo, Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars, Star Wars, Kevin Max, TobyMac, Leap Year, American Idol, Dinosaur Safari, Pokémon, Dancing With the Stars, Weddings by Bella...Many of you have likely either never heard or know very little about right many of the items listed...but what do they have in common? Well, they're all entertainment-related--television shows, computer/video games, music artists/bands, movies, and books are all on that list; at some point in my life, each one of them was--and, in a few cases, still is--among my favorites in one area or another; and, all of them are relatively family-friendly, or, at the very least, kid-friendly.
That's still the way I roll; one look at my playlist, latest reads, or video/DVD collection, and you'll find that much of it is quite innocent and inoffensive. True, some of it isn't for young children just because they wouldn't be able to understand it, but I always try to keep it clean. For me, when something has a large amount of sexual content, graphic violence, profanity, or similar content, I usually have a negative opinion of it. There have been some exceptions--for example, the Christian movie To Save a Life deserved its "PG-13" rating, but was still great for vilifying the sinful actions shown for the iniquities that they are--but, usually, I can't get behind a movie with such content. That's a very big reason why I always avoid "R" films; if they didn't have much that I would object to, then they wouldn't have that rating. Even with "PG-13" films, I've almost always found that the only good ones are Christian movies, like the aforementioned To Save a Life, superhero flicks, such as Batman Begins or The Avengers, or science fiction/fantasy films, including Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Star Trek: Nemesis, or Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Many films with that rating that don't fall into one or more of those categories--Mean Girls 2, Satisfaction, Passengers, etc.--easily rank among the worst movies I've ever seen, as do the two "R" films, Fahrenheit 9/11 and Vision Quest, both of which I watched against my will. Probably the best higher-rated, non-Christian, non-sci-fi/fantasy, non-superhero flick I've ever seen was the 2008 remake of Get Smart, and I even had a few issues with that one. Just last night, I tried watching Girl in Progress, which the Dove Foundation recommended for those over twelve, and was rather upset by much of its content. Books, music, and television can be just as troublesome at times; I've always said that I'm a sucker for entertainment, but only if it's family-friendly.
What I described above is one of the reasons why I'm a big fan of Nickelodeon and Disney productions; these days, it seems like it's nearly impossible for Tinseltown to make a film for adults and/or teens that lacks loads of salacious content. Even some "kiddie" flicks have such problems; Slate magazine called the Percy Jackson movie "scary" and "oversexed," and that was based on a beloved children's novel. Still, for the most part, entertainment intended for the younger set is largely clean...but it nonetheless seems to be the only kind that currently is, and that's why I'm a fan of it.
Unfortunately, it seems that a common trend is for people to seek out salacious content rather than avoid it. I'm reminded of a discussion between two of my seventh grade classmates, where one guy complained that his father would only allow him to watch Disney movies when he had friends over, and the other guy said, "Well, you can watch The Lion King; that's got violence in it!" Later on, some of my high school classmates claimed they had never watched a "G" film, which, in my opinion, isn't something of which to be proud. That's actually more commonplace than many would believe; most folks, it seems, either enjoy such content or are just indifferent to it. I'm not, and that's why "juvenile" entertainment is my favorite kind; it lacks the stuff that I don't like, while keeping the stuff that I enjoy.
Of course, like with much of what I do, my critics feel that I'm "too old" for such entertainment. My defense? "For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it." (Luke 18:16-17, NLT) "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving." (Ephesians 5:3-4, NIV) "Do not be like children in your thinking, my friends; be children so far as evil is concerned, but be grown up in your thinking." (1 Corinthians 4:20, GNT; emphasis mine) I realize that many Christians watch, read, or listen to whatever, and feel that it isn't wrong; I'm not the judge, so I can't say whether it is or not, but I do know that it isn't right for me to do that, because not only does it bother me, but I'm not one to forget entertainment, so whatever I see, hear, or read is likely to stick with me for quite a while. Philippians 4:8 (NIV) says, "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." You may not be a fan of the same entertainment I am, but, if you took a look at it, you'd realize it's much more noble, right, and pure than much of what's popular with the teen and adult crowd these days.