Culture Clips: The Hunt for the Truth

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The Hunt CC

A swath of horrific violence across the United States may have claimed another victim—albeit one few families will weep over: The Hunt.

The Universal Pictures movie, which (according to its trailer) depicts a wealthy group of elitists literally hunting down and killing people called “deplorables,” was shelved Aug. 10, with a Universal spokesman saying in a statement that “now is not the right time to release this film.”

Universal didn’t pin its decision on any particular reason, though some speculate that this bloody movie—released on the heels of the shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas—just felt in particularly poor taste. “In the wake of the shootings in El Paso and Dayton, any film that serves up, as megaplex escapism, the spectacle of Americans ritually shooting other Americans feels like the wrong movie at the wrong time,” writes Variety’s Owen Gleiberman. But the decision also came after political backlash against the film, too—backlash alleging  that The Hunt was literally taking aim at Red State America.

Was it? Todd Starnes of Fox News celebrated The Hunt’s cancellation, calling it a “victory for gun-toting, Bible-clinging patriots.” But the conservative National Review had a different take: Kyle Smith blamed the cancellation on the failure of some conservatives to understand irony and pushed for the film to be released anyway. “The Right ought to make it clear that we are not only not offended by the premise of The Hunt, we’re delighted,” he wrote. The Atlantic, meanwhile simply noted that the movie—even though no one has actually seen the thing yet—became something of a “political Rorschach test.” The magazine’s David Sims added this:

But if its release was canceled only because of the very real gun violence plaguing America, why isn’t a movie like Angel Has Fallen, distributed by Lionsgate and overflowing with brutality, also being pulled? That film is the third in a series that has been criticized in the past for its crass, button-pushing politics, for portraying Korean and Pakistani terrorists as one-dimensional psychopaths for its hero (Gerard Butler) to destroy.

(Perhaps if bloodshed is the problem, people might want to stop seeing movies and play a videogame, given that lots of game publishers are increasingly gravitating toward pacifistic experiences.)

Universal’s not the only movie studio mothballing movies. Since Disney merged with Fox, the House of Mouse has taken scissors to the 246 movies that Fox had listed on its forthcoming docket and sliced away all but six. (Sayonara, Assassin’s Creed 2. Farewell, Flash Gordon. See you later,um, Play-Doh pic.)

But if Disney is hacking away at its newest division’s movie slate, it’s all in on its upcoming streaming service, Disney+. Disney is already trumpeting its planned slate of Marvel-based shows (and yes, there are a lot of them), and plans to reboot (as Disney is wont to do) a bevy of classic movies for the service, including Home Alone. (Original Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin has some thoughts on that.) Oh, and Disney says says that it’s creating a streaming bundle with Hulu and ESPN+ for $13 a month.

Not to be outdone, Apple is trying to drum up interest in its own upcoming streaming service (perhaps a bit uncreatively called Apple TV+) by releasing a trailer for its upcoming drama The Morning Show. The show stars Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell, so yeah, it’ll probably be a big thing. Meanwhile, streaming services are getting ready to bid for the rights to stream Seinfeld, one of Netflix’s most popular series. The price tag could be massive: NBCUniversal got rights to stream The Office for $500 million, and WarnerMedia plunked down $425 million for Friends. (And for those really hankering for another Friends fix, they can always go to the local multiplex: In honor of the show’s 25th anniversary, more than 1,000 theaters across the country will be airing what amount to big-screen reruns.)

Naturally, pundits are predicting that Disney and its fellow new streamers will pretty much squash Netflix, despite Netflix’s head start and bevy of original content. But others believe that Netflix may survive the onslaught of competition. They just won’t be able to raise their rates as much anymore.

Where are teens learning about this (ahem) stream of new shows? Potentially YouTube. That’s where teens are getting a lot of their news these days,  especially from celebrities who appear on the service. And that’s even though that less than 40% of those same teens believe that those same celebs and influencers “generally (get) the facts straight.”

YouTube and other forms of social media cause loads of other problems, too. Daniel Henninger, The Wall Street Journal’s  deputy editorial board editor, argues that social media and the internet as a whole push us to be self-absorbed. And because we’re not designed to be “so inner-directed,” he writes, that leads to a lot of angst.

