Darkness and Light and the TV

I have always been rather into pop culture and somewhat proud of the fact that I’ve managed to stay fairly on top of most things books, music, tv and movie related. I’m not sure why I think/thought that is/was a big deal but there it is. It does help when working with 12-18 year olds to have some idea of what’s going on and I do think that it is a bit of a responsible adult thing to do.. okay whatever… it’s also really fun!

Anyway I don’t know if you’ve noticed but TV has been getting better and better these days. TV Writers are producing high quality things and it’s not just mindless silly drivel anymore.. well not all the time.

I have a few shows that I watch and try to keep up with and some are more intellectual than others. Lately, I started to watch Game of Thrones. I had been hearing over and over how great it was and how even better the books were and so I had a bit of time one Saturday and thought, maybe I’ll just watch one episode to whet my appetite and then spend the summer reading the books. Well they have these major cliff hanger endings and so one can’t just stop at one episode. Sad to say, I didn’t end up picking up the books but I did end up watching a lot of episodes.

Now– here’s the thing about that. I’m not actually proud of the fact that I’ve watched all of these. In fact I think I might be somewhat ashamed. I like to think that I can handle upsetting things and for some reason I have always been irked by people who walk out of movie theatres and so really, this is not a self-righteous rant but it’s more of a way of making sense of what I think about such things.

Madeleine L’Engle has been my favourite writer since I was eleven and she talks about how good writing shows a cosmos through the chaos. I have since developed my own stance on that which goes something like: you can take me to a deep dark place but you need to show me that there is a glimmer of light down there. I can handle seeing evil, if there is good. I believe good story telling does have bad guys and good guys and even if the lines get blurry (because quite often they do), if good triumphs in the end then it was a good story.

The thing with Game of Thrones is that there seems to be a whole lot of darkness and evil and while it is portrayed as darkness and evil, a true goodness is lacking. I suppose it is faintly present some of the time but it does not seem to be the main thread or idea. The series does not celebrate truth or light or goodness or love. I don’t find that there are any good guys, no Aragorns or Gandalfs, no one who stands out as admirable. If a somewhat decent character shows up, they seem to be quickly killed off. And so, I think I need to give it a rest. I don’t finish an episode feeling inspired or encouraged to be a better human being. Instead I just breathe a sigh of relief that I live in this current time period where women are relatively safe.

I think as Christians we need to be careful what we feed our soul with. We need to be careful with what we console ourselves with and how we entertain ourselves. No I do not delight in bloodshed or the violence in the show, in fact it’s a great show to watch if you want to cut down on evening snacking. I am interested in some of the characters but I don’t need to be dreaming about having my throat sliced open or being speared to death. We are meant to think on pure and good things and I don’t find that the show serves that purpose.

I don’t mean to be picking just on that show and recently I thought about watching the second season of a show recently popping up on Netflix but after about 10 minutes in, I realized that I don’t need those people and characters floating around in my head. It really has no redeeming value and doesn’t put me in a better place. Therefore, I am giving it a miss. I know, I hardly recognize myself.

Maybe I’m just being incredibly sensitive these days but maybe this is what I need to do to take care of my heart and thoughts. And so– this summer I am going to try to be more mindful of what I fill my head up with. (More books, less TV!!! But that’s for a whole other post!) The world is a dark enough place on it’s own and I want to read and watch and be exposed to things that show me the light and celebrate the light.

And that’s all I’ve got to say about that!




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