Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Different Approach

It's been interesting the last few weeks listening to folks talk about this Fifty Shades of Grey movie. My fellow Christians and other groups are calling for boycotts for various reasons. From what I've heard the movie contains explicit sexual situations and promotes violence against women. Personally, I cannot speak to any of this as I have not seen the movie and have no intentions of doing so. I'm more of an action and sci-fi movie guy. For my $10-$11 movie admission I want to see shooting and stuff getting blown up.

I think the folks who are clamoring for boycotts of the movie are taking the wrong approach. During my lifetime, I've noticed that time and time again when Christians and others call out something in the entertainment industry as being bad, it peaks the public's curiosity. Next thing you know, everyone has the attitude of, "Let's see what all the fuss is about." So they go buy the controversial record or go see the movie, and the artist or producer makes millions because of it. Consider the following examples to make my point.

Moon over Miami
Moon over Miami (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
First, back in the '80s, there was a rap/hip-hop group from Miami called 2 Live Crew. Remember them and their record As Nasty As They Wanna Be?

They released their first record in 1986. At the time, their fan base mainly grew through word of mouth. Then, 1989 rolls around and they release As Nasty As They Wanna Be with the cover photo of the backs of women in thong bikinis. The lyrics to the so-called songs on the record are sexually explicit, so Christians, the American Family Association, and others went nuts. Curiosity was peaked and people wanted to know what all the fuss was about leading to the album selling over 2 million copies.

These rappers went on to release a total of 11 albums over their 12-year career with the last one being in 1998. Let that sink in for a moment - a raunchy rap group released 11 albums, selling millions of copies of them, and making millions of dollars. It is my opinion that if Christians and others had not raised so much cain about the filthy lyrics, this "band" would have not received the notoriety it did, flopped, and just went away after a couple of records. The free press they received made them rich and successful.

Second, back in the early '80s, the hair/glam metal craze swept the country. My favorite band, Motley Crue, was right in the middle of it. The band formed in 1981 and released its first record Too Fast for Love. Too Fast really did not see much success at first. It didn't break the Billboard 200 until 1983 after the band released album #2 - Shout at the Devil. Now, why was that?

Shout at the Devil (song)
Shout at the Devil (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It's simple. Shortly after Devil's release, Christians, conservatives, and other groups jumped all over Motley Crue, because in their opinion, the band was promoting satanism with it's use of pentagrams. Once again, curiosity peaked, people had to see what all the fuss was about, and all the attention led to Devil selling 4 million copies (quadruple platinum status). The Crue's career took off. Additionally, Devil's success led to more people going back and purchasing Too Fast and it shot into the Billboard 200 album chart reaching #77 and going platinum (selling over a million copies).

Motley Crue's career has now spanned 3 decades, 30 years, 9 studio albums, and they've sold over 100 million records. As I've said, they're my favorite band. I never agreed with their wild lifestyle, but I've loved much of their music. However, if you listen to their early records, Too Fast and Devil, they were really not that good. I always felt like they really didn't hit their stride until 1985's Theatre of Pain was released.

If it had not been for all the attention and controversy surrounding Shout at the Devil, I'm not convinced The Crue would have lasted more than a few albums. 30 years? No way. In my opinion, it's likely they, too, would have flamed out after a couple of records, but thanks to all the negative PR they got over Devil, they hit it big. Were they satanic? I don't think so. I think all the pentagrams, etc. were a brilliant PR stunt that left Motley Crue laughing all the way to the bank.

So, what's my point with all this? I think that when controversial stuff comes out of the entertainment industry that Christians and other conservative groups find offensive, most of the time we deal with it the wrong way. Think about it this way - when a child is told not to do something or that they can't have such-and-such, what is the the first thing they do? Exactly. They go and do just what they were just told not to. It's natural. Adults do it to. When someone, or some group, starts clamoring about how immoral or wrong something is, our natural reaction is to be curious and want to see what all the fuss is about. Well ....... STOP IT!!!!!!!

Just like 2 Live Crew and Motley Crue ended up having long, successful, and profitable careers after controversies surrounding their music, continued wailing about Fifty Shades of Grey is gonna push people to want to see the movie. Hollywood will make millions, allow it to run for weeks and weeks, and then make similar movies in the future due to the success of this one.

So, try a different approach for once - just fuhgeddaboutit and shut up. Then, it might just go away when it stops making money due to a lack of interest. Right now, all the negative attention is making Hollywood money.

Christians and conservatives are currently doing exactly what Hollywood wants them to in regards to Fifty Shades of Grey. They're being played, and just like Motley Crue did, Hollywood's laughing all the way to the bank.

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