How to make sure your daughter grows up to marry Russell Brand

It seems every media outlet other than Vanity Fair did a story on Vanity Fair’s interview with Katy Perry. Most of these described the pop star as “slamming” or “blasting” her strict sectarian upbringing.

I thought she was actually pretty gentle in her criticism, considering.

I know many people who grew up in the kind of morally fraught subcultural bubble that Perry was raised in and most of them are nowhere near as generous as Perry is in that Vanity Fair interview.

There’s a spectrum of evangelical culture and Perry’s family was on the far end of it.

Mine, thank God, was closer to the other end. My family didn’t drink or dance, but we didn’t spend a lot of energy condemning those who did. We listened to “secular” music as well as to CCM. I had all the Spire Christian comics, but also read a bunch of titles from Marvel and DC. After high school, my siblings and I were encouraged, but not required, to consider evangelical colleges and we wound up attending places like Houghton and Eastern where that encourage-but-don’t-require approach continued.

Or, to use another illustration that evangelicals will understand, my family was theologically and culturally closer to InterVarsity than to Campus Crusade. Katy Perry’s family seems to have been out on the other side beyond Campus Crusade.

Her description of her upbringing reminds me of plenty of my unhappier classmates at the private Christian school I attended in elementary and high school. Their families didn’t just refrain from drinking and dancing, they railed against them as grave sins. Yes, just like John Lithgow in Footloose — except he gave a more nuanced and sympathetic performance than my classmates’ parents ever did. Not only were those kids forbidden to listen to my wicked, sinful Beatles or Eagles albums, they were forbidden to listen to my wicked, sinful Amy Grant and Steve Taylor albums.

When those classmates graduated their parents gave them a choice between three possibilities for college: Liberty, Bob Jones or Pensacola.

Some of those friends went to those schools and graduated from them and now are raising kids of their own whom they will, one day, require to attend those schools as well. But for many of them, the rubber band stretched too tight all those years finally snapped and they dropped out of Liberty or Bob Jones or Pensacola and set out on a Rumspringa that continues to this day.

You could see many of them starting to crack already in high school — showing signs that, as soon as they turned 18 they were going to take off for the bright lights of the big city, put on some of that forbidden scarlet lipstick, cultivate an ironically tarty pop-star persona and marry some demented British comedian.

All of which is to say that Perry doesn’t “slam” her strict, evangelical/fundamentalist upbringing nearly as much as she could or maybe should have.

It slammed her for 18 years and she walked away. That’s not retaliation, that’s turning the other cheek.

  • http://willbikeforchange.wordpress.com/ storiteller

    As ridiculous as Katy Perry is in many ways, I appreciate that she doesn’t come across as a bitter person. I completely understand why many people raised in that culture would be bitter – and should be bitter – and she would have every right to be. But the fact that she has been able to move on from that and express herself as she wants to (of course, guided by the marketing departments of major record labels), offers some amount of hope for those kids that are just starting to crack. It shows that even if you’re stuck in this place for now, you don’t have to be forever. You can have a life apart from these oppressive strictures, which can be very difficult to understand if they are all you’ve ever known. You are worth something outside of them.

  • jmr1983

    Aw damnit, now I actually have to think some nice things about Katy Perry.

  • Anonymous

    On a more serious note as an ex-Jehovah’s Witness this rings so true, only a handful of the kids I grew up with are still involved with the group in any meaningful way. A lot more got messed up in drugs and had their first baby at 17. You tell kids there will be no future they’ll believe you.

  • Shadsie

    I’m very glad for my open upbringing. My parents were more of the vauge believe-in-God type and we didn’t go to church. I went to church breifly, on my own, with friends when I was around 11-12, dropped out of it again, actually “found the Lord” and understood what Christianity was supposed to be about at around 14, all from my own searching – did Baptist church as a teen/young adult. Moved. Out of church again, but keeping the faith – but it’s grown more liberal-ish and intellectual since then. I’d say my “walk” has been pretty much all about freedom, looseness, what I choose. Any messed-upness has been a function of my own naturally-odd pychology, and trust me, if I didn’t cling to faith I’d be (either dead from suicide) or clinging to and a bit nutty about something else. My dad grew up JW, rejected it, but didn’t, strangely enough, reject God. He shifted to various forms of Christian and was into some mystical ideas and liked ideas from other religions when I was growing up with him. He’s probably to “blame” for my sense of spiritual freedom and open-mindedness and general respect for all kinds of people. He converted to Mormonism a few years ago.

