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.

Three Roads

I intend to teach my children, and I advocate that everyone who can should do the same. And that everyone who can’t should re-evaluate whether he can.

One of my fascinations is theories of learning. Both because I intend to teach my children and because there are things I, myself, would like to learn. This fascination has already born fruit in the structure of the one educational book I’ve made. Alphabeasts presents the letters of the alphabet in reverse order, with a pause to review the entire alphabet every four or so letters, under the theory that this will help a child learn it more effortlessly and confidently.

Three unrelated (and yet perhaps related after all) concepts have been brought to my attention of late. I want to look at each in turn.

  • The Trivium
  • Smart Notes
  • Direct Instruction
Continue reading “Three Roads”

Awesome Moments

This is part 2; part 1, where I am with Hat Trick, is here.

Around Christmas last year, my wife set up a crèche, and my kid was all like, “What’s that?”

The child was directed to her father, who punted. It was an excellent punt. I wanted to weave a tale that spanned from a dragon tempting Adam, the first King of Earth, in a garden, to the return of Christ, the second Adam, nestling the nativity right into its context. But my brain wasn’t quick enough to manage it, so I just read a bit from the beginning of Matthew or Luke.

“Oh, gee, darn” the perceptive among you are saying. “You only relied on God’s words instead of your own words. What a terrible outcome.”

It’s okay. There’s sarcasm in the Bible. God thinks it’s funny too.

And I agree. Better to rely on the Word of God than man’s words.

Here’s the thing: Christianity is this epic thing. Angels and Dragons wrestling with flaming swords behind the curtain of reality. Echoes of Christ back to Adam and forward to the end, which is the new beginning.

And the available kids’ books are… well, they are sanitary. The heady communal wine has been replaced with grape juice. In sippy cups. And it’s probably really peach juice with artificial grape flavoring.

I’m not saying let’s break out the book of Judges or the Song of Solomon and read ’em to our five year olds. But our five year olds do need the death and resurrection of Jesus, which means there’s a level of sanitizing that you just shouldn’t do.

It’s an old conundrum on this blog. In the words of C.S. Lewis, “As far as that goes, I side impenitently with the human race against the modern reformer. Let there be wicked kings and beheadings, battles and dungeons, giants and dragons, and let villains be soundly killed at the end the book.”

Continue reading “Awesome Moments”

Building Castles out of Soap Bubbles

I recently ran across a take by C.S. Lewis on eschatology. His concept of the end times is that the point of end times passages is not so that we can play Pin the Tail on the Antichrist, but to put our actions in perspective. Christ might return in a thousand years. We’d better make long-term plans and brace ourselves for the long haul. Christ might return tomorrow. We’d better not neglect our neighbor today.

His point was that it is good to plant oaks in whose shade you will never rest. But if you prioritize the long game to the point of actively harming those around you, and Christ decides to end the show tomorrow, that would be pretty embarrassing, wouldn’t it?

Lewis was writing before Eugenics was a dirty word. When everyone thought “if we only let science do whatever it wishes, we shall cure death and suffering in a few years,” instead of having the general distrust for boffins in white coats which the technocrats have earned for themselves in the intervening years. At the time, the idea of breaking a few eggs to make a civilizational omelette was in vogue in a way it isn’t now (though sadly, as a culture, we’ve rejected it not because it is wrong, but because of the teh feelz).

His take, however, ties in quite well to thoughts I’ve been entertaining of late.

Continue reading “Building Castles out of Soap Bubbles”

How to use Alphabeasts

I made a book that’s designed to help teach the alphabet and even basic phonics!

The main idea is just to have a character for each letter that is cool and fun and interesting so that kids memorize the characters for the sheer joy of doing so, just as they memorize the characters on their favorite trading cards.

And toward that end I hope to one day make Alphabeast trading cards and individual books for each Alphabeast where that character has an adventure in a six-minute bedtime story. No attempts to educate. Only to entertain. Just to make each character maximally fun.

But suppose you want to educate. How do you teach your kid the letters using Alphabeasts?

I’ll tell you how

A Mission Statement of sorts

As I see it, there are two ways to win the culture war and save civilization.

  1. Men of the West should have as many children as possible and raise, catechize, and educate them themselves.
  2. Every pro-western creator should crank out as much media of as high quality as possible, and every man of the west should spend their entertainment dollars on these products over and above the works of media companies that hate the West and want it to die.

The left did not tear down our society with laws and judges. Sure, they’ve used laws and judges as the coup de grace, but the fight was won by Hollywood and the public school system, and the ground can only be retaken by educators and entertainers.

I consider this a worthy fight because the difference between Christendom and not Christendom isn’t just the freedom to practice my religion in peace. It is the difference between places with indoor plumbing, like Poland, and places with typhus, like Los Angeles.

I intend to use this blog however I please. Whenever I place a limit on what I intend to blog about, the blog gets abandoned, whereas blogs where I chew the fat however I like tend to get some staying power. But my focus in life will be on entertainment and education, and that is where my focus on this blog shall likely be.