ChildCare Action Project:
Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)
This web page is your opportunity to read what others say about our Entertainment Media Analysis Reports and an opportunity to leave with us your comments about them.
To minimize the differences between browsers, the format of this page presents commentor text in typewriter blue font with my responses in this Times black font. Each entry is separated by a bluline divider bar.
I will try to respond to all comments received. My reply comments will be embedded within a copy of your email letter. If your letter is selected for posting on this page, a verbatim copy of your letter with my embedded comments will be posted here. Additional comments not appearing in the reply may be added on this page in brackets ([ ]) to clarify and fortify. Your name and email address will NOT be included unless you ask us to do so. A bold header is provided with each entry to identify the topic and concern, e.g., the first is Titanic (1997) CAP Analysis: Disagree.
While this page is primarily to provide for communication regarding the Entertainment Media Analysis Reports, you are welcome to leave comments on anything about the CAP.
This may turn out to be a very living document. I pray such an endeavor will provide for you the understanding you need to embrace our methodology.
Thank you for visiting the CAP website. I hope you will return soon.
Thomas A. Carder
ChildCare ActionProject: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)
March 15, 1998
Titanic (1997) CAP Analysis: Disagree.
Out of respect for the time and effort you took to provide your opinion of our review of Titanic, I will offer personal response. Although unrelated in this case, as an ex-medic I am conditioned to heed the wisdom of a physician. While I indeed feel intimidated by opposition from a [person] of your caliber and by your claim that the review might drive nonbelievers farther away from Christ, I am yet strengthened in my mission to continue to gore the sacred cows of the secular world. My comments are embedded within your text.
---- ------- wrote:
I have never seen such a distorted review of a movie in my life. Here you have a movie about a true, immense human tragedy in which 1500 people lost their lives, and you have the pharaseeic gall to complain because it portrays violent death!
I am not complaining at all about the tragedy, Doctor. Titanic (1997)
was a movie, not a tragedy. It was Hollywood fanfare.
[I have no evidence that the licentious and wild behavior Cameron (the movie producer) portrayed was based on interviews with or reports of actual survivors of the true tragedy. Even if the portrayal of violence was accurate and true, it (and the language) was invasive of the coping skills of the impressionable. And the gratuitous nudity and sensuality were invasive of inhibitions.]
"Titanic (1997) was an extremely violent movie with appalling and unjust escape of impending doom at the expense of the lives of others." [The Doctor is quoting from the analysis page.] GET A LIFE! I have to pinch myself to realize that there actually do exist such totally dour persons such as you.
While I am certainly not a doomsayer, I am very much a severe man; severe against what the conditioning of the entertainment media is doing to our kids and, yes, apparently to you.
[I have a life, and I have Life. And I thank Almighty God for them both!]
This movie is an absolute masterpiece, one of the best movies ever made.
Indeed! It was quite well made technologically and theatrically. But how do you or anyone else know what was said and done in those last moments. Do you know for certain that some ship officer committed suicide? Do you know for certain that the rich fiancé struck his betrothed in anger? Of course not. No one does. These events were not based on fact nor extrapolation of fact. This movie was NOT a documentary. It was fantasy based on guesswork.
In your microscopic nitpicking at all the trees you spot, you totally miss the forest.
As a scientist, Doctor, I am sure you understand that, using your comparison, just one contaminated or corrupted tree can wipe out an entire forest. It is rather the forest with which I am concerned: the forest of children watching the "contaminated" movie. Does permitting your children to watch nudity and listen to such language as entertainment not suggest to you that doing so is your implied approval of such behavior, even if your words say otherwise? The worn out adage "Don't do as I do, do as I say" is useless, i.e., do not expect your child's values and morality to be any better than yours.
Dr. ------ (previously a CAP Board member) and Dr. -------, our Director - Mental Health agree with me that it would be unusual for even a sixteen year old to be able to fully separate fantasy from reality or to fully comprehend the consequences of his/her behavior. Why complicate the already difficult task of teaching right from wrong by encouraging aberrant suggestion in the name of entertainment? Jesus told us if we were to cause or teach a child to sin (and viewing nudity as entertainment is sin) that it would be better for us if a millstone were tied around our neck and then cast into the sea. He further admonished us that whatever we do to (or for) His little ones, we do to (or for) Him.
Must we consider it necessary for all movies to be reduced to the level that can be seen for a five year old in order for the movie to meet our approval?
Why must entertainment contain stuff inappropriate for a five year old child? For ANY age? And why is it that generating programming "fit" for youth would be a "reduction?" What is it about "adult" entertainment that makes it adult? Does viewing it make you an adult? I do not enjoy Socratic questioning but hopefully a point has been made.
