Thursday, June 08, 2006

Place Your Bets.

This weekend sees the release of Pixar's seventh feature-length film, Cars, which Time's Richard Corliss has praised thusly: "Existing both in turbo-charged today and the gentler '50s, straddling the realms of Pixar styling and old Disney heart, this new-model Cars is an instant classic."
This begs the question which I'm sure weighs heavily on everyone's mind: how will Rod Dreher react to this movie?

Will he praise the apparent plotline where the protagonist who is obsessed with speed (oh, damnable speed!) learns to slow down and appreciate nature and community in the small, out-of-the-way town of Radiator Springs?

Or will he condemn the movie for being populated with automobiles, those smoke-belching beasts that the divine Russell Kirk apparently called "mechanical Jacobins"?

Or will he and the entire Dreher brood miss this movie? Perhaps Rod will tell us (and himself) that his two young sons are far more interested in learning how to churn butter than in watching a Pixar movie about talking cars that go really fast.

We have a comments section here; let's use it. Tell us your best guess for how Rod will react to Mechanical Jacobins Cars.

87 Comments:

Blogger Pauli said...

Older cars do seem to illustrate the point about "beauty over efficiency", but they pollute a lot more too. The cars in this flick seem a bit confused about their roots and loyalties. Since they are sentient beings, I suggest they read Rod's book as well as maybe "What's the Matter with Kansas" by what's his name so they can get their priorities straight.

12:49 PM  
Blogger SiliconValleySteve said...

Rod will probably go. Pixar has the NorCal crunchie cool factor. One of his cohorts on the NRO blog even dared to call steve jobs crunchy.

Now that may well apply because anyone I know who has worked close to Mr jobs has been stepped on and crunched pretty well. And he is a vegetarian. But he is also a hard-core abortion promoter. Is that crunchie?

6:42 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Almost forgot to post my own guess: I was going to guess that Rod will definitely post about Cars before having seen it, much as he did for the ridiculous book by Dan Brown. (But don't judge CC-ism without reading his book!) I didn't think he'd have much to write about concerning Iraq this week, what with Zarqawi being killed and the Iraqi cabinet being completed, but I underestimated Rod's ability to stick to his talking points about the hopelessness of our cause.

Now, I have no clue when Rod will blog about Cars. While I'm not even sure precisely what Rod will say, I am pretty confident he'll take the opportunity to promote his book.

Cars is another manifestation of consumerism, showing an obsession with materialism and (worse) the automobile? It's proof we need Rod's book, now more than ever, and here's a link where you can buy it at a discount.

Cars succesfully conveys the need to return to roots, to enjoy the convivial life of small towns surrounded by unsullied nature? Eureka! Some conservative ought to write a book about this kind of thing -- and here's the Amazon link for those to dense too catch my meaning.

Cars is just a kids movie, and it's silly to read too much into it? Well, our damnably consumerist society needs its bright lights and shiny objects, but we also need substantive discussions about the culture, and -- whaddyaknow? -- I wrote a book that's perfect for such things, and despite my devotion to small, local shops I'm happy to direct you to this fine online retailer.

6:00 AM  
Blogger SiliconValleySteve said...

Don't get me wrong. I love Pixar animation. We will be seeing Cars within the next couple of weeks. I worked for a computer graphics start-up in the early days when tickets to the showcase at SIGGRAPH were hard to get and the best stuff always came from the Pixar guys.

By the way, none of us ever expected that they would become a movie company in those days. They were just the computer graphics spinoff from ILM doing amazing stuff.

On another note, I'm surprised nobody here has picked up on Rod's call for a third-party. The thought of Peggy Noonan in her pearls and perfect hair and diction and Rod-boy in his berkies as leaders of the pitchfork brigade is just too funny to miss.

9:56 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

Right SV Steve, Rod will see the movie for the Pixar NorCal cred, and if Rod likes it, it will be deemed "crunchy". If Rod doesn't like it it will be deemed "mainstream".

simple as that!

11:23 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

As far as predicting Rod's reaction, it's impossible, since his "crunchy con" theory is incoherent in the first place. Like he always does, Rod will gin up some very profound sounding (and certainly "honorable") reasons after the liking/disliking takes place, thereby anointing his own personal taste as something more meaningful and philosophical and *honorable* than, well, personal tastes in general (especially those of anyone who's not Rod).

3:38 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

This is extremely off-topic, but guess what? I've just been banned from Rod's blog. I suppose I should consider that a badge of honor. Of course, he had to indulge in nasty name-calling in the process---something I don't think I've *ever* done on his blog or anywhere else. LOL! But I would say that being called an "abusive loudmouth" by Rod Dreher is a lot like...well, that Lindsay Lohan example below.

I find it rich that Rod chose to single out two *women* (Kathleen and myself) for his ire. Reminds me of the old nursery rhyme (slightly paraphrased):

Georgie Porgie,
Pudd'n 'n' pie,
Dissed the girls
And made them cry.
When the boys came out to play,
Georgie Porgie ran away.

Ironic when you consider the context--a thread alleging that Catholicism is all wimpy, woossy, and feminized, whereas Orthodoxy is tough, sinewy, and masculine.

I hadn't been reading Rod's blog for a while, because I had reached the conclusion that his ideas range from silly to banal when they aren't simply boring (e.g., "What I Did on My Summer Vacation") and that there were far more interesting Internet destinations to visit. When I ventured on to the blog yesterday and discovered that nonsense about Feminine Catholicism vs. Masculine Orthodoxy, I foolishly responded. Stupid me. I should have heeded my DH's advice when I described the Crunchy Con debate to him several weeks ago: "Why do you bother arguing with such silly people?" Why indeed!

So, now I'm (forcibly) cured of any urge to Argue With Such Silly People. But Rod doesn't stifle debate or suppress dissent or anything. No siree. He doesn't surround himself with a cheering section or anything. Noooooooo.

Sheesh. OK, I'll break my no-name-calling rule, just this once. What a doofus!

Diane

8:50 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

too funny! did he ban me? I figured he would b/c my last comment was pretty direct.

9:10 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Kathleen, I think I'm the only banned one, but who knows?

BTW, I *loved* your comment. I had a similar reaction. OK, I know I'm being sooooo bad...but I can't help thinking: Here's a guy who frequents wine bars and fusses over interior decor, and he accuses the *Catholic Church* of not being "masculine" enough?

OK, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa....

9:21 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

plus he doesn't know what a smackdown is. (see contra blog, my new post)

9:33 AM  
Blogger Pauli said...

Ditto to Diane's (first) comment. I'm banning myself from Rod's blog. I was extremely upset about the post you mentioned. No, I was, am, livid. I scribbled off something about the "Ball and the Cross" and left, ne'er to return. Wrath is a sin, and I'm really close. My point, although admittedly very badly made if made at all, is that whining like a girlie-man about how the Catholic church has masculinity issues is as revealing as it is paradoxical.

If Jonah was Catholic I suppose he would have called Rod on this in the same way that he called him on taking pages out of the liberal playbook to attack conservatives. Thank you Al Franken, thank you Lorraine Boettner and waiter, could I please have some cheese to go with my whine?

Diane, tell your DH he is right on the money about the futility of arguing with Dreher. It is a grand waste of time. He is not disposed to regard anything we say as sensible and facts that done fit his world of cool anecdotes are roundly dismissed, as we know. And how is he going to change anything for the "better" by these types of rants and straw-man attacks? As Bubba pointed out awhile back, he isn't happy being conservative or Catholic.

Is this another instance of Rod's perpetual problem with puritanical Platonism? The actualities of groups don't live up to their ideals; what did he expect? Rod really doesn't seem to care whether the Catholic church has produced any saints or whether it is the guardian of any truth; he's more concerned that it doesn't live up to his personal ideals. Likewise liberalism's lake of both coherence and success is not nearly as scandalous as conservatism's lack of crunch. Like Strephon, "disgusted" with his dear, sweet Celia after "finishing his grand Survey", Rod is scandalized that anything with which he is associated might, just might, produce something stinky from time to time.

Hopefully, the disgust displayed on his part for these groups has ensured that he will not be regarded as a spokesperson for the Catholic Church by actual Catholics or a spokesperson for the conservatism movement by actual conservatives.

10:06 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

Still not banned, so I wrote the following farewell on the "masculinity" thread:

Ironic isn't it? Rod and his favorite punching bags, US Bishops, can be heard ranting in unison:

"Don't say bad things about me! I'm really struggling here! I'm doing my very best! You are bad, bad catholics to say that I am being anything but honorable! My feelings are more important than any problems you have with my position regarding the Church!"
kathleen reilly | 06.12.06 - 12:47 pm | #

10:16 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

and if we question the masculinity of Rod's reactions he says "we are sucking the air out of the room" -- ummm, I'd say that is mighty revealing. read any Freud, Rod?

10:19 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Interesting blog, folks. All I can say is that Mr. Dreher must be doing something right. And Diane, I would have banned you also. Probably sooner.

2:02 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

LOL, Jeff. Well, no one can accuse *you* of that allegedly non-,asculine chivalry stuff, eh? ;)

News flash: Outside of a minuscule slice of the blogosphere, no one has *heard* of Rod Dreher. (If I were to mention him to folks at my parish, including my priest, I guarantee every last one would respond, "Rod Who?") So, if he's doing something right, he's doing it in an echo chamber. And at the rate he's going, that's all he'll have left at his blog: his Crunchy Cult Cheering Section. Talk about boring!

