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Friday, January 06, 2006
The Book of Daniel
You might have heard about the controversy surrounding the new NBC series, The Book of Daniel. Affiliates in Arkansas and Indiana have pulled the show, choosing not to air it when it premieres this evening. From what I understand, the controversy stems from the fact that the series uses the rather unconventional approach of having Jesus as a supporting character who speaks directly to Daniel, who is a minister.

As Barry pointed out, no one seemed to be lining up in the streets to protest that God was portrayed by George Burns or Morgan Freeman in various movies. I know some people may still be upset that Kevin Smith went with Alanis Morisette to play God in Dogma, but I think we're all past that now.

I find it interesting that this show is getting people up in arms when the whole "talking directly to Jesus" angle was covered last summer in Rescue Me. Didn't see people up in arms about that one, but I guess that's because Rescue Me is on cable.

First of all, to all those who would claim that The Book of Daniel is the end of decency as we know it on TV--yeah, I've heard that argument before. Remember when NYPD Blue premiered and was--oh my word!--going to feature nudity?!? ::GASP!!!:: Yeah, it aired, and we all moved on. Then, we had the whole seeing Janet Jackson's nipple during the Super Bowl halftime show was indecent, wrong and totally inappropriate! Welcome to the handbasket, next stop: hell! But yet as I look around, I still see that the world is still turning and so far, the four horseman haen't come riding through (though armageddon is closer than it once was since Vandy beat UT this year...but I digress).

I hate it when people make up their minds about something without having seen it, heard it or experienced it. It reminds me of that episode of The Simpsons where Marge gets a bee in her bonnet about all the violence in Itchy and Scratchy cartoons and starts to protest them. Eventually, the network has to cave to her demands and starts to produce cartoons that have Itchy and Scratchy acting like they're on ridallin. It leads to the hysterically funny point where Itchy and Scratchy are sitting on the porch, drinking lemonade and talking about how they are each other's best friends. Marge's moral high ground is eventually eroded when Michelangelo's David is brought to Springfield and everyone thinks Marge should be against it since it features male nudity. Marge says its a work of art and she doesn't see a problem with it. The tide changes, Itchy and Scratchy goes back to the violence we all know and secretly love and all is right for the Simpsons.

I feel like what we have in this case is a lot of Marge's who have their defintion of what art is and what their defintion of decency is. But here's the thing--what offends me may not offend you. Personally, I'm offended by that new cell phone commerical that has the guy singing the Dukes of Hazard theme because I find it stupid beyond words. But you might find it hysterically funny. I'm offended that we see the Dallas Cowboys on NFL broadcast more often than not. You may love the Cowboys and think this is the greatest idea since sliced bread. The thing is, we disagree. But yet, our country has freedom of speech and allows us to do that. The thing we have to remember is that the 1st Ammendment protects both of our rights to express our viewpoints. I get wary of one person or group deciding what I should or should not see. I think I'm a reasonably intelligent person and that I can make up my own mind. Also, here's the thing--if it does offend me or I think it might, I can choose to not watch. Yeah, last time I checked my TV gets a lot of channels and even has this funny button that turns in off. So, I can choose to watch or not watch. It's not like we're being put into chairs and forced to view these things like in A Clockwork Orange.

Second of all, a show in which a minister talks to Jesus doesn't necessarily strike me as a bad thing. I think if more people who claim to be Christian put half the zeal and effort into strengthening and building their relationship with Christ by talking to him via prayer or reading and studying the Bible instead of finding something or someone that was destroying morality as we know it and finding ways to tear it down, the world might be a better place.

I can't honestly say I have any plans to watch The Book of Daniel. But it's not because the main character talks to Jesus or church leaders have told me I shouldn't support it as a Christian. It's far more simple than that--the show airs opposite Battlestar Galactica. And there ain't no way I'm missing new BSG....

posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/06/2006 07:44:00 AM | |
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