In the movie, 12-year-old rising actress Dakota Fanning plays a girl who is sexually promiscuous, and who is abused by her father throughout the movie, culminating in an intense and graphic rape scene. Apparently, Dakota's parents approved of the role.
Allow me to repeat myself in short, fragmented sentences for clarity. 12-year-old. Sexually promiscuous. Rape scene. Graphic. Intense. Parents approved. Yanking your hair out yet?
This is wrong and [insert preferred aforementioned adjective here] in so many ways, and something should be done about it. I'm doing my part right here. I'll tell you how to do yours a bit later.
First, let's look at some of the problems with the movie. Then, we'll look at some of the defenses being put forth for the film and how they are easily refuted.
1. Child Porn--Good For No One.
I don't want to rail on this point too much, because some are saying that this isn't porn, because young Fanning is filmed only from the chest up, "in the shadows," and in a full-body suit (like that makes a difference.) However, in case it is:
They say it only takes the first drink to become an alcoholic. Perhaps that first drink could come accidentally. It seems to me that the same could go for child porn and related issues. I'm not saying that people are out of control and that every viewer is going to become a pervert, but what I'm saying is that the negative effects will almost certainly outweigh the positive. No matter how the specific acts and scenes are portrayed, the images potentiallly will open doors that should remain forever shut. Whether it's an 11-year-old boy or a 40-year-old man, no one needs to see a 12-year-old girl naked, or appearing naked, on the big screen, especially when in a sexual sitiuation.
2. Against the Law.
Is that clear enough? Another abstract point at this time, but Ted Baehr and others think that this film could be a violation of federal and state child-porn and/or abuse laws. I tend to agree.
3. Feeding the Appetites of Pedophiles.
We can't always concern ourselves with how deranged minds will twist things that we say or do, but this film is absolutely asking for it. Again, regardless of portrayal, this film will likely arouse and spur on pedophiles. They probably won't care if the father in this film is portrayed as "bad" or "evil"--they are pedophiles for crying out loud!
And, worse yet, their new fantasies could very well be about little Dakota. Scary.
4. Parents, Priorities, and Perversion.
Allegedly, Fanning's parents approved of this role for their daughter because they wanted/want her to "be a star" and possibly "win an Oscar." If this is, in fact, the truth, it is a sad state of affairs. It's not only a sick testimony of Dakota's stardom-obsessed parents--and child star parents in general--but also of the Oscars themselves. Hopefully the Oscars will be a dignified awards ceremony and not give this film a second-glance.
5. Desensitization/ Slippery Slope.
If this movie is a success, it will only spawn clones, if not worse movies yet. America has already been desensitized to foul language; explicit and promiscuous sex; gruesome, graphic, and mindless violence; and death. Shall we allow our society to become desensitized to rape scenes, and child rape, at that? Let's hope and pray we will not. We must stand up for something some time in the entertainment industry. We cannot allow this corrosion of any sense of decency or moral values to continue.
6. Protecting Dakota and Other Young Actresses.
One of the biggest defenses of the film is the question, "Well, should this issue never be addressed?" Well, it has been noted by others that such an issue can be addressed in a totally different way while still being effective. Also, it doesn't have to involve a 12-year-old. Some might say that these stories need to be told to have a positive effect. True. But, in this way, water needs to be drank, not shot in the face by a firehose.
Another defense of the movie is that "It's pretend. She wasn't really raped." Well, I should hope not! But that's beside the point! There are many other significant potential results. And, besides, you can "pretend" that a knife is a cavity-causing, sugary lollipop. Just because it's not really a lollipop that will cause cavities, doesn't mean that it won't do damage when stuck into the mouth! (or vice-versa)
Thirdly, I've heard that "It's drama. Drama is often ugly. Etc.." Very true. But that gives no license to break the law, exploit and endanger a child and her future, and abandon decency!
Now, for a three-question survey:
Would you let your daughter, or some other young girl close to you, play in such a role?
Would you make such a movie?
Would you go see such a movie?
If you said "No" or even "Probably no" to those three questions, you've established the wrongness in your mind of this film.
Then, one more question: Can you see the potential causes and results that I postulated?
Answer "Yes" to that, and you should feel obligated and motivated to action. But, what should you do?
First off, don't see, buy, or rent this film. That's the foremost and easiest thing to do. The makers of this movie want money, fame, and exposure of themselves and their work. Don't give it to them. If this movie is a success, as I stated beforehand, it will only encourage the makers and other filmmakers to produce more of the same kind of flicks, if not even more "edgy." This movie needs to bomb, if it comes out at all. (Hopefully it will be cancelled from its release.) I didn't even want to mention it by name and thereby give it publicity, but I felt that it was a necessary evil.
