Monday, January 22, 2018

Hollywood's Integrity Problem

        As you know or suspect, one of the news sites I hit most days is the U.K.'s Daily Mail. Today, scrolling through the headlines, I saw this from Piers Morgan's column: "If you think #TimesUp for Hollywood hypocrites like sanctimonious Scarlett, #MeToo." The subject of Morgan's column was actress Scarlett Johansson's public tirade against James Franco for alleged sexual impropriety (allegations he denies, by the way), while professing an open mind as to whether Woody Allen molested his adopted daughter, and appearing to be on at least friendly terms with  Roman Polanski according to Morgan. Of course, Johansson is not the only actress that has selective outrage.

        The point of Morgan's column, though, is that Johansson is being a hypocrite. The antonym of being a hypocrite is integrity. Although integrity has taken on the popular meaning of being honest or moral, the more accurate definition is a bit more nuanced: "the state of being whole and undivided" or "an unimpaired condition; soundness" (as in, a sound piece of wood). In other words, the person is publicly and privately consistent or harmonious in his or her actions, statements and positions.

        The problem that Hollywood--or any of the so-called elites, for that matter--face is that they lack integrity. Their position on moral or social issues changes or varies constantly. Their actions rarely match their words. For instance, Al Gore or Leonardo DiCaprio warn of the need to reduce our carbon footprint even as they fly their private jets to the various mansions and compounds that they maintain. Actresses dress provocatively while complaining about unwanted sexual advances. Et cetera.

       Notwithstanding the example of our so-called "betters," I believe that many, if not most, people strive to have or demonstrate integrity. It was the desire for integrity that Christ exploited to save the prostitute from stoning, when he stated: "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." (See John 8). Out of guilt or shame, the accusers left without anyone casting a stone at the woman. And the reason they left is because to have cast a stone would have made them hypocrites, but they strove for integrity, whether actual or perceived. (And our Lord, who has perfect integrity, forgave the woman her sin, but also directed her to "go, and sin no more").

       Let us strive for integrity.

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