Tag Archives: entertainment as self-education

Going Godless All the Way

Image result for images of primeval tv show

[Note: Sorry I’m late today. I decided that if I didn’t do my bike ride early, I’d never overcome the temptation to skip it later in the day.]

Patty and I have been watching Primeval, a hit science fiction series from the BBC. We watch if for Tim Haines’ dinosaur and monster effects, really the best in the business–the closest you can come to really seeing these animals. We also enjoy the sometimes very goofy characters, and the fact that these fictional people are, with only one or two exceptions, extraordinarily chaste.

But what astounds me most about it is its deep and total atheism. Not that they speak a word against God. He has simply been written out of the show. In the whole series, there’s only one brief–and really a little bit touching–scene in a church, and that’s all it has to show for the non-material side of things. I mean, they don’t even take the Lord’s name in vain: which is a good thing, but it’s also like nobody in this show has ever heard of Him.

Ah, science fiction… See, there are these holes in space and time, called “anomalies,” and dinosaurs and other creatures pop out of them to wreak havoc in modern England, and this little crew of amateur scientists has to shoo the monsters and close the anomalies… You get the idea.

There are good-guy scientists and bad-guy scientists butting heads, and what we wind up with is a clash of two 100% atheistic world views. One (the good guys) would be “Let Nature/Evolution take its course.” The other (the bad guys) is, “We must control Evolution.” Both envision the ultimate extinction of the human race. Sorry, no salvation. Well, there can’t be any if there isn’t any God, can there?

As the series builds to its climax, the thing that drives the bad guys is the Quest for the Ultimate Free Stuff (and nobody is to make a profit! isn’t that great?). I kind of like that part of the story–you see where the untrammeled lust for Free Stuff gets you, and it ain’t good.

If your Christian faith is solid, this series will not hurt you. Won’t turn you into a pagan, a New Ager, or an atheist. At the end of my workday I’m tired and want to veg out. Dinosaurs romping across my TV screen helps me relax. I enjoy Primeval–but–but–

But a steady diet of Godless science fiction, beginning in childhood–no, that I wouldn’t recommend. Not for anyone. At best it’s a handicap to be overcome. At worst, it gets lodged in your brain and you can’t get it out, and you wind up worshiping false gods and idols.

Mark me, I don’t say the solution to this is to slap on a lot of “Christian” decals and call it “Christian science fiction.” That won’t fool anyone.

Consumption of “entertainment” is a form of self-education, and we really need to learn to be more careful with it.

 

 


Another Sleazy Book I Won’t Review

Image result for images of self-worship

All week long I’m peppered by publicists with invitations to review their clients’ latest books. And some of them–oy, have they got a wrong number!

This week’s offer is a novel about polygamy, touted as “Fifty Shades of Grey for men.” In case you missed it, that aforementioned book was a celebration of sadomasochism. I don’t propose to give the title or the name of the author of this current book–no free publicity for you, sunshine. Besides, it’s only one example plucked out of a multitude.

The publicist enthused about “the protagonist’s quest for the holy grail of sexual fulfillment”–translation: fornication with a lot of different women whenever he pleases–and  called it “an enchanting tale of personal development and fulfillment.” They’re big on fulfillment. I think it means gratification of lust.

Does this sound like narcissistic self-worship to you? Sure does to me.

Why do I even mention it?

Because “entertainment” in all its forms, including dirty novels, is self-education, with the popular culture as the classroom. And nothing we can accomplish in politics or economics will be of any use to us as long as we continue to let our culture disintegrate into pure moral imbecility. A degenerate people will not produce decent leaders or decent public policy.

Kill the culture, and the culture will kill you back.


Two More Books I Won’t Review

Our cultural landscape looks like this.

Those addled publicists out there just won’t stop pitching books to me that I wouldn’t read, let alone review, if you paid me extra for it.

As usual, I won’t divulge the authors’ names or the titles because I don’t want to give them any free publicity. I only mention them because it troubles me that there is so much dreck out there.

