What “The Shape of Water” Oscar nominations say about us


The Shape of Water received thirteen Academy Award nominations yesterday, one short of the record. The plot follows a mute custodian who develops a sexual relationship with a humanoid-amphibian creature.

Due to the film’s graphic nudity, I will not see it. As to why it received so many nominations, I defer to a film critic who noted: “Perhaps the best argument in its favor is that, in a weird way, it’s a film that speaks to our times. One could interpret ‘The Shape of Water’ as being about a mute woman who finds her voice with the help of her gay and African American friends to take down the sexually predatory, bigoted patriarchy.”

It seems that The Shape of Water celebrates “love” as defined however the characters choose to express it.

“Speaking your truth”

The prevailing theme of our culture is the belief that truth is whatever you believe it to be. Oprah Winfrey made headlines in her Golden Globes speech when she announced, “What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.”

However, to claim that there is no such thing as absolute truth is to make an absolute truth claim. Nor does such a denial change the reality it denies.

More and more Americans are rejecting the concept of hell, but does their opinion change its existence? If I don’t believe the Queen of England exists, does my aristocratic atheism change anything about her reign?

The denial of absolute truth also leads to ethical quicksand: Americans view the 9/11 attacks as cowardly terrorism, while al-Qaeda celebrates them as a courageous defense of Islam. Is each viewpoint just “their truth”?

Of course, the rejection of objective truth leads inevitably to the rejection of objective sexual morality. Marriage becomes defined however its participants wish to define it. Your sexual identity is just that-yours. A sexual relationship between a human and a humanoid-amphibian creature becomes the plot for an Academy…

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