Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Evil Afoot

SIGH. There must be a dearth of lost souls to pray for these days.

I subscribe to the mailing list for each of the boys' PTSA. They're pretty good about only using mass emails for relevant information and I usually only get one a week, sometimes not even that many.

The PTSA President at the Middle School is a friend of mine. Our boys have played baseball together for years, and I served on the PTSA under her when she was President at the elementary school.

She is a very, very sweet person. But she's very high strung. Normally high strung women annoy me, and I avoid them like the plauge. But she is the kind of person who is so genuinely nice and selfless that I can't hold it against her. She is a Christian, and she knows I am not a Christian, but so far, this has not impacted our friendship in any significant way.

Yesterday I got a mass emailing from her about The Golden Compass. In case you didn't know, it was sent from Satan to corrupt our children and bend them to his evil purpose. Or something like that.

I found it highly inappropriate and presumptuous. I provided my email to receive information about school issues, not to be subjected to hyper religious handwringing.

But I let it go. Because it's not worth being branded as Satan's concubine, and because I know she really means well. She really does think that seeing the movie will put our childrens' immortal souls at risk. And that worries her. A lot.

I deleted it and thought no more about it. But I opened my email this morning to find a veritable FLOOD of indignant exclamation and postulation. The entire fricking PTSA and all those on the mailing list were roiling with outrage. Which is fine. Be outraged. I don't really care.

But fer the love of Mike Brady don't REPLY TO ALL when you express just how outraged you are. I am getting literally, hundreds of emails about this very serious crisis.

Now I have to unsubscribe until all this blows over and resubscribe at a later date. Not only that, I have to weed through all these stupid emails to make sure I haven't missed something important in all the dogmatic melee.

Honestly, I don't know what this particular movie is about. But there are plenty of movies that I find offensive; those with gratuitous violence, those that objectify women, those that promote and/or glorify mysogeny, misanthropy, racism, classism, hedonism. There are movies that make me wonder about why someone felt compelled to make such a movie. There are movies that make me wonder at the depths of depravity to which the human psyche is capable of sinking.

My solution to that is very simple. I don't go see them.

People, if you find this movie morally and/or religiously offensive, DON'T GO SEE IT.

Also, have people not figured out that the best way to guarantee the success of a book or movie is to make a big fat stink about it? Do they not realize they are only lining Satan's pockets by whipping the public into such a fervor?

It's been that way since Hester Prynne, folks. No, since Adam and Eve. But the scarlet letter upon her breast only served to remind people of fornication every single time they saw it. The church, seeking to humiliate and examplify, only made people hornier than they already were, and more likely to commit a moral indiscretion.

Nothing has changed. Nothing makes people want to do something more than having the church or it's followers deem it to be sinful.

And then, of course, there is the fact that it's only a movie. For the life of me I cannot understand why people get all up in arms about fairy tales and flights of fancy. And I cannot understand why Christians need to find evil in such things when there is plenty of very real evil lurking around every corner.

I almost feel compelled to take my children to see it just on general principle; to demonstrate that I will not be swayed or cowed by religious hysteria and fear mongering. And that I will not let my children miss out on the very little magic that is left in this world for fear of an imagined and exaggerated evil.

Here's an interesting article about the movie.

I wonder if those who live outside the bible belt have to put up with this kind of crap.

And my friend? Sigh...I don't know. She thinks she is doing a good thing. I can't fault her for that. But I don't want to be on the receiving end of her brand of altruism. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell her without sounding truculent, judgemental and defensive.

So I will let it go. Just like I can choose not read a book or see a movie, I can choose not to be pandered to.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on this issue, whether you are Christian or agnostic or atheirs. I'm genuinely interested in any and all points of view.


  • At 7:06 AM, Blogger Sharon L. Holland said…

    We have a friend who sends out inflammatory emails, and, of course, everyone who responds uses Reply to All. Definitely annoying and impolite.

    I would not personally use anything to express my faith that smacks of improper pressure. If the organization is a Christian one, then by all means send out an email to everyone. If it is not, then don't use the organization's email list to send out a Christian email.

    As for the movies - I read the books, and enjoyed them as fantasy, though I found the fervor of the author's anti-Christian hostility pretty childish. He seems stuck in a kind of angry adolescence. I will probably see the movies, and would let my kids see them once they are old enough to discuss what they mean.

  • At 7:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Inappropriate use of "reply all" is impolite and annoying not matter the topic.

    My opinion is that Chrisitan evangelism absent of relationship building and service AND combined with forwarded email is - bad? yucky? offensive? Too many adjectives come to mind. Not what Jesus would do.

    As far as movies, if you find the premise of a movie offensive, don't go see it whether it's Harry Potter or Mel Gibson. I'm a big girl and I can figure out which movie I or my child should see. I grew up Catholic in a time when the priest decided for the parish which movies were permissible and that is a big burr under my saddle.

    And I would definitely be sending a reply-all message saying please do not send me email not related to school busines thank you very much.