I don't like the taking of the Lord's name in vain and the 4-letter words any more than you do.
I wonder. Do you use God's name in vain -- ever? Even in `Oh, my ---'? Please forgive the implied arrogance -- I know this comment sounds as though I am looking down my nose.
But, as one Christian critic said about the movie, it is a sermon from start to finish. There is a deliberate contrast between the language of the 1990's research ship crew, especially the one buffoon slovenly 60's generation ex-hippie type (whom I couldn't stand), and the language used by the people alive in 1912.
But the language was still there, whether presented in contrast or not. And maybe, just maybe movies like this are why so many youth talk that way.
[Even if movies are not why so many youth talk that way, entertainment media perpetuate such language...and lowering of inhibitions...and lowering of thresholds of acceptance...and modification of values and morality...and lowering of coping skills...and...]
You cataloging the alleged wrongs of this movie are so pickyuine that your whole review reads like a satire, except I don't think anyone attempting to satarize your review could top you in outlandishness.
Imagine, here we have a ship going down and death on the horizon, and you have the gall to object because it portrays the crew as resorting to, HORRORS!!!, firearms to control some of the male passengers attempting to get on the lifeboats! And it portrays "children in mortal danger." A movie about the sinking of a ship that DID have children on it, and you object because it portrays children on the SINKING ship as being in danger????
Please calm down, Doctor. It is a movie. A movie! There was nothing real about the horrors portrayed.
[There was nothing real about the horrors in Titanic (1997). It's a movie! A fantasy! But remember that it would be unusual for an adolescent (the age group at which this and other movies like it are targeted, the age group which spend the most on movies) to be able to fully separate fantasy from reality. Because of the realistic grandeur of the movie, maybe some kids actually believe all these things actually happened during the real Titanic horror. Again, I have no evidence that the licentious and wild behavior portrayed was based on interviews with or reports of actual survivors of the true tragedy.]
"Eleven instances of partial nudity" ??? Oh really? ELEVEN??? Are you by chance counting each frame of the movie as an "instance" or what?
No, sir. If a picture of nudity appears, then goes away, it is an instance.
"Bribing and lies to gain rescue favor and lies to cover up guilt and using a child as justification for rescue ahead of women and children"---you think that instances like this didn't happen on the real Titanic?
No one knows. But this is a real good example to set, huh? Few children experience adults in action during a disaster or other tragedy of such a scale. What they see in this movie may be the only `example' they get. And unfortunately, while this is only a movie, the examples portrayed are too often incorporated into the character of the observer even at a very young age, sometimes even before the observer can speak. The Denmark parents of a now dead two-year old girl agree with me. Older boys pretending to be Power Rangers(tm) killed the girl. I did a white paper on evacuation studies a few years ago and found that when the chips are down people indeed do not, as a general rule, react with licentious disregard. They rather rally to the needs of others.
[...typically to the needs of their families and loved ones.]
One other note. This movie is the only movie I have ever seen that attempts to portray, in the final scene, an eternal perspective to tragedy and suffering---in the scene where the 101-year old Rose dies then finds herself in Paradise with all Restored. No other movie I have ever seen comes anywhere close to doing this.
Salvation is possible ONLY through Jesus. [KJV: "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." NIV: Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."] Where was Jesus in Titanic (1997)? Where was even His name? Nowhere did Rose ask Jesus to come into her heart in subservience to His sacrifice for our sake, and nowhere mentioned was our accountability to His sacrifice. So, in terms of eternal salvation the "eternal perspective" of this movie was meaningless. Please try to visit our analysis of The Apostle. When finished with this letter, return here and click on the underlined text below (if your email service permits hypertext links in email)
If Cameron had added a line by one of the cast, say the violin player speaking to an associate, "Who says that God can't wipe away all tears?" this scene would have been more complete, and the quote would become the most famous phrase uttered in movie history.
But Cameron didn't. And if he did, that one attempt at righteousness would not have erased the impact of the negatively influential programming. Just as the hymn played in the last moments by the brave band did not.
As it stands, it is far more than I would have ever expected from a secular movie, and worthy of the highest praise. In fact, I have recommended to various patients I have cared for that they see this movie, and in particular, concentrate on this final scene, then ask themselves if the bitterness and trauma they've experienced in this life would not just vanish away were they to experience something similiar after death.
That is your ballpark. I am not qualified to comment on your practice. But again I ask where is Jesus?
But that doesn't count. After all, there were five instances, FIVE!, where alcohol was consummed.
