Quite a few years ago, I was teaching at a Christian High School in Chatham, Ontario, when a gentleman named Dan Veltman was booked to speak to our youth about modern culture.
It was an odd presentation. Most church people who condemned rock’n’roll and television and movies at that time didn’t really know the names of any of the bands or actors or writers, or how modern culture was packaged. Veltman did. But people who did know something about popular culture usually didn’t make simplistic black and white judgments about what was “evil” out there and what was good. Veltman did– it was all evil. He showed us evil album covers and played us evil music and discussed subliminal advertising which wanted you to think about evil things like “sex”, and backwards masking. Our students– I kid you not– were thrilled. They were absolutely delighted to know that the the music they listened to was absolutely, irredeemably evil. They wanted more details.
It was very entertaining, like the orgies depicted in the film “The 10 Commandments” before Moses arrived with the tablets to set things right again. You could have your cake and eat it too. You could enjoy watching the skin, and then pat yourself on the back by rooting for Moses. I don’t think any of the students actually changed their listening habits or viewing preferences. They just felt better knowing that we knew that they knew that drugs and sex and violence were bad.
The formula hasn’t changed much for “True Lies”. Want to be a god-driven biblical prophet to today’s youth? Fork over $1295 (come on– you can get your church to raise the money) and join the “True Lies” team. We supply the power point presentation (the orgy) and you supply the fire and brimstone. Teenagers will actually ask you to make a presentation to their parents. Just so parents can see that they are really mature and self-controlled, and shocked, I say, shocked, to know that there is so much sex in the movies.
Cost of a good dose of self-righteous vilification? $495. The presenter gets to keep that money. It’s a franchise.
Interestingly, “True Lies” tries to enhance it’s currency with youth by claiming links to Hollywood and bands like Metallica, among others. We know evil. Chalmers website shows a picture of him standing with Jessica Simpson.
He claims to have actually interviewed a serial killer. “Which rock’n’roll song made you a killer. Come on. Was it ‘Do you Really Want to Hurt Me’?”
That’s rather amazing. While preaching against Hollywood values, he proudly poses with his arm around Jessica Simpson. Look at me: I’m hip. But not too hip. Jessica and I are headed right over to the malt shop to meet Bobby and Ritchie and the Fonz….
I wonder how many schools and churches see what I see: a money-making scam run by people with the astounding audacity to claim to enlighten your children about how our culture is trying to trick them while selling you a paschal of hokum.
The trouble is that the real immorality in our culture is rooted in an ideology of unlimited wealth and consumer gratification. Your teenagers won’t even sit still for a lecture on immorality: it has to be presented in the form of rock videos!
The sexual immorality and drugs are a relatively small part of the equation. Chalmers rapturously caresses his Hummer, beams next to Jessica Simpson, touts his celebrity endorsements, and offers to sell your house, while promising to wean your children off those decadent, twisted Hollywood values.
What qualifications do you need to be a Christian expert on culture, the media, and communications? $1295.00 U.S. And, you can’t smoke. Can’t drink. And you should be an expert on…. say, did we mention the $1295.00? By the way, if you don’t complete that first year, “True Lies” gets to keep your money. But you get books and brochures that you can sell– at wholesale prices.
Seriously, the application to become a speaker for “True Lies” asks one question that relates to a person’s actual expertise on popular culture: “name the last three movies you saw”. But that’s okay, because the expertise is supplied by headquarters, in the form of Powerpoint presentations.
From the website: “This video covers some of the themes of today’s popular music, including sex, violence, Satanism, rebellion against parents, and drug use. Video contains lots of quick moving MTV footage, designed for the MTV generation.” Yes, your children won’t fall asleep while they are being saved from eternal perdition.
Who is Phil Chalmers? He drives a Hummer, which is displayed somewhat fetishisticly on his web page..
How much do you want to bet…. that none of these workshops and seminars provided by “True Lies” includes any form of two-way discussion at all. Since their speakers are not really experts, and you are not expected to question the absolute reliability of their conclusions about pop culture, why would there need to be? Besides, then you would actually be trying to teach young people to think.
Chalmers real goal is simply to replace one set of programming instructions with another. Buy this….
As almost every other American “ministry”, the web page is mostly about buying the box set for $40.00. The money-changers are in.
And… he’s a Re/Max agent. I kid you not. On the same web-page where he promises to save American youth from the ravages of Satanic music and film– hey, are you moving?
Unexpected: www.truelies.org now just pops right up with Phil Chalmers’ charming buzzcut at www.philchalmers.com. . His website–curiously– has a link to thesmokinggun.com