“Forget alt-right, forget alt-left, that world online is an alternative reality,” he wrote. And that alternative reality is a hard habit to break—harder than an addiction to cigarettes is, experts say Oh, and if that wasn’t alarming enough, kids’ screen habits are forcing more of them into glasses.

Clearly, the entertainment/streaming world could use a good housecleaning. And guess what? It’s getting it—if somewhat more literally than we’d anticipated.

The latest YouTube stars are folks who record themselves cleaning their homes. That’s right: They vacuum their floors and scrub their kitchens as thousands—sometimes millions—watch. And these new internet stars, called “cleanfluencers” by The Atlantic, are seriously cleaning up. One says she was able to purchase a 4,500-square-foot house based on her YouTube income.

All the more house to clean for her audience, I suppose.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous 10 months ago
If we at Pluggedin don't know what constitutes cussing and non-cussing then we're more messed up than I think we are.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I’m pretty sure you’re the one who doesn’t know what constitutes as cussing and what doesn’t.
Anonymous 9 months ago
I'm not an idiot. I know what curse words sound like. You and people like Hannah are the ones who are confused. Maybe you and her should go elsewhere if people like me saying harmless words upsets you so much.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Sorry, but Hannah and I aren't going anywhere. And I also know what curse words sound like. I also know that you have an uncle who doesn't like the d word unless it's talking about an actual dam. Does that mean you don't think the d word is a curse word? If so, then I don't think you know what curse words are, because the d word IS a curse word.
Anonymous 10 months ago
The bottom line is people need to stop saying bad things about Disney, because for the most part they make wonderful movies.
Anonymous 10 months ago

I didn't even see Into the Spider-verse until March and nowhere did I call it God-awful. Garish and ugly looking, but not God-awful.


Believe me, I've been around long enough and heard enough curse words in movies, on tv, on the bus, and growing up in school, to know what is and what is not a curse word. If you can believe it on my very first day of 6th Grade Middle School some guy came up to me and randomly spouted off a whole bunch of dirty jokes to me, so I've heard it all and then some, lol. I certainly don't condone cursing, and try to not do it myself if I can help it, but I know it's out there and for some people it's just their everyday vocabulary.

Anonymous 10 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Um, no, you’re wrong. I was there. I said back on November 19th, 2018 that I was excited for Spiderverse and Aquaman, and you told me that both seemed dumb as heck, and that I should go see the Crimes of Grindelwald instead. In a later reply to me you then described the animation of Spiderverse in the same way you described Toy Story 4.

And as further proof that you misused God’s name, your comment down below got deleted.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I know what you said, and I know what I said. And I’m not being confrontational for the sake of it. I’m being confrontational because you misused God’s name, which the Bible says in an unpardonable sin.
Anonymous 10 months ago
No, misusing God's name is not the unpardonable sin, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is. Blasphemy of Holy Spirit is essentially rejecting Jesus. 

[31] *Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but *the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. [32] And whoever speaks a word *against the Son of Man *will be forgiven, but *whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in *this age or in the age to come. 

Matthew 12:31-32 ESV


Blasphemy is misusing God's name. 


12:31-32 blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven . The sin is attributing to Satan what is accomplished by the power of God, and doing this through the flagrant, willful, and persistent rejection of God and his commands. This sin is committed today only by unbelievers who deliberately and unchangeably reject the ministry of the Holy Spirit in calling them to salvation. 

-ESV Study Bible 


I absolutely hate the misuse of God's name, correcting anyone who does so, but I also hate the misuse or misinterpretation of scripture. I am sure this is not willing misuse of that passage but a misunderstanding but the only unforgivable sin is rejecting Jesus until after you are dead, after which it is too late.


-LesMis24601

Anonymous 10 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Ok, but before I agree with what you've said (which is well written by the way), what about in Exodus 20:7 when God said, "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain."?

I'm not necessarily trying to disprove what you've written; I just want some clarification before I stop believing something I've believed for awhile.
Anonymous 10 months ago
I'll try to explain further,

1. It is a sin to take the name of God in vain

But we also must understand all sins are equal before God. If you see the standards in the sermon on the mount where lust is adultery and hate is murder then even thinking about God's name in the wrong way would be unforgivable. Even though I have never misused God's name out loud sadly several times that sort of phrasing has popped into my head. So by saying it's forgivable I am not excusing doing it.

