- Get Involved
- New! STORE
The Doomsday Channel
Anyone else concerned about how dark our tv shows and movies are getting?
I’m sitting here watching a series called The Fall, which shows steely X-Files alum Gillian Anderson chasing after an obsessed sex crime killer in Belfast. In the first season, after writers juxtaposed a strangulation scene with an explicit one-night stand scene frame by disturbing frame… I clicked Off, both literally and emotionally. Don’t get me wrong: I grew up in a very liberal arts home where I was allowed to watch Dirty Dancing when my teeny bop friends were not. My mom always defended this choice by explaining, “They are just dancing. And besides, Yes to sexual freedom, No for violence.” I’m far from prudish, and all for well-written female heras.
Yet this show was still added to my long list of new projects that are artistically provocative and well executed… but when viewed with a wide lens, show a sign of disturbing times. Most of my community hasn’t seemed to notice, as we binge on the shadowy caverns of our minds. A few have mentioned, “I only watch conscious media.” Other than that, everyone is glued to the shadow.
My soul is craving something else.
Our movies are no better. The health of our culture has long been shown by the storylines of our arts, and we currently have a bunch of stories about people returning to destroyed worlds. Films are portraying a hungry, dangerous planet where nature is a system from which humans are exempt. The Doomsday approach has long been a favorite of writers due to the ease of conflict. It doesn’t take a lot of thought. And it stems from a civilization out of balance.
I’ve been studying this issue for a long time, starting with an undergraduate thesis I wrote in 2003 about Arts as Activism. With the full exuberance of my college rebellion, I wrote:
“Solutions for the planetary crisis will need to be multi-faceted, embracing intellectual, spiritual and emotional change. The arts, in warning, can address all of these impressively and with imagination.”
The recently passed theatre pioneer Augusto Boal agreed with me that the arts “influence spectators not only with respect to clothing but also in the spiritual values that can be inculcated in them through example.” (Theatre of the Oppressed) The arts are the key to a healthy society because they envision change and see new possibilities for society. Even President Johnson once said that, “It is in our works of art that we reveal ourselves, and to others, the inner vision which guides us as a nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish.” In the case of our current planetary crisis, this quote could very well be taken literally.
Our films and tv shows are holding up a mirror to the worst of our world. The reason I’m interested in helping produce The Fifth Sacred Thing is that it shows both options: the worst the world can get, the best the world can get… and the option of another ending. I loved this novel as a teenager because I wanted to live in that community’s world! We’re not just sick and twisted like the characters on the popular Hannibal series, where your shrink is your serial killer. Perhaps writers don’t yet know how conflict can be shown without this window into hell.
Since you are are reading this, perhaps you’ve been craving that other vision for as long as you can remember too. It’s time our stories in mainstream media reflect the yearning in our hearts. What movies are you watching? Television shows? Netflix binges?
Please share and inspire us all.
– Maya Lilly, Co-Producer
Donate via Paypal
BUY the NEW AUDIOBOOK
WATCH: "One Act of Courage"
Promotional video narrated by Olympia Dukakis.
Fifth Sacred GIFTS
LISTEN: Fifth Sacred Thing Music
Tagsart artists Audiobook Bird birth book celebrations change City Tours 2048 collaboration community dedication diversity dreams Earth Earth Activist Training energy Fifth Sacred Thing freedom fundraising growth imagination interaction interviews Jessica Perlstein Kickstarter Layil Umbralux life Madrone Maya movie music pagans permaculture press quotes Rena Jones seeds Starhawk The Fifth Sacred Thing The Spiral Dance Update video vision war