Sweeping out the corners

After my last post, Courtney and I talked about sweeping out the corners and clearing some of the cobwebs in our lives. We stumbled onto a seemingly innocuous pile of dirt that has been gathering in our home for quite some time: Media.

Before I say even a single word more, let me clarify all of what I’m about to say by noting that this is what Courtney and I feel we should do. You are your own person and should make decisions accordingly. (Somehow, I know even that disclaimer isn’t going to quiet some of the vocalized and non-vocalized criticisms that will surely come our way…. Oh well. I tried.)

We asked ourselves a question last night: Would we be comfortable having what we have in the way of media in our home should the Savior walk through our front door and find us engaged with the media? The answer to that question is why, for the second time in our married lives, we unplugged the TV six months ago. We felt the world was too much with us, dominating us and our lives. Cutting the TV was one of the best choices we made and we do not miss it. Neither do the kids.

But we’ve still held on to the DVDs and the CDs and games and the books.

We’ve noticed that cutting the TV has given us a surprising level of control over what we watch in our house, but we’ve also noticed that we’ve become complacent in our perceived victory over TV and media. The truth is that removing the TV and still putting garbage in the DVD player is no success at all. With that in mind, we have determined to hunt through all the media in our home and remove that which we feel inhibits our ability to make our home truly Celestial.

The basic criteria is this: Does it uplift, improve, better, or otherwise influence our lives in a positive way? If the Savior were to walk into our home, what would His response be? If we caught our children repeating the content, what would our reaction be?

Much of what we have in our home glorifies violence, promotes promiscuity, and uses foul language even if the rating system declares it to be “okay.” Perhaps nothing typifies this more than one of our favorite films; Mr. & Mrs. Smith. We adore that movie both for its intensity and humor, but the film is rife with language, violence, and promiscuity. We’ve ignored the negatives for the laughter, but we no longer find the redeeming value in it. We want something different for our home.

And so begins the process of culling the media herd that has long rampaged through our home. Courtney’s great challenge will be the movies; mine will be the music. Our games and books are already largely in line with the spirit we want in our home.

We’ve decided to split everything into three piles:

  • Keep
  • Remove
  • Review

When all is said and done, we’ll sell all the Remove stuff and use the money we get to build up the Keep. There is a host of good music, movies, books, and so on that we want in our home. Things that are truly inspirational, positive, and uplifting. Things that we feel will invite the spirit into our home and encourage the presence of the Savior should He randomly drop by.

You never know… He just might.

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9 Responses to Sweeping out the corners

  1. Laura G says:

    Hi, Dave.

    I get where you’re coming from with the movies, but I’m a little confused with the music.

    What if a given album has some songs that are inoffensive, or even full-on spiritually uplifting… and other songs that are just the opposite?

    MP3s are easy enough, sure, and CDs you can rip the acceptable songs and then sell the CD proper. But do you have much in the way of cassettes or vinyl? (Though i guess you could sell them in whole and use the proceeds to buy the iTunes of acceptable songs…)

    Just wondering how you were going to handle that.

  2. daveloveless says:

    That’s a really good question. There is a lot out there in the music world that will go from purely inspirational to not so much. I think Alanis Morrisette is a great example of that with incredible songs like Thank U followed by You Oughta Know.

    For the most part, I have MP3s on iTunes or Media Player, so no real problem. For actual CDs, I’ll probably do what you said and burn the stuff I want to keep onto a disk.

    No vinyl or tapes, so no problem there.

    Beyond that, I really haven’t thought too much about it. I’m going through work music as we speak and sorting and shuffling and deleting and adding. I’ve removed about 100 songs so far that don’t really fit the mood that I want to maintain at work. At the same time though, I have copies of all of it at home, so this isn’t really that “changing” of a process… yet.

    On a similar note, I’m also going through all my music and deleting stuff that I don’t actually own. That will cause some problems in the future if I split some albums, but I guess we’ll see what happens. I remember a former Elders Quorum President who stood up one day during priesthood and talked about pirated media and how that too can affect us. I listened, but I don’t think I really paid attention. Looking at it now, I can see what he was saying, and I think I’m prepared to hear it. Most of what I’ve removed so far belongs in the category of pirated in some form or another.

    I guess that’s the good news that most of the music I’ve deleted is not because of content. I’m probably fairly lame when it comes to music if judged by the world. I mean, Neal Diamond is, after all, my favorite musician, and I’m just as likely to be listening to Gregorian chanting as I am anything else.

    Or Depeche Mode. I love Depeche Mode.

  3. Sarah L. says:

    Good for you! I got rid of a bunch of movies that I had kept because they were funny, but I had the same thoughts as you on that subject. It’s like the poo in the brownies analogy. I’m sure you’ve heard that one. I seriously parted with some of my most favorite movies.

