When Women Will Loom Large

Yesterday I went to watch Blade Runner 2049.

There will be no spoilers in this post, but I can’t guarantee the same for the comments.

I liked it a lot, and if you liked the original then I will guess you’ll like the new one too. It is a beautiful and legitimate science fiction film. It is not message fiction dressed up in sci-fi garb, but a long (164 minutes) visual question of, “What does it mean to be human?”

One of the themes of the film is that women are big players in this vision of the future (both figuratively and literally), but they are not at the very top. At the top is Niander Wallace, a handsome and white man of science who saves the world from starvation. But the lives of everyone under the very top are ruled, tempted, and overwhelmingly influenced by females, or their form.

I thought it quite probable.

More Like Vogue One

Rogue One spoilers ahead.

Up until this past weekend I strenuously resisted the new Star Wars movies, but one of my friends insisted–multiple times–that I see “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” so that I could witness the Darth Vader scene at the end. Before the age of 10, I’d changed my favorite character allegiance from Luke–the obvious hero–to Vader. As far as I know, my mother’s phone still plays the Imperial March when I call her. It was obvious to even my young mind that Vader was in control of himself in a way that no one else in the movies is; except Yoda and Kenobi. And they don’t fight much so where is the fun in them?

Yes, Vader is cruel, but he is disciplined and religious. That’s one of the plot holes in the original series: While we are told Vader is ruled by hate and that hate leads to emotional impetuousness and thus to the Dark Side, we never see Vader lose his cool and lash out. They tried to correct that plot hole in the prequels. Young Anakin is shown as rash and emotional. But it didn’t work. That kid wasn’t Vader.

Rogue One attempts to explain another (supposed) plot hole of the original three films: How did it come to be that the Death Star could be blown up by one torpedo from one small spacecraft? Isn’t that a terrible design for a space station? The old answer was the simple recognition that the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

The new answer is that a crucial engineer of the Death Star sabotaged his own design so that fifteen years later the rebels could defeat an enormous planet-destroying battle station–which was littered with anti-spacecraft weapons, supported by multiple Star Destroyers, and guarded by hundreds (thousands?) of fighters–and that it worked. Talk about your best laid plans!

My problem with Rogue One is deeper. They fundamentally changed the Star Wars world. Unlike the 1-3 prequels, Rogue One looks and sounds like Star Wars, but the context is wildly different. In films 4-6 the Rebels are openly rebellious, and so they are constantly on the run from the Empire. The Empire knows who they are, and more importantly, the Rebels know who they are themselves. It’s a rebellion with at least a sense of honor. They are overtly–superversively even–against the Empire. Though outmatched they skirmish, flee, and hide only to skirmish again one day. They take small victories where they can, and wait for the time when circumstances are on their side. Whole planets, as separate sovereign entities, chose to ally and rebel against the Empire. They have their own defense contractors, their own academies, and so forth. In short: It’s the medieval pattern of how nobles rebelled against kings and emperors. Such rebellions happen throughout the history of medieval England. The medieval pattern of episodes 4-6 makes sense in a world with religious knights such as the Star Wars universe.

Rogue One’s Rebels look like Star Wars Rebels, but they act like Muslim insurgents. The leadership of the various planets is minimized; almost wholly cut-out. Their equipment is scavenged or improvised rather than products of their own civilizations. They are assassins and saboteurs rather than warriors; men and women “fight” side-by-side with effeminate tactics of subversion instead of straightforward attacks. The Rebels in Rogue One are ISIS and Al Qaeda rather than warring Christians.

The whole Star Wars series is now a piece of filmic history that documents the anti-Christian spiritual tides that swamped the West, and which are very fashionable even among many so-called rightists.

The Office: Ironic Disdain

Until Malcolm the Cynic’s comments on (the American version of) The Office, I had forgotten what I thought about that show. Spoilers follow. In fact, if you haven’t watched the show through the first five seasons, then a lot of what I say below probably won’t make sense.


 

The mockumentary conceit is a clever ploy because it gets the audience to celebrate casual disdain for everyday people by disconnecting the audience[1]. Most people rightfully attempt to suppress such feelings. Every so often, the show’s vice pays tribute to virtue with short bursts of compassion, but Jim and Pam’s ironic disdain for bourgeois life is the hipster-nihilist heart of the show.

Pam should have ended up with Roy. She doesn’t because the writers wanted Pam to stop being meek, shy, nice and to become the sort of empowered derelict enabled by the Jims of the world.

Roy will probably never be middle-class. He will never make as much money as Jim. That’s pretty much all Jim has over Roy. Otherwise: Roy is handsomer. He has friends. He isn’t a twerp. Roy doesn’t spend every day trying to make himself look good for the skanky receptionist by putting down his earnest and capable coworker. Roy actually moves wares around the warehouse in his job as a warehouseman.