What we read for entertainment, what we watch on a TV or a movie screen, is more than just a way to pass the time. It’s one of the ways we educate ourselves. And all too often we educate ourselves into folly. Or worse.

One of these books is “a paranormal erotic thriller” which might be described as “James Bond meets 50 Shades of Grey,” only in this one James Bond is a woman super-spy who gets off on being dominated by her mysterious dark putz-head of a boss. If you’ve ever wondered why more and more people seem to be getting stupider and stupider, this may give you a clue.

The other is a lot of lesbian tommyrot intended to portray sinful and dysfunctional activities as praiseworthy, even heroic, and totally mainstream. What made that publicist think I would want to read it? But again, here is our entertainment media educating us into folly.

I do not like to try to imagine the mental landscape of anyone who reads books like these one after another and doesn’t see anything wrong with them.

But then I don’t have to imagine it, do I? Our current social and political landscape, which I can’t avoid seeing if I try, leaves nothing to the imagination.


TV Treat: Dueling Paganisms

Patty and I have been enjoying Primeval, a popular British TV series featuring prehistoric monsters invading our modern world through “anomalies in time,” whatevuh they may be. It was created by Tim Haines, which is what attracted us to it. We love Haines’ trilogy of prehistoric life: Walking With Dinosaurs, Walking With Beasts, and Walking With Monsters. We dismiss the Darwinian fairy tales and groove on the special effects.

No one, not even the makers of the Jurassic Park movies, tops Haines when it comes to re-creating prehistoric critters. These look real! My favorite is the Gorgonopsian (see video clip), a saber-toothed predatory reptile structured more like a mammal and, it would seem, incredibly dangerous.

Okay, Primeval is not King Lear. Don’t go looking for depth of character here, or a lot of logical consistency. Enjoy watching the critters.

But I have also enjoyed the series’ theme of two competing versions of humanistic paganism.

In this corner we have Nick, the good guy, who views Evolution as a sovereign force and is dead-set against trying to tamper with it. To Nick, all good things about the world are the result of blind chance.

Over here, in the black tights, we have Helen (Nick’s estranged wife), who wants to control Evolution and change the outcome of history.

Nick’s god is Chance. Helen worships a pristine Earth Goddess devoid of human beings. Both visions are as far from Christ as it is possible to be. If you are easily influenced by what you watch on TV, it might be a good idea for you to steer clear of Primeval.

But if you’re interested in what makes God-less people tick, if you want to try to understand where they’re coming from, and how they manage to do such a bang-up job of screwing up our civilization–well, then, these shows may prove enlightening. I must admit to a experiencing a kind of sardonic amusement, watching pagans blunder around inside their ideological hall of mirrors, unable to get out.

Anyhow, I don’t think it’s a bad idea to spy out the enemy and try to analyze his plans, his outlook on reality–or, as the case may be, unreality.

We are spying out the Promised Land, to win ground for Christ’s Kingdom; and we can’t do it with our eyes closed.


A Misplaced Faith

In regard to the guy in Pensacola who crashed his car into first one shop and then another, saying he was trying to drive through a “time portal” (see yesterday’s post), reader Marge Hofknecht observed, “I have met individuals who take certain aspects of science fiction as the gospel truth…”

Yes, I know what kind of individuals she means. The kind who tell you, in all seriousness, “Jesus was a hybrid. He was half-extraterrestrial. That’s how he was able to do the things he did.”

Think about it. We have the vastest, most expensive education system ever devised by man, with more schools, colleges, and universities than have ever existed and millions more people in them, sitting in classrooms for many more years than is good for them… and what have we got to show for it?

I don’t even like to guess how many people believe categorically in space aliens, in super-intelligent ET philosopher-kings secretly manipulating history on earth, in planets where the native super-race is just waiting for the right moment to help humanity over the top, and on and on, without a single scrap of evidence.

