Monday, July 16, 2007

"ABHORRENT!" -Dr. Ted Baehr

I’ve disliked “Dr.” Ted Baehr for years.

My dislike for him doubled when I read his profusely bigoted review of Eastwood’s Letters From Iwo Jima which denounced the movie as anti-American, leftist, socialist, anti-Capitalistic (a favorite of Baehr’s) propaganda.

I believe my dislike tripled the other day when I read his review of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Consider this tripe:
Regrettably, however, this means that even more children will be lured away from God and His Infallible Word, which says that witchcraft is evil and abhorrent. Instead of dreaming about the joys that God gives us through Jesus Christ, they will be dreaming of casting spells, using magic spells, riding brooms, and rebelling against their parents.
I know a lot of kids who read Harry Potter, many of them Christians. Not one of them has turned to witchcraft or the occult because of Harry’s influence. They may want to be able to point a stick somewhere, say some Latin, and have cool stuff happen (who wouldn’t?!), but that’s about it.

I find this next paragraph even more hilarious:
Watching 6- and 7-year-old children walk out of the press screening for the new Harry Potter movie (as well as the people with little witchcraft symbols and S&M dresses) is always an opportunity to reflect on the malignant corruption of our culture. Aside from the fact that these children are exposed to ugly creatures, fantastic violence and worthless incantations, this movie has dialogue that sounds like it comes out of Stuart Smalley’s Daily Affirmations on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. Namely, when Harry's godfather tells him, “You are not a bad person. Every person has light and darkness in them. You have a choice.” Imagine saying this to Michael Cho after he has had his killing spree. Or, Adolf Hitler.
UGLY CREATURES! You mean like the ones in The Chronicles of Narnia or The Lord of the Rings, two franchises you praised?!

FANTASTIC VIOLENCE! Ditto.

“Little witchcraft symbols and S&M dresses.”

Let me quote that one again: “Little witchcraft symbols and S&M dresses.”

Just the fact that Baehr mentioned S&M in his review of Harry Potter just lowers him another notch on my list (and makes my stomach hurt with laughter). The man is a maniac who does not how to discern. Sure, he knows how to describe violence, review sexuality, and count how many times people say “fuck”, but he doesn’t know how to thoughtfully wade through Rowling’s themes which, as Barb Nicolosi said in her comments on HP5, are more inclined toward the “good, true and beautiful” than many other fantasy works of the day.

He also conveniently glides past Order of the Phoenix’s themes of friendship, family, and the elusive quality of evil. Great parallels can be drawn between the Ministry of Magic’s refusal to recognize the return of Voldemort and Evangelical Christianity’s growing denial of the power of Satan.

Ted Baehr needs to focus his attention on something worthy of his time … Philip Pullman would be a good start.

PS: Other people have weighed in on Baehr’s ineptitude recently including Peter Chattaway and Jeffrey Overstreet.

2 comments:

raymond said...

I cannot read his reviews. I get upset and usually can't go to sleep afterwards. In fact, I think maybe I should block his site on my computer on the off chance that I'll type it in like one of those evolutionary monkeys at the keyboards.

You can never been too cautious.

Dr. Ted Baehr said...

I am Dr. Ted Baehr, founder of the Christian Film & Television Commission and www.movieguide.org. The following is my Divine Mission:

"MOVIEGUIDE® was founded in 1985 by Dr. Ted Baehr, past president of the Episcopal Radio & Television Foundation and former director of the Television Center at the City University of New York. A graduate of high distinction in Comparative Literature from Dartmouth University, Dr. Baehr received his Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law, where he served as the editor of the NYU Law School Newspaper.

"MOVIEGUIDE® is affiliated with the Christian Film & Television Commission® ministry, also founded by Dr. Baehr, which is a non-profit ministry of Good News Communications, Inc. He is also a part-owner of Kairos Marketing group, a wholly for-profit organisation which accepts monetary donations from pro-Christian production houses in exchange for positive reviews of their films. Both MOVIEGUIDE® and CFTVC are dedicated to redeeming the values of the entertainment industry, according to strict and very narrow-minded Biblical principles, by influencing industry executives and artists with copious finger-wagging and by informing and educating the public about the influence of the entertainment media and about how to indoctrinate their families to become "media-wise", so they can accept what we call the good and reject everything we are against.

