Why I am a Surly Old Stick in the Mud

The internet is alight with the controversy over a Netflix movie, Cuties. Now, I’ve not seen it nor intend to see it. I’ve seen two reports from people who have claimed to watch it, but for all I know, they are lying.

This is not a blog post to denounce or affirm Cuties on the basis of itself. Rather, it is the reasoning I can do from the meta-data.

I have seen five-ish general categories of takes on the Twitters, which I can dub the Cuties spectrum:

  1. Cuties is straight up porn, all all adults involved should be immediately millstoned.
  2. Cuties is a coming-of-age film that does critique the sexualization of young girls, but does so by crossing the line and sexualizing the actresses involved.
  3. Cuties is a critique of the sexualization of young girls, and this justifies the depictions of the actresses.
  4. Cuties is a normal coming-of-age film, and if it depicts things that make you uncomfortable, that’s because that’s how society actually is and you need to grow up and deal with reality.
  5. Cuties sexualizes minor girls, and that’s a good thing.

I’m not going to pick one of these takes as my take, because I don’t need to.

If positions 1 or 2 are true, Cuties and the forces behind it are a demonic evil to be opposed. Position 3 is that position 2 is true, but the ends justify the means. I reject that. Position 5 is in and of itself a demonic evil to be opposed. And notably, it is the position taken by a lot of media.

The fact that the pro-pedo forces have taken up this film as their banner would make me loath to endorse it even if it were otherwise innocent.

So we are left with position 4.

Way back when I was in college, I returned home for a visit. Now, my siblings and I were homeschooled in different proportions. As the oldest, I went to Kindergarten through Third Grade, and that is when my mother started teaching me. My youngest sibling, on the other hand, was homeschooled at first, but sent to a public school for the last several years of his education.

As I visited from college, my brother’s school put on a talent show, and out of solidarity for my bro, I attended the talent show.

And it featured twelve-year old girls singing highly sexualized songs.

Some little girl, on the cusp of puberty, flirting with a crowd of adults, and neither her parents nor her teachers thought to object at any point. Probably because it was a pop song, acceptable to play on the radio. Or because they grew up swapping body fluids at a young age, and saw nothing wrong with it. Or maybe because they were Minnesotan, they were just too darn nice to protect the children they were charged by God to protect.

At that point I realized that whatever that girl’s parents and teachers were doing, I wanted to go the other direction. I wanted to fight it. And I wanted to help anyone who wanted to fight it.

So, let me be perfectly clear here:

I object to the culture as it is. I believe it harms children who ought to be protected. I take action to alter it. Educating my own children and advocating others do the same. And especially, attempting to create entertainment that is free of the propaganda of the spirit of the age, as much as any man can.

I do accept that the world out there is really like that, and this is how young girls are actually behaving. I just do not accept that this is a good thing to be embraced or even a neutral thing to be tolerated.

I am, and have ever been, a Christian. I am charged with upholding the Christian standard of morality regardless of how out of touch with the modern times it gets. Being a sinful son of Adam, I will fail.

But I will not pretend up is down just because everyone else does.

As to whether you should cancel your Netflix account over this, I have no reasoned position. Niemeier presents the pro-cancellation position in his book “Don’t Give Money to People Who Hate You.” I have not read the book yet due to lack of funds, but I have found his reasoning is frequently sound.

How to Fight Back

Allexander Hellene is one of my favorite dudes on the internet, and I endorse everything he’s written in this blog post.

But especially:

Enjoy the battle. This fight will never end. There will be losses, but there will also be victories. Celebrate the wins and keep going. Morale is important, so don’t spread despair. Blackpilling does nobody any good.

One of the things I enjoy (yes! enjoy!) about living in Corona times is that it has stripped away the illusion that we do not live in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. I came to terms with this reality a year or two ago, and it sucks to realize that this world will always be a battlefield and Satan will have the upper hand more and more right up to the moment that Christ comes back…

But once you embrace it, it’s freeing. You start to put your hope in the world to come. You start to really understand how trivial and light is death.

It’s the paradox of Ecclesiastes. Everything is dust in the wind. But once you realize you’re building castles out of soap bubbles, the proper joy of building castles out of soap bubbles is revealed.

When you cannot win, you are free to do as you like. When you cannot lose, you are free to do as you like. And the Christian gets to live under both of these realities at once. This is how the martyrs go singing to their own executions. And when we win (and we have won from time to time), it is how we win.

Trojan Mice

Yesterday I read The Trojan Mouse: How Disney is Winning the Culture War by Samuel Lively.