The victims of Rod's drive-bys congregate here because dissent is not tolerated over there. Next question?

God bless you, too, my friend. ;)

Diane

2:33 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

Diane, how does it feel to be so .... bannable. ya lawbreaker!

2:38 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

"The victims of Rod's drive-bys congregate here because dissent is not tolerated over there."

Diane, you were probably banned because of a multitude of outrageously false statements like this. I'd call them lies, but then you would interpret that as me calling you a liar, and you don't give your words enough thought to be a genuine liar.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Pauli and Kathleen, thanks so much for the moral support. And Pauli, I agree completely. Rod's constant invidious comparisons between Catholicism and Orthodoxy are slanderous, mendacious, and scandalous. And when their gross inaccuracy is pointed out, he goes ballistic.

He is a superficial thinker who knows so little about history that he can claim with a straight face that medieval chivalry is responsible for modern "feminized" culture...and he simply asserts this sort of nonsense as though it were unassailable Gospel Truth. Unbelievable. Then he has the nerve to brook no dissent. Words fail me. (Well, not really, but almost....)

I love the way he lobs vicious spitballs at Catholicism while viewing Orthodoxy uncritically through the proverbial rose-colored lenses--and then says, "But don't discuss that; that's not the topic." Talk about muzzling dissent!

He must have received an earful from some of his (remaining) Catholic friends, though, because he seems to have moderated his argument just a wee bit. Oh, Catholicism still Bad, Orthodoxy still Perfect; but he does concede that maybe the Jesuit martyrs weren't total woosses....and that maybe Christianity's not all about cave-man machismo.

God bless,

Diane

2:46 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

raise your hand if you think Jeff knows Rovira and Jacob Neal Liszt (perhaps quite intimately so as to be even the same person...?)

2:50 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Jeff, are all Friends of Rod prone to ad hominems? Just wondering, because one Joseph d'Hippolito, claiming to be a Friend of Rod, has said things to me in cyberspace so viciously insulting and even *threatening* that they border on actionable. And now you call me a liar...and then claim you're not calling me a liar. Heh. Ad homs must be a Friend of Rod Specialty.

If I were Rod, I wouldn't want to be defended by such friends. But that's just me. :)

God bless,

Diane

2:52 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

There are times when I'm embarrassed I give the Dreher so much attention. but it's FUN! i just can't help it. it's like he has a sign on his back that says "kick me [rhetorically]", and we kick him, and then he asks for more, and we do it again ... good times.

2:54 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

"Raise your hand if you think Jeff knows Rovira and Jacob Neal Liszt (perhaps quite intimately so as to be even the same person...?)"

I've never heard of them. I'm the same Jeff (Culbreath) who has left a few comments on the crunchy blog today.

2:56 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

"And now you call me a liar...and then claim you're not calling me a liar."

Diane, you said that dissent is not tolerated over there. That is demonstrably false. If you gave it any thought and knew it to be false, then you told a lie.

2:59 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

Sorry Jeff, I guess I didn't read your comments. But then again, i skip many of the comments (and entries) on the crunchy con blog. Dreher and friends got repetitive a long time ago.

Trust me, though, you and Rovira/JNL would get along famously. You can email him at The New Pantagruel.

3:03 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Let me put it this way, Mr. Culbreath. Dissent is not tolerated over there unless Rod agrees with it.

I don't know how to put it more clearly for you. The man (selectively) insults (as in name-calling) people who dare to object to his gross caricatures of Catholicism, his uncharitable misreprentations of Catholic parish life (believe it or not, one can have positive experiences of Catholicism outside of the TLM circuit), and his slanted invidious comparisons of Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

I stand by what I said: Dissent is not tolerated. One Susan gets called "either ignorant or dishonest" by an EO Friend of Rod, and there's not a peep of protest from Mr. Dreher. Meanwhile, several Catholics make forceful cases *without* resorting to namecalling, and Rod has a hissy-fit. To me, that looks very much like the muzzling of dissent.

I understand you are a Catholic. If you have one shred of Catholic courtesy and integrity, you will withdraw your accusation.

Blessings,

Diane

3:38 PM  
Blogger James said...

Diane: Joe D'Hippolito is (or used to be; he seems to be baneed from pretty much everywhere these days)St. Blog's resident nutcase. He has called for indiscriminate nuclear bombing of Muslim countries and for execution of leading members of the Democratic party. (He claimed to be joking about the latter.) He loathes John Paul II. One of his few positive traits is that he feels strongly about the pedophilia scandal, so he probably considers himself an ally of Rod, but I doubt that they are "friends" in any real sense.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

"Let me put it this way, Mr. Culbreath. Dissent is not tolerated over there unless Rod agrees with it."

Let me put it this way, Diane: that is another untruth. OK, OK, I'll go ahead and call it a lie. You're the one who needs to issue retractions.

"The man (selectively) insults (as in name-calling) ..."

Whoa. Please show me one of Mr. Dreher's insults. Or else, for deceny's sake, you'll need to retract this also. Do keep in mind that "name calling" and "insulting" are not synonymous.


"...people who dare to object to his gross caricatures of Catholicism ..."

This is too funny. You, Diane, are the absolute master of gross caricatures. I haven't seen any gross caricatures on Mr. Dreher's part - just his own observations that don't happen to square with yours.

" ... his uncharitable misreprentations of Catholic parish life ..."

They seemed perfectly accurate to me. Charity doth not hide the truth.

"... (believe it or not, one can have positive experiences of Catholicism outside of the TLM circuit),"

Yes, I believe it. So?

"... and his slanted invidious comparisons of Catholicism and Orthodoxy ..."

Slanted? Invidious? I rather think they are mistaken, though understandable given the present crisis. You seem determined to ascribe evil motives to everything he has to say.

"I stand by what I said: Dissent is not tolerated."

And I stand by what I said: that is a bold-faced lie, and you very foolishly compound your culpability by repeating it.

"I understand you are a Catholic. If you have one shred of Catholic courtesy and integrity, you will withdraw your accusation."

Delusional.

"Blessings,"

Thank you.

4:07 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

James, thanks for the heads-up. I knew nothing about Mr. D'Hippolito before he blindsided me.

God bless,

Diane

4:07 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Jeff, I have nothing further to say to you. Please direct your name-calling at someone else.

God bless,

Diane

4:10 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

It seems this blog is no longer a safe haven from the nasty bullying of the Crunchy Cultists. Kathleen, Pauli, Silicon Valley Steve, et al., please feel to e-mail me privately whenever you're so inclined. We'uns be kindred spirits. :)

Blessings,

diane_kamer@yahoo.com, glad to be actively involved in a Real Life parish with real live people who do not look down their noses at their fellow ordinary Catholics nor describe the Holy Catholic Mass as "smarmy" and "white bread" :p

4:54 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

"Jeff, I have nothing further to say to you. Please direct your name-calling at someone else."

Does that mean I shouldn't hold my breath waiting for retractions? Fine. But just in case you change your mind, here's a list of the lies you need to retract from this comment thread alone:

1. "Dissent is not tolerated over there."

2. "He lobs vicious spitballs at Catholicism ..."

3. "Rod's constant invidious comparisons between Catholicism and Orthodoxy are slanderous ..."

4. "The man (selectively) insults (as in name-calling) people who dare to object to his gross caricatures of Catholicism."

5. "He can claim with a straight face that medieval chivalry is responsible for modern 'feminized' culture...and he simply asserts this sort of nonsense as though it were unassailable Gospel Truth."

So, Diane, I would suggest that the next time you type "Mr. Dreher" it is accompanied, at minimum, by a retraction of the lies recounted above. You may want to print this out for future reference. And you can thank me later.

5:03 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

"Does that mean I shouldn't hold my breath waiting for retractions? "

no, you should, Jeff. please do.

5:17 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Jeff, I've been glancing through your blog, linked as it is through the comments you've been making at Rod's blog.

(Y'know, for a man who apparently advocates a "pure and undiluted" agrarianism, you seem to spend a good deal of time on the Internet.)

Having done so, I think I can safely say that it would be a fool's errand on Diane's part to attempt to defend any of her claims: your perspective is too skewed.

That said, I welcome you to this blog; feel free to continue commenting, to type out other handy lists of things for which we should apologize and to continue insisting that Rod's blog is a haven for honest discussion.

7:03 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Hello Bubba,

Yes, I do spend too much time on the internet when I'm cooped up here in the office.

But - just for the record - I really do not advocate a pure and undiluted agrarianism (as you would discover reading the archives). I do recommend a book by someone who exemplifies pure and undiluted agrarianism, but my own "agrarianism" is much more compromised.

Diane, of course, cannot defend her claims because they aren't true. It has nothing to do with my skewed perspective.

8:30 PM  
Blogger Pauli said...

Here's a link to an article regarding the original topic of this post, i.e., how the frickin' movie did. I don't want to have to tell you all again to comment on the original subject. Bubba wanted you to all make bets, OK? I know I posted something off subject, but I'm sorry, all right? Was the movie MASCULINE ENOUGH FOR YOU?? [He's losing it, he's losing it....GIVE HIM ROOM! here, breathe in this paper bag, sir....] OK, OK, ahem...

