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#61 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 06:45 AM

Alan Thomas wrote:
: Are freelancers "doing their jobs" or are they freely accepting assignments that they could turn down if they chose?

I think Jeff means that we are doing the "jobs" that we have accepted, i.e. the "job" of reviewing whatever film we happen to be reviewing.

I have never tried to get out of an assignment for moral reasons or anything like that, so I'm not really sure what the policy is; I have a hard time imagining anyone would be forced to see something that he or she really did not think that he or she should see. But it's also understood that when CT critics send in the list of movies that they would LIKE to review, and WHY they would like to review them, they will probably get assigned some other films that weren't on their lists at all. That said, there is still a fair bit of room for re-assignments, certainly when there are scheduling clashes between press screenings and things like that.

Oh, and in this particular case, I'm not sure that Camerin would be a "freelancer", technically, since she IS on the CT staff. But I suppose it is possible that she might be "on staff" with regard to one of CT's sister publications, while being a "freelancer" with regard to CT Movies; I don't quite know how those classifications work, really.

#62 Christian

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 08:19 AM

I don't comment at Looking Closer any longer because it tells me I need to register, then when I enter an address it says I'm already registered, but when I request a password reminder, one never shows up. Or something like that.

So I'm posting here to say that the hub-bub about CT's review of this movie boils down, I think, to the 3-star rating. That's it. Take away the stupid star rating -- something I've advocated for years, and which others are more or less ambivalent about -- and I think most of the uproar over the review goes away. Mark Moring responded initially, saying -- sorry, but I don't have time to look it up right now -- something like, "The star rating doesn't indicate whether or not a film's quality," or something similarly mind-bending.

People who complain the loudest often haven't read the review. We all know this. They see "3 stars" and hit the roof. It's a giant red flag for people who don't want to read the full review.

EDIT: I see now that Jeffrey's not allowing comments on that post anyway.

Edited by Christian, 16 June 2008 - 10:02 AM.


#63 Jason Panella

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 08:43 AM

Fantastic write-up, Jeff. Thank you.



#64 Overstreet

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 10:25 AM

And now, WORLD magazine has published a non-condemning review!

Will Focus on the Family publish a "WORLD Relishes Sexual Perversion" article? Somehow, I doubt it.

Of course, there's no star rating on this one, so that would mean that Slater might actually have to read the article closely...

#65 Christian

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 11:26 AM

For the record, it occurred to me that CT's line about the 3-star review might have been in the "Your Feedback" section, so I checked, and yup, it's there above the first batch of responses:

We weren't surprised that our review of Sex and the City prompted a number of replies, especially when we gave the film 3 stars. But we'd like to again reiterate that our star ratings do NOT imply an "endorsement" or "recommendation." The star ratings have nothing to do with the film's "moral value," because such an assessment can vary widely from person to person

So the star rating isn't an endorsement, and it isn't a recommendation (!), and it has nothing to do with a film's "moral value."

Remind me again what it's supposed to communicate? Aesthetic qualities? Acting caliber?

If even I'm confused by that explanation, I have a hard time blasting readers who criticized the review, even as I don't approve of the way they communicated their displeasure.

#66 Overstreet

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 11:34 AM

165 comments (most of them condemning CT)... and counting!

#67 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 12:19 PM

Alan Thomas wrote:
: I think the discussion of rating the "artistic quality" of a film vs. the "moral quality" of a film is not quite hitting the mark.

What makes life really fun is finding a film really funny, or whatever, when a lot of the humour is rooted in really crude and immoral behaviour. Think just about any Judd Apatow movie. As a matter of "artistic quality", the film might very well succeed at what it's trying to do. But the "moral quality" ... well, you can always discuss the pro-abstinence or pro-life themes in The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, respectively. "Redemptive elements" such as those allow you to overlook, bypass, gloss over, etc. some of the more problematic stuff. Heck, I was pleasantly surprised to find that You Don't Mess with the Zohan (co-written by Apatow, and possibly one of Adam Sandler's raunchiest movies, at least within the PG-13 realm) even included an actual example of someone "turning the other cheek". But when it comes to just about anything else with the Apatow name, how do you go about saying you found the film FUNNY, which is what it's SUPPOSED to be on an artistic level, without being a tut-tutting killkoy at the same time, pointing out how the movie falls short of a Focus on the Family infomercial on proper sexual etiquette or whatever?

#68 Michael Todd

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 12:59 PM

Great response Jeffrey. I also liked Mark's response on CT Movies. I liked his use of Lewis. I learn to love Lewis' wisdom more and more as I age.

#69 Overstreet

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 01:28 PM

Well, Slater and his mob are pulling Lewis quotes and firing them right back at Mark, so.... It's not hard to pull quotes from a great writer and make them serve your purpose. There's a whole debate here, waiting to be explored by calm, collected minds. Alas, there's no such thing over at Boundless right now.

#70 Overstreet

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 05:34 PM

Ted Slater "clarifies."

QUOTE
Last week I wrote a blog post imploring the editors of CT to reconsider their ongoing advocacy for the movie "Sex and the City."

Since then, a number of folks have joined in the conversation, which I think can be helpful. Sadly, some of them have mistaken what I was calling for, have gotten distracted by my "sanctimonious" deference to Scripture, and have misunderstood my motivation for writing that post.

Let me clear things up.

I wasn't condemning those who choose to watch this movie. I wasn't even primarily challenging Camerin Courtney's review of this movie. I was calling on the editors of CT to re-think their stance on media consumption, summed up in the following quote: "It's good to see what the world looks like through the eyes of even the depraved."