Meanwhile, Jim steals his paycheck by pretending to work. He only attends so as to steal another man’s betrothed. He mocks his coworkers, and with blank stares he mugs ironic disdain for them directly into the documentary cameras; just to make sure we don’t mistakenly get the impression he is, you know, one of them. Otherwise, he spends his time scheming how he can be among the dupes without becoming one; how to suck up the privileges of middle class economics without actually becoming his horror. Hence his move to the corporate office must be offset by commuting to work on a bicycle. Think of it as trading bourgeois credits.

The Office seduces members of the audience into disdaining everyone; that respect, joy, and love are only illusions in a world composed of selfish pursuit. It is of a piece with the works of The Office’s cynical and atheist creator Ricky Gervais. We–the audience–are the Roys, Michaels, Dwights, Phyllis’, and Merediths of the world. But like Michael Scott we pretend that the Jims of the world are our friends; that like Jims we too are in on the joke. The truth is we are all the joke to Gervais.

There were some really funny scenes in The Office, and I enjoyed it for awhile. But it would be foolish to ignore the overall messaging.


 

[1]By playing both sides of the suspension of disbelief; if you follow.

Walking Back on Walking Dead

Awhile back Empath, Dalrock, and Oscar all recommended “Walking Dead” to me. At the time I demurred because zombies haven’t interested me since the excellent “Resident Evil 4”. That was a long time ago. It’s so long ago the only thing I’m more tired of than zombies are vampires. Thanks for nothing, Ann Rice.

Readers from last autumn may recall that another show was recommended to me, and I trashed it. There was a lengthy debate among Empath, GKC, (both fans) and myself about how to interpret story elements; whether characters and plots are meant to instruct the audience, or whether they are merely influenced by the creators’ worldviews. We will turn to that topic again, but not until after I’ve laid into this Walking Dead business.

It’s very good. At the time of the Longmire post I was in the midst of watching the first season of WD. I said then that Justified (my favorite show still in production) had a challenger. I still really like Justified, but I have to say that WD is a better show and tied for favorite. Every episode is incredibly intense. Each character is utterly believable. Those of you who live in a metropolitan area of the Southern US know them, and their interactions provide the goriest bits of the show.

The characterizations of the women are more true-to-life than any other show or move that I can recall. They cause so many problems, and generate so much unnecessary friction by the things they say and what they don’t say… As a man with a wife and three daughters I am sensitive to this reality, and I very much appreciate it being shown in the raw rather than glamorized as it almost always is. It’s shocking to me that very many women like the show. If the ratings are anything to go by, then they do.

–(Slight Spoilers)–

As I said, I’m only halfway through season two, but it’s been clear to me that Shane has to die, and probably soon. The combination of hubris and self-degradation via Lori and Otis has rapidly accelerated his loss of sanity. He is obsessed with the idea of “making the hard choices”. Hard choices must be made, but in Shane’s mind hard choices only consist of who to kill and who to abandon. Unfortunately for Shane his decisions appear to be expedient to everyone else. Of course, they don’t know what he’s done. It’s only a matter of time before he decides that he needs to make the “hard choice for the good of the group”, and kill Rick. Since Rick is still on the program, I surmise that he kills Shane, and soon. (Plus, someone told me he’s dead. At the time I insisted I would not watch the show.)

I don’t know if Shane and Rick could ever have lived together in peace, but if they were to have done so then Rick would have to be more assertive in directing the group. He puts little confidence in himself, and no confidence in anyone else. He is a doubter in general. Everyone in the group naturally looks up to Rick, but his unwillingness to direct them leaves everyone uneasy. Unease metastasizes into chaos, rebellion, and depression.

There’s a scene in the last episode I watched where they’ve just killed a bunch of zombies and now it’s time to dispose the bodies. Rick just stands there, moping. One of the group tries to get the ball rolling and suggests they bury the zombies who the group loved in life. Rick mopes. Another ones makes a suggestion. Rick mopes. The members of the group know what to do, but they stand around expectantly; waiting for Rick to give them directions: bury those; get the truck; burn those; etc. They don’t need knowledge–they need courage, unity, and purpose. Those come through and from the leader.

Conversely, Rick thinks no one but him can personally handle real problems. He cannot delegate, and when delegation is forced on him he has no sense of order about him. He cannot distinguish between his responsibility, and the responsibilities of others. He has a martyr complex and makes every mistake his own fault. This robs the group of confidence and the ability to learn and gain confidence. It also robs them of a leader because he’s always running off to be the frown-faced hero. Unless of course he’s straight-up moping.