Oh, the new guy. Hi, Jeff, welcome to the fun. Everybody's welcome here, don't worry about Diane, she'll be back. We're all agrarians to some degree here -- I used to grow some incredible stuff in my basement... but that was a long time ago mind you.

9:17 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

"Everybody's welcome here ..."

We'll see. :-)

" ... don't worry about Diane, she'll be back."

Of that I have no doubt.

"We're all agrarians to some degree here -- I used to grow some incredible stuff in my basement... but that was a long time ago mind you."

Lemmee guess. Yellow squash? Radishes? Brussel sprouts? No? I give up.

9:35 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Mea culpa, Pauli. I'm the one who hijacked the thread. So sorry! Me, I can't wait to see *Cars.* DH and I were animation fans even before we had kids. Actually, I'm nuts about Pixar, but I rather miss hand-drawn animation; I'm sorry Disney seems to have given up on it. (Gee, does that make me "crunchy"? ;)

Jeff: Why should I "defend my claims"? They are my opinions, and last time I checked, one was entitled to one's opinion. You should be used to opinionated subjectivism if you hang out with Rod. :)

9:44 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

"Of that I have no doubt."

Hmmm. Is there something about Crunchyism that makes people gratuitously nasty? Just wondering.

9:47 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

I found Cars to be very entertaining; maybe too predictable to be a great movie, but still great fun to watch.

I'll guess that, with its pro-small-town theme and its wild-about-NASCAR setting, it will be well received among self-identified crunchy conservatives.

6:07 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

I think Pauli doesn't care about thread "hijacks", he's just imitating Rod on the Masculinity thread when Rod said

"Thanks you guys for bringing this thread back to its original point of discussion."

-- after he banned Diane and the thread became a snoozefest once again.

7:36 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Thank you, Kathleen! Sorry I missed that...I'm feeling a little bruised by Crunchy Charity at the moment. :)

8:22 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

BTW...if it's OK to go off-topic, may I take this opportunity to ask a question? :)

In one of his recent posts--about communal living--Rod mentions a community in Augusta, Georgia, where some Christians have bought a small neighborhood wherein they live in communal households. He says he mentions them approvingly in his Crunchy Cons book.

Oh my gosh. This can *only* be the Alleluia Community (which does indeed own a neighborhood called Faith Village). Do y'all know if that is what he's talking about? There can't possibly be *two* such communities in Augusta, surely...?

The reason I'm asking is this: My goddaughter was a "full covenant" member of the Alleluia Community for 23 years. During several periods, she did indeed live in Faith Village.

Guys, this Alleluia group is a cult. Like other "charismatic covenant communities" deeply influenced by the so-called "shepherding and discipling" movement, it went in for spiritual abuse and mind control in a major way. The elaborate self-appointed-for-life hierarchy tried to regulate virtually every aspect of members' lives, including areas (such as childrearing and choice of mates) that were none of their cotton-pickin' business. If you bucked the leadership in any way, you were accused of having a "rebellious spirit" and hauled in to a manipulative "deliverance" session. Seriously!

Similar communities have been either shut down or taken over by Catholic bishops in order to curb the abuses. (Google "Washington Post" and "Mother of God Community, Gaithersburg, Maryland" for one of the more infamous examples. Also "People of Praise, South Bend" and "People of Hope, Rutherford," to name a few others.)

But AFAIK the Bishop of Savannah hasn't done anything about the Alleluia Community. This may partly be because it has a higher non-Catholic membership than its northern counterparts, so a lot of the members (obviously) don't fall under the bishop's jurisdiction. Or maybe the bishop has acted quietly behind the scenes and the community has cleaned up its act. But somehow I doubt it. Last time I checked the community's website, Alleluia sounded as flaky and cultlike as ever.

My goddaughter and her family barely escaped with their sanity. When they left, they were shunned and slandered. Their kids were not allowed to play with erstwhile playmates whose parents were still "full covenant members." (IMHO that's the lowest of the low things you can do--get back at people by hurting their kids.)

Anyway, it was a horrible mess. My goddaughter still bears the emotional scars. It's truly a wonder that she's still Catholic or even Christian. (She's a convert from Judaism.)

As for those communal-living arrangements which so delight Rod: My goddaughter lived in communal "households" while she was single. After her marriage, the leadership pressured her and her husband into taking several young men into their home to form a communal household. This seriously hurt their marriage: They had no private time together in which to bond as a couple, because they were living in a communal arrangement right from the outset.

ISTM there's a dark side to some of the stuff Rod extols. Shouldn't a journalist look deeper than the surface? The Mother of God community example is widely known--the Post ran a series on it, which created a ton of buzz--so wouldn't you think Rod would have put two and two together and at least *wondered* whether Alleluia was similarly cultlike? (It was part of the same netwok of charismatic convenant communities that included MOG.)

OK, sorry for going off-topic again...but I was so struck by the coincidence of Rod's paean to a community I happen to know quite a bit about that I simply had to comment.

Diane

8:51 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Jeff:

But - just for the record - I really do not advocate a pure and undiluted agrarianism (as you would discover reading the archives). I do recommend a book by someone who exemplifies pure and undiluted agrarianism, but my own "agrarianism" is much more compromised.

Your choice of the word "compromised" says a lot, I think. Regardless, even the writer who exemplifies pure and undiluted agrarianism blogs a good bit. I wonder if there a clear boundary between that technology which the agrarian rejects, and that which he embraces.


Diane, no need to apologize for going off-topic again; happens here quite a bit.

Honestly, it dovetails into a broad point that I think I've made before, somewhere or other: to borrow a metaphor from C.S. Lewis, one can fall off a horse by leaning too far to the right or to the left.

A megachurch risks being theologically timid to draw its huge crowds, and congregants risk being lost in that crowd. At the same time, the tiny church at the edge of town risks drifting into a heretical theology that is reinforced by existing in an echo chamber; rather than being ignored, congregants risk being manipulated.

Does modern life in the shadow of the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the Industrial Revolution have its risks? Sure, but so does the alternative. It's foolish to argue that one is purely evil and the other purely good, and it's difficult to argue rationally that one's benefits are worth the risk.

(In one blog entry, Jeff quoted someone who denounces food produced by industrial farming as food that "will eventually cause cancer and a host of other diseases," ignoring the thousand-pound gorilla in the room, that the nightmare of famine and mass starvation is largely a thing of the past and that Social Security and other programs are going bankrupt because of our growing life expectancy.)

One must be careful not to let one's view of what is moral be overwhelmed by one's sensibilities.


Returning to the original topic, I thought Cars was a great movie, another Pixar classic -- though I admit I'm very much a car nut.

It probably could have used the scoring of Thomas Newman, who worked on Shawshank and Finding Nemo. Some critics complained about the length, but I thought the climax was too short, not too long.

Ultimately, Pixar's in a tough spot: with its reputation for masterpieces, it has the burden of capturing that magic without repeating itself; and there's an abundance of CG competition, including Disney cartoons not being produced by Pixar. I think Pixar has produced another grand-slam homerun, but if it was just a triple that scored 3 RBI's, is that really so bad?

(And, yeah, I too pine for traditional animation, but I think the story that is being told should drive the method in which it is told. Samurai Jack belongs in a 2-D world; the impressionistic use of color and sound would work in no other environment.)


On the question of how crunchies would react to Cars... the chief crunchy problem is that the small town of Radiator Springs was left behind when Route 66 was overtaken by the faster, larger interstate. It's worth noting that the happy ending didn't involve a return to the past, but rather an accomodation with the present.

And a point should be made to anyone who would point to Cars as neo-traditionalist fare: the emergence of Route 66 itself had its positives and negatives, as did the railroad that likely preceded it, and the wagon train that likely preceded that.

Unless one wants to argue that the utter primitivism of hunting and gathering (without tools or fire) was the most moral, it seems hard to justify any assertion that one particular era was the zenith of morality.

10:32 AM  
Blogger Pauli said...

Diane, Kathleen's right. I was mimicking Rod -- imagine that? when he talked on his girlie-church post about the tiresomeness of thread-hijacking one of the truly horrible problems in the blogosphere and our world today.

10:46 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

When Dreher uses the term "hijacking", he doesn't mean the thread is veering off point, he means someone is making a very good case for something Rod doesn't like at all, no, not at all. I think I'm going to start calling Dreher "His Excellency", since he does sound very much like the catholic Bishops he is always complaining about with such over-the-top rancor. Which is a parallel I recently observed and that really fascinates me. Obviously His Excellency Rod sees a bit of himself in the clerics he despises.

10:54 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

Diane, the woman in Rod's book who lives in Augusta is Rachel Balducci and she has a blog called testosterhome. if you're interested.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Thanks, Kathleen! I looked it up and found this entry with comments:

http://testosterhome.blogspot.com/2006/02/crunchy-cons.html

Ack--it *is* the Alelluia Community. Talk about your small world!!!

I kinda-sorta wonder whether the Balduccis bought my goddaughter's house, maybe? (No, that would be too much of a weird coincidence.) Only reason I wonder is that the blog pics of their home show a spacious, handsome interior. Most Faith Village houses are rather modest--although the families have built onto them over the yearrs. But my goddaughter's DH was an ER doc, and they built by far the fanciest house in Faith Village. Hmmm.