    When I met an ex-Jehova’s Witness on a Legend of Zelda fan board, I felt sorry for him, both because of my father’s tales of the culture and because he talked about how he wasn’t allowed to play videogames as a kid (Zelda would be a big no-no because it has goddesses, spirits and magic). He grew up without a sense of fantasy and indulging in common, harmless-to-average-people fiction seems to be part of his rebellion as an adult. Unfortunately, the guy was an a-hole who was bent not upon disscussing the Legend of Zelda (what the board was for), but in trying to “save” poor, deluded worthless fools like me from our belief in God. This person got banned from the board because the founder/administrator did not like how he’d pressure the younger members of the board into de-conversion disscussions. The guy was one of those that you wonder if they’re a parody – he was like an antithiest Chick-tract on a board for disscussing videogames.

    And sadly, I think strict uber-fundamentalist upbrining breeds people like him – folks on a misguided mission to try to “save” people from “what they went through” when we never went through it, to try to save people from an image of God they have built up, without even realizing that people have other ideas on the concept. They cannot distinguish between the concept of God or any kind of concept of spirituality and the “God” of their parents’ personal insanity. Perhaps these are the kind of people who yelp when they hear even a fellow atheist say they find “spiritual awe” in nature, perhaps. They think “Oh noes, they’re going to the dark side, they’re going insane like my parents!” because they got so “ingrained” growing up.

  • http://profiles.google.com/stantaylor Stan Taylor

    Thanks, Shadsie. I know that the limited imagination/fantasy of strict evangelicals has been a tangent in a lot of Fred’s posts. I’d love to see a post dedicated to this topic.

  • http://twitter.com/danwhitmarsh Dan Whitmarsh

    Come on, it wasn’t all that bad. Maybe they couldn’t listen to Amy Grant or Steve Taylor (or Randy Stonehill or Larry Norman), but at least they got to enjoy Bill Gaither, Evie, Tom Netherton, and Doug Oldham. That was some inspiring stuff right there. (And if they were feeling rebellious, I bet they even got in some Don Francisco). Plus they got to attend all those Bill Gothard and Josh McDowell conferences. So let’s not pretend their lives were all that dreary.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    Like Fred, I was actually quite blessed. I came from a deeply religious family, but the way it expressed itself in my youth was that I quickly become a helper in our church’s Sunday school program (mostly run by my extended family anyway) and otherwise getting involved in church programs and leadership. (I even preached a few sermons before leaving the church.) But when it comes to all this stuff Fred’s talking about, not so much.

    My family often joked we were the world’s worst Baptists. We danced. We occasionally, we drank. (Well, those who were of legal age drank.) Playing cards was the unofficially official activity of any family gathering. I was encouraged to pick any college I could get into and would provide me a good education for my chosen career plans. The only thing my parents ever balked at was my interest in D&D, and even then, they only sought to limit how much time I invested in it rather than forbidding it altogether.

    Of course, on the flip-side, this didn’t stop my religious upbringing from causing me to feel a constant state of guilt over every sin and perceived sin. Sadly, I can’t even look back and point to any particular thing and say, “this is where I got that message.” It just kind of slipped in somewhere, quite possibly subtly. So it doesn’t really even take a hard-line upbringing where everything’s is forbidden to have a negative experience, I suppose.

  • Shadsie

    Wasn’t it one of Shakesphere’s plays (I’m spelling his name, wrong, aren’t I?) that had this line: “Only a child fears a painted devil.” ?

    It seems a lot of people are afraid of exposing their children (or themselves) to other cultures or to fun, fictional things for fear of all the underlying messages. Even the church I went to for a short space on and off after my main church split over financial woes… the pastor was a sweet guy, but preached an anti-Harry Potter sermon and had his kids convinced that Halloween was “Satan’s birthday party.” I mean, he wasn’t uber-strict fire and brimstoner uber-fundie by any means. He and his family liked a lot of worldly things, it all sort of fell under being concerned with raising children right and being a bit overprotective. There is definitely a “for kids” stigma on most fantasy, even though a lot of it is actually written/made for adults or with both audiences in mind. I *write* philosohpical and occasionally violent fantasy that I’m not sure I’d want an eight year old reading, unless they were very precocious.