It is in this vacuum that an impulsive person like Shane loses his compass, stops being a boon, and becomes dangerous to those around him. There is a lesson in there for husbands and fathers.

The Extended Bible Battle Halftime Show: On Longmire

I revisited Longmire. My earlier dismissal was made after viewing only one episode, and based mostly on the fact that I found it too slow, and probably aimed at an older crowd. However; armed with the recommendations of two friends I ranged further into the interior of the modern wild west of Wyoming, encountered and shot three episodes. What follows is the field-dressing.

Meet Walt Longmire. Imagine a middle-aged Charleton Heston, or Mike Rowe. Now imagine he’s a sheriff in Wyoming who is is just coming out of a year-long crippling depression brought on by the death of his wife. Picture more that he has handyman talents. You can see an in-progress bathroom remodel while we watch him shower. Single, handy, lovelorn, dangerous, and naked; just like a real cowboy in a romance novel.  I am convinced broadcast restrictions were the only thing defending me from a wide-angle shot of Walt shaming a horse.

Walt has three deputies, but only one of them is a solid helper. Big surprise: It’s a good-looking woman who acts like a man and has a man’s name. Vic has Real Big Girl Job credentials as a former big city detective. She is constantly looking out for Walt’s best interest; as evidenced by her constant low-level harping. Speaking of the musical: She strip-dances in the second episode.

I’m a big fan of cop-buddy shows, and Walt’s buddy is Henry Standing Bear. They’ve been friends for 38 years, and it is revealed that Henry is trusted with Walt’s biggest, darkest secrets. On the other hand: Walt is a white guy, so when a generic Indian is implicated in a crime Walt immediately suspects his best friend and most-trusted advisor. This way we know that at heart Walt is a racist who wouldn’t put anything past any Indian. Luckily, Tonto–I mean Henry–is in fact an Indian and, like all Indians, utterly magnanimous and understanding of how Walt, like all Whites, can’t help himself.

Before his wife died, Walt was able to reproduce..once. Luckily it was a woman so he is spared having to kill or embarrass a challenger of his own blood. An obvious superior, Cady is a spunky and single 30-something career woman who is screwing Walt’s actual challenger: Branch. Branch is good-looking, slick, cocky, and  it is shown that he stinks at simple home repairs, and we never see him anywhere near a horse.

The show is episodic (each show has a definite beginning and end) rather than serial (think of soap operas or comic books) which I prefer. While I like over-arching story lines, I can’t stand jumps back and forth between scenes that are cut to create one, long, dramatic high. Serials can run indefinitely because the meat and message of the story–having been thoroughly mutilated into pink slime–is secondary. The only easily discernible product is: Drama! It’s also a good way to hide a message that might otherwise be less palatable.

An episodic format means every episode has a distinct story with a distinct message. That message can be simply entertaining[1], or it can contain a moral message, or both. It’s usually both because writers and directors are going to be strongly influenced by their worldview because how we view the world informs how we tell others what we saw. I explain this because both common decency and Christian vigil demand that we try to understand what we are being told, and from that judge rightly. Yet what I encounter repeatedly is protestations that the message doesn’t matter; that if we are entertained, then the message is unimportant. No. Either way it is important to understand what is being said to us. It’s not necessary that we reject every show that contains an imperfect message or advocates some immorality. We should not be fools, either. Keeping that in mind…

(spoilers ahead)

The first episode is about a couple of Indians who are running a brothel out of an RV. One of the prostitutes is a missing teenage girl. Lots of easy-to-agree-with targets for the audience in this one. Who doesn’t like to hate pimps? Or racist white guys (see: Henry)? Or Her absent father tries to rescue her and gets killed in the process.  It is explained that he is a good man despite his total absence from his daughter’s life. From that I can only deduce that fathers are vestigial bits of the environment, from the producers’ points of view.

The second episode drives home the point that fathers are to be spectators of their children’s lives; especially a daughter. A teenage stripper is found dead under suspicious circumstances. The investigation reveals that she is a Mennonite on rumspringa. Her father is a heartless bastard who refuses to let his wife talk to their daughter, but also demanded the older son watch over that same daughter. The son is to either bring her back or never return. The Mennonite father also prevents Walt from talking to the Mennonite wife during the course of the investigation.

Meanwhile–back at the ranch–Walt’s daughter is sleeping with one of his deputies, Branch. Walt deduces that she’s seeing somebody because there has been some sub-Longmire-standard home repair done at her house. She lies and says she’s not seeing anybody, but you can’t fool a romance-novel sheriff. He asks around, and everyone tells him to butt out of it.