This boycott is not an end in and of itself, however. The claim, "If you don't like what's in the movie, just don't see it," is not sufficient. It's like, if there were a serial killer who killed people in restrooms, rather than trying to catch and stop the killer, saying, "If you don't want to be murdered, just don't use the restroom."
So, secondly, we must pray. First off, pray that this film will be successfully blocked from coming out. Pray for those to be effective who have more legal and public clout than we do. Pray that the movie will be an extreme failure. But if that be not God's plan, pray that the movie won't open any doors that some will walk through. Pray for the children who may become targets as a result of this film--that God will protect them. Pray for Dakota Fanning. Pray for her parents, who need a wake-up call from God. Ultimately, pray that God's will be done.
Thirdly, take action. One way to do this is by blogging about the subject. I beseech you to link to this article in one of your own posts. Link to the site(s) [for further action] that I will try to list shortly. Raise awareness throughout the blogosphere by commenting and e-mailing others.
The other thing to do is to support efforts made against this film. I will try to post them in the near future.
Source: Fox News
January 19, 2007
Here are some updates on the situation:
First of all, I read that the movie was set to debut yesterday, but I have not heard word about whether it has indeed come out yet. Even if it has, prayers and actions need to continue to transpire.
Secondly, I would recommend you checking out Paul Petersen's site and organization, "A Minor Consideration." He writes some good things, like this:
It now appears Dakota Fanning was wearing a flesh-tone body suit (or a two piece suit) when she acted out the rape scene in "Hound Dog." Defenders of the production company were silent for two weeks when the controversy erupted, and now offer up this "cover up," days later, as proof that they were, in fact, concerned about the propriety of wardrobe worn in this rape scene using the talents of a twelve year-old child. These same voices are silent about what Dakota was wearing when she filmed the mutual masturbation scene. I keep pointing out to these people that it wasn't what Dakota was wearing, but what she was doing!
He then goes on to explain why this movie has him so bothered. Read the whole article "Pretending Leads to Reality" here. He also wrote another article. See that here.
Sean Hannity has been a loud and clear voice on this topic. Today on his website, his "free audio clip of the day" is about this topic. Go to his website by clicking here.
Sean Hannity also revealed on Fox News' Hannity & Colmes show last night that Hounddog is not the only movie to catch your eye with its subject matter at this year's Sundance Film Festival. He noted that the material ranged from bestiality to other...demented stuff, to sum it up in a word.
Read the conversation that was had with actress Janine Turner here.
I'll try to update as I hear or see things.
January 19, 2007 (7:15 p.m.)
Time for more updates.
First, and most importantly, is that I'm hearing conflicting reports about when the movie is coming out. Originally, I heard "next week at the Sundance Film Festival." Then, "this week at the Sundance Film Festival." Followed by "January 18th," and now, finally, "January 22." Let's hope the latter is true. That still leaves time to stop this film in its "hound dog" tracks. Here are the two places I saw the "January 22" report: Christian Worldview Network and The Detroit News. The Detroit News' article mentions a fact that I've known about, but have failed to mention: this is not the first film Dakota Fanning has acted in that most people wouldn't let a 12-year-old see. She's been in Hide and Seek, called a "slasher" film; War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise, a sci-fi thriller/horror; and Man on Fire with Denzel Washington, an intense R-rated movie. What does this show? That it seems that her parents have been irresponsible in their pursuit of fame for their daughter before this incident, although the case could be well made that filming such stories is not nearly intense as watching them. But it also should be noted that even these roles don't seem to compare to that of Hounddog.
Secondly, I've seen a couple of interesting articles on this movie that were written a long time ago (August and September). Things have been known about this film for a while. Let's hope these "fired-up" efforts--like this one I've tried to start--are not too little, too late.
Dakota Fanning 'raped' in new film, dated August 7th, 2006, talks about the potential legal ramifications that the makers of this movie could face. It also talks about the writer-director's past, and more. Here are some of the most thought-provoking excerpts:
...to make such a scene could be first-degree sexual exploitation of a child, a charge on the same level with armed robbery...
World Entertainment News Network said the movie was a shocker for Fanning's fans.
...the actress' agent, Joy Osbrink, told the New York Daily News, fans shouldn't worry.
"It's not just the rape scene – the whole story is challenging Dakota as an actress. And I've never been so proud of her in my life. I've seen the dailies, and in every scene she gets better and better."
Shouldn't worry, huh? Sounds just like an agent, and not a responsible adult looking after an impressionable child.
