A Scene from Green Book

I recently watched Green Book which was pleasant, humorous, and generally good. I was astounded by Viggo Mortesen’s performance, as I had not seen him explore the boundaries of acting as creatively as he did here. My focus is not on him, however, but on Don Shirley. There is a scene in the movie which may be interpreted as either good or evil depending on the perspective one takes upon watching it. The two primary perspectives I wish to explore are Hollywood’s agenda and a Christian/Catholic perspective of the particular scene in mind.

If seen in light of Hollywood’s push for homosexual equality, the movie scene, wherein Don Shirley, played by Mahershala Ali, is caught in a suggested sexual relation with another man, may be praised for its inclusion by the LBGT+ advocates. Indeed, there is a great push for depicting homosexuality as something to be accepted as good. We live in a country where equality is ipso facto good. Thus, although Shirley’s biography makes no mention of explicit sexual relations, Hollywood jumped on board about the implication that Shirley might have had a sodomistic caricature. Of course, we do not know whether Shirley was actually homosexual, or if he was only perceived as such due to caricature stereotypes in he 1960’s? Whatever the case, the scene fits the bill for the homosexual agenda, despite the rumor of its inappropriateness. 

It may be said that such a depiction of the musician is historically inaccurate, as it is purported that the homosexual caricature is false. But, why would Hollywood care about this inaccuracy when it brings in the money, and, of course, is it not perceived to some that homosexual couples deserve equal marriage status? The scene only lasted a minute or two, so how bad could such a scene really be?

It may be worrying that even the mere suggestion, despite whether it is certain or not, should give movie directors permission to make that suggestion an obvious agenda, thereby giving false impressions to its audiences. The question may be asked, ought Hollywood to have this permission, no matter the subject at hand (e.g. homosexuality, global warming, warfare, etc.)? 

Hollywood would have us avoid this question as an ‘ought’ (i.e. a ‘modal question’). For, indeed, Tony Lip shrugs off Shirley’s behavior, as if shrugging was a virtue. Hollywood’s post-modern hero would, of course, be falsely virtuous, once again fitting the bill for their obvious agenda. We may not say that the movie is moral insofar as we are to mimic Lip’s shrugging, but we are certainly invited to consider Lip as heroic insofar as he acts in this way. This ‘virtuosity’ is not the kind found in Christianity, and in its perspective, Hollywood’s agenda for homosexual equality excludes the equality of whole virtue, at least in this particular scene.

Depending on the perspective one brings in watching Green Book, its historical inaccuracy may be praised or condemned based on the views of the homosexual ideology and/or the Christian (namely Catholic) principles of virtue, respectively. The difference of perspectives between the two sides lends itself to the issues arising in historical cinema between accuracy and agendas. Ought one to be sacrificed over the other in particular cases? Why or why not? This is the question at hand. 

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