I'll have to write to my goddaughter about this....

11:36 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

"I wonder if there a clear boundary between that technology which the agrarian rejects, and that which he embraces."

There is no clear boundary, but I do think there are principles which ought to limit the use of technology. The central question is one of control: to what extent does technology control modern life? Was technology made for man, or man for technology? To the extent that technology "forces" our hand and makes better choices less attractive (as in taking the stairs instead of the elevator), its use should probably be curtailed.

A related question concerns the value of those things which technology is replacing. Homemade entertainment (songs, games, reading, etc.) has been largely replaced for most people by electronic entertainment - something I view as objectively inferior and morally dangerous. A life which severely limits modern electronic entertainment is therefore a better life and is worth promoting. That's what Mr. Dreher seems to be doing, and I believe it is laudable.

11:45 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

On the macro level, then, it becomes clear that technology carries with it a great manipulative power and an *ideology* - what Neil Postman called the "technopoly". My understanding of crunchy conservatism (not my phrase, I don't know Rod Dreher and haven't even read his book) is that the power and ideology is the problem, not the mere existence of technology itself.

11:52 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Jeff, is it not possible that the question of control is answered after agrarianists have decided whether to embrace some bit of technology or another?

After all, wouldn't the question of control indict the use of fire? Fire radically changed how we humans eat our food, allowing us to cook; it radically changed where we live, allowing us to live comfortably in colder climates; and it radically changed our social behavior, as -- now on camping trips, just as surely as during prehistoric times -- people tend to gather around the fire at night to talk and sing, rather than sleep or gaze at the stars. If you count modern devices that serve the same purposes as fire, from ovens and microwaves to flourescent lights and central heating, we're talking about a technology that is more ubiquitous even then television.

Was fire made for man, or man for fire? Or is this a stupid question?


You write:

To the extent that technology "forces" our hand and makes better choices less attractive (as in taking the stairs instead of the elevator), its use should probably be curtailed.

First, how is taking the stairs the better choice? It's more exercise, and exercise is good for us? Does that not indict the wheel as well as the elevator? If so, and if the wheel is still acceptable technology, are you not finding reasons for rejecting the elevator after the fact?

Second, I'm not sure what it is you want: technology that is so useless or so costly that the old ways remain the clear best choice? Quality can be measured along several dimensions: factory food may be less tasty than food that is grown organically, but factory food is also the reason our health concerns have switched from existential threats like famines to (relatively) more trivial problems like childhood obesity; the elevator may make the healthy man lazy, but it may help the wheelchair-bound elderly lady get to where she wants to go.


And you write that electronic entertainment is "objectively inferior and morally dangerous" to the homemade variety.

In what way is a DVD of Beethoven's Ninth being performed by the London Symphony Orchestra objectively inferior to any homemade entertainment that is within reach of the average farmer in Kansas? In what way is it morally dangerous?

12:38 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Homemade entertainment (songs, games, reading, etc.) has been largely replaced for most people by electronic entertainment - something I view as objectively inferior and morally dangerous. A life which severely limits modern electronic entertainment is therefore a better life and is worth promoting. That's what Mr. Dreher seems to be doing, and I believe it is laudable.

It is precisely this evangelical zeal that disturbs me. If people want to unplug their TVs, more power to 'em (no pun intended). Just please don't prescribe this for the rest of us. My DH is a much happier camper with his Maverick re-runs than without them, thank you very much. :)

I think this gets to the root of what bothers me about crunchyism: its seeming requirement that the rest of us march in crunchy lockstep "for our own good."

I happen to believe that the human race is a wonderfully diverse lot, with an endlessly rich variety of tastes, lifestyle preferences, personality quirks, and idiosyncrasies. I rather like my own lifestyle (living en famille in the Carolina backwoods), but I would no more want to impose it on anyone else--or even prescribe it for anyone else--than I would want to, er, write a book about it. :)

Personally, I enjoy the *differentness* of other people. I like the fact that they live in all sorts of different places and eat all kinds of different foods and shop at all kinds of different stores and have all sorts of different pastimes. I do not think they are somehow less moral or spiritual than I am if they watch *American Idol* (which I have never seen) or spend summer weekends camped out at NASCAR races.

There is room for a vast variety of personal preferences and tastes within the Big Tent of Catholicism...not to mention the even bigger tent of humanity.

That's how I see it, and that's why Crunchy evangelism gives me the willies.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Great post, Bubba. I also wonder how people like Mr. Culbreath propose to "curtail" the use of technology. "Curtail" is a scary word. To me at least.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

"Jeff, is it not possible that the question of control is answered after agrarianists have decided whether to embrace some bit of technology or another?"

Yes and no. The fact that agrarianists (nice word) embrace some forms technology only proves that, by and large, we are not anti-technology ideologues. It is not technology, per se, that is the problem: it's the baggage, the power, the allure, the ideology, which both imagines necessity where there is none and makes bad things easy.

It also proves that we agrarianists are still under the spell ourselves, still slaves to the technology. For example - I have much better things to do right now than argue with you about this, but argumentativeness is in my nature, and technology is making it easy.

"After all, wouldn't the question of control indict the use of fire?"

I wouldn't think so. There is no ideology of fire. There is no sense that we must use it just because we can, just because it is there, whether its use is good or bad or indifferent. Bad things can be done with fire, of course, but the attraction of fire is strictly in its utility. Not so with technology.

"If you count modern devices that serve the same purposes as fire, from ovens and microwaves to flourescent lights and central heating, we're talking about a technology that is more ubiquitous even then television."

Indeed. I like air conditioning, use it, and am glad we have it. I can hardly imagine living without it. But it has made into something of a wimp when it comes to weather. This occured to me last summer when in 100 degree + heat I sat on the porch listening to the neighboring farmer cut up a tree with his chain saw. Some of the farmsteads around here still lack air conditioning, and it has made for a hardy breed of men. The point is simply that technology has consequences and they aren't all good.

"Was fire made for man, or man for fire? Or is this a stupid question?"

It is not a stupid question. Fire was made for man, and thus far man seems to have fire firmly under his control.

"First, how is taking the stairs the better choice? It's more exercise, and exercise is good for us?"

Yes.

"Does that not indict the wheel as well as the elevator?"

Yes, to some extent. But the technologies are obviously different. An elevator is more likely to be used "because we can", whereas a wheel is more likely to be used "because it helps".

"If so, and if the wheel is still acceptable technology, are you not finding reasons for rejecting the elevator after the fact?"

Yes, of course. Better late than never.

"Second, I'm not sure what it is you want: technology that is so useless or so costly that the old ways remain the clear best choice?"

In some cases, yes. It would be far better if housing developments did not provide cable television and residents had to buy an expensive sattelite. It would better if microwave ovens were five times as expensive as they are. It would be better if books and magazines were more costly. Etc.

"Quality can be measured along several dimensions: factory food may be less tasty than food that is grown organically, but factory food is also the reason our health concerns have switched from existential threats like famines to (relatively) more trivial problems like childhood obesity; the elevator may make the healthy man lazy, but it may help the wheelchair-bound elderly lady get to where she wants to go."

Quite so, these are genuine benefits. I'm not an absolutist.

"And you write that electronic entertainment is 'objectively inferior and morally dangerous' to the homemade variety. In what way is a DVD of Beethoven's Ninth being performed by the London Symphony Orchestra objectively inferior to any homemade entertainment that is within reach of the average farmer in Kansas? In what way is it morally dangerous?"

Good question. I submit that it is better, all around, for a farmer in Kansas to play his own piano or violin - to know music and to make music for those in his home and community - than it is for him to relax and enjoy listening to a DVD of even the best classical music. And this is precisely what ordinary people did before the ubiquity of electronic entertainment.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I should add that I'm not really interested in making things more expensive (except perhaps food, because it is far too cheap and is destroying the family farm) mainly because it is a lost cause. What I want to see, and what I am seeing, is more people consciously choosing not to let technology control their lives and manipulate their choices. It is a battle for the heart more than the law.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Jeff, I'm not sure whether your beliefs come from a coherent philosophy or whether even such a philosophy could be cobbled together from what you just wrote.

There is no ideology of fire.

You sure? I could easily concoct one: fire's idealogy is rebellion against nature; against time and the idea that we should go to sleep when the sun goes down; against place and the idea that there are some frigid regions that ought to be beyond our reach; and against food as nature intended, so that we can engage in the hubris of barbecuing our meat.

There is no sense that we must use it just because we can, just because it is there, whether its use is good or bad or indifferent. Bad things can be done with fire, of course, but the attraction of fire is strictly in its utility. Not so with technology.

Nonsense, as the existence of pyromania proves. People can spend literally hours watching a fireplace die out (as my mom often did at my grandparents' house), and boys of all ages like watching things go up in flames for no good reason.


I like air conditioning, use it, and am glad we have it. I can hardly imagine living without it. But it has made into something of a wimp when it comes to weather. This occured to me last summer when in 100 degree + heat I sat on the porch listening to the neighboring farmer cut up a tree with his chain saw. Some of the farmsteads around here still lack air conditioning, and it has made for a hardy breed of men. The point is simply that technology has consequences and they aren't all good.

Do you know why lions can eat raw red meat and we generally get sick doing the same? We cook our meat -- using fire.


An elevator is more likely to be used "because we can", whereas a wheel is more likely to be used "because it helps".