    Ned Flanders from The Simpsons is actually a good fictional example of this attitude – all the board games his kids play are strictly “Christian” and he panicks whenever one of them skins a knee… but he seems very tame compared to stories of real life I hear. And Ned is nice – he’s Springfield’s nice guy.

    That said, I know that this pastor I once knew would gawk and choke on his Cheerios if he saw some of the anime and comedy I like to watch. Maybe I’m just exercising a high degree of what Paul would call my “Freedom” in Christ or maybe I’m severely “backslidden.” Who knows?

    In the end, I think more people – on all sides, could do well to cultivate imagination and to not fear daydreams and fiction-scapes. I have a short rant about the power of fiction on my blog. If used right, it can change the world. http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com/2011/04/in-defense-of-fairy-tales.html

  • Beau Guest

    If there’s one thing Facebook has taught me, it’s that the vast majority of kids raised strictly religious grow up to be less strict … even if they stay religious. And, as Katy Perry mentioned, their parents seem to get less strict right along with them.

    “What the hell, she wears JEANS now?” is the fundamentalist Baptist high school reunion version of “Look who got fat!”

  • http://twitter.com/Librariandrew Andrew Bishop

    I still can’t stand her – she’s even more overrated than Zooey Deschanel – but that was a classy article. Whether it was her or just her press agent scripting it kinda doesn’t matter as this reflects well on her. It’s good to hear that she gets along with the parents, too.

  • http://twitter.com/Librariandrew Andrew Bishop

    I still can’t stand her – she’s even more overrated than Zooey Deschanel – but that was a classy article. Whether it was her or just her press agent scripting it kinda doesn’t matter as this reflects well on her. It’s good to hear that she gets along with the parents, too.

  • http://profiles.google.com/scyllacat Priscilla Parkman

    I haven’t read the article, but Fred, your post brings back memories of people saying in a sort of metaphorical sotto voce that I was going to “bust out” when I got loose from my parents. I thought I was satisfied with my life…. but they were right. I acted out in many ways and still feel an “allergic” itch at the thought of going back to the ways my folks raised me.

  • http://profiles.google.com/scyllacat Priscilla Parkman

    I haven’t read the article, but Fred, your post brings back memories of people saying in a sort of metaphorical sotto voce that I was going to “bust out” when I got loose from my parents. I thought I was satisfied with my life…. but they were right. I acted out in many ways and still feel an “allergic” itch at the thought of going back to the ways my folks raised me.

  • http://joshbarkey.blogspot.com/ josh barkey

    If you’re going to explore the idea of Christians and fantasy, you could do a lot worse than to read Tolkein’s essay, “On Fairy Stories” : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_Fairy-Stories

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000950306035 J Neo Marvin

    After seeing this interview, I have to conclude that Russell Brand is not the complete buffoon he’s been presented as. By extension, perhaps the same applies to Katy Perry, after all.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    Having taken the time to read the interview, I will note that I think it’s something of a stretch to even call what Ms. Perry said criticism. She made a few statements describing the reality of her upbringing. The only time she expressed opinion rather than fact (and in some ways, I think it’s even arguable in this case) was when she indicated that she didn’t come from a very accepting background.

    Like I said, I find it hard to get from what she said to a declaration of criticism. To call it an insult or condemnation, I think I’d have to engage in epic feats of pearl-clutching.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=752002772 Andrew Glasgow

    I have no doubt that conservative evangelical American has many contenders for the rank of champion pearl-clutcher who will be happy to oblige.

  • hapax

    one of Shakesphere’s plays (I’m spelling his name, wrong, aren’t I?)

    Don’t worry about it, so did he.

    And I have to say, I totally “get” the IVCF — CCC spectrum analogy, and I wasn’t brought up evangelical.

    On the broader topic — one of the saddest things I see is the students brought up in strict Fundamentalist environments in spouse’s evolutionary biology courses. Most of them just reject what he says as “atheist propaganda”, but the few who are convinced by the evidence are shattered. The mindset teaches that if there is just one sliver of the doctrine is false, EVERYTHING is a lie; and these poor kids (well, teens) end up convinced that everything they ever trusted, from the “Don’t Do Drugs” lectures to the certainty of their parents’ love, was a cruel deception.