At one point during the investigation, Branch (guy cop with girl name) and Vic (girl cop with guy name) investigate the nightclub in case there are any fathers that need killing[2] to see if they can find out about the girl. No one will talk about the stripper (because they love her so much, see) until Vic proves herself as a real Big Girl City Cop with an empowering revelation of skin…she strips. This way we know that (despite the male name) she’s all woman, all business, and there is no shame in her game. It’s also a chance to show up Branch while proving that men only think with their dicks. In this one clip there’s a wave for every kind of feminist to surf.

We learn that the Mennonite stripper didn’t want to strip. She was doing it only to escape from her tyrannical father. She was killed accidentally by her brother, who was trying to return her to her father as he was directed. Walt goes back to the Mennonite home to report the conclusions of the investigation. He makes a point of ignoring the father and talking solely to the mother–because the father is a jerk who oppresses his wife and daughter. Then Walt goes home, calls his own daughter, and apologizes for being concerned about her life. The juxtaposition of the two fathers and two daughters could not have been clearer: Bad dads get involved. Good dads don’t. Daughters of protective fathers become strippers and die. Daughters of liberating fathers become lawyers and have sex with handsome men.

In the third episode… Look: What’s important in the third episode is that the antagonist is a husband and father. Predictably, he’s also a fraud, liar, wife-beater, coward, and then dead. The end.

[1] Michael Bay is the current master of stories that are simply meant to entertain. His films are religiously devoid of any worldview other than “It’s awesome when good-looking people make things go BOOM!”

[2] Sorry. I got lulled by the pattern.

A Helpmeet Shootable

If you’re bored and looking for another way to measure the media’s purposeful evisceration of womanhood–particularly wifely submission–play a game of His Woman in Film. Here are the rules:

1. Whenever you watch a movie or TV show, grab your His Woman in Film game board.  If you don’t have one, grab some writing utensils and form three columns. Mark the first column Show Title, the second Hero’s Woman, and the third Villain’s Woman. Your game board should look like this:

His Woman in Film

Before I go any further: Already we’re looking at one of the main ways Hollywood and the networks debase marriage. If I had you use the headings Hero’s Wife and Villain’s Woman, then there would not be enough qualifying films to make any thing like a reliable survey. Heroes are usually only allowed wives who are either pushing up daisies, or collecting child support. But, let’s continue with the rules.

2. Write the name of the movie you’re about to watch in the left column.

3. Whenever the hero’s woman undermines, disobeys, argues, mistrusts, or contradicts with the hero: Put a hash mark in the Hero’s Woman column and in-line with the film’s title. Do the same for the Villain’s Woman.

4. At the end of the film, total up the hash marks for each column, and compare to find the winner. Your game board should look something like this:

His Woman in Film Final

If you’re a fan of modern marriage: Congratulations! The Hero’s Woman won by a big, big margin. (It would have been wider, but Kirk Cameron’s character in “Fireproof” played both hero and villain.) The wives romantic interests of the heroes upheld the status quo, and used every opportunity to exert their empowerment to thwart the hero; thereby proving their worthiness as his equal in modern measures of courage and perseverance against The Man. She is The Helpmeet Shootable.

The significant others of the villains are equally instructive: Only bad women reliably submit to their men, and almost always to their own detriment. That’s part of how we are to know they are bad. However; because they are women and moxie is always within their grasp, Moderns should not lose hope. There’s always the breaking point at the climax of the film–a point of treachery that done does-in the dastardly dude–and the villain’s woman is redeemed to her noble and rightful place in the filmament. Or she doesn’t and dies a fool at the hands of her wicked master; thus cleansing all womanhood of wrongdoing.

I’m tempted to suggest that the rest of us fogies take a note from that other paragon of frustrating games, score by lowest number wins, and call the bad as good. But that doesn’t really address the problem, does it? That problem being: We’re grading ourselves according to a sociopathic standard. Doing bad is never good. We should start recognizing that by ceasing to say that it is.

From the Darkness of Abraham and Sarah

One of my early intentions with this blog was to keep it aligned with the blog’s name

Psalm 87

Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
    incline your ears to the words of my mouth!
I will open my mouth in a parable;
    I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known,
    that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
    but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
    and the wonders that he has done.

by frequently writing about something that had jumped out at me from the spaces between verses in the Bible; things we can learn from the dark, but bring forth light.

Last night we watched the first two episodes of “The Bible” on Netflix. The acting, script, and directions is very good. I thought the stylizations kept with the spirit of the stories, that they were done tastefully, and they engaged my emotions.