I've worked in a few office buildings, and I don't think I've ever seen people going up and down elevators for no good reason, pushing buttons and going, "wheee!"

So I have no idea what you're talking about.


I submit that it is better, all around, for a farmer in Kansas to play his own piano or violin - to know music and to make music for those in his home and community - than it is for him to relax and enjoy listening to a DVD of even the best classical music. And this is precisely what ordinary people did before the ubiquity of electronic entertainment.

"And this is precisely what ordinary people did before the ubiquity of electronic entertainment"? No kidding; so what?

What if I were to think it's better to eat all food raw? This is precisely what ordinary people did before the discovery of fire. Amazing, isn't it?

But your proclamations about what's good begs a whole host of questions:

- Does it matter if the passive entertainment is electronic? A mechanical music box or windchimes is okay? Listening to a roving band of carolers or going to a concert is okay?

- It matters if the person is making his own music; is it okay if he's doing so using an electronic device, like a synthesizer?

- Is it better if the musician composes his own music? Is it better if the musician makes his violin or piano?

Since most people are proficient in at most a handful of crafts, it's unlikely for the average farmer to be able to craft adequately his own violin, compose his own music for it, and perform it. And yet, it seems that, by your logic, the screeching music that results would be "objectively" superior to music composed by a genius like Bach, performed by the classically trained professionals of the London Symphony on instruments crafted by the finest artisans in the world.

Riiiight.


This is what I mean by your coming up with reasons after the fact: It seems that you have some vision of paradise in your head -- say, a New England farm in the early 18th century. You want to exclude all technology that has no place on that farm as "bad" -- objectively, morally bad -- while not excluding anything that would belong on that farm, like fire and the wheel.

I doubt that a cogent philosophy consistently applied could explain why "stuff on that farm" is good and everything else is bad, and (with all due respect) I certainly don't think you could provide such a philosophy. Instead, you grasp at straws and end up making the flimsiest of arguments to make your categorization work.

Bad technology has an ideology, you say, and good technology doesn't, but I've shown how even fire could have an ideology.

Bad technology is used frivolously, while good technology is used for utilitarian reasons; things like the frisbee and the hoola hoop show that even the wheel can be trivialized.

Bad technology is alluring, and we use it just because we can, while the attraction of good technology is "strictly in its utility;" but even in the example you used (fire), I showed that such an idea is nonsense.

In my humble opinion, there's no logic that labels modern technology as suspect that ultimately cannot be applied to basic technologies like fire and the wheel. You're trying to demonstrate otherwise, but you're constantly pounding square pegs into round holes to do so.

3:51 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

And this is to say nothing of your idea that television, microwaves, books(!), and magazines ought to be more expensive.

Or your correction that only food should be more expensive, because cheap food hurts family farms, even though -- unlike television -- food is a necessity of life.


You write:

What I want to see, and what I am seeing, is more people consciously choosing not to let technology control their lives and manipulate their choices. It is a battle for the heart more than the law.

The more you abandon the idea of legislating your beliefs, the less you will appear to be an advocate for totalitarianism.

But to reiterate what I wrote just now, I wonder what you mean by technology, whether you exclude fire and the wheel and the plow -- and if so, why.

I'm not sure what you mean about people being controlled by technology; we still have free will after all. From my point of view, the use of some particular form of technology isn't important, it's how the device is being used, whether it's being out of love for God and one's fellow man, or whether it's used to indulge one's more base desires.

It seems to me that your wanting to stigmatize modern technology is the result of focusing on technology, on obsessing about it: on being controlled by it.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Bubba, let me see if I'm getting it. You think of all technology as equally "neutral" and harmless. You do not believe that technology can influence or dispose fallen human nature in the wrong direction because we have free will and can just choose to use it properly. You think that a culture immersed in modern technology has no more or fewer inherent problems than other cultures. The problems, in your view, are just different. Am I right so far? If not, please correct me, I want to be fair.

I don't have a philosophy of technology; I have a philosophy of human nature, which I hope is nothing more or less than what orthodox Catholicism teaches about human nature. Technology interfaces with human nature and therefore cannot be considered apart from its influence upon human nature.

Technology, in its various manifestions, can be a proximate occasion of sin or virtue. It can appeal to man's higher, spiritual nature or to his fallen, sinful nature. It can be a catalyst for goodness or vulgarity, an instrument of peace or war, a source of information or disinforation, etc. Sometimes the good outweighs the bad, but very often the bad outweighs the good.

Every Christian has a duty to examine the influence of technology on his life. It may not be, strictly speaking, a sin to walk into a whorehouse - maybe that whorehouse has a restaurant that serves great food, and you're hungry and you need to eat - but if that whorehouse is a proximate occasion of sin, it is best to avoid it.

Every society has the same obligation. Television and the internet are like a brothel. They offer a few innocent pleasures, but in order to access them you have to expose yourself to the sewage. You might avoid sin at first, but most of your neighbors won't, and you have to live with them and so do your children. And even you, who perhaps have good discipline and custody of the eyes, will find your resolve weakened by prolonged exposure. Best to shut down the brothel. Best to abolish television and the internet or get it completely out of your life (and I am certainly aware of my own hypocrisy here). Some manifestations of technology are simply not worth the price.

Take the automobile, the mechanical Jacobin. We all know the upside and sing its praises. But no one talks about the downside. 40,000 deaths per year would be an epidemic if it were a disease. The sheer waste of resources involved is staggering. From a Christian perspective, waste is a sin and incentives to waste are to be avoided. To say nothing of the automobile's role in fracturing families and destroying community life ... perhaps elimitating automobiles is not the answer, but this is a topic that needs exploration. The fact that some technologies are so universally and blindly accepted, without any thought or reflection, speaks to the power of technology to dominate society and override all other considerations.

I don't know what you're looking for with respect to a coherent philosophy of technology. A Christian desires that which brings out the best in himself, his neighbors, and his society. Some technologies do this, and others do not, to a greater or lesser degree. That simple fact should not be the least controversial.

5:07 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

I'm a bit worried for you, Jeff, for evoking without a trace of irony the phrase "mechanical Jacobin".

Such a phrase prompts me to cut the chase: First, if you want to criticize the automobile for the deaths it cause, you ought to also factor in those deaths it prevented, either by paramedics/ambulance or by people being driven to the emergency room. It's a harder stat to find, surely, but if we're going to look closely at the auto, by all means, let's look closely.


Second, if you want to criticize the automobile for its "staggering" waste of resources, you need to drop your defense of family farms. Do you know why food prices are so low? Because those that engage in industrial farming techniques can afford to sell their wares at lower prices because they're more efficient.

"From a Christian perspective, waste is a sin and incentives to waste are to be avoided." Okay, the free market provides incentives for efficiency, and factory farms are more efficient than family farms. To support those family farms is to engage in waste; is that not a sin?


Third, if you're going to tell others to consider technology, you need to do your homework. You write:

The fact that some technologies are so universally and blindly accepted, without any thought or reflection, speaks to the power of technology to dominate society and override all other considerations.

Yet you have clearly given little thought to man's use of fire; it cooks our food, keeps us warm, and lights our night. Between surrogates like the light bulb and the microwave and uses like, um, the internal combustion engine, fire is far more ubiquitous than the automobile, yet you seem to take it for granted.


Fourth, and most importantly, I think that, whatever its historical basis in orthodox Catholicism, your philosophy has at best tenuous roots in Christian theology.

Broadly, I have the same complaint about agrarianism and crunchy conservatism: the New Testament has nothing to say about where we live, nothing about how we're employed, and nothing about what technology we are to use. And what it says about food and clothing runs contrary to those philosophies, by asserting that we are not defiled by what we eat.

If anything, agrarianism and crunchy conservatism are more Jewish than Christian, insisting on their own kosher code. That code has certainly kept the Jewish identity intact, but it hasn't guaranteed their virtue; it didn't even prepare many of the first-century Jews to encounter the Messiah.

You write:

A Christian desires that which brings out the best in himself, his neighbors, and his society. Some technologies do this, and others do not, to a greater or lesser degree. That simple fact should not be the least controversial.

It is controversial; it ought to be controversial. Christianity does not claim that technology brings out the best in people: only salvation through Christ accomplishes that, with the indwelling of His Holy Spirit and the subsequent maturity into being His disciple.

Some technologies -- such as psychotropic drugs, being abused -- surely make discipleship more difficult. Some, such as the printing press which helps spread God's written word, makes it easier. But generally, compared to the gospel of grace and to Christ's commandments, the question of technology is a distraction.

I've previously summarized parts of the Sermon on the Mount in other blogs. Let me do so again:

Quickly reconcile with someone you've wronged. Give no quarter to the temptation to indulge in lust and hatred. Be nothing less than honest. Treat everyone with love and respect -- even those who hate you. Do good deeds quietly so as to avoid the spotlight. Pray sincerely as part of genuine relationship with a personal God. Trust that God loves you, knows what is in your best interest, and is both willing and able to bring that about.

Running a family farm using pre-industrial tools makes these commands no easier; working for a software firm in some suburb outside a metropolis makes them no more difficult.


On one end of the political spectrum is the radical who is, in Buckley's words, trying to immanentize the eschaton. He thinks that all change is progress, that we will achieve the end-times by moving ever forward.

