Thoughts on the “Christianized” entertainment industry

Showbread, October 2009

Its been clear in recent years that many alternative faith based bands have been taking more provocative approaches to their music and the promotion of their material.  Now, obviously not all of these groups like the “Christian” label, for purposes of outreach or whatever but for the purpose of the this blog I’ll refer to them collectively as such.

Christian bookstores have gained notoriety for pulling products that are “inappropriate” or have been authored by artists that recently were involved in some sort of controversy.  In some cases, I think this “industry’s” assessment of what is appropriate and what isn’t is right, but most of the time is “cleanness” run amok.

Brian “Head” Welch of Korn made headlines a few years ago when he left the band upon his conversion to Christianity. A couple of years after that he resurfaced in the music industry, releasing his self-titled album “Save Me From Myself.”  Many Christian chains eagerly stocked his record, that is until the music video for the lead single “Flush” surfaced.  The song and video are said to portray Welch’s past meth addiction, and in a portion of the video two bikini-clad women are featured licking a powder, supposedly representing meth, off each other.  So, this scene I guess represents the alluring nature of a meth addiction. Welch defends this. In this case I would agree that Welch’s addiction could have been portrayed in a less lewd fashion, though whether or not this justifies the album being yanked from shelves I’m not sure. So in this one case the store chains may have been right.

Another band that has been swirled in controversy is Showbread. In the summer of 2008, the released Anorexia/Nervosa, dual albums meant to be played from start to finish, which accompanying stories in the CD jackets.  The unique set up is that each “chapter” goes with a track, even with set times in the liner notes to guide the reader along with the music. The stories are both dark, but ultimately each main character is rescued by a lamb that gives up his life for the main characters (sound familiar?). The stories really end up being beautiful and touching by the time one gets to the end, though Showbread does warn about potentially disturbing themes. However, in my opinion they are tame compared to say, the Nine Inch Nails “Closer” video and only serve as a buildup to a beautiful portrayal of humanity’s need for redemption. So why do I bring up Showbread? Well, apparently a lot of these “Christian” chains felt Anorexia/Nervosa was just too adult or disturbing, period. Have these people ever considered the difference between tasteful and distasteful portrayals of adult themes? If adult themes that lead into a redemption story are “too much”, why don’t they just ban the Bible while they’re at it? Or censor out Song of Songs and all the other references to incest, rape, etc.  Its this type of practice that can lead into the dangerous “We’re so squeaky clean, We’re glad we’re not them” Pharisee-like attitude. Thoughts?

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