UPDATE: Christianity Today Critiques Movieguide’s “Hollywood Stimulus Plan”

In a display of uncharacteristically poor judgment, The Wall Street Journal has published the “Report to the Industry” by Movieguide’s Ted Baehr and Tom Snyder.

Did the editors there actually read the flimsy claims being made?

Film enthusiasts and critics everywhere, Christian and otherwise, went… huh?!

Mark Moring at Christianity Today has posted a response today,

but not before these had appeared: Dan SavageJim Emerson, and Glenn Kenny.

Granted, some of those mainstream critics are just going to use this as another excuse to bash Christians. But if Christians keep putting nonsense like this out as our response to culture, I say we deserve the ridicule. If we want to participate meaningfully in the arena of art and culture, we’ve got to speak more truthfully, more accurately, more thoughtfully, than many of those voices that have been representing “a Christian perspective on movies” to the rest of the culture.

NOTE: If you are glad CTMovies decided to address the Baehr/Snyder article, please let them know by posting a comment on that blog post or writing a letter to the editor. That might help them cope with the lashing they’re sure to take for daring to question Movieguide.

It’s a challenge to respond to such incompetence with the necessary reproval and yet to show grace. We must speak the truth, and sometimes that calls for strong language. But we are also called to speak the truth in love. We need to hold each other to high standards, and not stoop to the level of cheap shots that the rest of pop culture tends to take. (That’s why I posted this, after seeing the widespread celebrity mockery spreading onto Christian pop-culture websites without any pause to question its propriety.)

(Earlier: Testimonies from folks who used to work at Movieguide were included in one of my reader-response posts a few months back.)

What bothers me most about the focus of Baehr and Snyder is they are trying to encourage cleaner, more family-friendly fare by baiting Hollywood with money, by focusing on the box office, as if the box office has ever had anything to do with excellence.

Since when does “What Audiences Want” point to what is good, excellent, honorable, and worthy of praise?

If I based my diet on what food sells best, I’d be dead in a week.

UPDATE: Screenwriter/playwright/former-Movieguide-employee Sean Gaffney responds to the article by Ted Baehr and Tom Snyder that run in The Wall Street Journal.

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