2. God's grace is powerful

Jesus paid for all sins on the cross which includes blasphemy, our job is to accept that grace which the cross paid for. When we die we no longer have that choice to make. So the only sin that the cross cannot cover is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit as I defined it before. 

I understand your hesitance to accept new information. We can't believe everything new. Believing that taking God's name in vain is the unforgivable sin is a common misinterpretation of the verses in Matthew. If you have any further questions I'd be happy to try to answer them

-LesMis24601
Big Mike 10 months ago
to me taking the lords name in vain means is to "not carry God's name into a evil act" (which is what it means in Hebrew) and i think thats what the bible is getting at,
not only that but don't you think its strange that out of all the commandments that taking Gods name in vain is that it is written that "that God will not hold guiltless the one violates this commandment", furthermore Gods real name is not God it's Yahweh. although I do not think that saying things like Oh My G--  is breaking the 3rd commandment I think that Christians should probably not be using those terms.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Do you read Hebrew? Because although I'm still just learning I've done word studies for the word vain which is שָׁוְא and it means emptiness, vanity, falsehood, lying. So I believe the point of that commandment is that we are to hold God's name in high reverence as the Jews did. 

I do think it is significant that it is written "the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain." It means that God takes our words seriously and especially in regards to his name.

The name for God in English is God. Most people pray to him by that name or another English name for God such as Lord or Father. Also in Hebrew God has many titles/names and the one translated as God is elohim and the one translated as LORD is YHVH or YHWH depending on your pronunciation of vav or waw. We have added vowels in so we can pronounce it but the Hebrew Bible was originally without vowels and they held God's name with high respect. So high that they never were to pronounce the personal name of God and when they were reading they said adonai (lord) instead. So they lost the pronunciation of his name because they never were to pronounce it. But we can't call God by his personal name simply because we don't know how to pronounce it. So we should still hold the name we have for God in high respect.

Does it bother you when they misuse Jesus's name? Because his Hebrew name was Yeshua so does that make it okay to misuse the name Jesus just because it wasn't his original name but rather a translation? I think Oh My G-- is an extension of the third commandment's intent as I would say the misuse of Jesus's name is. 

I never said it was insignificant that after the commandment it says "The Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain." But check commandment 2. There is a note about the consequences of that one too. It's not exactly the same but same idea behind it. And my point in what I said is that all sins are equal before God so we don't have big sins and little sins but every single one condemns us before God the same way. 

As Christians we are representing Christ in our lives so we should let our speech be representing him. We need to do what Philippians 1:27 says and let our manner of life be worthy of the Gospel of Christ. In other words we need to act like Christians and live as if we are worthy of God's grace. 

-LesMis24601
Big Mike 10 months ago
no i do not read hebrew but i got my source from the jewish theologian Dennis Prager https://www.dennisprager.com/worst-sin/ i think this will show my thoughts on the subject 
Big Mike 10 months ago
and also are you saying all sins are equal?
Big Mike 10 months ago
because i think what its getting at is the severity of using the Lords name in a evil act is not only the committing of a evil act but also tarnishing Gods name into it, and also i do not think that all sins are equal all sins separate us of from God but there are worse sins than others 
Anonymous 10 months ago
I read the article and I'm sorry but that goes against everything I've ever studied and believe on the topic. And I cross checked what he was saying with all my original language resources and it didn't line up perfectly. What he was saying is what the word could mean and certainly is part of what violating the commandment is but it was one of the least likely meanings. 

What if an anti-Semitic "Christian" after killing Jews in God's name realized the great evil he committed and repented of his sin and dedicated the rest of his life to preaching the gospel to the Jews. Are you implying that he would be condemned to hell even though his heart's desire was to repent? 

And this commandment is understood as blasphemy in the new testament and Jesus says in Matthew 12:31-32 that blasphemy will be forgiven but not blasphemy against the Holy Spirit as defined in my previous post.

