Last week my wife asked my opinion on Harvey Weinstein and the most recent scandal to come out of Hollywood. My response was quite simply, “I don’t know.” I had seen the headlines, but truthfully, I had no idea who Weinstein was at the time and since then, I haven’t tried to inform myself much more on the issue. While I enjoy watching tv and movies, there do not hold the same place of value in my life that they may in the lives of others, and so when it comes to who’s who, what they did, and what they do, I know very little. However, what I do know is this: the Harvey Weinstein disgrace speaks volumes about both Hollywood and our culture.
One of the fascinating things about not just the Harvey Weinstein downfall, but about all the moral failures that come out of Hollywood is the repeated surprise that people seem to have. Hollywood’s success is built on the ability to appeal to human desires. It advances and arouses sinful behavior, which is what people want. The result is that people continuously turn to Hollywood to fulfill those desires generating ongoing success of the industry. Why though, is it so surprising that an industry that thrives on the sinful desires of people finds itself infiltrated and scandalized by sin as well?
Regardless of the answer to that question, one thing is certain. Because Hollywood is such a successful enterprise, the culture has willingly abdicated its jurisdiction over the stewardship of life and transferred it to the Hollywood empire. As a result, Hollywood has been given the following:
- Authority: The success of Hollywood is equated with authority. Because of what has been accomplished from a monetary and a career standpoint, society now looks to those coming out of Hollywood as authoritative in areas in unrelated areas. They are given a free voice over political issues, spiritual issues, and cultural issues.
- Influence: Authority gives way to influence. Despite not being the experts in such realms as those listed previously, the free voice permitted to them gives way to free influence without accountability.
- Power: Finally, authority and influence demonstrate the overall power that Hollywood has on our society.
What is unfortunate in this circumstance is that the authority, influence, and power given to the Hollywood industry has been done in an unrestrained manner, in a willful manner, and in a undiscerning manner.
The result is an industry, including its individual people, that has been elevated to a permanent pedestal in our society. That elevation though leads to greater distraught over its failures because it breaks the exalted view that people have over . . . people. For this reason, people are overwhelmingly surprised and distraught when failure happens.
There are no surprises here though. The doctrine of sin tells us that people will always fail to some degree. The issue is when we place them in a role of authority, influence, and power that should be divinely orchestrated not humanly orchestrated. The result is expectations of perfection and fulfillment that can only come from God, something that people are incapable of fulfilling.
In place of humanity is a need for deity. The author of Hebrews tells us that it is Jesus Christ who is the radiance of God’s glory (Hebrews 1:3) not humanity. Paul tells us that Christ is the firstborn over creation and that all things were created both by him and for him (Colossians 1:15-16) and that it is he who is highly exalted by God (Philippians 2:9-10). Therefore, we must quit looking to Hollywood with the expectations of fulfillment and instead look to Christ who is the author of salvation (Hebrews 12:2). While Hollywood may provide for a temporary want, Christ provides for an eternal need.
Photo “Hollywood” courtesy of user Shinya Suzuki and Flickr.