Monthly Archives: January 2011

Mark Driscoll: The Dark Side of Vampire Fiction

There is no question about it: Twilight has taken our culture by storm.  Other stories from the vampire genre have been told in both movie and book form, but none of them have so utterly overtaken society like the Twilight books and movies.  Simply shout the name Edward Cullen in a room full of pre-teen and teen girls and watch their reaction.  They will do one of two things: either scream their heads off  about how much they love some romantic blood-sucking vampire or they will scream even louder about how much hotter a shirtless werewolf named Jacob is.

Oddly enough, their moms might be just as vocal about their preferences for “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob” as their daughters.

Thankfully, as the brother of a wonderful and sensible sister and the son of a mother who has done a good job steering me and my siblings away from trashy literature and movies, I’ve had no experience with the Twilight craze (nor with the Harry Potter craze either, which I think is just as annoying, but that’s for another time).  Nevertheless, I’ve never liked the idea of Twighlight.  When I was younger, I grew up reading novels by G.A. Henty, which always depicted courageous, noble, honest, and virtuous young men as heroes.  They weren’t sexy, hot, vain, or emotionally unstable.  Their lives didn’t revolve around their female love interests (though they always treated them with chivalry and honor).

Admittedly, the Henty novels were geared toward the interests of young men, playing up the historical, adventurous, and action themes that made the pages fly by when I was reading them.  I realize that Twilight is geared toward young females instead of males.  But the principle of using literary figures as truly exemplary models of human conduct really had a tremendous impact on me when I was younger.  Therefore, until today, my biggest qualm with Twilight, as a book and film series, was that it attracts young women to men for the wrong reasons.  From what I know of the stories, none of the characters are anything we should want to emulate in our real lives.   It just seemed so trivial to me.

That had been my thinking until today, when a friend of mine posted a video featuring Mark Discroll discussing Twilight and the vampire genre in general.  I find his talk quite convincing and in particular, his analysis of how Twilight has ruined so many young girls and turned so many older women into essentially pedophiles.   Much of what goes on surrounding the Twilight saga is simply wrong, not only because it teaches girls to idolize characters that are not worthy of emulation, but because it actually has a negative impact on their spiritual discernment.   It’s disgraceful what parents have encouraged their kids to do in the name of “getting them to read.”  It’s even more discouraging what behaviors parents have justified in themselves and their children due to things just like the Twilight saga.

With that, please take the next 13 minutes to listen to this video from Mark Driscoll.  Be prepared to laugh as well…his comments are quite hilarious at times.  And, if you really are as anti-Twilight as Driscoll and I, you can also read this short, but very well-written article by Katie Nace, a friend of mine at Regent University.

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State of the Union: The unfiltered play-by-play

9:10 pm – President Obama begins his speech.  Going to enjoy this one.

9:14 pm – The president says that it’s not about whether we “sit together tonight, but whether we work together tomorrow.”  He says that the people want the parties to share responsibility in governing.  I’m somewhat worried about this point actually because I think President Obama may be more right than wrong.  In the end, I doubt we’ll see too much change in government and spending levels despite a Republican House.  Milbank and Stossel both confirm this view.

Obama's State of the Union wasn't anything special...and now he's still left with the stigma of a socialist healthcare bill and a failing economy.

9:16 pm – Obama just claimed that the stock market has come roaring back and that the economy is growing again.  Blatant lie or stupid ignorance perhaps?  Either way, not a quality that you want in the United States president.  Claims that Democrats and Republicans will help grow the economy and help gain even more private sector jobs.  Since when is government a source of job creation?

9:18 pm – The president is talking about how the global economy is changing and becoming more technologically advanced.  He says that China and India are becoming more technologically advanced.  Yet, he still expresses optimism because we still have the largest economy in the world and because we have “the best universities in the world.”  Uh…where to begin?  Our economy is in decline, it’s built upon a system of monetary inflation, our  national debt can never be repaid, China holds most of the debt, and the unemployment rate still hovers at 10%.  But, in spite of all this, our president is willing to rely on what’s leftover from the past even as the present drags us into a dismal future.  Perhaps he should look into the recent Heritage Index of Economic Freedom which shows the U.S. is steadily declining in that category…a worrisome prospect for recovery.

9:22 pm – Just said that we should out-build and out-innovate the rest of the world.  I’m smelling protectionist justification.  Sure enough, he just said we have to encourage American production.  Just said that the free market is what drives prosperity, but then he said that it’s not always profitable to invest in research.  The ignorance astounds me.  If it’s profitable, entrepreneurs will invest in it!  If government has to subsidize it, that means its inefficient and not profitable in a truly free market.

9:26 pm – Like every other president before him, he promises energy utopia through government research and “investment.”   Spreading the lie that creating clean energy sectors will create clean energy jobs.  Spain’s economy has been destroyed by trying to create jobs through government-subsidized clean energy.

9:29 pm – Calling on parents to help make their children into good students.  Wow, so why don’t they just home school their kids?  Now that’s an idea.  It also would accomplish Obama’s educational objectives for helping make us competitive with the rest of the world in education.  Apparently, home school students score 37 percentile points higher than their public school counterparts.  But no, Obama’s proceeded to laud the public school system and advocates increased funding.  Perhaps he needs to also be reminded of the words of Bastiat:

You say: “There are persons who lack education,” and you turn to the law. But the law is not, in itself, a torch of learning which shines its light abroad. The law extends over a society where some persons have knowledge and others do not; where some citizens need to learn, and others can teach. In this matter of education, the law has only two alternatives: It can permit this transaction of teaching-and-learning to operate freely and without the use of force, or it can force human wills in this matter by taking from some of them enough to pay the teachers who are appointed by government to instruct others, without charge. But in this second case, the law commits legal plunder by violating liberty and property.  — The Law, sec. “The Law and Education.