Just tellin' parents what is in the movie.
You are a Megalegalist, and it is because of people with your attitude, that many nonbelievers in the Savior remain that way to their eternal loss.
---- -. ---------, MD
Or my "megalegalism" (if there is such a discipline) may lead the nonbelievers to rethink their lifestyle. Your claim that "...and it is because of people with your attitude, that many nonbelievers in the Savior remain that way to their eternal loss." sounds too much like situational ethics and freedom from accountability for me to be influenced by such a threat. I did not write the rules, Doctor. And I do not need to remind you who did write the rules.
[Situational ethics and freedom from accountability PLUS impunity, hate, and arrogance (each very closely related in terms of personal integrity, self-esteem, and coping skills) are PRECISELY what the entertainment media is promoting, whether successful, on a grand scale in all observers, especially youth!]
I am dismayed about the severity of your comments and wonder if I should re-evaluate my methodology. I pray that in some way I can gain His wisdom for this ministry from your comments. I will indeed study on these things you have said to me. But please do not be hopeful that I will adapt my analysis model to incorporate your position. Too many agree with my analyses as they are. Only two so far (you being one of them) have taken your position, at least only two have told me so.
After all is said I still respect you, Doctor and hope that you will respond in kind. And I thank you for the opportunity to debate. I remain as convicted as before to continue to gore the secular sacred cows, but I will study on what you have said to me to maybe develop a temperament more appealing to the secular world -- I owe you that.
Always in Jesus' name.
Thomas A. Carder
ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)
P. O. Box 177
Granbury, TX 76048-0177
A 501(c)(3) nonprofit Christian Ministry
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Dedicated to investigating and reporting on the impact of the American
culture on the integrity, self-esteem, and coping skills of youth, and
inherently on family values and unity, using the teachings of Jesus as
March 20, 1997
Titanic (1997) CAP Analysis: Disagree.
I am sorry I have taken so long to reply to your concerns about our review of Titanic (1997). In this reply to your welcome comments, I may sound harsh and arrogant, but please believe I am neither. I am, however, a very bold and severe man against what the entertainment media is doing to our kids and apparently to you in the name of "art." My responses are embedded within your text. Please forgive me for the length of this letter. I am a bit verbose.
First off, I am a Christian of 28 years.
You describe the nudity scene in Titanic like it was a porno flick.
Titanic was certainly NOT a porno flick. But it was a movie presenting female nudity as a gratuitous tease and excuse for adolescents to lower inhibitions.
This was artistic nudity...not a graphic indulgence of the female body at all....and not offensive in the least.
You are, of course, entitled to your opinion. And so am I. There was nothing "art" about it. It was Playboy(tm) and Hustler(tm) for adolescents -- yet another attempt of the entertainment media to steal childhood from children.
People are not talking about the nudity scene...
"People" are also apparently condoning what President Clinton is accused of.
they are talking about how the movie has changed their life.
I certainly do not want to sound as though I am looking down my nose but viewing nudity as entertainment is a sin. I realize that most people do not want to hear that, but the Bible presents many instances of viewing nudity (nakedness) as wrong and that nakedness is shameful. As I have said in other responses, I did not write those rules.
Neither does the Bible make any distinction regarding at what age viewing nudity as entertainment becomes acceptable, 13 years old or otherwise (Titanic was PG-13). If you were to accompany or permit your kids to watch Titanic and other movies with nudity, you would be implying your approval of such display. Would you approve if it were your daughter on the screen? I suppose I am as guilty as anyone of violating many of Jesus' admonitions, but He warns us that if we were to cause or to teach a child to sin it would be better for us if a millstone were tied around our neck then cast into the sea. Further, He warns us that whatever we do to (or for) His little ones, we do to (or for) Him. And to refer to the gratuitous nudity in Titanic as "art" is akin to the same reasoning the National Endowment of the Arts uses to excuse exotic and vulgar images -- all in the name of art and freedom of expression. Phooey!
This movie made me grow closer to God, b/c it made me realize how fragile and fleeting both life and love are, and that we should be thankful that we have both and make the most of them. After seeing this movie, I wanted to grow closer to Christ in every way. I began thinking about hell, and how long eternity is, and that after I have spent 100 trillion years burning in agony in hell, the time I will spend in hell has basically not even begun...that is how long eternity is, and the human mind CANNOT fully comprehend it.
