Dakota Johnson and The Power of a Two Letter Word

Posted: March 3, 2015 in Thoughts on art ministry and life
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Most of us get upset about four-letter words, and we should. They can have some pretty immense destructive power, but there is a two-letter word that wields incredible power and if you are going to succeed as a creative, especially a God honoring creative, you need to learn this word.

I understand temptation… believe me I do. I remember one particular time when money was particularly tight. I was laid off the day my youngest son was born. I was hustling trying to take care of a baby at home and grabbing as much freelance work as I could. One day, while checking the classifieds, I saw an ad as rare as a unicorn. It said “Cartoonist wanted.” I thought I hit pay dirt. I called and got an interview almost immediately. I sat down in the guy’s office and he told me he was creating a screen saver featuring cartoons. He had already written the gags, he just needed someone to draw the cartoons. The pay was $10,000. I knew I could do the job and I really needed the money. He told me it would also lead to other projects. I was so excited. Then he told me the cartoons would be pornographic. I would like to tell you I abruptly refused the job and walked out with my head held high. The truth is I spent the whole ride home trying to convince myself I could still take the work. Eventually I did refuse it, but not before a lot of temptation. Thank God this thing is not out there with my name on it. I would be ashamed.

So I guess I get it when a young actress succumbs to the draw of starring in a movie made about one of the best selling book series of recent years. I understand the temptation of the money and the idea that it might be a stepping stone to a much larger career, and the exposure (no pun intended), though I think she may have wanted to have a chat with Elizabeth Berkley before she signed the papers. I guess I get the temptation, but I can’t help but think it was a bad decision and I can’t help but wonder if this is really the role Miss Johnson will want to be known for in 20 or 30 or 50 years.

Then the other day, I saw she hosted Saturday Night Live. One of the clips was a parody of a Toyota commercial that shows a father and his relationship with his daughter up to the point where he drops her off at the airport. She’s leaving to enter into the military. It’s a touching commercial. In the SNL piece, Johnson, playing the daughter is running off to join ISIS. I hear the laugh track, but I can’t imagine anyone actually thought it was anything but horrible. Something like that could be a career ender. And that’s when it hit me. Maybe Miss Johnson never learned the two letter word. The one every creative needs to know. The one that will keep us from being associated with stuff we’ll most likely be ashamed of one day. The one all creatives need to learn. The one that kept me from doing something horrible and the one that can protect you as well. Please learn it. I’m told it means the same thing in seven different languages.

The word is NO.


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