Every four weeks MOVIEGUIDE® publishes at least 20 reviews of current movies in a magazine version. We gear the ratings to parents with children but also provide information for discerning adult viewers. For example, an Acceptability Rating of Plus One means caution for younger children ages 2-7, an Acceptability Rating of Minus One means caution for older children ages 8-12, and an Acceptability Rating of Minus Two means extreme caution for teenagers and/or adults. These Acceptability ratings are arranged not only according to age levels, but also according to a traditional Christian view of art, going from the sublime and the divine, Plus Four, to the abhorrent and demonic, Minus Four. They are meant to be a guildeline allowing you to make a wise choose what to see or not to see. They are not meant to be a thumbs up or thumbs down. We do not want to get sued, again. MOVIEGUIDE® is not a traffic cop telling you when to go or not to go. We are more like an Americanised version of the religious police in Saudi Arabia, pushing hardcore far-Right evangelical Christian values on people and threatening "grave consequences" in an imaginary Afterlife.

MOVIEGUIDE® is more than just a magazine -- it's also a two-minute and half-hour TV show, a two-minute and half-hour radio show, and an Internet resource available around the world and broadcast, cablecast and satellite-cast in more than 200 countries and territories, although ignored in 99% of them. The magazine and Internet versions of MOVIEGUIDE® include news from the entertainment industry, insightful articles on trends and beliefs, and interviews with top filmmakers and actors such as Robert Duvall, Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, Lindsay Lohan, and Steven Spielberg.

When we started in 1985, only 6% of the movies were aimed at families; by 2008, 45% of the movies released in theaters were aimed at families. Those family films grossed an average 200% better than movies aimed at the adult marketplace, unless we consider the incredibly-bankable "Saw" movies, which always generate 500% profit. Also in 1985, 81% of the movies were rated R, but since 2001, less than 45% of the movies released theatrically were R-rated. In 2005, only two of the top 20 grossing movies was R-rated. One was BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, and Ted loves the movie, cherishes it like a child.

Each year around Oscar time, MOVIEGUIDE® hosts its Annual Faith & Values Awards Gay-la and Report to the Entertainment Industry in Hollywood, where it rewards the best family-friendly movies and TV shows of the previous year, as well as the most moral and Christ-centered films for mature audiences. At the gala, our founder, Dr. Ted Baehr (who travels around the world talking to civic groups, churches and synagogues, madrasses, and anti-American imams speaking about Hollywood, media wisdom, and gaps in Homeland Security) presents a 'statistical' analysis based on MOVIEGUIDE® reviews. His 'analysis' is skewed enough to consistently show studio executives and filmmakers that family-friendly content and even Christian-friendly or conservative content can significantly increase the profitability of their movies. While, at the same time, providing incessantly boring and preachy content.

Since the Gay-la started in 1993, the number of movies with morally uplifting, biblical and or positive Christian content has more than tripled and the number of R-rated movies in the Top 25 Movies at the Box Office has declined from about 12 per year to only three or four each year. We make a direct connection between our meaningless banter and this unrelated trend, and claim it was "all us".

Cherry-picking the evidence, all of MOVIEGUIDE®’s activities have led to a significant increase in the number of family-friendly and Christian-friendly movies over the past 21 years. We also tried very hard to prevent 9/11, and we were "for" the war in Iraq well before we were REALLY "for" the war in Iraq. We're also hoping on an Iran invasion. Support from those concerned about objectionable content in the media remains absolutely vital to the ongoing work of this organization - as does their steady stream of money.

Redeeming the values of the entertainment industry according to biblical principles means:

1. Know Before You Go

2. Monitor your child's leisure time activities, including your older teenagers

3. Read and study the Word daily. Especially the really violent chapters.

4. Preach the Gospel. Riyadh is a good place to start.

5. Discipline believers; a good open-hand spank on the bottom does wonders.

6. Brainwash your children with the Christian worldview and a lack of Wisdom.

7. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteosuness. Then seek the righteousness of a Judas Priest concert.


Sincerely,

Dr. Ted Baehr