  • At 7:44 AM, Blogger Kat said…

    I am a Christian. I know this woman had good intentions, but honestly, I think there are much more serious matters to concern yourself with than a movie. If you think it is dangerous, don't see. Don't let your kids see it. Tell your friends you think it is nasty, whatever. Don't stage some big revolt which will inevitably make the movie much more appealing to people. I think there are far more serious things to worry about in life than a stupid movie. But that is just me.

  • At 7:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I had never heard of this movie, or the books, until I read your post. Had I been on your PTSA email list, it would've been the email that piqued my interest.

    Now I'm interested. I'll probably get the books AND go see the movie. I tried to read the article you linked to, but I found some of the quotes annoying and abandoned the article halfway through.

    I saw an interesting documovie the other day regarding Christianity, etc. I won't post the link here unless I'm asked, but it really opened my eyes.

    Re: Reply All--that button is SO overused in my place of employment, so I feel your pain. I deleted at least 30 reply all emails on Friday. And that's at my WORK.

    And there endeth my completely random, and quite possibly incoherent, reply.

  • At 8:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm with Kathryn.

    And I agree that her sending this via email tht is SUPPOSED to be for school business/issues is HIGHLY INAPPROPRIATE and she should be called out for it.

    (TOT - didn't they trot out this same argument over 50 yrs ago for the release of "Gentlemen's Agreement" ? Tired, tired tired. )

  • At 8:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I couldn't agree with you more-- although you put it much more eloquently than I ever could.


  • At 8:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My opinion? Why is it ok for Christians to release movies like "Passion of the Christ' to spread the word of Christianity but any anti-religion movie is so heinous? Just as they can spread their ideas (cram them down out throat is more like it), we are welcome to spread ours. Ever heard of freedom of religion? Oh wait. That only applies to Christians!!! Silly me.

    I can't take them all on so I just delete those stupid messages. I have friends where I grew up in the midwest who have sent me all these slandering e-mails on Barack Obama. What really irks me is they have no idea who I support yet send me these offensive e-mails. Isn't fear funny?

  • At 9:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What I find interesting about that article you linked to is that the president of the Catholic League is upset about the "denigration of the Catholic Church in an attempt to sell atheism" AND the fact that New Line Cinema has "watered down the most offensive element."

    Well, which way do you want it, Donohue? Do you want the offensive element in it so you can complain about it or do you want it out so it doesn't sell atheism?

    I believe in God personally. I have more and more of a problem with organized religion and the fact of people hiding behind their religion as a way to keep from accepting that people may have different beliefs than them.

    I think you're taking a very mature stance on this, but if it were me, I'd simply send a one line response (not reply to all, either) simply requesting, "Please take me off the list of any emails regarding anything beyond PTSA business. Thanks." That's not disrespectful or judgmental or defensive. It's a simple request.

  • At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am Christian and live outside the Bible belt and received an email about how we should not let our children go see the movie etc.

    My first thought was like is just a movie. If you don't want to go then don't. And there are plenty of offensive movies out there that need more attention.

    And, never I have watched a movie and decided that from now I was going to believe this or that.

    I still don't believe in the Great Pumpkin.

  • At 12:24 PM, Blogger Girlplustwo said…

    i will never understand the vitrol associated with beliefs that differ from your own (as long as those beliefs aren't hurting other people). i don't know what there is to fear, but i can't see it as any other reaction other than that.

    Now let's all get back to watching Die Hard and Braveheart and other true family friendly movies. All that massacreing and such.

  • At 12:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am a Christian and I agree with you. Group emails are not for propaganda. I have read about the author and his hatred of Christianity so I have no wish to read his books or see the movie.

    I remember one atheist friend of mine one time sent an email to our group bashing God and Christians. (I was the only Christian in the group and he had no idea at that time). I replied to HIM (not all) politely explaining my views. And we resolved it. But some people in the group still "replied all" with their anti-religion views.

    He is a nice person, and we get along fine despite our differences. People are sometimes just dense and when they believe they are fighting for a cause, they tend to get a little over the top - Christians and atheists and agnostics alike. We are all people with emotions after all.

    I think a polite reply is in order. And will not be harsh or judgmental. Just my two cents.


  • At 1:16 PM, Blogger flutter said…

    it's a MOVIE. Good-ness put your energy into something more worthy. Oy.

  • At 1:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    When it comes to stuff like this, I stay right out of it.

    I must say though, I HATE it when people "reply to all". It is one of my top five pet peeves.

  • At 2:32 PM, Blogger Terri said…

    Good grief! I wish Christians wouldn't do things like this, and I'm speaking as a Christian. As you said making a big "to do" over the movie is only going to make it more popular; thereby, defeating your friend's purpose.

    As you also said, if I had some concern about a movie, I wouldn't go see it.

    I also think it is highly inappropriate to use PTSA email lists to mass email everyone about something completely irrelevant. Sounds as if you are handling the situation wisely. I sure wish more Christians would do the same.

