Girls Write Out
Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I want to be entertained. Not preached at. Not sermonized to (unless I'm in church where that's the point). Not shown a Prius and told I'm the devil if I drive a SUV. I want to be entertained. Seriously, if we preached in our Christian books as vehemently as Hollywood seems to be doing lately, leaving behind story in favor of doing a "higher work". we deceive ourselves. My calling is to write a STORY. Of course, my Christian values will be imbedded because that's who I am. But let me tell you this, it's not my calling (and for some of you it might be, but it is SOOO not my calling to preach at people!)
The scenario:
We meet friends for dinner and a movie. My boys get to go to "Night in the Museum with the dads, but me? I have to sit through "Happy Feet". First impressions: CUTE AS THE DICKENS until they start singing one of my favorite, albeit highly sexualized "Kiss" by Prince. Kids' movie people! I want to cover my daughter's ears. But the penguins -- they dance. The animation is fabulous. The story is darling. Happy Feet can't sing. Singing is how you get the girl. He can only dance so he must go on a journey to find his voice.
But midway through the story, something horrific (storytelling-wise) happens! He gets the girl and he REJECTS her!! Why you ask? Because there is fishing going on in the Antarctic and the Emperor Penguins will all die if us evil humans, who put cute little penguins in zoos, aren't stopped!!! Now, the filmmakers stop the animation at one point and actually put UN footage in to show that little Happy Feet is changing the world! And a fishing circle being carved out around Antarctica.
Can you imagine if I stopped my book and said, "COME ACCEPT JESUS RIGHT HERE AND RIGHT NOW!!! PUT THE SILVER FISH ON YOUR CAR AND YOU WILL BE SAVED." Instead of finishing my romance storyline? Would I not tick a few people off? For a very important reason, you're doing a bait and switch. I promised you some romance and you're getting my belief system crammed down your throat.
People are at the movies to watch dancing penguins, to be entertained, do we NEED a message? Must it come at the expense of penguins who can tap dance? It was Sunday, I already did my time. (No offense Pastor Dean, fabulous message on breathing the Name of God -- See, I was listening!!)
But it doesn't stop at the movies. I tape Oprah on Tivo. I can honestly say I haven't sat through an episode in eons. Oprah seems intent on changing the world, and you know, she's got more money than Moses, go for it, but must we be subjected to it? Every time Oprah does something nice, does it warrant a show and a trip? Newsflash: Most of us housewives doing the laundry are not tuning into Oprah to learn about Darfur, but we'll take another show on what jeans make our butts look smaller. And here's the really sad thing. Most of us will just turn off the "world is evil" shows because we're...we're tuning in to be entertained. We know the world is terrible, that there are monsters out there who seek to kill and destroy, that's why we want to be entertained!!
There's a time and place for news and sermons and information. If Oprah wants to use her hour to give it, go for it, but I'm choosing my hour too. And I vote with my TIVO. HELLO UGLY BETTY!!!
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Ugly Betty! Now go forth and be entertained.
Go sell CRAZY someplace else, we're all stocked up here"
- Jack Nicholson, As Good As It Gets

posted at 11:26 PM  
  Comments (31)
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At 12:53 AM, Blogger CaliGirlDCE25 said...

I completely agree. There's always a message and sometimes its just too much. I too am loving Ugly Betty! It's fab and like the Devil Wears Prada, but almost better. :-) Almost.... lol.... thanks for the message K, to help us all understand that sometimes there doesnt need to be a meaningful message, but we just want to have some happiness and entertainment in our lives.

At 1:06 AM, Blogger Sabrina L. Fox said...

I too am tired of all the cramming of the messages! LOL. I hate when I hear little innuendos in my son's cartoons. I mean come on!!! I swear they're trying to program our kids into little liberal frustrates me.

Call me crazy, but I don't remember my cartoons having religious or political beliefs when I was a child.

And about Oprah, I can't watch that stuff all the time. I mean the whole Darfur thing just overwhelms me. Not great for a melancholy type.