    It pains me how many really good movies throw in a little bit of bad that didn’t need to be there. I would love to write movie scripts that are just as fun, but clean. Some family films are clean, but are just cheesy and stupid. *sigh*

  4. Lora Leigh says:

    Good for you, Dave. Don’t know how you feel about it, but we highly recommend a TV guardian. It works with most films, and we have loved it. Even PG movies often use the Lord’s name in vain, and our “filthy filter” takes that out. πŸ™‚ It makes way more of a difference than you might suspect. I don’t really like to watch movies without it anymore.

  5. daveloveless says:

    I hadn’t thought about that, Lora. That’s probably not a bad idea to look at.

    Thanks for the tip.

  6. Travis says:

    I can’t beilieve you feel that we should all do this! How dare you say what I should have in my home! πŸ™‚ (Sorry, I had to.)
    Even though this is going to sound weird coming from me, I am proud you are taking that step for your family.
    Since I am the “media guy”, many people think that it’s weird for me to feel that way, but I feel that you have the right to watch whatever you want in your house, and, if you come to me for advice, I should take that into consideration in recommendations. (Sorry I couldn’t help with Push. You didn’t let me know.)
    One thing that I would recommend is that if a good, uplifting movie comes to the theaters, whether you have the money really or not, go see it! Hollywood cares about money. If they can make money on junk, they will turn out more junk (i.e. Transformers 2). If the good, uplifting stuff makes money, they will turn out good, uplifting films. (i.e Pixar comes out and makes good films, all of a sudden, every other studio has an animation division.)
    Sarah- why can’t you write a good screenplay that is clean and not cheesy? I think it can be done. There are a few of those out there that are great for families and do not talk down to anybody! I find ‘Searching for Bobby Fischer’ to be a prime example. See what you can come up with! Dave is a writer, as you know, come up with an idea and see what he can add to it!
    I also must stand on my soapbox a bit more about the “filtering devices”. I do not agree with them. Sure, they edit things out for your family and such, but, just because I Know What You Did Last Summer (an extreme example, I know) is edited, does not make it a film with good qualities.
    And beyond that, if you rent or buy a film to “filter” the studios making the money don’t know what you are doing with it. they just know they sold one more copy of Basic Instinct (another extreme example, I know) and will continue to produce stuff with the “bad content” in it. Even if you are filtering, it still is giving money to the creators who make films that yoyu need to filter and does not give the view that you want to give to the studios.
    Sorry for my rants. πŸ™‚ But congrats, and, if you have any movie questions about what is in any given film, feel free to call or email. πŸ™‚

  7. daveloveless says:

    Travis–You’re awesome.

    I’ve always appreciated your openness and honesty about media, and Courtney and I both deeply trust your opinion on movies. If you say it is bad or good, 99.99% of the time, you are dead on.

    I hadn’t thought of filters in that way, but I see your point. I think I even agree with it. We did check to see if our DVD player came equipped with the TV Guardian, and it does not. I’m not going to pay for a box, so I guess that’s out. Plus, I think you are correct that there is a message being sent even if the films are edited.

    Courtney and I talked extensively last night about the message we are sending others as well. We’ve both had friends how were utterly extreme in their media choices, and we found that the hyper-sensitivity route was annoying and difficult to be around. We definitely don’t want that.

    I think that we want to hit closer to where my parents lie on the issue. They choose not to watch it, and they have never judged another for doing so. I have my feelings on the matter, and I stand by them, but you’ll never see me attack anyone else if they choose differently. It’s their choice.

    Oh, and I don’t care what you say Travis, you still owe us for not warning us off of Push. πŸ™‚ It truly was the single worst film I’ve seen in the last several years. I’d rather watch constant reruns of Barney for months on end that sit through Push one more time. It was absolutely terrible.

  8. nosurfgirl says:

    We’ll have to have some “great movie” nights… the best movies with little to object to. I feel like I come up blank sometimes when I try to think of such movies, but I think more than one family putting their heads together can come up with more. πŸ™‚

  9. Travis says:

    Dave, thank you very much for the kind words. Feel free to blame me for Push, but, remember, the hate will fester in your soul and this whole issue will be null because you have hatred for me in your soul.
    When I worked at Blockbuster, one of the first questions I would ask is, “Do you watch R-rated movies?” That way, I know what types of films to look for.
    Nosurfgirl- If you have any questions, just have Dave send my email address your way. There are films out there that have good messages that are not cheesy. They are hard to find, but they are there. Searching for Bobby Fischer, Mr. Smith Goes to washington and The Secret of Roan Inish are 3 of my all time favorites.
    As a self proclaimed media geek and someone who is writing a novel, I love stories- that is mainly what I love. I watch as much as I can and find some gems along with the junk. Feel free to ask anytime- as long as you give me more than ” I want a film starring that one guy and it can be any genre but has to be from 1996.”

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