13 November 2015

Hell Frozen over

The wingnuts are throwing a fit about Queen Elsa again.  News of Kevin "Kill the Gays" Swanson's "Freedom 2015 conference" has rightly focused on his murderous ranting and on the attendance of three Republican Presidential candidates including Ted Cruz, a serious contender for the actual nomination.  But the fundies ventured back into film criticism as well, with featured speaker Geoff Botkin denouncing Frozen's iconic song "Let It Go" as "Satan's rebellion anthem" and adding it to the ever-growing list of things God is going to smite us for any minute now.

This isn't too surprising given that last year Swanson himself decried Frozen as a Satanic scheme to turn girls into lesbians, even seeming to speculate that Satan had bought a controlling interest in Disney in 1984 (a smart investment, if true).  While it's hard to deny that most girls would probably find Elsa and Anna a lot more appealing than Swanson and Botkin, if humans were so prone to homosexuality that watching a movie which never even mentions the subject was all it took to "convert" them, then surely between one thing and another the whole planet would have turned gay a long time ago.  If the fundies could just get it through their heads that sexual orientation isn't that mutable, maybe they'd be less prone to panic over every new pop-culture phenomenon that comes along.

It's not just Frozen, either.  The conference also denounced Harry Potter since author J.K. Rowling has mentioned that Dumbledore was gay, a point which is never referenced in the books but which does make one or two plot points easier to understand.  Harry Potter has long been on the fundies' hate list because of its emphasis on magic, which their Bible-addled brains take as promotion of diabolical witchcraft and sorcery, as if young people might be tempted to take up those practices as well.  (What a thing to worry about!  Homosexuality, at least, actually exists.  But maybe they think magic does too?)  Homosexuality, witchcraft, Satan -- it all blurs together in their minds into an all-encompassing fog of evil overwhelming the land.  It's truly a terrifying, "demon-haunted" world that these people inhabit.

Why their fixation on popular culture?  This point is important, because here, for once, the fundies are actually more perceptive than we liberals are.  Things like movies, novels, music, and TV that reach a mass audience can have a vast influence.  Politics is a blunt instrument and can be used to do considerable good or harm, but it's ultimately the direction of mass culture that determines how it's used -- shifts in popular views on issues like homosexuality, marijuana, guns, women's position in society, and so on are eventually reflected in election results, court rulings, and law.  And people are much more open to influences from popular art than to those from most other sources -- compare the general suspicion and hostility people feel toward most politicians with the near-cult-like adoration of Queen Elsa, Harry Potter, Taylor Swift, and the like.

Finally, popular art commands a level of mass interest, even fascination, that the political world cannot match.  As an example, during the year and a half I've been at my current job, I've overheard a lot of conversations among co-workers.  I have never heard any of them ever mention anything even remotely connected with politics -- not even once, not a single word.  The Republican and Democratic candidates for President, the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage, the marijuana referendum in our state -- never mentioned by anyone, in any conversation I've overheard.  But Frozen references are everywhere, on tote bags, cubicle decorations, choice of costumes at the company Halloween party, and the like (there is nothing political in anyone's cubicle decorations either).  And I don't think this is unusual.  That's the electorate you're fighting with the Republicans to get the attention and support of.  The political blogosphere isn't the real world.

It is culture and its direction which are really the enemy's chief concern -- they want the taboo on homosexuality reinstated, women back in traditional limited roles, Christianity dominant in the public space, etc.  Politics is more a means to achieving those goals than an end in itself.  And they realize, as I think a lot of liberals don't, how much impact popular art has -- especially since its influence is largely against their aims, even if their paranoia about Satanic subliminal propaganda is absurd.  As I've discussed before, Frozen does convey progressive attitudes about individuality, freedom, acceptance of differences, and female empowerment and autonomy, even though I don't believe any direct reference to homosexuality was intended.  So does Harry Potter.  The enemy has tried to counter these influences with artistic efforts of its own, though the results are usually godawful and their appeal is mostly confined to the American fundamentalist subculture, while the reach of progressive mass-culture phenomena like Frozen, Harry Potter, and Star Trek is planet-wide.