At 8:10 AM, Blogger Lisa Jordan said...

My boys are 13 and 16 and getting past the age where I can use them as an excuse to see animated movies. Sad, I say... :P I haven't seen Happy Feet, but one friend totally adored it and another said it was the worst movie she had ever seen.

I so totally love Ugly Betty!!! This is one of the best shows on TV this season. My biggest complaint about the show is how exaggerated they make Justin. In one ep, Hilda said "he's comfortable with who he is." I find him annoying. The veiled homosexually is unnecessary, in my opinion.

Thursday night TV on ABC rocks!! It's the only night I maintain control of the remote! Betty followed by Grey's then I head to bed with dreams of Marin and Jack in Elmo. ABC was wise to move MIT to Thursdays. :D

At 8:15 AM, Blogger Katy said...

Girl, girl. I refuse to take up jogging, but I run from thinly-veiled agendas fast enough to stay in shape.

I adore Denzel, but I could NOT handle John Q. If I wanted socialized medicine, I would have skipped movie-going and campaigned for Hilary. They TOTALLY stopped the story to cram the agenda. NOOOOO, make it stop!

"Important stuff" can be dealt with in an otherwise entertaining novel, as long as it doesn't stop the story and give the reader the distinct (and correct) impression, "Oh, NOW I see what's going on here...." I always feel so cheated when I get that particular oh-oh feeling.

Katy McKenna

At 8:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I had the very same thoughts about Happy Feet and won't recommend the movie because of the blatant "environmentalist wacko" message. (The little penguins were adorable, though.)

I haven't watched OPRAH in years. She's unhappy with herself, so she's trying to fix everything else around her. I have a hard time believing that someone who grew up poor can't deal the with realities of life. Whatever.

Ugly Betty is my new favorite show of the year and I can't wait for tonight's new episode! YAY!

Thank YOU, Kristin, for being entertaining while still expressing your faith and values. Your books are priceless!

At 9:13 AM, Blogger Katy said...

The thing about Oprah, though, is I never feel I've been bait-and-switched by her. I know what the show's about going in and I can choose or not choose to watch. I am interested in the school for girls she's opened in South Africa, so I want to see episodes related to it.

There's a difference between having an agenda (which everyone has, to one degree or another), and using your influence in an audience's life to make them think the book or show is about one thing, when you have something ENTIRELY different up your sleeve. THAT'S what readers (and viewers) resent.

Katy McKenna

At 9:19 AM, Blogger Kristy Dykes said...

You are soul-stirring, girl! You write about current, controversial topics, and we want to comment!

About Oprah--I'm all for her starting a girls' school and doing other good deeds, but my first thought when I saw all the coverage was, I've sat in church all my life and heard missionary after missionary after missionary after missionary after missionary talk about starting schools and helping multitudinous people and other wonderful things too numerous to list here, and they've never gotten Oprah's coverage. She got the coverage because she's...Oprah. In other words, other people are doing what she's doing--and tons more, so I just sort of yawned and said, Good, Oprah. But keep doing more with your influence and power and wealth, and make sure it's good and wholesome.

And, I'm tired of see Brangelina's "good works." And Madonna's. And...

All of this coverage is for a reason (IMO)--it's for P.R. purposes, and that means a foundation of goodwill is being laid so these stars can promote their REAL agenda sometime in the future. Their REAL agenda is not the goodwill they are currently doing.

Sorry. I'll climb down now.

P.S. I really am glad all of these good things are being done.

At 9:57 AM, Anonymous Bethanie said...

this little aussie has been downloading ugly betty (and heroes too) - they start next month here...

but gotta tell you, UB is AWESOME! i am totally loving it. such a fantastic show.

and i'm sick of oprah. i used to watch it regularly, but now i just watch ellen. much more entertaining....

At 11:25 AM, Blogger allen said...

It is amazing how cartoons have changed. My boys wanted to see "Fern Gully" but I told them no because it too is a 'humans - especially white men' are evil and want nothing more than to destroy the land and animals for capitalistic gain.