The opening was clever, too. It’s Noah on the Ark, and he’s telling his family the creation story while they tend the animals, fix leaks, and generally fear for their lives. He explains to them why the Flood has come, but also that there is every reason to hope; that God has saved them in the Ark not only for themselves, but for a reason. They will live, and God will put them on dry land again. The Ark is temporary and life will come forth to rule the Earth again. All that is covered in five minutes of well-produced video.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that there was no sun for 40 days during the Flood, and there is a lot of darkness inside of an Ark, but light and life will come forth.

The rest of the first episode is about God establishing His covenant with Abraham–through Sarah–to give Abraham descendants as numerous as the stars. They show Lot being led astray by his wife, and Abraham’s intercessions on Lot’s part.

We see Abraham and Sarah age, and Sarah gives up her hope in God, as any barren wife would be tempted. They portray Sarah’s discouraged urging of Abraham to sleep with the slave Hagar; which discouraged Abraham does, and Hagar brings forth Ishmael. Years later, after a visit from God, His promise of descendants to Abraham through Sarah comes true when Isaac is born in Sarah’s dotage, and Hagar and Ishmael are sent away. I was heartbroken watching it..as well as the scene that followed. I leave that to my readers to discover.

Obviously they had to omit large chunks of Abraham and Sarah’s story to fit it into a 45 minute program. Some of the things they cut are what happens while Abraham and Sarah are traveling around. Sarah is beautiful, and twice when they enter foreign lands Abraham hands her over to be the wife of powerful men. She’s with those foreign men for days and days, but eventually is returned to Abraham with rebukes to him for not revealing Sarah was his wife!

There are many arks in the Bible, even if only two of them are called so by name: Noah’s Ark, and the Ark of the Covenant that held the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments. Another of them, if you can accept it, is Sarah. Her womb was locked up; sealed, and protected because God knew that Abraham would have those times of faithlessness. Yet His will was to use Abraham and Sarah’s seed to bear His people.

That’s mankind’s story. The very wondrous and extraordinary protection which God gives us (because we are foolish!) is taken as a curse by we faithless. We mourn His protection, and we use it as an excuse to rebel. We tell ourselves that while we know we should be faithful, we’re “just being realistic”. It’s a lie. Realistic has no meaning if we don’t even understand what is really going on, and really at stake.

Family-Friendly Films: Sabotaged to be Supplanted

While laws can influence culture in ways great and small, the usual way of things is that culture informs the law. By culture I mean that alloy made of the a society’s aspirations, desires, fears, and biases. These are what they hold important. It is the stuff their art and media is made of. And by law I mean not only the letters of the laws that are passed, but how they are passed, and how they are enforced…or not, as the case may be. Right now there are a lot of people across the political spectrum who are anxious to control the law because they don’t understand that the winner of this cycle of political battle we’re in right now has already been decided by the culture (especially the art and media) of the 80s, 90s, and before.

So when we look at a smear campaign by the pink mafia that causes the destruction of a TV show about brothers flipping houses for in-need families on the HGTV network,

HGTV announced on its Facebook page Wednesday that it was scrapping plans for the upcoming series after a report emerged identifying one of its stars as an activist against gay marriage and abortion. After the CNN interview, David told Deadline he and his brother had been “really excited” about the reality series, thinking it would give them “that opportunity to show America that you can be Christian and not be so extreme on one side of an issue that you’re not loving toward people. I was excited about that opportunity,” he said.

we’re looking at secondary explosions of a bomb that went off in previous decades. Those decades gave us cable and wealth. They gave us the housing market boom that increased homeowner envy, incited irrational exuberance for building more and bigger houses, created the glut that makes flipping houses a thing people believe anyone can get into, and the Internet makes all this knowledge available. Without those things, you don’t even have a show about flipping houses to be cancelled; or even an HGTV to cancel it. And sometime before all that: Homes and gardens–the church buildings of the family–became the cultural domain of homosexual men. We should not be surprised that two straight white men’s[3]  show about helping actual families (Dad, Mom, and kids) live together got caught in the blast.

The Good News: At least one man has heard the call to arms. His name’s John Erwin, and he’s not going to let the next generations suffer the same fate.

Erwin, whose new film “Moms’ Night Out” opens in theaters nationwide Friday, lambasted the industry for failing to take the time to consider the social consequences of distributing messages rooted in rampant violence, sex and smut.

[…]

Hollywood, he charged, doesn’t “have a soul anymore” — a paradigm he’s hoping to change through the work he’s doing with his brother, Andrew Erwin. The two co-directed “Moms’ Night Out,” a comedic follow-up to “October Baby,” their dramatic feature film about abortion survival.

The Erwin brothers are taking an entirely different approach.

“There’s no emphasis on anything other than, ‘Does this make money?,’” he charged of studios’ movie-making decisions. “There’s no boardrooms where people are asking, ‘Is ‘Grand Theft Auto’ good for people?’ They only ask, ‘Does it make money?’”

