Straight talk about “Beauty and the Beast”

The media junkets for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast live action remake of the lovely 1991 animated version started with the usual virtue signaling by actress Emma Watson, who can’t seem to get through an interview without mentioning that the character Belle is a “feminist,” with additional sermonizing at no extra charge. (This is the same Emma Watson who appeared almost completely topless this month in Vanity Fair, because, as is well known, all self-respecting feminists appear that way in magazines because it gives them…power and independence, and stuff.)

And just when you felt exhausted from wall-to-wall pro-gay messaging, get ready for the talking points from marketers of Beauty and the Beast. Yes, director Bill Condon has announced that the LeFou character – the foppish sidekick who sings the funny song about Gaston – is…wait for it…gay.

Mr. Condon calls it “a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie.” (This is the same Bill Condon who directed Kinsey, the 2004 sympathetic biopic of child molesting sex pervert Alfred Kinsey.)

The lyricist for the 1991 animated classic, Howard Ashman, was dying of AIDS when he wrote the memorable score with Alan Menken. Around this time, certain elements of the Disney story began to be identified with the gay agenda, starting with the idea that Beast is some kind of metaphor about being HIV positive.

That identification is now full-blown, with Disney players throwing as much Gay at the wall as they can. We are daily reminded that:

  1. Director Condon himself is openly gay!
  2. Actor Luke Evans who plays Gaston is openly gay!
  3. Sir Ian McKellan, who plays the dancing clock, is openly gay!

I have to think even some gay activists are embarrassed by the overkill. Very easy to imagine them going, “Guys, dial it back—this is just way too gay.”

Actor Josh Gad, who plays the fey LeFou, opined, “LeFou’s sexuality has been a topic of discussion since the original film debuted. For 25 years, people have been asking this question about this character.”

Ah, no they haven’t, Josh. No one noticed; no one cares.

The question is: what’s going on?

Are they sabotaging a fulsomely heterosexual main plot? Think about how menacingly masculine the Beast is, and how fragrantly feminine Belle is. Her steadfast femininity tames him. Are some PC elites trying to undermine all that icky hetero-breeder messaging? Add to the momentum begun by five Supreme Court justices who redefined marriage in the Obergefell vs Hodges decision?

I don’t have all the answers but I do have a theory.

The suits at Disney set a trap for Christians. We’re getting punked. The producers knew their movie wasn’t fantastic, so they basically gilded the lily. They hyped up the “controversy” to maximally provoke the pious into launching petitions and renting pitchforks  – and then cash in on the publicity.

Mission accomplished so far.

Henigan’s Drive-In Theater down in Alabama is refusing to show it. The owners posted on Facebook: “If we can not take our 11 year old grand daughter and 8 year old grandson to see a movie we have no business watching it. If I can’t sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me then we have no business showing it.”

Well, that’s perfectly fine as long as he’s not basing the decision (which he has every right to do, and God bless him) on rumors, instead of what’s, you know, actually in the movie. And aren’t some movies inappropriate for kids but appropriate for adults, including Jesus?

A business decision like that is a double-edged sword. It comes with the blessing of kudos from customers and with the curse of the ritual shaming of the L.G.B.T. (Le Gay Baker Treatment) and its barrage of hashtag bullying.

Next up, Rev. Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham (whom I admire greatly) is now calling for a boycott of the Disney Company. From the phrasing of his announcement, however, he doesn’t appear to have seen the movie or the offending scene.

Finally, Russian MP Vitaly Milonov is trying to get it banned in Russia for peddling “gay propaganda” before it even opens later in the month. Banned. That sounds more Soviet than Russian, nyet? And an over-the-top move like that would hurt the flick in what way?

My fellow Christians, please keep three things in mind. First, movie boycotts don’t work; they help sell tickets. Remember the vehement opposition to Martin Scorcese’s The Last Temptation of Christ in 1988? I’m still waiting for the evidence that that well-organized boycott did much of anything but throw attention at an otherwise bland, confused movie.

Second, by our breathless hand-wringing we reinforce the stereotype of Christians as frightened Philistines whose artless creed is summed up by the word no.

Third, consider getting behind artists in Hollywood whose hard work and commitment to story-telling excellence is perpetually lacking the money to get them made and into theaters. How quick we are to throw rocks at Hollywood and how slow to become part of the solution. I’m not saying you have to see Beauty and the Beast, nor that the corporate culture at Disney is not pro-homosexual, nor that media consumers don’t need to make prudent viewing decisions.

I am saying that giving your name and email to a petition mill might make you feel good about flinging a stone at Goliath, but it’s going to affect box office mojo about much as it did the last time you did it “against” Fifty Shades of Grey. That cinematic turd was relentlessly condemned, shamed, petitioned, and boycotted and…hauled in $571 million in sales.

Drink deep of that pure Lenten air. The Church that survived Nero, Diocletian, the Hun, and Stalin, will somehow survive a movie starring that guy from Downton Abbey.

Comments

comments

2017-03-07T22:13:38+00:00