One of my constant contentions is that the serious plays in the culture war are to play the long game by building families and making entertainment. So it seemed this book would be up my alley. And it was and then some. The book traces both the physical and ideological histories of Disney. It is of peculiar interest to me because I grew up during the Disney Rennaisance in a Baptist-adjacent family. So I caught both the Baptist Boycott denunciations of the Mouse, and the average Joe’s apathy to that boycott.

When I analyzed Disney movies for myself at the time (as a teenager, mind you,) my conclusion was that the more wildly occultic and salacious accusations were overblown (which in turn made them easy to dismiss), but the philosophical trends were real. There were no secret pentagrams in the animation, but the Mouse had switched from a default of honoring the parents to a default of undermining them.

To this very day, though, most people will look at me like a crazy person if I tell them I don’t want to take my kid to the latest Disney flick, let alone something so old that present day Social Justice Warriors find it problematic.

The Baptist Boycott didn’t work. Audiences naturally rejected the more explicitly subversive Disney Renaissance flicks organically — Hunchback and Pocahontas did not do comparatively well — but Aladdin and Mermaid did extremely well despite (despite?) having as their core value the idea that horny teens ought to ignore their parents.

To a certain degree, people will choose what is bad for them. Humanity is fallen. But to a certain degree, people will choose the good over the bad. Even the most depraved sugar addict will choose steak and vegetables over a plate of manure. People won’t, in mass and as a rule, choose nothing at all. Audiences favored Toy Story over Pocahontas. Was it because of the shiny new 3D, or because it was more in alignment with core American values? Hard to say. But Aladdin didn’t really have that kind of competition.

I’ve already made some kids’ books, and will continue to do so, but books are seeds of the culture war; the fighting happens on screens, with music and animation and acting and drama. It may be best for me to stay behind the lines planting seeds. It may be best for me to try and charge for the front line and use my animation skills. I don’t know. But in the spirit of putting that conundrum to the test, I’ve begun work on a video game, which is the best route for my skill stack to reach the screens.


Hat Trick 1: the Death of Arthur is the start of a dark Christian scifi/fantasy serial. And it has pictures! Check it out now on Amazon.

Oxygen

Rawle Nyanzi recently proposed Brand Zero. Namely: don’t promote major media. Don’t talk about them even as negative examples, because doing so promotes them and increases their brand. Nyanzi extends this not just to subversive and disgenic brands like the Mouse, but even brands he likes and respects. From his comments on Brian Niemeier’s blog:

Anime has a lot of mainstream visibility… Big, well-trafficked sites discuss anime, and it is a frequent topic on social media. Those companies need no help getting the word out; if you want to recommend an anime to someone, do so in private conversation…

The flip side of Brand Zero is Oxygen. Do talk about the little artists who can use the exposure.

Jon Del Arroz makes comic books and steampunk. Brian Niemeier does science fantasy horror and, recently, mecha military books that are Gundam meets Battletech. Rawle Nyanzi has released a mecha book with strong Sailor Moon influences and is trying his hand at pixel art animations.

Bradford C. Walker wrote a mecha book that’s Robotech, except instead of Zentraedi you have demons, and instead of the UN you have Medieval Catholics.

The Last Ancestor is about human refugees fighting for survival on a planet of dog men.

Adam Smith has Christian Paladins engaging in fisticuffs with demons in post apocalypse America. And of course, I have a dark magician bunny fighting the Night Mare.

It’s not enough to reduce the big names to Brand Zero. We’ve got to give each other oxygen.

Reblog: Why Concede and Keep Fighting?

Here is an old post from an old blog that I repost because it is still relevant and it allows me to build up my track record of content. It is from 2013 when Obama was freshly president, and reflects my thoughts from that time.

In this present era, I realize that I’m thinking of the debate between “left” and “right” as a philosophical or political debate, whereas now I see, as Niemeier maintains, it is a religious war and we ought to go straight to witch tests instead of logic. I should also note that my attitudes have changed. I am no longer a regretful lefty forced by logic into a rightwing position, but an enthusiastic advocate of the Good, the Beautiful, and the True. But the logic is, in my opinion, still instructive, so I post it here.

The angry buzzing of the bees over this whole gay marriage nonsense makes me shake my head in sadness.

You’re fighting the wrong fight, peoples.

What is the current definition of what marriage is, according to the conservative, Church-going elites?

It is Disney marriage with an arbitrary rule. The core of marriage is that two people in love with each other ratify their emotional attachment with a big, expensive ceremony.