Erwin, a Christian who’s bent on producing films that focus on a fulfilling story or an uplifting message, said it’s long past due for Hollywood to really take the time to pursue a “double bottom line” — that is, creating content that is both financially profitable and ethically sound.

The Bad News: He’s leading F Troop.

Instead of a pretend enemy of equally hapless American Indians, we’re up against a deadly serious new Reich hellbent on slaughter, sodomy…nothing less than general and utter desecration. To see what I mean about leading F Troop, watch this trailer for John Erwin’s film-as-cultural-cannon, “Mom’s Night Out” as it topples the watchtower of patriarchy.

It’s a film about how mothers are over-worked yet under-appreciated, and how if they didn’t labor under this unfair burden all our children would be dead. All the fathers are inept, ignorant, and with one exception completely unappreciative. Even that guy suffers being tied-up and injured to the point of needing an ambulance–and that at the hands of small children. Every single father in the preview tries to weasel out of taking responsibility of his children; either by whining to his wife, checking them into an arcade, and even up to dropping them off at a tattoo parlor.

A bit of good luck there for our surrounded and outnumbered wives, though. Because while tattoo parlors are generally considered dens of slightly-less-iniquity than whorehouses, they also come stocked with presumably (and hopefully!) unmarried and fearless bikers who will stick by those wives no matter what to save those kids. Good thing, too, because the dads are too busy bumbling, hiding, and healing up from their traumatic experiences in babysitting to be of any help whatsoever. The necessity of the bikers is depicted in the clips where the bikers are leading even the police in the rescue, and will not hesitate to rough up another idiot father who stands in the way of their mission.

The snippet that really drives home the beautiful alliance of the bikers and the wives…

Did I forget to mention those wives are also smoking hot when they’re not being kept down by the idiot bastards to whom they’re married?

…is when they show the massive and tattoo’d leader[1] of the bikers sitting with the wife in the little black dress at the police station. Bikers–as everybody knows–aren’t only in it with your wife for the excitement. They’re in it for the long haul of fretful nights, too. One imagines those bikers could be in all kinds of things for wives.

There’s your Family-Friendly Film warriors at work; bringing us an “ethically sound”, clean and relatively painless lethal injection of fatherhood that frees up wives to have real adventures, sexy bikers, great clothes, the joy of kids…everything.

Before some wiseguy cracks that I haven’t even seen the movie yet, and so I can’t know what I’m talking about: You’ve not only missed the point of my post, but the point of movie trailers altogether.

Later in the Blaze interview I linked above, John Erwin says:

“There was a day when Hollywood really had a moral fiber in my opinion, that there was clear good versus evil and there were rules for what could and could not be portrayed,” he told TheBlaze. “I love comedy, but it stinks that there are so few comedies that I can go and see.”

Erwin said it’s unfortunate that so many people of faith are put in positions in which they need to sacrifice their values in order to get a good laugh, many times feeling like they “want to take a bath afterwards.”

[…]

“We’re going off a cliff in the kind of content we’re creating,” Erwin said. “My appeal to everyone in Hollywood is, can we please clean up our act?”

Tell me about it, Captain Parmenter.[2]

Edited to include footnote [3], which is out of order.

[1] Played by country singer Trace Adkins. Trace is 6’5″ and has family values written all over him. He’s sold millions of albums filled with dozens of songs about himself, been married and divorced three times, and has had at least five children by at least two women. (His groupies declined to comment during the calls I didn’t make for clarification.) 

[2] For those of you in the mood to take another beating, check out this clip of the creators of this film talking about why and how they made it. One pitch for the movie–by the co-writer, director, and brother to John: Andrew Erwin–is such a farce that I will transcribe it here:

It’s this feel-good, empowering story, and it’s really about a husband and wife fighting for each other and fighting for their family. And I hope there’s just this resounding message to moms to keep going; just keep going; just keep doing what you’re doing[…]

  1. It’s not a story about a husband and wife fighting together, but rather wives, their friends, and bikers.
  2. Keep going towards what? Divorce, girls’-nights-out, and bikers, presumably.

[3] As I have already received and deleted one off-target racial comment meant to redirect from my post to a discussion about race, let me make my inclusion of white clear. It matters in this case because NAMs, when attacked, can always resort to their Aggreivance Protection Policy to abjure the haters. In the alternate reality where everything is the same except the twins are black, their show is still in production. But if you’re a white guy: There’s no APP for that. I’m not particularly upset about that, either. Find the black dudes who are housing and supporting families and put them on the air.