Interestingly enough, Robin Williams did voices for Fern and Happy.

My wife and I like Ugly Betty too. I couldn't sit through Devil Wears Prada.

At 11:30 AM, Blogger allen said...

I remember "Speedy Gonzalles". I group of do-gooders demanded that the show be banned because it was racist. It did not make it on the Looney Toons DVD pack...However, a group of Hispanics protested the 'do-gooders'...not sure where the cartoon stands as of now, but sheesh. Let us be entertained with out people trying to lay guilt trips on us.

At 12:07 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

Allen, in high school, I used to say "Arribe" when I thought a guy was cute. Just a little trivia for ya that my friends can verify. Of course, the translation has nothing to do with that, but who cares! I haven't seen Devil Wears Prada. I loved the book though. I'm so glad there are Betty fans out there! Oh and Lisa, my friend has a nephew who has been like Justin from day ONE! Maybe it's living in California, but that kid was listening to show tunes and wearing pink at THREE. His father tried everything, too. He's older now, definitely not as blatant, but still into the theatre.

At 12:41 PM, Blogger Katy said...

Kristin, I finally saw the Devil Wears Prada over Christmas with my DD and her fiance. Meryl Streep is not someone I'm wild about, but she was FANTASTIC in this role. Flawless. I loved it.


At 3:16 PM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

Thank you! I agree. Great stories are what hold our attention. And if God plants a seed in one, then all the better. But please notice I said GOD plants the seed. :o)

At 5:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You mean Donald Trump really shouldn't and doesn't have moral authority over Miss America participants??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

At 5:49 PM, Blogger Julie Carobini said...

So my cousin sings lead and plays guitar for the movie, Happy Feet, and I give him a little plug on my blog. Man! Got a load of email about that movie after that. Had. no. idea. So I skipped it and saw Stranger than Fiction instead. Now that's entertainment.

At 6:25 PM, Blogger Jaime said...

I'm usually pretty good at glossing over the agendas and not even noticing them. Which'll probably change when I have kids and have to be more aware of what I'm watching and the impact it's having on them. And at this point, if my Dad were reading my entry, I'd get a lecture about being "desensitized" (sp?). :)

I'm reading Spa Girls Book #3 about Poppy and I have to argue, I found a very definitive message there so far ... I am currently upping my vitamin supplements and made a chiropractic appt for the first time in a few years. (no joke). Some of the health things made perfect sense! Preach it, Kristin ... but preach subtly! :) :) :)

At 7:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am hooked on Ugly Betty! Love that show - I also love the "Ugly is the new beautiful" line the show uses.
Oprah claims she's not interested in being the President, but I think deep down she wants to rule the country and then the world. After all, she's so much more enlightened than the rest of us middle Americans. Right!
I'm happy for the little girls that are getting the school, but it seems as Oprah just wants a bunch of "mini-me's".

At 11:40 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

Jaime, I can preach it but I'm on deadline and here was my menu: Double iced mocha. Jamba juice. Frozen Pot Pie (not the healthy kind) and pesto for dinner. I may preach it, but I'm the bad preacher who isn't living it. LOL Go Poppy! Oh and Julie, the music ws fabulous in Happy Feet, so your cousin did a good job.

At 7:56 AM, Blogger Betsy said...

We saw Happy Feet (for free thank goodness) on our lovely Christmas vacation in California. My husband bailed on the movie. He told me from what he had heard he could never stomach it.

Afterward I told him the simple message, ordinary people = evil, bad; animals = good. I say ordinary people, b/c I am sure the stars of the movie don't see themselves as bad.

We saw Devil Wears Prada this weekend and loved it. I have yet to catch Ugly Betty, but will have to download it so I can catch up.

As for Oprah, I would watch daily if we could see Drs. Oz and Roizon and decorating every day. I don't need to see obnoxious stars and hear more about her political bents. Stick to debt, health and decorating!


At 10:54 AM, Anonymous Anna said...

