In 1987, a movie called Fatal Attraction came out starring Michael Douglas, Anne Archer as his wife and Glenn Close as Alex, a woman Michael's character had an affair with -- and who would "not be ignored" by him. She expected more than a one-night stand, and things got out of hand as Alex invaded the married couple's life and made it a living hell. (Sadly, even the couple's pet bunny died in the process).
I never did see the movie all the way through -- just bits and pieces of it on TV. But I remember the comments movie goers made after they watched the flick in '87 -- after seeing Fatal Attraction, they would think twice about ever having an affair; i.e., cheating on their spouses.
One movie did something that all the pulpit preaching couldn't do -- it made us aware of the consequences of making a bad choice.
Art -- good art -- has the ability to do that. It touches us in a way that verbal admonitions can't do. Art can pull on the ol' heartstrings and reach us at a visceral level, a level that is not always subject to common sense or logic. Rightly or wrongly, art moves people and makes us think in ways that mere talking cannot.
The late columnist, Paul Harvey once wrote a piece discussing this point:
The POWER of ART OVER ARGUMENTby Paul HarveyA nation might have died. Finland was so worried about menacing anarchists and so depressed over the death of Alexander Second that the nation might have rolled over and been Run over by the Russians.But when the Finns felt their smallest weakest and poorest composer Jean Sibelius wrote something called “Finlandia” – An Orchestral piece that rallied the Finns long lost patriotic fervor, and they resisted the Russification of their land and lived happily ever after.The Power of art over argument.Nobody could have persuaded a generation of Americans to produce a baby boom – Yet Shirley Temple movies made every American want to have one.Military enlistments were lagging for our air force until, almost overnight, a movie called “Top Gun” had recruits standing in line.The power of art over argument.Human history goes in circles. Majorities become fat and lazy ultimately to be overwhelmed by lean hungry minorities.And the elevation of the downtrodden never relies on logic; it is instead facilitated by the persistent persuasion of gifted penmen.British sweatshops for children existed only until Dickens wrote about them.American slaves were slaves only until Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote about them.Oh, yes, Lincoln himself credited her with having started the Civil War.The power of art over argument.More persuasive than any orator is the artist who can reduce complex considerations to a political cartoon.Animal rights activists bemoan the difficulty of making most people relate to animals.
Yet once upon a time a cartoonist named Walt Disney created an animal character named “Bambi” and in one year deer-hunting nose-dived from a $5.7 million business – to one million.The power of art over argument.Statutes mandating more humane treatment of draft-horses were initiated by a book: “Black Beauty”My generation’s first introduction to the man-animal kinship was through the books of Albert Payson Terhune about his collies.The priority of all humanitarians should be the alleviation of suffering.Public relations people – however gifted and properly motivated – have been frustrated in the human field.Most every argument they advance got them denounced or derided. Logical argument on behalf of suffering animals has been met, at best, with only lukewarm success.You want to convince the unconvinced, don’t call to arms call to “art.” Disney, Albert Payson Terhune, James Herriot -- who’s next?Artists are time proved experts at transplanting hearts into the heartless.These are the greatest resource of all of us who would make mankind.
I couldn't have said it better myself!