9:34 pm – Just said that higher education needs to be available for every student…by the power of government subsidies.  This is a pathetic suggestion.  In the long run, subsidies hide the cost of education, which in turn raise costs and contributes to the inflating education bubble. Moreover, it significantly cheapens the value of a college degree if everyone can get one.  It therefore incentives everyone to stay in school for 3-4 more years to gain graduate-level degrees instead of being productive members of society for that same time.   People shouldn’t have to be 25-26 before they can enter the workforce as competent laborers.  This whole “higher education” emphasis is regressive for America’s economy and universities.

9:39 pm – Has transitioned into a discussion of high speed rail.  Said he wants to give something like 80% of Americans access to high speed rail soon.  He justifies this because “We’re the nation that built the transcontinental railroad.”   I’m glad he brought that up…for those who actually know what happened in the construction of the transcontinental railroad, they know that it was a government-subsidized effort that failed miserably.  The two companies involved built the tracks poorly, since doing so would earn more subsidy money.  As their tracks crept closer to meeting each other, they started blowing each others tracks up in order to get even more subsidy money.  Maybe we can expect similar examples of subsidy failure with Obama’s high-speed rail plan.   (For more information on the transcontinental railroad, listen to this highly entertaining lecture by Burt Folsom on “The Myth of the Robber Barons.”)

9:45 pm – Ahh…finally got something about healthcare.  He just claimed that he’s willing to work with people who have better ideas for solving healthcare.  But apparently, by using some appeals to sympathy, President Obama has decided that he will not settle for anything less than a utopian healthcare system that doesn’t deny healthcare to any individual.  Well done, Obama.  I like the promise to cooperate without the commitment to cooperate because any other solution falls short of the utopia that your healthcare plan will accomplish.

9:51 pm – Calls for bi-partisan Social Security reform.  I have a suggestion…abolish it.

9:52 pm – Just said that we should force rich people to pay for the success of other Americans.  Pure socialism.  The rich make more, so we should steal their money in order to give it to others.  Instead of “taking away scholarships and school funding,” we need to take away tax cuts for the rich.  Well, there goes any chance of ensuring economic recovery.  It’s the rich who create jobs for everyone else.  Without money, no jobs.  It’s that simple.

9:55 pm – Something about going to reorganize the government.  Wants to rebuild people’s faith in the institution of government.  Personally, I prefer to build my faith in God, for as the Psalmist writes, “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation” (Psalm 146:3, ESV).

9:56 pm – Just promised to veto any bills with earmarks.  Bahahahaha!  Let’s see how quickly he breaks that one.

9:59 pm – Talking about the Iraq war.  Nothing earth-shattering either way, but I do like the reference to the “Tawly-ban.”  Strong pronunciation skills right there.

10:04 pm – A lot of international talk.  I’m going to be quite honest…international relations stuff isn’t that significant for me since most analysis in that field today is mainly rhetorical, socialist, and communist.

10:07 pm – Just made a brief reference in praise of allowing gays to openly serve in the military.  Glad the two military officials remained firmly planted in their seats when everyone else rose to applause.

10:1o pm – Using the work of Brandon Fisher, the entrepreneur behind the rescue of the Chilean miners earlier in the ear as a political talk point.  Funny how Fisher’s technology is a product of free market capitalist forces and that Fisher himself is a humble, yet brilliant entrepreneur.  If we want more of that in the U.S., then we need to get government off of our backs.

10:13 – It’s over.  The obligatory (and I contend blasphemous) “God bless America” closed out this rhetorical and logical flop.  On the one hand, the government has to ensure that all Americans have healthcare and education, according to President Obama.  On the other hand, America was built by industrial entrepreneurship.  We all really know what Obama believes on this issue.

Final thoughts – It was pretty much what I expected.  A lot of “Rah rah America!” interspersed with hidden statist/socialist ideology.  At the end of the day, it’s good to remember the hypocrisy and utter stupidity of central planners and government officials who want to decide what’s best for others.  Regarding this point, Bastiat’s humorous story of a traveler entering a small village brings this post to an appropriate close:

My attitude toward all other persons is well illustrated by this story from a celebrated traveler: He arrived one day in the midst of a tribe of savages, where a child had just been born. A crowd of soothsayers, magicians, and quacks — armed with rings, hooks, and cords — surrounded it. One said: “This child will never smell the perfume of a peace-pipe unless I stretch his nostrils.” Another said: “He will never be able to hear unless I draw his ear-lobes down to his shoulders.” A third said: “He will never see the sunshine unless I slant his eyes.” Another said: “He will never stand upright unless I bend his legs.” A fifth said: “He will never learn to think unless I flatten his skull.”

“Stop,” cried the traveler. “What God does is well done. Do not claim to know more than He. God has given organs to this frail creature; let them develop and grow strong by exercise, use, experience, and liberty.” – The Law, sec. The Desire to Rule Over Others