On Screen Pedophilia Destroying Our Young, posted September 11, 2006 and written by Ted Baehr, pretty much talks about what the title implies. It talks about "the downfall of Dakota"--jumping the gun, we can only pray, although she's definitely headed down that path. The powerful punchline to the article is this:
We need to pray for...Dakota so that [she] will be gripped by the Hand of God instead of the Jaws of Satan. [Her life needs] to be transformed by Jesus Christ so that [she] will not seek the rewards of men, but so that [she] will seek to win for the Lamb of God the rewards of His suffering.
The article also gives statistics of a poll that say that the majority of 12- to 17-year-olds "are offended by sexual material in movies and TV programs." I don't know if that's completely accurate, but the article is a good read anyway, trying to explain what's with the downfall of so many young stars.
That's all I have for now. Keep praying and raising awareness...
Updates (Round 3):
January 20, 2007 (7:30 p.m.)
Although I thought I had covered all the bases, there are some jewels of points made by bloggers out there, and I wanted to share them with you.
First up: A person who listed his/herself simply as "Mad" commented with this profound point over at Revitalize Our Youth:
Don't they think about young girls who have been raped? How will this affect them? I don't think they understand what this will do to victims.
HCdl pointed this out in his article over at Faultline USA (Read article here) and in the same article at Wake Up America:
If Hollywood wants to make a movie demonizing child sexual abuse, that's fine. THIS AIN'T IT.
Third up: Also at Wake Up America, Debbie said this:
Remember, she has a younger sister, El Fanning I think is her name, just as talented. Is this what the little sister is going to see her bigger sister doing?
Fourth up: From right here at Kingdom Advancing, Austin commented with this:
Look at Lindsay Lohan. In The Parent Trap she was just a cute little kid. Now she's in rehab.
We should all note the astronomical difference between The Parent Trap and Hounddog.
Fifth up: Also right here at Kingdom Advancing, Solameanie made this astute inquiry:
...why is it that liberals always want to defend the indefensible?
Now, I'm not going to say that all liberals are defending this movie, but we know that some are.
Finally: I've been told twice that I shouldn't be "giving this movie free publicity," but rather should "just ignore it." These two comments are how I replied:
What you say is true, to a certain extent. But the fact is, the pedophiles are going to see this movie, whether I talk about it or not. Dakota Fanning was abused, and will have to live with this film, and the memories of making it, for the rest of her life, whether I talk about it or not. If this film goes by unscathed, more like it will be made, whether I talk about it or not. Some people are going to see it and "open doors" that shouldn't be opened, whether I talk about it or not. So, while I see your point, I think that the good of talking about it and trying to take action against it outweighs the bad. We have to stop films like these and protect the children abused in them, not just ignore them.
It's too late for that [not giving it publicity] now I guess, isn't it? In all seriousness though, I think you all are misled in your strategy. This movie is a violation of law: should we ignore that? This movie is child abuse, and possibly child porn: should we ignore that? This movie is fodder for pedophiles: should we ignore that? I do not think so. As Christians, we are to be preservatives in the culture--not escapists. Ignoring something, in this case, is neglect--neglect of a child, and neglect of our society as a whole. Also, you need to recognize a simple "risk-reward" ratio. If Christians remain quiet, the pedophiles will go see this movie, the makers will get off scotch-free, and Dakota Fanning will come up on the short end of the stick, as well as other child actors in the future, and our society as a whole--the entertainment industry in particular. If Christians do speak out, and pray, like I have been beseeching everyone to do, this movie could very well be blocked, depriving pedophiles of a film, punishing the makers of the movie, and protecting a young girl as much as can be done at this point. If Christians talk about this and pray, but it's not God's will to block the film from being first released, action could still be taken afterwards, and Dakota and her family will need our prayers nonetheless. And, even if all seems to fail, how many people, that I have alerted, do you think are going to see this movie, thereby giving it money? One? Maybe. Two? Probably not. I see your concern, because I considered it. But I was able to quickly dismiss it. I hope you will too, because I would love to have you praying about it.
Only one more for me to say right now: Keep praying...keep blogging...keep spreading the word.
Updates (Round 4)
January 22 (11:05 p.m.)
Well, Hounddog has now been screened at the Sundance Film Festival. That's unfortunate and disappointing, but it is neither a reason to give up nor to be too discouraged.
I will try to post a complete update soon.
The battle to block the screening is over...but we need to remember that the war--for souls, society, and justice--is ongoing. And the battle over Hounddog is not over yet either.
Updates (Round 5)
January 23, 2007 (7:15 p.m.)
Well, Hounddog has now been screened at the Sundance Film Festival. That is a disappointment, but we should not be too discouraged.
