It’s a never ending source of slight amusement, but mostly major frustration to me how, in so many ways, the contemporary conservative movement mirrors the contemporary Christian movement that I grew up with in the mid ’70s to early ’80s.
Specifically, I’m thinking about how in the aforementioned contemporary Christian movement there was a mad stampede to try to do everything, and have everything, be “Christian.” This resulted in a glut of third–rate merchandise emulating assorted whatnot from the world, yet with some type of a Christian label slapped on so the items would appear to be of a sanctified nature. Instead of animal crackers, you would have Noah’s Ark crackers. You had Christian romance novels. You had Christian stationery and soap. Any imaginable item that could have a Christian name or symbol stuck on it got one. I kept waiting for the Christian version of Aquafresh, which instead of coming out in stripes would have little ichthuses in the toothpaste.
The reason for the aforementioned silliness was twofold. Part of it is the natural desire for people of a particular mindset to enjoy being among other people who think and feel the same way. The other side of the coin was a certain amount of not altogether unjustified paranoia about the world. Since “the world” was not seen as a friendly place for Christians, it was very logical for believers to want to try to surround themselves with things that were at least symbolically Christian in order to build up a layer of protection against outside elements trying to influence their lives. At this point it’s possible to go off on an lengthy dissertation about how Christians are supposed to be in the world but not of it. However, such theological debate can wait for another time; back to the topic at hand.
Bringing this into the political realm, it’s astounding and disheartening how much time and energy is wasted by the right on railing against imaginary evils when there are genuine, real problems facing us all. A prime example of this is the new Muppets movie, named, conveniently enough, The Muppets.
Much electronic ink has been spilled in both blogs and Twitter about how the movie’s villain being an oil tycoon is a symbol of Hollywood’s bias against business, how Big Oil is portrayed as evil, etc etc etc ad nauseum. Whatever. What’s being missed is something that for some strange reason is made evident only in the movie soundtrack, not the movie itself.
In the film, the oil tycoon sings a song about how much he loves money and so on and so forth. In the soundtrack, the same song is there but is slightly longer, as it includes a little section about why the oil tycoon hates the Muppets. As I recall (heard it on Sirius XM; haven’t bought it yet), it’s something about how they managed to ruin one of his childhood birthday parties. I don’t know why that was cut out of the movie version, as without it the song made little sense. However, once you hear the complete song, so much more of the movie’s plot line and motivations becomes clear. It’s not all about the oil tycoon wanting to drill for oil underneath the Muppet Theater. There is primarily a personal revenge aspect in play.
Unlike, I strongly suspect, most if not all of those harping on it I have seen The Muppets. The movie is wonderful, warm, extremely funny and totally appropriate for both children and adults. To see so many conservatives going off on a jag about how the film is Lucifer incarnate when there are so many more actual, pressing problems facing us today is embarrassing in the extreme. You’ve got a President who despises the capitalist system, a nation drowning in debt and potential threats of nuclear and/or economic holocaust overseas. For starters.
And people are hacked off about a frog made out of green felt?
Focus, people. Focus.
P.S. Speaking of the Muppets…