At the other end is the reactionary who thinks that all change is decay, that we can return to Eden by turning around.

The former idolizes the future; I'm afraid the latter idolizes the past. Salvation, however, is in the ever-present Christ. Without Him, the most well-planned commune will fail; with Him, the most advanced city can thrive.

Our Lord said that we who believe in Him will be able to take up serpents; surely we can also handle television.

6:21 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Bubba: Amen, amen, amen.

Jeff's remark that cheap food ought to be more expensive absolutely staggered me. I could not remotely imagine what alternate universe this man inhabits. (Obviously not one in which adequately nourishing millions of people matters a hill of, er, beans.)

I think you are absolutely right on the money: What goes into a man does not defile him. Could Our Lord have made this any plainer??

You are spot-on, IMHO: Living the Sermon on the Mount has no reference whatsoever to eating certain foods, shopping at certain venues, eschewing certain technologies, or whatever. If someone wants to dine on organic veggies, fine. But his neighbor who eats fast food is no less virtuous; indeed, he is quite possibly more virtuous, more authentically Christian, if he eats his fast food with humble thanksgiving or even (gasp!!) shares it with the poor.

I'm starting to wonder whether the Crunchy problem isn't related to what C.S. Lewis called "Christianity and." Christianity alone, it appears, isn't good enough for some people. No, they must have Christianity and Crunchyism, Agrarianism, Ludditism, what have you. The problem is that the term on the other side of that "and" becomes the tail that wags the dog. Instead of a Christianity that baptizes, permeates, and leavens Crunchyism, you have a Crunchyism that leavens Christianity---and in the process corrupts and mutates it.

As for me and my house, we'll take plain old Christianity, please, without the added onerous requirements of esoteric dietary laws and rules on where to shop. :)

Blessings,

Diane

P.S. Please be assured that Jeff's anti-cheap-food ideas do not represent classic Catholic anything; you won't find a hint of them in the Catechism or in the new Compendium of Catholic Social Teaching.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

'First, if you want to criticize the automobile for the deaths it cause, you ought to also factor in those deaths it prevented, either by paramedics/ambulance or by people being driven to the emergency room."

That factor is already there. We all know the benefits of the automobile and are perpetually grovelling before the great machine. What no one wants to talk about is the cost. The COST. That's the conversation that finally needs to be had and, among conservatives, the crunchies seem to be the only ones who care.

Yes, there are benefits to the automobile and it isn't going away. But let's look at the costs and see if there isn't some better way to live. We've become so addicted to the power and convenience of the thing that folks will drive around a parking lot for 30 minutes in order to park 200 feet closer to the mall.

So what's the solution? It would be a very good thing if Christians would begin to change their habits. Drive less, walk more, work closer to home, go to church closer to home, go to school closer to home, recreate closer to home, etc. Doing so would not only reduce auto fatalities, but would improve family and community life dramatically. That's all the crunchies are advocating: why is that so threatening?

"Second, if you want to criticize the automobile for its "staggering" waste of resources, you need to drop your defense of family farms. Do you know why food prices are so low? Because those that engage in industrial farming techniques can afford to sell their wares at lower prices because they're more efficient."

First, waste and inefficiency are not the same thing. By your reasoning it would be "wasteful" to grow tomatoes in your backyard because a corporate farm could do grow them cheaper. Economic efficiency is sometimes obligatory and sometimes forbidden to the Christian. To illustrate: the railroads in California were built very efficiently and very wastefully. The project was efficient because labor was cheap; the project was wasteful because thousands of workers died unnecessarily.

Second, the so-called "efficiency" of corporate farming is illusory. There are great human costs you are forgetting about - the family farm being first among them. Other externalities include tons of food rotting in warehouses and dumpsters (visit the dumpsters behind your local restaurants and supermarkets someday), environmental damage, and an incentive to gluttony on a global scale. We have too much food, and it is too cheap.

Third, if you're going to tell others to consider technology, you need to do your homework ... yet you have clearly given little thought to man's use of fire; it cooks our food, keeps us warm, and lights our night. Between surrogates like the light bulb and the microwave and uses like, um, the internal combustion engine, fire is far more ubiquitous than the automobile, yet you seem to take it for granted."

This is a red herring and you simply have no argument here. Ubiquity is not itself the problem. Unlike, say, television or the automobile, fire is not a technology that leads mankind around by the nose. Fire has not devoured and displaced better things. Fire is not subject to the level of abuse and misuse that characterizes modern technologies.

"Broadly, I have the same complaint about agrarianism and crunchy conservatism: the New Testament has nothing to say about where we live, nothing about how we're employed, and nothing about what technology we are to use."

This is very disingenuous on your part, Bubba, and beneath you I think. The New Testamenmt doesn't say anything about abortion, human cloning, polygamy, or sodomite marriages either, which only proves the inadequacy of relying on scripture without tradition.

Indirectly, the Bible does have something to say about where we live and how we spend our time. We are to aim for whatever is true, good, and beautiful in everything, and St. Paul presupposes that we already know something about what is true, good, and beautiful. If you make a living in a way that depends upon lies, then you had better find something else to do. If you live in a place that is constantly drawing you towards sin and vice, then you had better find somewhere else to live. If your recreations are unwholesome and a waste of time, then you had better do something else. Etc.

"And what it says about food and clothing runs contrary to those philosophies, by asserting that we are not defiled by what we eat."

What? Who said anything about being defiled by what we eat?

"If anything, agrarianism and crunchy conservatism are more Jewish than Christian, insisting on their own kosher code."

Rubbish. In the first place there is nothing legalistic about cruchy conservatism or agrarianism as I understand them. There are as many opinions about agrarianism as there are agrarians. A fresh green salad from the garden with home produced eggs and cheese is better than a Big Mac, but I still eat Big Macs now and then without any moral qualms whatsoever. We do what we can while balancing other obligations. The whole point is not to create a legalistic code of Proper Crunchy Conduct, but to wean people from the ideologies of modern life and to persuade modern Americans that they are free - free to sacrifice comfort and convenience, the gods of technocracy, for better and higher things.

"Quickly reconcile with someone you've wronged."

Technology makes this less likely. People would rather move a thousand miles away than reconcile, and they do it because they can. And even if one stays nearby, it is easier with technology to avoid your neighbors and the obligations of charity.

"Give no quarter to the temptation to indulge in lust and hatred."

Television and the internet are almost nothing but cesspools of lust and hatred.

"Be nothing less than honest."

Capitalism and the modern economy are built on lies and deception.

"Treat everyone with love and respect -- even those who hate you."

"Do good deeds quietly so as to avoid the spotlight."

Our culture encourages the very opposite: promote yourself, sell yourself, market yourself.

"Pray sincerely as part of genuine relationship with a personal God."

The average American watches four hours of television per day. That's not even counting internet use. I don't know how much time he spends per day in prayer, but I would be surprised if it exceeds five minutes.

"Trust that God loves you, knows what is in your best interest, and is both willing and able to bring that about."

Do we really need God when we have Technology to provide everything for us? What can God do that Science cannot do?

"At the other end is the reactionary who thinks that all change is decay, that we can return to Eden by turning around."

But as C.S. Lewis wrote, when you're headed down the wrong road, true progress requires turning around.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

"Some technologies -- such as psychotropic drugs, being abused -- surely make discipleship more difficult. Some, such as the printing press which helps spread God's written word, makes it easier."

As a former printer myself I would have to say that even the printing press is a decidedly mixed bag. It is another good example of technology that has inevitably led to practices which are simultaneously efficient and extremely wasteful. The majority of printed material in the world is literally garbage. Direct mail yields response rates as low as 0.5%, and yet this is a most efficient means of marketing.

12:20 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

Jeff, I for one cannot take you seriously.

Fire has not devoured and displaced better things. (WHO NEEDS FIRE DEPARTMENTS? BE GONE WITH THEM! FIRE HAS NEVER CAUSED ANYONE TO LOSE ANYTHING) Fire is not subject to the level of abuse and misuse that characterizes modern technologies. (NO SUCH THING AS ARSON! HEY JEFF, DO YOU THINK ATTA HIJACKED A PLANE BECAUSE HE LIKES FLYING, OR BECAUSE JET FUEL IS FLAMMABLE/EXPLOSIVE?)

12:32 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Hi, Kathleen.

Since you've gone from wishing me dead to not taking me seriously, I'm calling it a promoition.

The distinction is this: most people go for years without abusing or misusing fire; hardly anyone passes 24 hours without abusing or misusing technology.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Hi, Kathleen.

Since you've gone from wishing me dead to not taking me seriously, I'm calling it a promoition.

The distinction is this: most people go for years without abusing or misusing fire; hardly anyone passes 24 hours without abusing or misusing technology.

1:15 PM  
Blogger SiliconValleySteve said...

Jeff,

I almost never abuse or misuse technology. Of course you would beg to differ and of course you know everything.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Jeff, you're ignoring the fact that the mechanical Jacobin runs on the internal combustion engine -- fire.

You're ignoring the fact that the Internet is powered by electricity, and that most electricity is produced by burning coal and other fossil fuels -- that is, fire.

This is one of my big complaints about how you're arguing. It seems like you arguing that fire is different because of X, not because X is true, but because you desparately need X to be true for your argument to be coherent.

First, you claimed, "There is no ideology of fire." I've demonstrated otherwise.