Jeanine Pirro, the Republican D.A. in New York, who personally saw the screening, was on Fox News' Hannity & Colmes. She said that the outrage and analysis of the movie was completely overblown (by people like us). She said that there "was no touching," Dakota was only shown "from the shoulders up," and that the rape "was made in the editing room."
This is not a reason to be disappointed with ourselves, thinking that we overreacted. If, indeed, the movie is not as graphic as once thought, this is a victory, albeit a small one. Sean Hannity aptly pointed out that the movie went through 29 hours of re-editing. It is very likely that the film, if it in fact is "cleaner" than anticipated, was sanitized due to criticism. For instance, the Pirro on Fox News' made no mention of the mutual masturbation scene that was reportedly filmed involving Dakota. Hmm..... Where did that scene go, I wonder?
Not everyone shares the same opinion with Pirro, however. This is what Roger Friedman said on FoxNews.com:
Right away, I will tell you: 12-year-old Dakota Fanning plays a girl who endures a graphically suggested rape. If that’s not enough, she is also filmed sleeping dreamily while a half dozen real snakes slither all over her.
The rape scene, no matter how it’s spun, is disturbing and unsettling in fictional terms. In real life, though, it’s creepier to think that Dakota’s parents considered this a scene that was appropriate for their daughter.
That her moves are suggestive is another matter altogether. The director seems to be implying that Lewellen is almost asking for her rape by a 20-year-old boy who delivers the family’s milk.
It’s either that or Lewellen should be allowed to act seductively without fear of being attacked. Either way, the arguments do not stand up.
And here's a correction, courtesy of this article: the rape in the movie isn't incest. My apologies for the mistake. It appears that, while being abused by her father, she is raped by "a 20-year-old boy who delivers the family's milk."
Although sanitation--once again, if it did occur--is a partial victory, it is not complete. There are still many problematic questions with this film.
It still has the potential to turn on pedophiles. What about that?
Whas was actually filmed, as in, what got left on the cutting room floor? It's not just what made it in the film that counts, but what was made FOR the film.
If the rape was "made in the editing room," why would Dakota's mom and agent expect an Oscar? Actresses, not editors, generally win Oscars for "Best Actress." Unless, of course, the rest of the acting in the movie was just that good.
If the rape was "made in the editing room," why was the role so reportedly "challenging" for Dakota?
What about coaching? Was she coached through the scene? What exactly did Dakota have to act out?
I believe that I heard that the filming of the scene took place over several days. The scene was that long? Or, there were that many camera angles and that much unused footage? They made Dakota dwell on the scene--the topic--for days?
Either the director or Fanning's agent (I can't remember) made a comment that Dakota was dancing around the set after filming the scene because she knew she had done such a good job. What had she done? Or, was this comment referring to a different scene?
Then, there's the ultimate question, which Sean Hannity raised: Can a rape scene with a 12-year-old girl ever be done tastefully? I don't think so. But, for the sake of discussion, if so, who gets to arbitrarily draw the line between a "tasteful" rape scene and an "untasteful" one?
Also, the questions still remain: what lessons did Dakota learn? What fame is worth? What did she find out that she shouldn't know about yet?
This is still, in all likelihood, child abuse. Child porn? That's more of a question now, although we don't know what's on the uncut reel.
So, ultimately, most--if not all--of the points in my original article continue to ring true now that the movie is out, even if what people like Pirro say is true.
We need to continue to pray for Dakota. Also, prayer needs to be made for Dakota's parents, who should be discouraged and/or hindered from her full-speed-ahead pursuit of fame for their daughter. They, and their daughter, need to find God. As well, this needs to be a springboard to talk about what's acceptable and what's not in the arena of entertainment. The efforts and outrage MUST continue. Legal action, if it is taken, will take a while to unfold, but that's still a possibility. The makers of the film need to be pressured to release all footage, not just what they decided to let the public see. They will do this if they are truly innocent. The battle to block the screening is over...but we need to remember that the war--for souls, society, and justice--is ongoing.
Also, this should be a conversation-starter for the topic of child-rape and abuse. People like myself have been criticized as "trying to avoid the topic." Well, that's obviously off-base, but if you want to talk about it, let's talk about it, not shoot a movie about it.
In conclusion, let's hope and pray that the movie is not as bad as feared and that it won't have the suspected results, but let's also work and pray that there are still consequences for the making of this movie, and that it will be severely discouraged from happening again. Having not seen it myself, that's all I can say for now.
Keep praying...keep talking...
ALL FURTHER UPDATES CAN BE FOUND AS THEIR OWN POSTS ON KINGDOM ADVANCING.