Thursday, December 15, 2011

What's Wrong with This Picture?

First impressions carry a lot of weight. Although we warn against making hasty judgments ("Don't judge a book by its cover"), the truth is that we do tend to judge things—and people—based on our first impressions of them.

Take this movie I was watching on Netflix, for example: Snow White, a Tale of Terror.  I was in the mood for something unusual, and the evil stepmother was played by Sigourney Weaver (who was admirably creepy in an unorthodox depiction of the most beautiful witch of them all). But any lack of bias I might have had toward the movie itself was destroyed in one of the opening scenes, in which a young Snow White hides from her nursemaid in a graveyard. I do not want to debate the choice of playground locale, which was actually excellent for the genre and tone of the film. But look at this picture and ask why it inspired me to take an hour from my busy day to write this blog:

Maybe I am just being unfair. Maybe I possess knowledge of an esoteric nature far surpassing that of the average American moviegoer. (It is possible.) However, I choose to believe otherwise, and I am wondering how many of you have seen through the director's attempt to fool the viewer. If you need a hint, look at these pictures:
an apple tree

an oak tree

apple tree fruit

oak tree fruit

In our lives, we often do the same thing, pull the same stunt, and for the same reasons: we want to impress people but we don't want to go to the work of earning their respect, so we take shortcuts. We tell "white" lies. We exaggerate. We tie apples onto oak trees. Or, as Jesus put it (Matthew 23:27-28), we put on the costume of whatever role we are playing and become "hypocrites" (the Greek word for actor, someone who wears a mask to hide his true nature). You can dress an oak tree to look like an apple tree, but that won't make it produce apples. "By their fruit you will know them" (Matthew 7:16).

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