While I suspect this is just an issue of language mechanics, your use of "...after I have spent..." and "...the time I will spend..." concerns me a little. By your submission of faith in redemption through His Blood, your name is in the Book of Life and Jesus promised to never blot it out. Since you have been saved by the precious Blood, you need not worry about Hell. And praise God that you have gained desire to draw closer to Him! Our Lord will use anything to give us direction and purpose. Apparently, He used this movie to prompt a certain pattern of thoughts for you. And by the way, what is b/c?
I was very upset with the use of "God-d***" five times in the movie, but as always, I block it out. You must take the good with the bad, and pray for the sinner. I didn't let it ruin the rest of the movie for me.
"...block it out." That is an advantage you have as an adult. Not necessarily so for adolescents and younger. Dr. Gilliam, our Director - Mental Health agrees with me that it would be unusual for even a sixteen year old to be able to fully separate fantasy from reality or to fully comprehend the consequences of his/her behavior. And the impact of the entertainment media on our kids is precisely what I am fighting. Recall those little straight pins that come with new shirts. Think of each of those uses of God's name in vain and other issues of profanity (plus all other negative influences of the entertainment media) as one of those straight pins being lost in the couch. Sooner or later, one of the pins will surface -- painfully. What I am trying to say is that the human mind does not block it all out. Some of the impact is there indelibly and will surface one way or another sooner or later, especially in young people. One example is from Denmark. The parents of what was at the time a two-year old girl understand what I am trying to say. Older boys, pretending to be Power Rangers(tm) killed the girl with kicks they saw on the show. That little girl is dead because of the negative influence of the entertainment media. The impact of the entertainment media on those older boys surfaced just a few days after exposure. Three Paducah KY high school students are dead, one other student paralyzed for life, and four others suffered nonfatal gunshot wounds quite possibly because of the impact of the entertainment media. This impact surfaced more than a year later. These are just a very, very few examples of the impact of violence in the entertainment media. Who knows how many young girls become pregnant because of what they and/or their partners saw in the movies. One more point about your comments in the paragraph above this one: while we certainly must pray for believers and nonbelievers alike, we DO NOT have to "take the good with the bad" if by that you mean we must settle for the lesser of two evils! If one movie is 99% bad and the other is 95% bad, don't settle for either just because nothing else is playing or on TV! Don't watch! Talk. Read. Breathe. Belch, or something. Anything is better than watching the 95% bad movie just because nothing else is playing.
Your review of Titanic disturbed me. I don't think you will be helping to draw sinners to Christ with this review, but sending them further away with cries of "radical" and "Christian's ----".
Your statement "...I don't think you will be helping to draw sinners to Christ with this review, but sending them further away..." sounds too much like situational ethics and freedom from accountability for me to be influenced by such a threat -- the same situational ethics and freedom from accountability the entertainment media is promoting on a grand scale.
While it would certainly be a great thing if our reviews were to help sinners to faith in Jesus as Savior and Lamb, the focus of the CAP analyses is to alert parents to the content of movies. While I most assuredly love to help someone walk with Christ, I am happy to help parents avoid leading their child(ren) into the sin presented by the entertainment media. Many of the movie-going children I know of go to movies such as Titanic by themselves -- Mom/Dad just drop them off not knowing of the content of the movie. "Hey! It's a PG-13 movie! So it must be okay -- it is not R!" The father of a young girl I know (who has seen Titanic five times) did not even know there was nudity in the movie.
Don't be fooled....b/c your site is listed in the movie database, you will get MANY visits. There is a more unsettling way to review a movie of Titanic's stature, that is in good taste, expressing your objections to the movie in a tasteful, tactful way....that won't scare sinners away.
As I promised Dr. --------- in my response to his/her comments about our review of Titanic (1997), I will certainly consider your advice and will try to develop more appealing analyses.
One thought to leave with you, ----. Remember from Revelations that when a nonbeliever stands before Christ in Judgment, Christ will say "I never knew you. Next." And He will do so without batting an eye because He has given the nonbeliever tons of chances to become redeemed. It might be time to stop pabulum feeding ourselves and time to start owning up boldly to our accountability to His Law without softening the accountability with situational ethics or desire for freedom from accountability. We are all equally accountable to His Authority. No one, no, not one will be free from His Judgment. How can we as Christians slight such authority with "Well, this might not be as much of a sin now?" or "What was a sin for your father is not necessarily a sin for your kids?" Many years ago, to set an adolescent in front of entertainment nudity was a very big no-no. Today, with movies such as Titanic and The Fifth Element, (both PG-13 with nudity and vulgar language) it is commonplace for kids much younger than 13 to watch these shows with and without parental approval.
Always in Jesus' name.
Thomas A. Carder
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Thomas A. Carder
ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)
Copyright ChildCare Action Project (CAP) 1998