Hollywood loves Christmas, or Winterfest, or whatever they’re calling it these days. This is because many Americans make it the most wonderful time of the year for the studios, offering them gifts of gold.
For example, on December 25, 2015, we gave Buena Vista/Disney $49.3 million for the right to spend 2 hours and 16 minutes of Christmas Day watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the local multiplex. The film is about a diminutive young woman who is so special (the force is strong with this one) that she can pilot a spaceship and defeat the head of an evil army in hand-to-hand combat with no training or musculature. Their light sabers locked in battle, he (Kylo Ren) dares tell her (Rey), “You need a teacher. I could show you the ways of the force.” She ponders this in her heart, reaches for the woman rebel deep within, and proceeds violently to slash at and grapple with a man twice her size, driving him to the snow-covered ground.
This Christmas, Ren and Rey will join a “sexually ambiguous” Luke Skywalker on theater screens in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Veiled in flesh, the godhead see.
Hollywood is a sewer of moral contradictions, where nature-exploiting hedonism and nature-denying egalitarianism meet. This sewer produces intoxicating fumes that feed our celluloid addiction, helping Americans on both coasts and in the middle to get high enough to endure the unnatural society in which we live. In fact, Hollywood is a boiled-down version of our own degradation, stripped of its temporal and eternal punishments and dressed up with CGI and Botox by men like Meryl Streep’s former “god,” Harvey Weinstein.
Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, a veritable orgy of race-baiting blood-soaked violence, torture, profanity, and male nudity (Django, shown hanging upside down in all of his glory, is nearly castrated by one of the film’s umpteen despicable, sexually abusive, deranged cartoon Southerners whose brains he will soon blow out) received two Oscars and two Golden Globes. A film produced by the Weinstein Company, it opened on December 25, 2012, and currently holds the No. 10 spot for Christmas Day box-office gleanings at $15 million and change. Tarantino, admitting to the New York Times that he knew firsthand of Weinstein’s dealings with women, says he tolerated the behavior, else “I would have had to not work with him.”
Hollywood women are now scrambling to join in the “me too” chorus, adding their stories about Weinstein and other men in powerful positions who attempted to garner sexual favors in exchange for promotion and influence. Some women are alleging actual sexual assault, but most describe situations in which men like Weinstein suggested or implied professional retaliation if their vulgar quid pro quo were rejected. In some cases, silence was literally bought, in the form of cash settlements.
But all of this is Hollywood’s ridiculously open secret. The naked emperor simply had to be tolerated so long as he could make you a star; appeasing him or at least tolerating him meant wealth and fame. Returning to relative obscurity—to an impoverished or even a middle-class existence—was not an option for the #metoo actresses and actors who knew directly or indirectly of his notorious casting shower. For Hollywood and its consumers, movies are more important than morality. Harvey was selling us the flesh of women who both competed for the privilege and protected the middle man for profit.
Here we might note another oddity hiding in plain sight. The greatest supporting role in history is remembered at Christmastime, played by a diminutive young woman of lowly birth. While we focus on the birth of the Christ Who came to sacrifice His life and blood for all mankind, we also acknowledge the Virgin who gave her own flesh to Him, so that Jesus might have a life and blood to give. Indeed, when Mary received the Word of God nine months before that humble and glorious birth, she sacrificed her reputation in obedience to God. In chastity she risked losing the love of her betrothed, her future physical provision, and even her life (under the Law of Moses) by bearing a child with no publicly identifiable father. Joseph also, being a just man, refrained from shaming his betrothed, believed God in spite of all appearances, sacrificed his public image, and devoted himself to the Virgin Mother and her Holy Child. She did her part to fight evil not by taking up a sword, but by humbly espousing motherhood; not by rejecting her natural estate as a woman, but by elevating it to such an extent that all generations call her blessed. He did his part by embracing the role of husband and adoptive father—protecting, providing, and placing his own needs and desires last.
These sacrifices, of course, pale in comparison with that of the Subject of Christmas, the Divine Object of our worship, Who “made himself of no reputation and took upon himself the form of a servant.” That so many Americans turn to Hollywood on this holy day is troubling, a sign of the times. But while there is yet day, we may still turn away, back again toward Bethlehem of Judea.
Aaron D. Wolf (1973-2019) was Chronicles' executive editor. His writings have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers. He was a frequent guest on Issues, Etc. (Lutheran Public Radio) and The Paul Youngblood Show (nta.fm), and has appeared on several other radio programs, including The Tom Clark Show (Wisconsin Public Radio) and Extension 720 With Milt Rosenberg (WGN).