Doublethinking Lust II: Let’s All Get Mary’d

The reason I picked on Downton Abbey is not because the show is utter trash that no one should ever watch, but because they know the conservative passwords to use to get past the filters. Rather, they know what words not to use, and what visuals to avoid. They don’t cuss, and they don’t show whatever would lie under a bikini.

The plot of Downton Abbey is that the estate is in peril because the father gambled the estate’s funds away in an investment scheme. When he married the mother, his father and her father tied up her inheritance to the estate. That saved Downton Abbey, but now her inheritance will pass to another part of the family, as the heir apparent dies in the first episode. They have only daughters, and daughters are not allowed to inherit the estate. In other words, the plot of this “conservative show” is the errors of patrirachy. This, in a time when it is fashionable to hate patriarchy.

The best chance the family has to keep the mother’s inheritance close to home is to marry Mary (the oldest and prettiest daughter) to the new heir. Mary is not interested in this. She is interested in Pamuk; whom she takes to her bed; which is where he dies. The women of the family conspire to keep this secret, and are successful until a newspaper man discovers her secret and uses the information to blackmail Mary into marrying him. When all hope seems lost to Mary, she confesses her secret tryst with Pamuk to her father; to explain why she is marrying a man the family dislikes. Her father gives the only acceptable response allowed of fathers in the media: A hug.

The show takes pains to point out that if the other circumstances were different and she was an eligible heiress, then Mary could eat Turkish Delights every day and Downton Abbey would be fine! When you doublethink about it: Mary and Pamuk only sinned in response to the other greater sins of the law and fathers.

Let’s do the emotion math: Consider all the players involved, Mary is at most 1/5th responsible. Then there’s Pamuk (Who seduced poor Mary, so he should take half of her half, too. So, 1/10th blame to Mary, 3/10th to Pamuk.) Her father was the one who lost the money (1/5th blame). Her grandfathers locked up her mother’s inheritance (1/5th each). Let’s not forget English law and the pitiless patriarchy that set up this macabre system of law that doesn’t allow women to inherit estates. (Another 1/5th to them.) Wait…that’s 6/5th’s. Let’s consider poor Mary’s situation: Do we really want to assign blame to her? Her part is the smallest already, and doesn’t our reticence to impugn pretty women mean something? Let’s be forgiving (as we are commanded) and strike her 1/5th blame from the record.

When we add all this up we arrive at the inevitable conclusion that Mary is blameless. There’s just a lot of hurt feelings, and poor Mary almost had to do something she didn’t want to for doing something that–though wrong–is not really her fault. You know…when we feel doublethink about it, while we must admit that committing fornication is wrong, we also find Mary did no real wrong.

This doublethink is what passes for good conservative entertainment.

Folks: Don’t lose the point of my posts: That female viewers are the victims, here; that they are under constant barrage. Pointing out that every single song, show, and movie made in the West includes fem-porn isn’t an indictment of women, but of what is going on; that the situation in the Garden has not changed. The serpent is still whispering, “Would it really be wrong?”

I’m not saying Downton Abbey is the worst show ever[1], or that no one should ever watch it. I’m saying watch what you watch. Even the entertainment that is upheld as decent are infested with rebellion and licentiousness. While many things are used in this endeavor of evil, it is fem porn that is ubiquitously used to incite our wives and daughters. I want to encourage fathers that if you see something that you see or suspect is interfering with your family: It is not only your duty, but your joy(!) to turn that crap off. You don’t have to justify anything. It’s just entertainment, and you are the authority.

[1]And I like to like Justified. How is Justified superior to Downton Abbey? Because they don’t justify the sinful choices of the characters. Raylan isn’t better off for his sexual activity; in fact he’s always worse off. The writers of that show are more honest about life than the writers of either Jesse Stone or Downton Abbey. More to the point: I’m not being sold a bill of subversive goods, and no one in my house falls prey to the mindset of Justified the way women do to Downton Abbey.

Doublethinking Lust I: Sex Ed

I fully intended to finish my 1/3 written post on Sunday School, but I don’t feel I’ve done due diligence on the topic of Christians celebrating deviant sex and relationships, and it is nagging at me.  As well, I want to tie in the lengthy conversation about Christians and “bad words” that occurred under the previous post, because it is of a piece with the issue of why so many Christian wives and daughters are so unprotected, undisciplined, indiscriminate, and too often feral.

As I re-read my posts one of the things I failed to do was clearly state my case. Here it is: The media we consume is by-and-large propaganda. It’s intended effect is to destroy authority and create women likely to act on sinful and thoughtless urges, because unregulated urges mean more sales. This dissolution is taught at least somewhere within most television shows, movies, books, and songs.