I am saying that every sin is equal before God. Sins carry with them different consequences but before God they are equal.

for example: Matthew 5:27-28 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.'  But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So say one married man is walking down the street and sees a pretty woman and lusts for her but doesn't act upon the impulse. Then his married friend walks down the street a few minutes later and sees this pretty woman and lusts for her and has an affair. According to Jesus they have both committed adultery. But the first man didn't act upon the impulse so although he has built for the thought and needs to repent of that his marriage would not fall apart because of it. The second man however because he acted on the impulse his marriage would be in trouble if his wife were to find out. 

Now in the situation I proposed God's view as stated in Matthew 5:27-28 is that both men are just as guilty of adultery and would be held accountable for that sin. But the consequences of the sin are different depending on how deep you have pursued it. Apply the same thing to hate with murder or any other sin and the intentions behind it.

So yes I do believe all sins are equal before so as in all sins are just as offensive and treasonous before a holy God and all sins put Jesus on the cross not just murder and adultery but hate and lust. Adultery didn't put him there more than lust did.

As I have said before all sins will be forgiven except for rejecting Jesus till death.

-LesMis24601
Big Mike 10 months ago
i do disagree with Prager because hes a Jew who does not believe in Christ and im a christian so i think that a man who does evil in the Lords name still can be saved, but back in the time of the Old Testament that was not the case with that one commandment it made 
distinction between the other commandments that it was the one that God would "not hold Guiltless" the one that violated that commandment, i think it is because different sins have different consequences, the consequences for killing someone and stealing bubble gum in a store are vastly different, so the consequences to carry the Lords name into a evil act is I think a worse consequence than committing a evil without bringing God into it, furthermore on the Prager's translation i could not tell you if it's right or wrong but he's trained in writing and speaking of Hebrew and many other languages so i'm inclined to believe him, so in summary i think the Lord will forgive someone who carries his name in a evil act, but that act has worse consequences than any other commandment and finally that the translation by Mr. Prager I believe to be true.


Anonymous 10 months ago
I'm not saying his translation is wrong. What I'm saying is from all my resources I don't know exactly how he got to that conclusion. I can't read Hebrew yet I'm still learning but what I do know is different words have different meanings and one word has many meanings and you can tell which ones are more likely depending on the consequences. I'm not claiming to be an expert I only have limited resources.

In the Old Testament times I believe blasphemy in some forms was an offense punishable by death. Like claiming to be God. That's what the Pharisees killed Jesus for. 

Obviously Prager knows way more then me about Hebrew and I read the section on the website about him and I've got to say it's rather impressive. I hope he finds Jesus. And also when you find Jesus your perspective changes in a lot of things. 

-LesMis24601
Anonymous 10 months ago
And I'd agree about the consequences. Bringing God into it is a second sin added onto whatever the first one is, also lying is added on so you know have 3 sins you are committing and consequences will be higher. That was my entire point. That murder has worse consequences than stealing but I would say they both are offenses before God. 

Sin is not offensive because of how bad it is but rather for who it is against. For instance: if you kick a wall you have to pay to fix the wall, if you kick your neighbors dog they will think you are a bad person and not let you hang around their kids, if you kick the lady in front of you at the grocery store you might have to spend a night in jail and pay a fine, but if you walk into Buckingham Palace and try to roundhouse kick the queen of England then you are not going to see the light of day for a very long time. 

-LesMis24601
Anonymous 10 months ago
This is what Dr. Charlie Dyer from Moody Radio's program The Land and the Book said when I emailed him on the issue

A very literal translation of the command in Exodus 20:7 might be “You shall not [use/lift up] the name of Yahweh, your God, in vanity [worthlessly or meaninglessly].” The command prohibits the people from using the Lord’s name hypocritically, or in a meaningless fashion.

 

One way God’s name could be taken in vain is by swearing falsely in His name or using His name when taking an oath when the person has no intention of keeping that promise. In Leviticus 19:12 the command is repeated in a slightly different way, which helps make the meaning clear. “Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I am Yahweh.” To profane means to make common

 

It might help to provide a simple illustration of how this might happen. Imagine a policeman stopping a driver whose vehicle matches the description of a car involved in a hit-and-run accident. The driver says to the policeman, “As God is my witness, I didn’t hit anyone. I’m not the person you’re looking for.” But as the policeman looks at the car he sees it has front-end damage. After a short investigation it turns out that the driver was the one involved in the hit and run accident. The driver lied and tried to convince the policeman of that lie by invoking God’s name. That’s an example of using God’s name in a meaningless or hypocritical way. Because God’s name reflects His very character, to use His name in a way that cheapens, profanes, or disparages His reputation is to take His name in vain.