Then, "the attraction of fire is strictly in its utility." Pyromania and the allure of staring at a dying fire disproves that.

Then, "Unlike, say, television or the automobile, fire is not a technology that leads mankind around by the nose." I don't think any technology controls humanity, but I can't see how fire differs from TV and the car, as most of us cook our food, use fire or one of its surrogates to light our nighttime, and prefer central heating.

"Fire has not devoured and displaced better things." Except for maybe the joy of stargazing in utter darkness and little things like, um, trees.

Now, "most people go for years without abusing or misusing fire," which isn't true if you count the indirect uses of fire -- and certainly hasn't been true generally. Or have you never heard of the dubious consequences of slash-and-burn agriculture?

So, what other suspect proclamation are you going to throw at the wall in a desperate attempt to have something stick?


I have other issues.

Let's start with Scripture and tradition.

This is very disingenuous on your part, Bubba, and beneath you I think. The New Testamenmt doesn't say anything about abortion, human cloning, polygamy, or sodomite marriages either, which only proves the inadequacy of relying on scripture without tradition.

The Bible says quite a bit about loving our neighbors, and Christ is clear that we are to care for the least of His brothers; I think that covers abortion. The Bible is also clear -- Christ in particular in Matthew 19 -- about the purpose of human sexuality, that God made us for lifelong heterosexual monogamy, which covers at least most of the other issues you raise.

Anyway, you write about the inadequacy of Scripture only to invoke Scripture in defending agrarianism:

Indirectly, the Bible does have something to say about where we live and how we spend our time. We are to aim for whatever is true, good, and beautiful in everything, and St. Paul presupposes that we already know something about what is true, good, and beautiful.

I thought Scripture was inadequate. Huh.

The point itself would be valid, except for one thing: you've already made the absurd suggestion that a DVD of the London Symphony performing Beethoven's Ninth is "objectively" inferior to a farmer screeching out music on his own violin.

The assertion is nonsense on stilts, but you're bending everything -- aesthetics, ideas about technology, concerns about costs, absolutely everything -- to your defense of agrarianism. You've apparently already decided that agrarianism is the apex of human existence; inconvenient truths are ignored or distorted.


And that brings me to your discussion about the costs -- "the COSTS" -- of technolgy.

Do you know how many people die because they use traditional farming methods instead of modern methods? I bet you don't know.

What's really galling is, I bet you don't care. I bet you think the costs of industrial technology are bad because they're not stemming from agrarianism. But clearly you think that the costs of pre-industrial technology are worth it.

After all, you reiterate: "We have too much food, and it is too cheap."

You think it's good that agrarianism is costly, that it would make food both rare and expensive. Cost is, magically, a benefit of agrarianism and a negative for everything else.


And this is to say nothing of the really ludicrous stuff:

"We all know the benefits of the automobile and are perpetually grovelling before the great machine."

I for one do not grovel before cars; I drive them, as do most of us. And let me guess that you would reject the suggestion that you fetishize and idolize pre-industrial farm equipment.

"What no one wants to talk about is the cost. The COST. That's the conversation that finally needs to be had and, among conservatives, the crunchies seem to be the only ones who care."

Riiight; the possibility that other people care about costs but happen to reach different conclusions never enters your mind.

"The whole point is not to create a legalistic code of Proper Crunchy Conduct, but to wean people from the ideologies of modern life and to persuade modern Americans that they are free - free to sacrifice comfort and convenience, the gods of technocracy, for better and higher things."

Things that don't involve TV and the Internet, which are "almost nothing but cesspools of lust and hatred." But no legalistic code here, nosiree.

And the big one, the one that makes me think that agrarianism has quite a bit in common with Marxism:

"Capitalism and the modern economy are built on lies and deception."

Now that I think about it, the hammer and sickle are pre-industrial agrarian tools...

2:08 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

Jeff, you and the other crunchy cons need to refrain from speaking for others. It may well be that you abuse technology on a daily basis. but you have to learn that others, in fact many, don't.

in another example, one which is visible to the naked eye (unlike technology abuse) -- lots of Americans are fat and abuse junk food. but lots of Americans aren't fat at all, not by a longshot.

and cut the nonsense about me wishing you dead. there is no rule against sarcasm on the internet, just as there is no rule against the pomposity you exhibit. I realize that you want to portray me as an ogre, but it doesn't help your argument in the least, though no doubt you fervently wish otherwise.

3:35 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

"you've already made the absurd suggestion that a DVD of the London Symphony performing Beethoven's Ninth is 'objectively' inferior to a farmer screeching out music on his own violin."

did Jeff really say this? LOL. really, a violin is so bourgeois -- a higher technology - shouldn't the crunchy instrument of choice be an orange crate strung with sheep tendons? Old farmer joe with the gnarled calloused arthritic hands and bad back, after 14 hrs in the fields, ain't gonna be playing beethoven after all, so why bother with a violin? plus "turkey in the straw" is much more authentic and reflective of the farmer's life story.

Jeff you should really go over to the crunchy con blog and re-introduce yourself to Rod. there's another commenter over there called Franklin who is a self-described pagan libertarian and seems very interested in crunchy conservatism. You all are quite a constituency.

3:47 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Kathleen, this is what Jeff asserted:

A related question concerns the value of those things which technology is replacing. Homemade entertainment (songs, games, reading, etc.) has been largely replaced for most people by electronic entertainment - something I view as objectively inferior and morally dangerous. A life which severely limits modern electronic entertainment is therefore a better life and is worth promoting. That's what Mr. Dreher seems to be doing, and I believe it is laudable.

And:

I submit that it is better, all around, for a farmer in Kansas to play his own piano or violin - to know music and to make music for those in his home and community - than it is for him to relax and enjoy listening to a DVD of even the best classical music. And this is precisely what ordinary people did before the ubiquity of electronic entertainment.

I frankly don't see an intrinsic conflict between homemade music and technology. One can enjoy both at different times, or combine the two -- as I enjoy singing along to Coldplay CD's, and I plan to have an electronic keyboard in my house so that, while I'll encourage my kids to learn to play the piano, I can have preprogrammed music playing softly in the background during Christmas or a quiet dinner with the Missus.

But is homemade music (no matter how bad, presumably) even better than "even the best classical music" on DVD? No, obviously, and anyone who says otherwise is a literal fanatic.

3:58 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

"A life which severely limits modern electronic entertainment is therefore a better life and is worth promoting. That's what Mr. Dreher seems to be doing, and I believe it is laudable."

Jeff -- Mr. Dreher seems to be limiting modern electronic entertainment?! he *hosts a blog* and links all over the place. I know for a fact he spends far more time on the internet than I do. He seems to be -- no, he is -- doing exactly the opposite of what you say.

6:26 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

But is homemade music (no matter how bad, presumably) even better than "even the best classical music" on DVD? No, obviously, and anyone who says otherwise is a literal fanatic.

The question, I think, is whether the act of making your own music is better than the act of listening to recorded music.

My answer is that the two acts are so different that it doesn't make sense to say either is "better" in any absolute sense.

In any case, it clearly doesn't suffice for Jeff to simply "submit" that the one is better. That submission has been turned down; the next step would be to present an argument for why it's true -- though, if I may say it without poisoning the well, I'm sort of guessing the premises of Jeff's argument wouldn't be well received by this crowd, either.

6:49 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

"In any case, it clearly doesn't suffice for Jeff to simply 'submit' that the one is better. That submission has been turned down;"

Actually, that submission was never recognized, much less turned down, until this comment of yours. For which I thank you.

"... the next step would be to present an argument for why it's true --"

It is true because the former is active and intelligent and generous, and the latter, while pleasant and worthwhile, lends itself more readily to passivity and self-indulgence.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

It is true because the former is active and intelligent and generous, and the latter, while pleasant and worthwhile, lends itself more readily to passivity and self-indulgence.

So...there's no room for relaxation in Crunchy World?

Even at the close of a long, hard day, we must still...perform?

That sure sounds like a cure for stress. Not!

What's wrong with a little passivity, anyway? I seem to recall that Our Lord praised Mary for sitting passively at His feet, sopping up His words, while He chided Martha for being "busy about many things."

In all sincerity, Jeff: Do you favor only the so-called masculine virtues (e.g., constant striving) and never the feminine ones (rest, receptivity)?

Are not both important? Don't they complement each other? And isn't R&R in fact part of the essential rhythm of life? "To everything there is a season...."

Besides, some of us just aren't very good at playing the fiddle. Or anything else for that matter. :)

God bless,

Diane

9:49 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Briefly, Kathleen, I could imagine Rod and others justifying their presence on the Internet, either by excusing themselves as being poor examples of the lives they espouse, or by pointing out that -- despite assertions about the inherent objective inferiority of all things digital -- one can live a life with a foot in each of the two houses of modernity and agrarianism, or by saying that one must go to the whorehouses if you're going to convert anyone.


There are a couple other thoughts that I had while running errands last night; if nothing else, Jeff should feel good that he has spurred debate.

First, I'm not sure Jeff would agree with this distinction, but I think there may be a fundamental divide between Jeff and me on the question of what man is: a product of the environment, or an autonomous agent within the environment. The reality combines a bit of both, but I think that humans are mostly autonomous agents; we're not going to make people more moral simply by putting them on farms.

