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Old 07-28-2006, 05:07 PM   #181
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I'm a writer, also, and I have never written a character using the Lord's name in vain. Not even when the characters are very angry. There are other ways that people express their anger that do not involve the Lord's name in vain. Using one of these in place of the Lord's name in vain detracts nothing from realism. Exclamatory words do indeed add to a movie's realism, but they don't have to be offensive words.
Well, I think that is a decision each artist has to wrestle with him or herself. And for those of us who are Christians, we have the additional responsiblity of our relationship with the Lord, and our witness to others. These are serious issues and I take them seriously. The fact remains that other artists may feel that their depictions (including those that use God's name in vain) are realistic and authentic. Perhaps they themselves as well as those around them use God's name this way a lot, and thus it seems natural. (This does have a big impact. The phrases "Oh my God" and "God" may turn up in my writing even though I don't use them because I hear them used by people around me quite a bit. I never use the phrase "Jesus Christ" because I don't hear that and it just doesn't flow in the dialogue I create, if you know what I mean). The fact remains, that for this artist the expunsion of these words from his/her work compromises the authenticity of the piece even if it wouldn't for you or I.

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Have you ever walked out of a movie in which the Lord's name wasn't used in vain and said "You know, that movie would have been more realistic if the Lord's name had been used in vain"? Ever? I seriously doubt it.
No, but that's because most movies that don't use the Lord's name in vain (and there are only a few) aren't movies that have the sort of characters that would realistically use the Lord's name in vain. On the other hand, if I was watching a war movie and someone had their leg blown off and they said "Oh gol-DARN it, that hurts. Oh my goodness. Goodness. DANG! this is killing me" I'd question the authenticity. Unless the character was a chaplain.

Furthermore, a lot of Christian fiction does ring terribly false. Is it because they refuse to use the Lord's name in vain? Maybe not. But it probably does have to do with a desire (or the necessity) of sugar-coating reality to make it palatable to the Christian readers. I believe in Phillippians 4:8 as much as the next Christian, but I don't think Paul intended it as instruction to sugar coat or to recreate our own sanitized version of reality.

One author who is a Christian (who does not write for the Christian market) who I think does a remarkable job of navigating these issues is John Grisham (while he generally avoids obscenities in his books, I'm not sure about using God's name in vain). Granted, he's not exactly High Literature but still. Another author within the Christian market who I think does a pretty good job as well is Frank Peretti. Though even for him, and a lot of other Christian writers, what he does on the page would be harder to translate authentically to the screen. He'll do things like "Suddenly the car exploded in flames. Mike swore as he dove to the ground." We can imagine what Mike said as he dove to the ground, but the writer doesn't have to say it. When it comes time to film it, that gets a little bit more dicey.
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Old 07-29-2006, 08:24 AM   #182
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Well, I think that is a decision each artist has to wrestle with him or herself. And for those of us who are Christians, we have the additional responsiblity of our relationship with the Lord, and our witness to others. These are serious issues and I take them seriously. The fact remains that other artists may feel that their depictions (including those that use God's name in vain) are realistic and authentic. Perhaps they themselves as well as those around them use God's name this way a lot, and thus it seems natural. (This does have a big impact. The phrases "Oh my God" and "God" may turn up in my writing even though I don't use them because I hear them used by people around me quite a bit. I never use the phrase "Jesus Christ" because I don't hear that and it just doesn't flow in the dialogue I create, if you know what I mean). The fact remains, that for this artist the expunsion of these words from his/her work compromises the authenticity of the piece even if it wouldn't for you or I.
I understand that a nonChristian isn't likely to be offended by the words and thus may use them in his book. However, the issue of compromising his authenticity? I just don't buy it. "Oh s###","damn" and other excalmations are just as "popular" as using the Lord's name in vain, so why would the use of those words instead make the piece less authentic? In fact, why even use swear words at all? Are there no exclamatory words that aren't swear words?

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No, but that's because most movies that don't use the Lord's name in vain (and there are only a few) aren't movies that have the sort of characters that would realistically use the Lord's name in vain. On the other hand, if I was watching a war movie and someone had their leg blown off and they said "Oh gol-DARN it, that hurts. Oh my goodness. Goodness. DANG! this is killing me" I'd question the authenticity. Unless the character was a chaplain.
There are a lot of words that fall between the family/friendliness but corniness of "gol-darn" and the severity of using the Lord's name in vain. The English language is filled with colorful expressions used every day.

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Furthermore, a lot of Christian fiction does ring terribly false. Is it because they refuse to use the Lord's name in vain? Maybe not.
Not "maybe not" - "definitely not". Watch an episode of realistic crime drama on network TV. Do the bad guys use "G.D."? No. Does that make it ring terribly false? No. If you see a bad guy not even saying "Oh my G-d", do you stop and say "Hey, something's not right about that murderer. I know what it is; he didn't use the Lord's name in vain"? If there's something that rings terribly false about some Christian fiction, it's not that they don't ue the Lord's name in vain.