I totally agree with Betsy about Oprah. If I could watch makeover shows and give-away shows all the time, I would love it. I am also usually interested in whatever Lisa Ling is there to talk about (North Korea for instance). However, all the baby mama drama and "people who do disgusting things and think its okay and now we're going to tell you all about it".....really, is that necessary?

I LOVE Ugly Betty, and the whole ABC Thursday night lineup.

As for the Devil Wears Prada - I read the book and then saw the movie and I thought they had very little in common. Meryl Streep was fabulous, but the movie was a very princessed up version of the book.

Kristin, you definately put me on a guilt trip when I read about Poppy, but that's not a bad thing. We all need to be more concerned about our health.

This is getting long, but I just want to add that I love this blog and look forward to it every day.

At 11:49 AM, Blogger allen said...


You totally lost me with the: "Allen, in high school, I used to say "Arribe" when I thought a guy was cute. Just a little trivia for ya that my friends can verify. Of course, the translation has nothing to do with that, but who cares!" statement...

At 4:40 PM, Anonymous Anna Marie said...

One more Ugly Betty fan here!
No wonder they say Ugly Betty is the number one show on abc.
And for me Oprah is not the same as she used to be.
So now I'm a fan of Rachael Ray.
Her show has a little of everything and it's Fun to see.
It's not just a cooking show.
So I tape Ugly Betty and Rachael Ray,so I can have something to see night...
Wonderful poat Kirstin!

At 10:06 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

Allen, Speedy Gonzales used to say, Arribe, Arribe, Andale, Andale! Before he would take off. I grew up in a school that was half-Mexican, it made sense to a sixteen year old, what can I say?

At 9:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I love your books and am delightfully entertained... however, I like that I have the choice to watch Oprah and her amazing efforts to make a difference. Yes, vote with your tivo... the Tyra show is much more lighthearted! But please, don't discount the opportunities that others have to be enlightened!

At 9:51 AM, Blogger Carolyne said...

When I want to be enlightened I'll read enlightening books and watch enlightening programs - but I agree - be up front about it! This was why I hated, hated, Disney's Pocohontas.
Carolyne Aarsen
A few Words in the Wind.

At 7:22 PM, Anonymous kt said...

Now I really want to watch Ugly Betty!

I just finished the third Spa Girls and of course I loved it, but Poppy was hard to put up with! She is definitely different than her friends, which is a credit to your writing, Kristen, but she was so frustrating sometimes! Lol.

I don't like the agendas in movies either. Bicentennial Man and Princess Diaries are two that come to mind.

At 10:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I for one like a healthy mix of both... I enjoy being entertained, but also like to be stretched and encouraged to think in a new way. There's nothing wrong with having options... you're the consumer... if you don't like it, don't buy it! I love your books and your witty sense of fun, but there's a time and a place for everything. I'm thrilled that Oprah continues to encourage people to be less self-absorbed and see beyond the tip of their nose!

At 12:08 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

Hey, I'm all for Oprah doing good works, but she's not doing anything a thousand missionaries before her haven't done with a portion of the resources. And without the fanfare. All I'm saying.

At 11:57 PM, Blogger Lynette said...

All I can say is, AMEN, Sister. :)

At 9:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with a message... if you don't like it, don't watch it! I'm glad some people are out there trying to educate the world and move our society our of this self-absorbed funk we seem to be stuck in! I do love your books, but there's more to life that cute clothes...

At 10:51 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

That's the POINT, Anonymous. She went to watch something entertaining and was blindsided. If there had been even a hint that the movie was a means to indoctrinate kids, she wouldn't have gone.

It seems Hollywood thinks it's okay to cram their agenda and viewpoint down our throats but no one else is allowed to. Grrr! I had wanted to see that movie, but I sure won't go now.

Sure there is more to life than clothes. There's following God and caring for our world, but it doesn't mean swallowing the dreck Hollywood tries to feed us and blindly believing all that garbage. I don't be in global warming either, in case any of you are interested. LOL

There, sermon over. LOL


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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