(As if we're so unfamiliar with sin that we need a movie to introduce us to the concept. To be honest, when I need to look through the eyes of "the depraved," all I have to do is open mine. I don't need a movie to help me understand what breaks God's heart and disrupts lives.)

Let me condense my concerns down to two points...



#71 Overstreet

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 02:03 PM

More from:

Gene Edward Veith

Ken Brown




#72 Greg Wright

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 04:04 PM

Is this discussion still about Sex and the City?

#73 Overstreet

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 04:18 PM

Well, it gets to the challenge from Ted Slater: Is Sex and the City "porn," and if so, why are we dignifying it with a review?

#74 Greg Wright

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 04:26 PM

QUOTE (Overstreet @ Jun 18 2008, 04:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Well, it gets to the challenge from Ted Slater: Is Sex and the City "porn," and if so, why are we dignifying it with a review?

Seems to me the conversation is much more general, with Sex and the City a mere starting place. I keep dropping in here to see if anyone's actually talking about the movie, and nobody is. CT, Focus, ratings systems, and morality seem to be the subjects being discussed.

Nothing wrong with the discussion. It's all healthy. Just seems like it belongs on another thread or two.


#75 Overstreet

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 04:26 PM

I'm fine with splitting the thread, FWIW.

#76 Overstreet

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 11:41 AM

Kelly Foster at Image: Why I Watch Sex and the City

#77 mrmando

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 10:18 AM

The RSS function at A&F appears to be fouled up again. So in case you haven't been following the raging debate, allow me to note that Jeffrey has dropped this shoe, and I have dropped this one.

#78 Christian

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 11:53 AM

Mando, Jeffrey: I spent a good chunk of last night reading through the posts at Gene Veith's site, getting caught up on the last week or so of this debate.

I ask you, I beseech you, both of you, to please STOP.

Although I have some sympathy for what Slater was getting at in his original post, you two are clearly in the right in how he went about it. He was wrong. I don't find his defense of his blog-post headline as easy to dismiss as you two do, but I don't much like parsing of words that have clear connotations that the writer then backs away from while defending his use of them. So it's Overstreet/Mando 1, Slater 0 on that score.

You obviously know that you have the upper hand, but in pushing it by amping up this debate and calling for a public apology, I think you're strutting and showing off, confident that Slater can't win the argument.

It's ugly.

Worst of all was Mark Moring's entry into the debate. Sure, he's angry, and he subsequently apologized, but then, after the apology, he calls Slater "Ted Slander." Mando makes threats about how Slater should get himself a lawyer.

Is this what it's come to between Christians? I know what you're going to say: Slater's not arguing in good faith, or he lacks good will, etc. That may be true. But if I get a bad taste in my mouth reading all the back and forth, I wonder what non-Christians think.

I've yet to read Moring's positive explanation of the 3-star rating, rather than the negative explanations about what that rating doesn't mean. But my earlier hunch that the debate focused on that rating seems to have been incorrect. The reasons for the debate are meatier, but still ugly -- on both sides.

Jeffey has posted at least a couple of times that he needs to "get away" from the debate, but then he'll post again (at Veith's blog, not here). I guess he has to, having now called for a public apology.

Jeffrey, part of me hopes you don't get that apology. I fear what that might lead to the next time you feel attacked or maligned. Sure, you're defending Camerin and CT, not yourself so much, but now that you've made the call for an apology, you've also made yourself the focus of the argument. I don't think this will go away anytime soon. If anyone is up for the fight, it's you. Maybe it's doing more good than I realize. But I doubt it.

Sorry to post here. I was thinking about this during lunch, and had decided to PM you, but when I got back to my computer and saw Mando had posted the two links above, I figured this should be a public matter.



#79 Overstreet

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 12:13 PM

Christian,

Slater isn't just a blogger. He's the editor of a magazine Focus publishes for young people. I know and have some respect for some of the people who work for Focus. I hate to see one person drag that operation, and their efforts by association, down so low. So I wanted to encourage people to speak up so that I could show there is a range of opinion about this within Focus, not just a bunch of self-righteous judges. I doubt that I'll get anything, but I wanted to leave the door open for people to voice dissent if they were willing.

Other than that, I'm done with this. I don't want to see any legal action taken by anybody. And there's clearly nothing productive coming from engagement with Slater at this point. He asks questions, and when you answer, he pounces on that, distorts it, and digs up a Bible verse that he seems to think is damning. So why keep trying? I'd like to [rivately ask Gene to close the comments on those threads at this point before it gets any worse, but I can't find an email address for him. Can you?

Save for my openness to discover that there are some Focus or Boundless people who regret what Boundless has done, I *am* done with this debate, and I am definitely done responding to Slater. Anything I offer him as an answer gets distorted and thrown back in my face. My face hurts.

I feel for Mark, though. He works so hard, and takes so much flack every single day, for striving to do the right thing with CT Movies. I certainly don't blame him for feeling exasperated. You *expect* persecution from the scornful culture around us, but the most painful persecution is the kind that comes from those who claim to be your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Moving on.



#80 Christian

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 12:17 PM

I don't know if you lump me in as a persecutor, but I hope not.

I just clicked on Slater's blog link in his response/apology at Martin's blog. That took me to his profile, which took me to Boundless, where I found "editor@boundless.org." That's the best I could come up with in the past two minutes. smile.gif