As Meddlesome hinted in his most recent post, there is no shortage of articles and posts addressing the many troubling and morally offensive aspects of 50 Shades of Grey (the movie and the book). I do not share the more detailed, gut-wrenching accounts of the movie and books due to the language and content used to illustrate their points — suffice it to say the both victims of domestic abuse and “kink” enthusiasts who are “into” that sort of thing agree that the relationship portrayed in Grey is disturbing and dangerous.
I’m more interested in the issue raised by our recent discussion of the morality of movies and the definition of pornography in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), in the context of this article from Life Site: “Even the co-stars of the movie think 50 Shades of Grey is awful.”
Here’s the definition in question:
Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials (CCC 2354).
This language rings true to me today. As a younger man, I used to think that if people wanted to show themselves in this way on film and were satisfied with their compensation, I shouldn’t worry about them. But of course, I also used to think that I could see such things with no ill effects — that I could “handle it.”
Truth is, filth clouds your lenses and clogs your filters so the true, the good, and beautiful can’t get through. And if that’s the case for even a so-called disinterested observer like me, perhaps it’s not surprising that those who are actually performing or displaying themselves don’t emerge unscathed. You can’t just “go through the motions.” It sounds to me like these two young stars are both struggling to comprehend what they’ve gotten themselves into and are working to justify it — not unlike millions of other people caught in the net of sexual sin. The people on both sides of the screen need our prayers and our help.