We may not spend much time in the Bible, or in church, but we sure have time for science fiction movies and TV, comic books, video games, and all the other apparatus of self-instruction.

I’ve grown up loving science fiction. It’s fun. Years ago it was even more fun, when you had all those wonderful magazines like Galaxy, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Amazing Stories, Analog, and others. But we didn’t take it seriously!

Or did we?

I’m beginning to wonder. I really am.


Much Ado About Movies

As part of an assignment for my employer, The Chalcedon Foundation ( http://www.chalcedon.edu/ ), I have to read and review a bunch of books about movies. I’ve just finished the first of the lot, Hollywood Worldviews by Brian Godawa, a professional screenwriter who used to write movie reviews for our website. It’s a book about “how to watch movies with your eyes open”–that is, with understanding and discernment.

Every movie tells a story, and every one of those stories is shaped and informed by a particular worldview. Among the most common worldviews shaping modern movies are existentialism, postmodernism, fate, neopaganism, and a few others–including a very few in which the worldview is explicitly Christian.

Funny, isn’t it? The human race plodded along for thousands of years without a single movie until the 20th century came along. Now we have thousands and thousands of movies, and I can’t even make a guess as to how many I’ve watched.

They say it’s only entertainment, but watching movies is also a form of self-education, and God only knows how many hundreds and hundreds of hours we spend doing it. Movies get poured into our minds, and what’s in our minds comes out as our culture.

Well, that explains a lot about the current state of our culture, doesn’t it?

Most modern, mainstream movies subtly teach lessons that, when expressed in bald and simple terms, are ridiculous. There is no reality, there’s only what each of us thinks is reality. Whatever you sincerely believe is right, is right. “Love” is the only thing that counts. And so on. Maybe that’s why I don’t watch many modern, mainstream movies. I can’t stand the banality.

It really is interesting, to watch a movie alertly enough to see what it’s actually saying to us. Most of what most movies have to say is twaddle.

But, boy, if you’re not aware of that, you wind up teaching yourself a lot of stuff that simply isn’t true.


Another Red-Hot Sex Book for Me not to Review

From that dopey old movie, Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice, or whatever they called it.

I don’t know what some of these publicists must think of me. They’re always trying to get me to review books that I wouldn’t read if you put a gun to my head.

Yesterday a publicist invited me to review a novel about “open relationships”–the kind of thing we used to call being a slut, or being a horn dog–written by “an expert about sex and relationships” whose actual background is in the restaurant business. He was once in a punk rock band, too.

In this novel, which I will not name because I refuse to give it free publicity, a married couple in their late 30s go to this hotel somewhere in the Carribees, “a resort that provides sexual fantasies for couples.” You know the whole thing’s fiction because they don’t meet Bill Clinton there.

Anyhow, they get involved in a threesome, and “it breaks your heart to watch the devolving of what was a successful, loving marriage with two children into the hell it becomes,” because of “that one act.”

What have we got here? I could read the book and find out, but I don’t want to find out that badly. It does sound like the ex-restaurant guy is trying to sell us morality and porn at the same time. Is he saying, “If you break the rules, the moral law, you’ll wreck your marriage and mess up your life”?

But there are probably better ways of delivering that message than a story that tries to titillate the reader and get him thinking that maybe a few nights at that special resort might be the most fun he’s ever had in his life.

This is our culture, boys and girls.

When we read, it’s a form of self-education.

This is what we’re pumping into our minds and into our souls.

On the whole, I think I prefer 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.


We Can Poison Adults’ Minds, Too

I was going to review a movie called Diary of a Teenage Girl, but instead I think I ought to review a review of this movie–this gem written by one Helen Murdoch ( http://www.flickeringmyth.com/2015/08/movie-review-the-diary-of-a-teenage-girl-2015.html ).

The Synopsis tells us everything we need to know: “A teen artist [huh?] living in 1970s San Francisco enters into an affair with her mother’s boyfriend.”

Gee. My mother’s boyfriend was named Dad.