 

Deuteronomy 5:11 provides a slightly different, though still related, perspective. The command is repeated there, but this time the command is: You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The command literally is a prohibition against “lifting up” (or invoking) God’s name in vanity or emptiness. We’re to avoid anything that dishonors God’s name because His name is a reflection of His character.


Hope this helps. Dr. Dyer is a Bible believing Christian who does read Hebrew. 


-LesMis24601

Big Mike 9 months ago
sorry i haven't responded in while, been laid up in bed sick,
you make a lot of great arguments i'm gonna have to research this further.
 
Anonymous 9 months ago
Sorry you've been sick. I encourage you to look into this for yourself and come to your own conclusions. 

-LesMis24601
seraph_unsung 10 months ago
1) For the people talking about how to treat terrorists, before we do anything else, let's pray that God leads them toward repentance and redemption.

2) Gun violence happens somewhere in the world every single day even if it doesn't make widespread news. I feel like it's insular to say, "We're going to not promote this entertainment product glamorizing fictional violence," just because the violence happens to occur on American soil, but then to go back to business as usual any other day.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Not going to subscribe to Disney+. The only reason that I would subscribe would be to watch Clone Wars season 7. Otherwise, no thanks. 

Come to think of it, I'm not interested that much in anything that Disney is offering at all in the future. I don't like most of the new Star Wars films, I hate how they're rehashing their animated films by making live action remakes of them, they're pretty much milking Fox just for profits, and aside from Guardians of the Galaxy 3, Black Panther 2, and the future Spider-Man movies, I just don't care about the MCU anymore. 

I genuinely hope Disney stops raking in so much dough every year sometime in the future, because as time goes by and they acquire more studios and franchises, I can't help but feel like they're turning into the EA of Hollywood. All they do these days is just make movies that rely on nostalgia instead of good storytelling, and they still make money hand over fist. It's frustrating for me that people still pay money to see these films even though they don't like them. A YouTuber I watch was hating on the Lion King remake before it came out, and he saw it anyway just to complain about it. Why?
Big Mike 10 months ago
hey fcg you wouldn't watch the marvel tv shows?
Anonymous 10 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

No, I wouldn't. WandaVision and Loki will both be set in an alternate timeline, so they'll have little to no impact on the main MCU storyline. I like Hawkeye, but not enough to the point where I think he needs his own movie, let alone a tv series. I was a little excited for Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but even then that show's production is reportedly a disaster. I will say though that the Marvel What If? animated series sounds intriguing, so I guess you could add that to Clone Wars season 7 for what I would watch.

I also think it was very cynical of Disney to force Netflix to cancel their Marvel shows. I get why they did it; it makes sense financially and to avoid competition, but I feel like cancelling them just wasn't fair for the creators of the show and the fans. I know the shows are very mature in their content and putting them on Disney+ wouldn't make sense, but since Disney also owns Hulu, couldn't they have found a way to move the production of the shows over there?
Big Mike 10 months ago
 wandavision isnt set in alternate reality though
but to his his own opinion
charitysplace 10 months ago

I'm not interested in Disney+. I already own their movies that I care about and burned out on Marvel a long time ago. As long as I can buy the occasional Bluray I'm good.

I'll keep Netflix for The Crown and the new Narnia. It's getting hard to find good programming; a lot of original content from streaming companies is MA. Lately I've just been dipping into my movie collection instead.
Karl The Klown 10 months ago
Anyone who watched the trailer would realize that the film was not an attack on Red State America, but rather a defense of it. I was honestly looking forward too seeing this. But once again outrage culture wins.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I agree. The trailer itself makes it clear the Red Staters are the good guys. I saw the trailer and came away more with the feeling that it was less about the glorification of killing such people and more about them rising up against their oppressors.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Terrorists should be destroyed plain and simple, so I see no need for the Hunt to be pulled from theaters.