Blatant Hypocrisy And Dances With Smurfs

This week, Marilyn and I watched the Miss America contest, the Grammys, and Kurt Warner’s retirement press conference.

People are interesting, and some people are more interesting than others. It’s why we savor salacious stories of the rich and famous. I mean, who doesn’t want to see photos of Tiger’s women? Or his yacht?

Celebrities have what we want: fame and fortune. Well, maybe I don’t want to be totally like Tiger, but who couldn’t use a little more money? Or a small houseboat on Lake Powell? With HD TV. And a couple jet skis. And …

I had a dear friend (he passed away a couple years ago), David Perling, who liked to say: “Some people want to be rich and famous. I’ve never had any interest in being famous.”

Celebrities are terribly interesting and terribly annoying. Some of them make me steam, especially when they use their influence to talk about things in life that really matter … when they don’t have a clue.

Like Lionel Richie at the Grammys. He introduced a Michael Jackson special by talking about loving each other and saving the earth. Yeah. Lionel Richie talking about love. Someone posted on the web, “The only thing iconic about Lionel Richie was when his ex-wife pulled him through his car window in his driveway and beat the stuffing out of him for cheating on her.”

Why can’t we all just get along?

Or how about this: “I think I work a lot because it’s a blessing and someday I’ll no longer have to work and can devote myself to what we are all put on this Earth to do–and that’s to help people.”

Noble, eh? Except this is Mark Wahlberg quoted in the New York Post. Someday he won’t have to work?! Someday he can help people? Come on, man. Like, for now, he’s just takin’ care of his family and makin’ ends meet. Of course! Wahlberg has to keep working because his net worth is estimated to be a mere $150 million.

“And now, ladies and gentlemen, the Oscar for blatant hypocrisy …

… AVATAR!

I saw the movie over the holidays. I’m trying to talk Marilyn into seeing it, but she’s not fond of sci-fi.

Yes, want to see it again. It’s amazing. It’s a visual epic and the highest grossing film ever. “Avatar” is a $300 million production with a $75 script and a thicket of spiritual and socio-political nonsense. No, there is no earth goddess. No, the ecosystem does not have a life of its own. No, the American military is not a mob of murderous a-holes. No, life would not be better if we were just more like blue jungle people. (Someone called the movie “Dances with Smurfs.”)

And YES … James Cameron believes every bit of this and wants you to believe it.

Most moviegoers never give a thought to the fact that every motion picture has a message about life and how to live it, and so many of the messages are so carefully crafted. As much as I enjoyed the pure entertainment value of “Avatar,” especially annoying was the hypocrisy of using techno-wonder to communicate that we are really better off living a simple life.

Not noted by any film critic is that the “primitive” world according to James Cameron is far better than the “civilized world,” with one glaring exception: sex. Everything in Smurf world is beautiful, except their primitive notions of family and sexual purity. The main characters consummate their relationship with no regard for the social values of the “primitive” community, and within a few short movie minutes, all the “primitive” people have fully accepted their sexual dalliance.

In striking contrast, a celebrity everyone loves, especially here in Phoenix, is Kurt Warner, who just retired as quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals football team. He’s rich. He’s famous. And he’s as good a role model as it gets. He gives God all the credit for his success. He’s faithful to his wife and children. He’s grateful to all the people who have influenced his life. He’s a gentleman with the media. And he’s fully committing the rest of his life to making a difference in the world.

Some of my readers know that Kurt Warner regularly attended our church, although we did not know them personally. When Terry Crist became the new senior pastor at Word of Grace (now City of Grace), Kurt and his wife Brenda attended our special “passing of the mantle” service. Afterwards, he and Brenda approached Marilyn and me. “We want to thank you,” they told us, “for the time we attended here. We want you to know how much we appreciated your ministry to our family.”

The name of Kurt’s charitable organization says it all: First Things First.

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