At the same time, this propaganda machine discourages fathers and husbands from exercising any meaningful authority, and discourages women from taking them seriously if they do. It does so by portraying disapproving fathers and husbands as unreasonable, mistaken, tyrannical, and heartless. Conversely, the only fathers and husbands who are uplifted are those who do not confront actions of rebellion or sin. Theirs is but to give hugs and understanding.

Encouragement of feral female licentiousness and discouragement of the discipline of modesty is omnipresent in the fiction of Western Civilization, and it’s also true of any journalism or editorial that touches on the subject of sex or romance. In effect it is a much more comprehensive sex ed concerned not only with which bit goes where, but how the producers of media believe men and women should relate, how families should be ordered (or not!), and how to make decisions on sexual matters.

Within these (deviously informal but extremely well-funded) sex ed seminars, there are also individual scenes of propaganda are targeted at a particular sex. In the past media was designed to appeal to as broad and general audience as possible, but as liberalism has progressed (and with the aid of technology and increasingly specialized labor) this is no longer necessary to accomplish their goals.

The go-to formula to get men in the theater is to make the protagonist violent. The violence of the protagonist is almost always perpetrated in protection of, or revenge for, some person or people, and the violence is committed against clearly-defined bad guys who–in addition to being generally dastardly–almost always initiate the violence first. There is at least a tenuous relation to the concepts of justice and defense of the weak. Revenge becomes a symbol for justice. (Granted: Somewhere further down the list of tropes to entice men is naked women.)

When media producers want to appeal to women they put the protagonist into a pornographic scene. This is usually fornication and adultery, but an emotional affairs[1] will do. Once in awhile sex and love between a husband and wife is depicted, but by-and-large the captivating moments aimed at women are illicit relationships. These pornographic scenes are intended to appeal to women along the same tenuous lines as the violent revenge and protection themes appeal to men. So, if revenge is meant as a symbol of justice, what ideal is pornography meant to symbolize?

Eros.

Unfortunately for Christians: Eros does not differentiate between good and evil sexual desires. It’s a pagan concept that has no place in the Christian worldview, yet we accept it reflexively because in our society it is the dominant frame of reference for love between a man and a woman. Consequently, deep confusions of the pagan and Biblical worldviews exists in the Church. We can’t articulate the difference between sex with a whore and sex with a wife. There are Christians leaders out there teaching that husbands should stop lusting after their wives, and other Christians teaching how to find a soul-mate; two actions that are fundamentally impossible if Christianity is true.

Now media can be churned out at a very high rate with cheaper and faster production; especially since they regurgitate [remake or adapt] the same films, shows, songs and books over and over. Each rumination is more granular, more targeted propaganda, than the last iteration of the cud. Family films skew chick flick. Adventures become shoot-em-ups. This in itself purposefully divides the audiences; driving fathers and husbands towards one theater, and wives and daughters towards another; segregated sex ed.

When we uncritically watch the propaganda we not only cannot differentiate between love and lust, but are confirmed in our decision not to. Against this, the argument is often put forth that these bits of propaganda are “just movies”, or “just songs”, or whatever; that we don’t really take them seriously, or even pay attention to them. But, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Depending on the source: 80-97% of American Christians engage in extra-marital sex. Those figures don’t account for french-kissing, fondling, or day-dreams. Does anyone seriously believe 80-97% of American Christians engage in revenge slayings? How many have even started a fist-fight; maybe 20%?

This is because we have a way to talk about justice, to teach it; to have a discipline about justice because it is common between Christianity and paganism…or at least translatable. There is no direct corollary in Christianity for the concept of Eros. The closest is lust, and we–especially women–are taught explicitly to avoid discipline when in pursuit of lust because Eros is explicitly about loss of control, and madness. We’re supposed to let Eros magically happen and simply enjoy the ride.

We kept on confusing pagan Eros and Christian romantic love until now we are at the point where we have realized Orwell’s doublethink about all things sexual; .

The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.

It’s so pervasive in the culture, that if you eradicated every piece of media that endorsed Eros, there would be nothing left to entertain women but housekeeping shows. If you bring it up too many times they start to get the idea that you’re serious about closely watching what they watch. That might mean boredom, and them’s fightin’ words. More troubling: We like the way we feel “in love”. We like undisciplined nature. We like uncontrolled emotions. We’re “in love” with Eros.

And if you don’t think this describes you, then what is the Biblical corollary to “in love”?

[1]All Christians accept that sex outside of marriage is illicit, but not all Christians know that–outside of marriage–the expression of emotional romance is usually illicit, too. It is, and it shouldn’t be hard to figure out because these expressions are inherently sexual. In fact, I think it is true to say that we do know this, but we choose not to care because no one says anything, and we really like how it feels.