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Originally posted by maycocksean
Another author within the Christian market who I think does a pretty good job as well is Frank Peretti. Though even for him, and a lot of other Christian writers, what he does on the page would be harder to translate authentically to the screen. He'll do things like "Suddenly the car exploded in flames. Mike swore as he dove to the ground." We can imagine what Mike said as he dove to the ground, but the writer doesn't have to say it. When it comes time to film it, that gets a little bit more dicey.
Actually, I think it's easier when it gets time to film it, because in film and video, you can convey the character's emotions/anger through facial expressions and body motion; he doesn't even have to utter a word.
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Old 07-29-2006, 11:31 AM   #183
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To me, there is a special quality about certain words that happen to be taking the Lord's name in vain. I remember my grandmother, who has passed on, objecting strenuously to words that took the Lord's name in vain. Did she go to the movies? Yes. She saw plenty of movies that she thoroughly enjoyed. None of them used the name of the Lord in vain. The words that do take the Lord's name in vain have a special quality to them. Sometimes you have to convey irreverence. Now, you have no room for irreverence in your life. Fine. Some people do, and that's what the artist was trying to get across. Take out the irreverence, and you're left with no message because the artist's message has been compromised.
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Old 07-29-2006, 09:08 PM   #184
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To me, there is a special quality about certain words that happen to be taking the Lord's name in vain. I remember my grandmother, who has passed on, objecting strenuously to words that took the Lord's name in vain. Did she go to the movies? Yes. She saw plenty of movies that she thoroughly enjoyed. None of them used the name of the Lord in vain. The words that do take the Lord's name in vain have a special quality to them. Sometimes you have to convey irreverence. Now, you have no room for irreverence in your life. Fine. Some people do, and that's what the artist was trying to get across. Take out the irreverence, and you're left with no message because the artist's message has been compromised.
Sorry, Verte, I don't buy that, either. If the character hated God or was angry with God, then yes, that would show irreverance. But guess what, there are other ways to show that. You will never convince me that using the Lord's name in vain is ever necessary for a story.
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Old 07-29-2006, 09:22 PM   #185
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Sorry, Verte, I don't buy that, either. If the character hated God or was angry with God, then yes, that would show irreverance. But guess what, there are other ways to show that. You will never convince me that using the Lord's name in vain is ever necessary for a story.
We'll have to agree to disagree on this. It's all good.
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Old 07-30-2006, 02:24 AM   #186
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Originally posted by 80sU2isBest


Sorry, Verte, I don't buy that, either. If the character hated God or was angry with God, then yes, that would show irreverance. But guess what, there are other ways to show that. You will never convince me that using the Lord's name in vain is ever necessary for a story.
wow, I hope you never read The Catcher in the Rye then

I'm surprised this thread has gotten so long, but that's FYM for you. personally, I see no debate. Clean Films is operating outside of the law. Is it right to uphold morality in one aspect (editing films to remove offensive content) by circumventing the law? I think not. If Clean Films were editing films with permission from the studios, this wouldn't be an issue.
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Old 07-30-2006, 03:29 AM   #187
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I swear to something I believe in when I say for f*cks sake.
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Old 07-30-2006, 05:49 AM   #188
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Quote:
Originally posted by 80sU2isBest


I understand that a nonChristian isn't likely to be offended by the words and thus may use them in his book. However, the issue of compromising his authenticity? I just don't buy it. "Oh s###","damn" and other excalmations are just as "popular" as using the Lord's name in vain, so why would the use of those words instead make the piece less authentic? In fact, why even use swear words at all? Are there no exclamatory words that aren't swear words?

Why do YOU think that writers use the Lord's name in vain in books, film, television etc?
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Old 07-30-2006, 02:33 PM   #189
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Why do YOU think that writers use the Lord's name in vain in books, film, television etc?
The people who don't object to it or who use it themselves use it to convey certain emotions. I never denied that. I was saying that there are other ways to convey those same emotions that are every bit as realistic. It's not necessary.
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Old 07-30-2006, 03:03 PM   #190
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If you put words that the original artist didn't put in there, it's no longer *their* work. It's someone else's. I wouldn't want that done to a piece I wrote--and I'm also a writer.
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Old 07-30-2006, 03:09 PM   #191
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If you put words that the original artist didn't put in there, it's no longer *their* work. It's someone else's. I wouldn't want that done to a piece I wrote--and I'm also a writer.
Taking out unnecssary words that do not add to the movie and/or replacing with other words does not make it someone else's work.

So, when Titanic was shown on TV, and they took out the 8 instances of GD, it was no longer the work of the original writers?
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Old 07-30-2006, 03:26 PM   #192
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Taking out unnecssary words that do not add to the movie and/or replacing with other words does not make it someone else's work.

So, when Titanic was shown on TV, and they took out the 8 instances of GD, it was no longer the work of the original writers?
No. An element of the dialogue was missing.
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Old 07-30-2006, 03:36 PM   #193
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No. An element of the dialogue was missing.
I don't agree with you at all, but hey, I'm glad not everyone does agree with me on everything - I'd always have to fight crowds at my favorite restaurants.
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Old 07-30-2006, 03:37 PM   #194
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Originally posted by 80sU2isBest


The people who don't object to it or who use it themselves use it to convey certain emotions. I never denied that. I was saying that there are other ways to convey those same emotions that are every bit as realistic. It's not necessary.
So why do you suppose that some writers choose to use those particular words--the Lord's name used in vain--as opposed to other words that communicate the same emotions equally well?
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Old 07-30-2006, 03:41 PM   #195
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Last night, I showed my 22 year old nephew my edited version of King Kong. He really liked it; I guess he never noticed that the swear words were gone. But he did get really mad at the end. He didn't like the fact that I had changed the ending...Kong doesn't die. The last we see of him, he's beating his chest and roaring atop the Empire State Building, and then the words "to be continued..." appeared. At first, yhe didn't know I had changed the ending and was really mad that the producer would do such a thing, because he hates cliffhangers. I told him it wasmy edited ending, and he said he would have liked the edited ending if I hadn't put the "to be continued" on there.
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