Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar

Conservative media site Libertas has a typically unfavourable review of Pixar’s new movie, WALL•E.  Its crime: the director’s Christian faith is apparently undetectable in the movie, or is detectable but is out-shouted by pandering to trendy green socialism.  Or something.

There is a danger, I think, I trying to understand the world through the prism of a particular political worldview.  The best example comes from the comments to the post, particularly this one by reader K:

From the “Christianity Today” interview:
The reason I made them look like big babies was because a NASA guy told me that they haven’t yet simulated gravity perfectly for long-term residency in space.

This is a very disingenuous explanation. The story is supposed to be 800 years in the future, farther in time than the Star Trek universe. Virtually all SciFi stories, and particularly movie SciFi stories posit some form of artificial gravity. So he had to ignor virtually all SF conventions to make a story decision which just happened to also, as he put it “. . . make some sort of mean-spirited comment on consumerism or today’s society.”

To paraphras P.J. O’Rourke, Liberals are always alternately denying God’s existence or hiding behind his appron strings. The Christianity Today interview is a textbook example of the latter.

I hardly know where to begin.

Anti-grav capability is, apparently, a staple of science fiction stories (put aside things like The Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451 and 2001: A Space Odyssey for the moment).  If I understand this commenter correctly, one sci-fi story positing a lower level of technological development over a greater period of time than another, more famous sci-fi story constitutes some kind of creeping backdoor socialism.

Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I am pretty sure that the level and type of technological sophistication is at the discretion of the author, for the purposes of advancing the storyline.  Whether or not one fictional universe has greater or lesser technological sophistication has nothing to do with genre conventions, and everything to do with whether it moves your story along at the pace and tempo you desire.

To then go one further and evaluate the strength or commitment of the author’s faith in God on the basis of a single work seems a little presumptuous, to say the least.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
3 Responses
  1. Alan says:

    “…Liberals are always alternately denying God’s existence or hiding behind his appron strings…”
    I know it’s not your point but you forgot to mention “judge not lest ye be not judged” – one of the selections from the Word of God a certain type of “conservative” Christian (if there is ever an oxymoron that is it) likes to forget.

  2. Chris Taylor says:

    I did think of Matthew VII:1, but I didn’t mention it because I think there is tremendous room for misinterpretation in the use of that verse. Regardless of political or religious inclinations.
    On the one hand, people can use it as a blanket statement that one ought to be accepting of literally everything and offer up no concerns or objections to your fellow man, which is manifestly nonsensical. For example, when someone puts others in danger needlessly, you absolutely should use your own good judgment to intervene or at the very least say something.
    On the other hand people can be too anxious to draw conclusions, like the Libertas commenter, and infer an awful lot of things based on very little evidence (and certainly no personal experience of dealing with the man in question).
    My interpretation would be that we absolutely are required to use our own judgment on a daily (if not minute-by-minute) basis, but we should be extremely cautious about forming quick opinions about someone’s character or morality because only God knows what lies in a man’s heart. Especially given that grace does not remake one’s attitudes and ingrained behaviours in an instant, and that heart may be in a state of change.
    In other words, the guy who cuts you off and gives you the finger on the highway may also be a brother in Christ. But it’s not always possible for us to determine a man’s intent based on the thin slices of time we spend with them.