Helen Murdoch turns cartwheels over this movie.  Of the girl she writes, “Minnie is unapologetic about her sexuality and her drug use which is refreshing to see.” She finds in this movie “an honest portrayal of what it means to be a teenager discovering sex, drugs and love.” Do those three always go together?

Oops. Forgot to mention the boyfriend is 35 years old. Minnie is 15. In most states, this is against the law.

Okay, movies have always had this certain streak of idiocy. I remember The Summer of ’42, about a teenage boy who gets his first sex from a beautiful woman who takes him into her bed because her husband is away at war. This used to be called adultery. Anyhow, the movie’s advertising slogan was, “In everyone’s life, there is a Summer of ’42.” As a young, single man who never got his Summer of ’42, I felt ill-used.

Gone are the days, I guess, when a 35-year-old man who took advantage of a 15-year-old girl could thank his lucky stars if he wasn’t lynched. And the new virtue is to be unapologetic about living like a moral imbecile.

This is the stuff we pour into our heads. This is a big chunk of our popular culture, which, as Henry Van Til said, is “religion externalized.”

God help us.


So You Want Your Teen to be Reading… This?

I’ve been saying we all have to be careful about the entertainment that we stuff into our brains. Especially our children’s brains, and that includes teenagers–who are smart enough to get in trouble, but not yet smart enough to avoid it.

Which brings me to I Hunt Killers, by Barry Lyga–which, not too long ago, was an amazon.com “Kids’ Daily Deal” of the day.

One reader described it as “like Silence of the Lambs for kids.” Lovely. Reviewer Joe Hill waxed even more enthusiastic, likening it to “an out-of-control hearse with one busted headlight, blood on the grille, a madman at the wheel, and laughter pouring out of the open windows.”

I Hunt Killers is about the teenage son of a prolific serial killer. The boy’s name is Jazz–somehow “Jazz” has become a popular name for exceedingly disturbed teenagers. Jazz’s old man has taught his boy everything he knows about being a serial killer, in hopes that Jazz will grow up to murder even more people than he did.

Meanwhile, there’s a serial killer on the loose in their hometown. Could it be Jazz, following in his pappy’s footsteps–or will Jazz have to use his special knowledge to stop him?

This could turn out to be pretty unwholesome.

But this is the curriculum material we’re using to educate ourselves and our children.

If it’s what you want, you’re welcome to it. But I wish you lived farther away.


Self-Education… Through Entertainment

I have been dipping into R.J. Rushdoony’s The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum (Ross House Books, Vallecito, CA: 1981, 2001 reprint–available from http://www.chalcedon.edu ), and it has set my mind on fire.

Culture, said Henry Van Til, “is religion externalized.” In light of that statement, one good, hard look at our culture of today should send us running madly for the exits. And one of the chief determining factors of a culture is, of course, the education provided to its members.

And here’s the thought that blows my mind:

Our consumption of “entertainment”–novels, movies, stories, television programs, etc.–is a form of self-education.

This entertainment is what we pour into our heads when we are not in a formal “educational” setting. As a society, we have more leisure time than we used to have; and much of that time is spent consuming entertainment.

The horror! The horror!

Take a good look, kimosabe, at what we’re stuffing into our minds. Is it any wonder we’re in such a mess? Given what we educate ourselves into, of course we’re going to redefine marriage, excuse all forms of lawlessness, lie and cheat six ways from Sunday, and in general behave as if there is no God.

Because so much of our entertainment, our self-education, is absolutely, positively Godless.

Think it over–long and hard and carefully. What are we learning from our entertainment?

Our elite “educators” have labored mightily to wean our nation away from Christianity. But their efforts are a drop in the bucket, compared to the weaning-away accomplished by our entertainment.

The point is so subtle as to be well-nigh invisible. We thus defend ourselves: “It’s only a movie, it’s only a novel, it’s only a TV show”–as if our steady diet of it had no effect at all.

I thank Rushdoony for this insight.


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