Having bled dry the secular culture, filmmakers have had to find new wine to fill the old bottle of liberating oneself from convention. They’ve found a homegrown subculture juicy enough to do it. Transgressively moral Mormon, I present you to yourself. You’re the wine.
An alert reader ran across a film called Latter Days and suspected it might have something to do with, well, us. As this sympathetic article shows, it does.
The movie is about a Mormon missionary (in California, of course) who falls in love with a swinging bachelor. True love enables the missionary to overcome his commitments and his faith, while true love enables the bachelor to give up having multiple partners at a time. A romantic fantasy, if not mine, to be sure.
Apparently most theaters in Utah have decided not to show it. The director/screenwriter, an ex-Mormon, has expressed his suprise that the movie is controversial. In the natural course of things he will express his surprise all the way to the bank. Ah, well.
More disturbing, the article calls the general Utah unwillingness to see the film the equivalent of a censorship: Effectively, the writers says, “Latter Days” finds itself banned. Why banned? Because theaters in Utah, once they realized the content of the film, realized no one would come to see it. This is a bad distortion of free speech, of course, and no doubt one that skews left and skews secular, and it bodes ill. When a mainstream journalists start to accept that opting out of the secular left culture is a violation of free speech, then the sky is red in the morning. I won’t go say more than that. It worries me, but who knows, in God’s grace it may come to nothing.
I haven’t seen the movie. No, nor am I likely too. If it were a movie about coming out of Babylon, now . . .
but it’s just a movie about coming out. If I want to discover the joys of kicking off the traces and chasing every will o’ the wisp of happiness I can do fine on my own without a movie to show me.
Now a film about a gay man living out his celibacy in the face of a scornful
world and in obedience to a sometimes distant God, that would be a movie. Even this movie may have a message, in a way. Caricatures of this kind condemn us for what we are–committed, sexually restrained, obedient. Some few will not see it as a condemnation.
Update: The alert reader has put up her own post here.
I realize that the idea that refusing to participate equals censorship is pretty nutty they way I’ve phrased it. It is nutty, but they’ve put an argument behind it.
Generally, the argument is that free speech is all about a robust debate with diverse ideas. If people refuse to consider the ideas or be exposed to them then they’re negating the purposes of free speech. Nate and Kaimi know more about it than I do, but I do know that the argument has been made in the school choice context. Here’s a link.