Media Diary (July 2019)

Some things I’ve experienced lately, in no particular order, and not necessarily only recent stuff (wow, this was a heavy month movie-wise):

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Movie): LOVED it, immediately want to see it again

Black Mirror (TV): The “gamer buddies” episode from this new season was intense

Midsommar (Movie): Extremely disturbing in all the best ways

Larger Than Life (Podcast): A fascinating true story about a guy that helped bring L.A. together through street racing

Spider-Man: Far From Home (Movie): This kid remains the best Spider-Man

I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth v. Michelle Carter (TV): An interesting look at the recent “suicide encouragement through text message” case

Toy Story 4 (Movie): Creepily went to see it on a date (without children), but enjoyed it regardless

Insomniac (Podcast): True crime stories in smaller doses (usually at most two episodes each)

The Great Hack (Movie): This should be required viewing for anyone with a Facebook account

Veronica Mars (TV): Just starting the new season (despite my wife betraying me and skipping ahead), but great so far

Do The Right Thing (Movie): A great day-in-the-life piece (I may have seen it a long time ago, but if so I was far too young to appreciate anything)

Moonrise (Podcast): Just starting this story about why we went to the moon

Boyz n the Hood (Movie): Turns out that I’d seen this before (the final alley scene jogged my memory), but it’s very powerful

Thought Crimes: The Case of the Cannibal Cop (Movie): What a crazy story

Aladdin (Movie): Slightly better than I expected, but still generally didn’t need to exist

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (TV): As long as he keeps making ’em, I’ll keep watching ’em

Children of God: Lost and Found (Movie): An ex-cult member’s conversation with current and former followers

Bathtubs Over Broadway (Movie): I respect this level of obsession

Summer School (Movie): Hadn’t seen this in probably 25 years, rented it to show my wife (who just finished teaching summer school) and she fell asleep 15 minutes in

Friends of God: A Road Trip With Alexandra Pelosi (Movie): Sigh

Questioning Darwin (Movie): Morbidly compelling, but double sigh

Mommy Dead and Dearest (Movie): Had to give this a re-watch after finishing The Act (which was amazing)

Pet Sematary (Movie): Was fine, as always you can’t go wrong with Lithgow

Free Solo (Movie): This guy is TOTALLY INSANE

The Dawn Wall (Movie): Based on a co-worker’s recommendation, this guy is slightly less insane, but his backstory is ALSO TOTALLY INSANE

Children Are Watching

“Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished.” – Romans 13:1-2 (NIV)

Here’s the thing, evangelical Christian parents: When you trot out a verse like this (or alternately the flawed “Trump’s just King Cyrus 2.0!” argument), you’re teaching your children that your inaction against (or worse, your explicit support of) this administration’s horrors is in service of God’s will. In other words, as long as it’s part of a mysterious, unknowable higher plan, you’re fine with:

  • Relentless lying
  • Adultery, potential rape and hush money payments
  • Constant, unapologetic racism
  • Utter disregard for the environment
  • Endless attacks on journalism and objective truth
  • Separation of children from families legally seeking asylum
  • And on and on and on… (I strongly recommend checking out this piece and this video interview which both contain great insights)

You don’t get to pat yourself on the back for your strong moral stances on Sunday mornings, then remain silently complicit for the rest of the week. Your kids notice this.

You don’t get to splash around in a dirty pool of whataboutism. It’s wrong regardless of who does these things, but as Carly Simon would say, nobody does it better than Trump. Your kids notice you giving him this pass.

You don’t get to “leave it up to God’s plan!” and ignore what’s happening in our country. Have you considered that taking a stance against this garbage is God’s plan? Look to the model of Jesus in the face of the “those are the rules!” crowd:

“On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.’ Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, ‘There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.’

The Lord answered him, ‘You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?’

When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.” – Luke 13-10:17 (NIV)

Watching the hypocrisy of modern-day evangelicals in the face of clear, shocking sin and injustice is deeply depressing. Is it any wonder that young people are leaving churches at an alarming rate? Jesus rebuked Pharisees too.