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Time to tell Hollywood: Physician, heal thyself

As I observed a few of weeks ago, Charlotte and I have watched more television during the past couple of months than at any other time during our lives. And closer acquaintance with the boob tube tends to get a fellow thinking. For example, it seems strange to me that folks who so often complain about parsons who preach the word of God for more than 10 minutes at a stretch cheerfully permit Hollywood’s rather more secular philosophers to preach to them for hours on end.

True, Hollywood’s leading men and leading ladies are, from a physical perspective at least, rather more attractive than the average parson. But the fact of the matter is that God’s ideas make a great deal more sense than the average sermon preached on prime time TV.

For example, Hollywood’s philosophers have long been promoting the notion that it is a reasonable and responsible “life style option” for women—young and not so young—to have babies out of wedlock. To be sure, there are many single mothers (and fathers, for that matter) who are successfully raising children without a spouse.

But, at the same time, there are many others who are making a terrible hash of it. Yet even the very successful ones will usually agree that single parenting is not the best option.

The trouble with Hollywood—and much of the nation’s news media—is that many folks who work there seem to have major problems telling the difference between the real world and the world of make–believe.

In the real world, babies dirty their diapers, have colic, experience teething trouble, develop diaper rash, howl all night, reject their bottles, refuse to burp, and contract all manner of frightening illnesses.

In the world of make–believe, of course, they do all these things, too. But in the world of make–believe, the baby and parent are following a script. Things turn out happily—or unhappily—in exactly the manner the script writer dictates.

The real world, however, is by no means so tidy. In the real world, there is nobody to write the screenplay. People are obliged to speak their own lines. And if they’re tempted to follow Hollywood’s script, they are likely to end up in awful trouble—because the real world doesn’t conform to Hollywood’s rules.

When things go wrong in the real world, they tend to stay wrong because there is no scriptwriter to tie up the loose ends and give the story a happy ending.

Wishing on a star works only in Tinsel Town. The real world works according to an older and entirely different maxim: “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” In the real world, there is only one person who can play God—and that’s God, himself. The devil may try to make you think otherwise, but he’s lying.

This, perhaps, lies at the heart of the problem. Hollywood has treated producers, directors, scriptwriters, and actors as gods for so long they have lost sight of the real one. If Hollywood truly wants to get back in touch with the real world, it needs to get back in touch with God. As things stand, there is something decidedly bizarre about Hollywood and its media groupies presuming to advise folks who live in the real world on how to live their lives.

A glance behind the tinsel shows the reality of the lives of many denizens of Hollywood bears little resemblance to the screenplays served up on TV and in our movie houses. Hollywood has been trying to follow its own script for the best part of 70 years and the toll in wrecked and broken lives is quite incalculable. It’s high time we said: “Physician, heal thyself.” GPH✠

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