|Posted by God Loves Women on December 13, 2011 at 9:00 AM||comments (0)|
Yesterday I wrote about the personal challenge I felt after watching 15 Million Merits on Sunday. To find out more about the programme and the impact it had on me, please read my blog from yesterday.
Today I hope to share my thoughts on the wider, less personal, response I felt having watched the programme. My immediate feeling, after the conviction of my own culpability at watching programmes like X Factor, was a feeling of frustration at the fact Charlie Brooker, an atheist writer and comedian, could get the horror of reality TV in a way most of us Christians cannot.
Why is Charlie Brooker’s understanding of the powers and principalities of the world so much clearer than that of us Christians? He is making a prophetic statement to this generation while many of us Christians are busy arguing amongst ourselves and being religious.
At a recent discipleship group I attended the leader started to describe the horrific fallen-ness of the world and the polluting nature of evil that has saturated so much of our society. I was horrified as she explained this was exemplified most clearly by the marriage of gay people. She did not mention the soul destroying reality that there are more people trapped in slavery than there ever have been; that sex, money and power rule our world; or that the true beauty of individuals is destroyed be a media machine that sucks out our self value, in order to sell it back to us in the form of beauty products and plastic surgery. No, not one mention of any of those things, just the “evil” of gay marriage.
Throughout the Bible the prophets spoke clearly to the people of God, Jesus’ harshest words were reserved for the religious leaders, and right now it would seem, God is using Charlie Brooker – an atheist – to bring about His truth.
Will the Church wake up? Will those of us who are Jesus followers, called to emulate Jesus, see God’s truth in these programmes and instead of trying to be relevant to the world, will we become radical to the world? Will we speak out against the great evils in this world? Will we collectively call for the end of programmes which pornographicate young people and the culture which seeks to perpetuate violence against women? Will we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us on what really matters? Or will Jesus need to say to us:
"Woe to you, [Christians], you hypocrites! ...you have neglected the more important matters of the law - justice, mercy and faithfulness.” (Matt. 23:23)
|Posted by God Loves Women on December 12, 2011 at 11:40 AM||comments (0)|
In our celebrity culture and fluffy lack of depth, it’s unlikely that any TV programme will provide a life changing or even soul touching experience; and yet last night that is exactly what happened for me as I watched “15 Million Merits”. It is part of a Channel 4 series written by Charlie Brooker called Black Mirror. The series is described by Channel 4 as a “suspenseful, satirical three-part mini-series that taps into collective unease about our modern world.”
Shown after the X Factor final, this week’s 15 Million Merits presented a futuristic world in which we pedal on electric bikes all day to earn merits to buy apps for the electronic versions of ourselves called doppelgangers. Overweight people are cleaners who wear bright yellow clothing and are insulted and looked down upon by the cyclists.
In this world, people have to watch TV constantly and not watching adverts incurs a penalty of losing precious merits. Hardcore pornography is regularly shown and to not watch this also incurs a penalty.
Every person lives to watch the latest version of the X Factor and it costs 15 million merits to enter. Bing, the main character so loves the voice of Abi, the other main character, that he gifts her 15 million merits to enter the show.
As she arrives to star on the show she is required to drink a carton of “compliance” before making it onto the stage. Before she is able to sing, Judge Wraith (the owner of the hardcore porno channel) challenges Abi to show everyone her breasts. She refuses and after being degraded and put down further she is then allowed to sing.
She sings well and the Simon Cowell-esque judge says she has an amazing voice and yet the only thing he can really think she would be good for is appearing on Judge Wraith’s pornography channel. As the audience yells and whoops, “Simon Cowell” emotionally blackmails her and she looks horrified, Under tremendous pressure and the effects of the Compliance drink, she accepts the “kind offer” to make it out of pedalling and into a new life as a porn star.
As you can imagine I watched this programme with gradually unfolding horror; increased as I had recently read the horrific accounts of those who have “worked” in the hardcore porn industry on Shelly Lubben’s website.
I am ashamed to admit every year I have been sucked into the X Factor machine, watching and laughing and voting along with many in the UK. I would feel uncomfortable as they mocked the less talented, but not enough to turn the TV off, not enough to take a stand. I would see the articles and music videos of the female competitors, gradually making it to soft pornography and feel sad for them, but still thinking, “well…they did make that choice, it’s the price of fame…”
As I watched 15 Million Merits yesterday, I felt ashamed and guilty, I have contributed to the degradation and pornographication of the competitors, I have become part of the machine which abuses, degrades and humiliates beautiful and precious human lives for the furtherance of entertainment. I am part of the problem.
Yes me! The person who works so hard to end violence against women, whose heart breaks every time I hear yet another story of the abuse a woman has suffered, the devaluing the have experienced at the hands of men. And for that I am truly sorry, to every person who has in some way been damaged by the X Factor machine and its partners in crime (and I truly do mean *crime*). I promise with all that I am, I will never again watch those shows again, I will never laugh along at the humiliating bits or smirk inside at the uncomfortable bits. I will speak out against this machine that degrades and destroys and I will be part of it no longer