Against Disney Marriage

Hat Trick 1 is Done

You can get the PDF now from my patreon.

A few thoughts:

Hat Trick has the same page count as Alphabeasts. But I will be able to sell Hat Trick for $4 whereas I have to charge $15 for Alphabeasts because Hat Trick is black and white, and Alphabeasts is color. This price difference makes me consider whether producing books in black and white isn’t the best plan for now. It’s pretty darn significant.

Hat Trick was never meant as Christian fiction, though I’m putting it in that category on Amazon. I’m putting it there because some of the characters are Christian, and Christianity is true in the world of Hat Trick as I believe it to be true in this world. And its truth matters to the plot because magic is a constant and tangible presence in that world, and so prayers and grace take on an equally tangible presence. But the purpose of the story isn’t to spread the faith nor to impart good morals. Hat Trick is not a tract. Crosses glow in the presence of vampires not because I’m trying to convert you, but because I think vampires and glowing crosses are cool.

“But wait!” you say, “isn’t Hat Trick set in a world of talking animals? How is Christianity a factor in a world of talking animals?”

Yes. Here are some spoilers about my world which I don’t mind sharing as they are not directly relevant to the plot.

World Building

Anglo Honesty and Free Speech

In my starting post on Christian Politics, I listed 7 Divine Rights, which I defined as “rights that men have that, if violated, will be avenged by God, as revealed in Scripture.” And you’ll note that several rights we take for granted in America, notably freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the right to bear arms, are not among them.

Today I’d like to touch on cultural norms.

Freedom of speech in America is derived from Anglo-Saxon cultural norms. It’s also derived from an Enlightenment-era tactic designed to overthrow Christendom (which has, thus far, worked exactly as designed), but the American expression of it is derived from Anglo-Saxon cultural norms, specifically the Anglo-Saxon obsession with honesty.

I am not a history buff, but I often bunk with history buffs, and my last history-obsessed roommate told me that under ancient Saxon laws, if you killed a man, but you told the first person you met, you might be acquitted due to self defense. But if you kept it secret, you were considered guilty of murder.

There is an idea in American Christianity that if you a commit a crime, the Christian thing to do is to turn yourself in. But this is nowhere taught Scripture! Corinthians commands us to settle our legal disputes among ourselves instead of dragging each other before the courts, and Ephesians instructs the penitent thief not to turn himself in, but to exchange thievery for honest work and generous giving.

Many an English speaking atheist has held Jesus to be a liar because when his family asked whether he was going to Jerusalem at one point, he said “No,” instead of “Not yet, but I will later.” But neither Jesus, nor his apostles, nor most of the world consider it dishonest to play your cards close to the vest this way, and it is Jesus, not Ye Olde Randome Englishman, who gets to choose the rules.

The Anglo-Saxon norm of honesty is stricter, harsher, and more extreme than God’s norm of honesty.

Continue reading “Anglo Honesty and Free Speech”

The Long Game

Notre Dame burned the other day. I’m sure you’ve heard.

There are a lot of great places you can go from there. If you want to be politically incorrect and call out the castrati of the establishment, you can wonder aloud why Macron declared in no uncertain terms that it wasn’t arson when the building was still on fire. Or why Fox, vanguard of the Right, hasn’t considered the 800-odd attacks against cathedrals in France over the last year.

That’s all well and good. It’s the battle of the moment, and the battle of the moment ought to be fought. But I’m interested in considering the Long Game.

Read the Long post

The 7 Divine Rights

This is a fundamental essay on Christian Politics.

American Rhetoric says that it is self-evident that God grants men rights. Libertarian philosophers try to derive these rights from a Right to Property or the Non Aggression Principle.

But the Christian philosopher has at his disposal a handy book of propositions as sure or more than any first principle. If he holds the commandments up to a mirror, he can see in their reflection God-granted rights. In the commandment against murder, a right to life. In the commandment against theft, a right to property.

These, then, are seven rights, explicitly granted and avenged by God, which ought to be protected by the government.

  1. Orthodoxy: The right of man to worship the One True God in the manner of that God’s choosing, and to hear from that God’s shepherds truth and not lies, must not be infringed.
  2. Rest: Man must be permitted rest at least one day in seven.
  3. Honor: Man has a right to the honor due his station.
  4. Life: Man has a right not to be murdered.
  5. Fidelity: Man has a right to marital fidelity.
  6. Property: Man has a right to his belongings.
  7. Justice: Man has a right to remain unpunished when innocent.
Questions