  • At 4:54 PM, Blogger Ms. Skywalker said…

    Hmmm, some of my favorite things that I tell myself daily as a Christian:

    Love thy neighbor as thyself.

    Turn the other cheek.

    Love one another.

    And some of the things I tell myself daily when responding to a mass email:

    Do not hit "reply to all"

    Check one more time to make sure that you did not hit "reply to all".

  • At 6:18 PM, Blogger Shelley said…

    First of all, yes...those of us outside the bible belt put up with this crap as well.

    I got the outraged email from a friend of mine today, the type who sends out many "God and Country" type emails, pray for our troops, etc.

    Apparently, the author of these books (there are three of them), is an atheist, and they were his answer to the Chronicles of Narnia series. At the end of the third book, apparently a group of children "kill" God. What they are all up in arms about is that it's being billed as a family holiday movie.

    I say, whatever. I love Harry Potter, but you don't see me out trying to play Quidditch on a broom. It's a movie, for pete's sake. Either go or don't, but stop your ever-loving whining about it. And stop giving me your right-leaning point of view about everything.

    There are some people that will go see this movie. And I swear, the earth will not stop spinning, nor will Satan swoop down and take over the world (ala Pinky and the Brain) Well, probably not.

  • At 6:41 PM, Blogger Amy Y said…

    I really think you have the best attitude... So often in this country we are made to feel like we must rise up against the "evil" things... when really the best way to protest is to simply not spend money on the things we find offense...

  • At 9:16 PM, Blogger Tania said…

    I don't get why people "reply to all". Most of my friends do it, even if they are just RSVP-ing to an dinner invitation. It's not my job to keep track of someone else's RSVPs, so why copy me? That aside, I do think that it is inappropriate to send anything of a religous nature to a group who are not signed up for religious purposes. It is alienating to those who aren't followers.

  • At 11:17 PM, Blogger S said…

    Amen. Don't go see it. So simple, so right.

  • At 11:27 PM, Blogger Cathy, Amy and Kristina said…

    I don't think anyone should be injecting his/her beliefs into a mass emailing to a presumably large, diverse group of people.

    It's inappropriate.

    And it's equally inappropriate for people to "reply all" rather than engaging in this highly personal discussion/debate on their own time.


  • At 4:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have been following Phillip Pullman for awhile, the author of the book on which the film 'golden compass' is based.

    I am a huge fan of CS Lewis, especially his theological writings such as 'the problem with pain' and 'mere christanity'. So when Phillip Pullman had labeled the Chronicles of Narnia as religious propoganda, I was offended.

    However,IMHO one of the greatest theologians now guiding us through our modern messes, the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has sided with Pullman. The problem I have with some Christian theology is its need for checking your brain at the door.

    From Wikipedia: However, Pullman has found support from other Christians, most notably Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. These groups and individuals point out that Pullman's negative portrayal of the "Church" in His Dark Materials amounts to an attack on dogmatism and the use of religion to oppress, not on Christianity itself. Dr. Williams has gone so far as to propose that His Dark Materials be taught as part of religious education in schools. Moreover, even authors of works dedicated to critical appraisals of religious themes in his writing have described Pullman as a friendly and generous debating partner.

    Other Christian writers, such as Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware, while finding his anti-Christian position troubling, "also uncover spiritual themes within the books, which, like shafts of light, break through an otherwise gloomy universe—despite Pullman’s best efforts to keep them out. In the end, the authors argue that Pullman offers an unwitting tribute to the God he intended to discredit." in their book _Shedding Light on His Dark Materials_.

  • At 6:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I only have one thing to say - teach these people how to use the BCC function! Its rude to have a mailing list with all the emails showing. This way if people want to reply and vent, it just goes back to the originator!

  • At 7:54 AM, Blogger SUEB0B said…

    "So I will let it go. Just like I can choose not read a book or see a movie, I can choose not to be pandered to."

    This is a very smart answer.

  • At 9:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm guessing you could word some type of reply that would not offend her and yet get the point across that these type of emails using a PTSA distribution list is inappropriate.

    You could simply state that you are subscribed to keep up to date with the happenings of the PTSA and unfortuantely the latest email touched a nerve with many people. It flooded your email and caused you to weed through it to make sure you didn't miss something important.

    Then tell her you are unsubscribing until this settles down because quite frankly, this has nothing to do with the PTSA (which is why you subscribed in the first place). I'm guessing she'll get the point.

  • At 12:22 PM, Blogger Wife Soup said…

    I live in the Bible Belt and can feel your pain, but my forward came from someone in Utah (my home state). So yes, there is your answer, I am sure that one is an obvious one, but, it happens in Utah, too. I did the same thing as you, after giving myself a second to feel mild irritation, I deleted it.

    I got one of those reply to alls from a long lost cousin, who I didnt realize had strayed, right along with me, from Christian Dogma. I may have found a kindred spirit, so perhaps reply to alls are not all bad. But, PTSA, you would think they would be a little more careful with that one.

    I have to admit, I am now MUCH more interested in the movie, so their intentions definitely, backfired.


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