Regeneration, if it happens (and it can, if we accept God's free gift of grace), occurs from the inside-out, not the outside-in. To the degree that agrarianism does believe virtue is possible by putting people in the "right" environment, giving them the "right" tools to perform the "right" occupation, living by eating the "right" kind of food and enjoying the "right" kind of entertainment, I believe agrarianism is guilty of creating a new kosher code.

Virture is from the inside-out; only good trees produce good fruit...


...which brings me back to the Sermon on the Mount.

"Quickly reconcile with someone you've wronged."

Technology makes this less likely. People would rather move a thousand miles away than reconcile, and they do it because they can. And even if one stays nearby, it is easier with technology to avoid your neighbors and the obligations of charity.


This first of all ignores the fact that technology can facilitate reconciliation as well as facilitate isolation -- via email and IM. I'd be willing to grant that, on balance, modern technology isolates more than it unites, but that's not prima facie proof that we should eschew it, because, after all, we still have free will.

That leads to the second, more important point: if you are unwilling to reconcile with your neighbor, sure you could avoid him by going online or driving off in your car. Or you could ignore him by spending time in your organic garden, or by taking your rowboat to an idyllic pond to fish.

For Pete's sake, there are marriages where reconciliation doesn't occur, where two people spend decades in the same house -- in the same bed -- without really burying the hatchet over some ancient grudge.

If someone wants to reconcile, modern technology won't stop him. If he doesn't, the lack of modern technology won't force him, either.

This ought to be obvious.


If you make a living in a way that depends upon lies, then you had better find something else to do. If you live in a place that is constantly drawing you towards sin and vice, then you had better find somewhere else to live. If your recreations are unwholesome and a waste of time, then you had better do something else. Etc.

On this point, Jeff is right. Jesus teaches us that IF one's eye causes him to sin, he should pluck it out. But there's that conditional word, "if."

And there's overkill. If some pornographic website causes you to lust, should avoid the Internet altogether?

Let's ask this another way: if Dan Brown's novels cause you to falter in your faith, should you avoid all books? If someone has been a bad influence on you, should you avoid all friendships?

Of course not.


Finally, there's this:

"Give no quarter to the temptation to indulge in lust and hatred."

Television and the internet are almost nothing but cesspools of lust and hatred.


That's a lie, and I would hope that Jeff knows that.

On TV, there's the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, and A&E. On the Internet, there's NRO and Crosswalk.com's online Bible study tools.

Are these marked by hatred and lust? Hardly.

Or there things that are? Sure: MTV and countless porn sites, but having bonfires where you destroy TV's and computers (and, doubtlessly, Buddy Holly records) isn't the only alternative.

Technology offers a solution to other technology through filters that keep MTV and porn sites out of your home.


I just don't understand the luddite's kneejerk reaction to industrial and post-industrial technology.

9:58 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

I also don't understand the insistance that music played is better than music heard. Diane is absolutely right that there's a time and a place for both, and I would add that your attitude, Jeff, opens a Pandora's box.

If it's better to play music than to listen to it (and I would dare say that listening is itself often an active task that engages the mind), then surely it's better to compose music than it is to play someone else's work...

...and it's better to build your own instrument rather than buy it from an expert craftsman...

...and it's better to use materials you've grown than buying them from a hardware or specialty store.


Ultimately, that train of thought leads to the following destination: that it's better for a man to beat the ground with a stick than it is for him to listen to a symphony orchestra performing Bach or Beethoven.

I don't believe anyone can honestly believe that.

10:03 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

I don't believe anyone can honestly believe that.

You haven't met my ten-year-old son.

And, based on the reaction of my other son just this morning to a couple of blues licks I was trying out on my harmonica -- about as self-indulgent an act as a suburban-bread white man can perform in the presence of children -- making your own music isn't always intelligent or generous.

I am broadly sympathetic to the "a thing worth doing is worth doing badly" spirit Jeff is advocating, but I don't think arguments that things lend themselves readily to vices really provide it with a firm foundation. Abusus non tollit usum, as they used to say.

11:07 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Well, gents, this has been fun. I think we've made our respective points and discovered how well they stand up under fire. As a guest on this blog I should thank the hosts, who were ... for the most part ... indulgent.

Long live the Crunchies.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

You're very welcome, Jeff.

If you're bidding us farewell, let me say that it's been fun -- and let me extend my wish that you, like all of us, grow closer to God, not only in understanding Him but also in becoming who He wants you to be.

Lord knows how far I've got to go even to be a presentable Christian, to say nothing of being a mature Christian, but I'm convinced that such growth is based on a Person -- the Incarnate Word, along with the written word He upheld and the church He established -- not on one particular phase of technological development.

Let me quote a poem by C.S. Lewis.

Yes, you are always everywhere. But I,
Hunting in such immeasurable forests,
Could never bring the noble hart to bay.

The scent was too perplexing for my hounds;
Nowhere sometimes, then again everywhere.
Other scents, too, seemed to them almost the same

Therefore I turn my back on the unapproachable
Stars and horizons and all musical sounds,
Poetry itself, and the winding stair of thought.

Leaving the forests where you are pursued in vain
--Often a mere white gleam--I turn instead
To the appointed place where you pursue.

Not in Nature, not even in Man, but in one
Particular Man, with a date, so tall, weighing
So much, talking Armaic, having learned a trade;

Not in all food, not in all bread and wine
(Not, I mean, as my littleness requires)
But this wine, this bread...no beauty we could desire.

12:16 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Jeff, I for one hope you don't decamp from this blog. Although you have made quite clear your dislike for me, I actually like you and appreciate your viewpoint.

Don't agree with it, for the most part, but appreciate it.

I too say, "Long live the Crunchies!" I ask only that they--whilst surviving to a ripe old age by subsisting on organic carrots from the family farm--leave me and mine free to dine on cheap food and watch old Columbo episodes in peace.

God bless,

Diane

12:21 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

Actually, you thread hijackers you, I just saw Cars. no doubt Rod would deem it crunchy since it's anti-"vulgar capitalism", anti-interstate, pro-small-town, and anti-"winning at all costs". When he sees it, I'm quite sure Rod, instead of finally realizing that his ideas are not quite original, will seize the opportunity to marvel at his ability to read the pulse of the Zeitgeist (just as he did after reading about "Freakoutnomics" or the latest column by David Brooks). Certainly, it won't occur to him that his ideas are so generic as to be fodder for the plot of a children's movie.

Rod might even wonder if he himself wrote the screenplay in a fit of sleepwalking.

and what will he make of all the mainstream conservatives who love the movie?

2:34 PM  
Blogger Pauli said...

Jeff wrote:
> Long live the Crunchies.

Actually, Jeff, I hope they all live long, too, but there were some posts on the original NRO crunch blog arguing that longevity might not be all it's cracked up to be by modern society. I'm serious. Bubba, KR, do you remember that?

6:15 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

Pauli, that was caleb if I recall correctly.

HEY! Back to the subject at hand, HIJACKER. why haven't you seen cars yet? You have a 4 yr old boy, dont you? delinquent dad.

6:09 AM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...

After fighting the month end transnational corporate orc-tocracy, the Cubeland mystic goes to a high place to seek God’s will and prepare for the next buffeting, I come back and what the hell happened? 83 posts! And then one of my team started it. . . Porca Miseria! You guys were practically throwing malocchio at each other.

I wish I got in this one earlier. I went to see Cars with the kids. One word. . .boring.

4:59 PM  
Blogger Pauli said...

Yeah, I have a 4-year old. I'm reluctant to take him to the movies until he's a little bit older. He doesn't see a lot of TV, and he's still content with Winnie the Pooh and Thomas the Tank Engine videos. He flips out during scary parts of, say, the "Ninja Turtles" which he wanted to watch once, and he doesn't just get scared, he gets violent and starts screaming threats; I'm not exaggerating. I know he could get us booted out of a theater, although maybe not with handcuffs on. That hasn't happened to me in several years and never with a kid.

I'm not just saying this to "get out" of seeing Cars. I love stuff like that. "The Incredibles" was one of my favorite films ever; I blogged on it in this post on our Harry Potter-related site. I'm also a huge fan of the "Toy Story" series and can't wait to watch all the great Pixar stuff with my kids -- I just don't think they're ready and I'd rather not rush them....

Am I overprotective? Am I sounding crunchy???

5:28 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

Totally understand Pauli. This is only my son's second movie, not counting the Incredibles last year, in which he fell asleep. he LOVED Cars and was riveted, so i was pleasantly surprised. have to admit i was selfish in bringing him, it was too hot to do anything outdoors.

also my son is soon 5, there is a big difference between young 4 and older 4.

the worst thing about the movie was the (loud) previews for other kid movies with vulgar jokes, etc. I love pixar b/c w/ them you know you're not going to get any of that garbage. why would somebody willingly expose their kid to that?

5:59 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

I think a lot depends on the individual child; I remember seeing Return of the Jedi in the theater, and I had just turned four. But I was, by all accounts, a very good kid.

(I know, I know: what happened?)

But on the question of innuendo, I think Cars had a few things that flew under the radar. For chuckles, I occasionally check out "Plugged In", a website under Dobson's unbrella that specializes in media reviews for parents. They notice a couple double entendres here but miss (what I thought) was the most glaring example.

One word: headlights.

6:27 AM  

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