They're losing the fight that ultimately matters -- the culture war -- and losing it badly, and they know it.  Is it any wonder they tell themselves Satan himself must be responsible?


Blogger Ahab said...

Thanks for linking to my posts! I shall share this on Twitter.

13 November, 2015 06:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks as if Disney's giving them a lot to be pissed about:



13 November, 2015 11:06  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Ahab: Thanks!

Vic78: Yeah, I've heard they're making a fuss about that. Always something to make them unhappy.

13 November, 2015 18:05  
Blogger Jerry Critter said...

My granddaughters go to a Christian K-8 school. Harry Potter is banned from their library.

13 November, 2015 18:20  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Jerry: I assume they've read it anyway? Banning a book surely invests it with the lure of the forbidden.....

13 November, 2015 18:40  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Jesus Infidel! (no offense {:-) ... what a read! I had to double read it just to try to get a grasp. No I had no idea that the Frozen characters were Satanic or whatever, I take it that it is a popular movie, seen much ad's and stuff on it (animation?) I knew Harry Potter (at least the books) were Satanic though, my goodness! ... Taylor Swift is too? ... Geeezzz ... I can only imagine what they must think about Lady Gaga or Miley Cyrus! No doubt though, you can certainly find real satanic music on my blog/ website. But all shit aside guy ... you know as well as I do ... every damn thing has something satanic in it by some of these folks standards, they find satanic shit while they're eating their bloody damn breakfast in the morning on the packaging. Years back (20+ years) ... I attended a Bob Larson Ministry event here in Irving (Dallas suburb) and of course he focuses on Satanic panic type themes ... I mean ... that's his business for profit actually ... anywayz ... I could not believe the book sale he had going on at it ... I mean ... there were more books on Satan and Satanism than the bloody Church of Satan had at the time! Just look at some of the shit on YouTube is incredible by fundamoralists ... over and over and over and over ... all the satanic conspiracies, demonic symbolism, and on, I mean ... they can find a f'n satanic theme or hidden message in f'n Popeye the Sailor Man (I loved as a kid, the cartoon) ... anywayz ... later guy

14 November, 2015 06:48  
Blogger Les Carpenter said...

In this respect Islamic and Christian fundamentalists share commonality.

14 November, 2015 07:57  
Blogger Jerry Critter said...

Yes, they have the full set at home where more reasonable minds reside.

14 November, 2015 08:01  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Ranch: Yes, to hear these guys tell it, Satan has pretty much already won and we might as well all just surrender and get used to it. Hail Satan!

Rational: I'm sure ISIS doesn't like Frozen or Harry Potter very much either.

Jerry: Glad to hear it.

14 November, 2015 08:52  
Anonymous NickM said...

Excellent stuff Infidel! I never really understood the furore over "Frozen" or Dumbledore being gay. Personally I could detect no LGBT whatevers in the former and the latter is a fictional character. As far as Frozen I think they twisted their pantyhose over the mere fact the two leads were female. They did that over Thelma and Loiuse even though it is abundantly clear they are straight. It is insanity. So a fictional wizard is gay... I always had my suspicions about Gandalf (and he spent a lot of time with child-sized folk). No! Obviously because I'm not crazy.

You are bang-on right (and make the case very well). The nutters hate popular culture because it is popular. Get on a train anywhere in the World and there is a very good chance you'll see someone reading Harry Potter. Less so The Bible. They hate that.

Back to Frozen though. The nutters have had daggers drawn for Disney for quite some time because way before gay marriage they gave spousal privileges to gay employees. This I recall caused a backlash. And the pot has been boiling ever since. With Frozen it boiled over for no compelling reason.

One final point - the country with the most "Satanism" in Europe is Poland. A land I know well and love. But the Catholic heritage gives it... Well you've seen the movie The Exorcist?

Anyway magic does exist in the Arthur C Clarke sense. I use tools every day that I don't understand and I'm an IT tech.

14 November, 2015 23:36  

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