  • Lori

    “What the hell, she wears JEANS now?” is the fundamentalist Baptist high school reunion version of “Look who got fat!”

    Ha!

  • https://profiles.google.com/ravanan101 Ravanan

    Ned Flanders does do all of the stereotypical obsessive scrupulosity of fundamentalists, but at the same time, he exemplifies all the very best parts of Christianity. He will help anyone in need, to a fault, and without expectation of reward and he isn’t even a proselytizer. He also never forgets his morals (excepting the one single occasion where he snaps and has his “dark night of the soul”)…He’s the anti-Ellenjay.

  • Anonymous

    I think I got very lucky.

    My parents are Christians but I grew up in Secularizated place and I am one of the few christians there.
    It made some things more difficult for me but it also learned me to fight for what I believe in and to keep searching for answers (that’s how I arrived at slacktivist).

    I also met some christians when I was on hoilday who grew up in the bible-belt, but who never actualy had to search for what they believe in.
    And when I questioned why they believed and who God is for them they could not answer me because they never had asked those questions themselves.

    So during that holiday I had to explain to those people that God is love, Satan doesn’t comprehend love, And that God want people to serve him not because they go to hell but because God loves them for who they are.
    You can’t really be yourself to God if you are only afraid of Him, that’s what I had to tell them.

    And the most shocking thing for me was that, they never thought about God in this way but only out of fear. tradition, force of habbit etc, it made me grateful that I had to fight for my faith when I was younger, because now I realise it made me stronger.

  • Shadsie

    The really sad thing about the evolution stuff is that … I’ve seen this both in TV preachers (when I used to watch them) and regular people I’ve met… they are even suspicious of the “Old Earth Creationists” and think they’re decieved/not true Christians and whatnot because they really do think the science is an attack on belief. They think that it’s the atheists trying to kill Christian (and presumably Jewish?) faith by attacking the “source.”

    I remember seeing some guy on TV once say that if Adam and Eve were not literal and that the Earth was not created within six days, that means Original Sin is gone and that Christ’s sacrifice was meaningless – I mean (rolling eyes) they see any “attack on Genesis” as a calculated attack on everything that came after, particulalry Christ. They also contend that death (ie. PHYSICAL death) entered with Eve’s sin.

    I remember the theistic evolutionist guy at my old church helping me open my mind out of this silliness by telling me his views… that “death” in the creation-story was spiritual death. The more I think about it, the more that makes sense because even if they ate plants, technically, plants had to die to feed them, right? Cellular-death… it’s a part of nature.

    I take a much more nuanced and imaginative view – one the fundamentalists would not trust becuase I admit that I’m a bit agnostic, at least sometimes. (I prefer a “I believe this, but I don’t know” stance to most things metaphysical).

    From what I’ve heard from the horses’ mouths and from the colts and fillies that escaped it all, it’s very much a black and white, us and them view full of paranoia and “false believers.” I guess you either harden up or break when something causes a cognitive dissonance.

  • Beau Guest

    Agreed. Once I had actually watched more of the Simpsons than just a few “gotcha!” clips shown to prove how evil the show was, it became really disturbing to me how many Christians were angry about the way Ned Flanders portrayed them. Yeah, Ned gets mocked. But every character on the Simpsons gets mocked. If you actually look at the big picture, though, Ned is one of the most sympathetic characters on the show. He’s flawed. We might disagree with him. But he is a good peson–such a good person, in fact, that it makes other characters feel bad about themselves. (Not that that’s the reaction Ned would want. He’d feel bad that you felt bad.)

    Who wouldn’t want that portrayal?

  • Anonymous

    In this way, the mindset reminds me of Prince Rupert’s Drops:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Rupert%27s_Drop

    Very tough, due to being under a lot of internal tension; goes to pieces if struck in the right spot.

  • 2-D Man

    Ned Flanders does do all of the stereotypical obsessive scrupulosity of fundamentalists, but at the same time, he exemplifies all the very best parts of Christianity. He will help anyone in need, to a fault, and without expectation of reward and he isn’t even a proselytizer. He also never forgets his morals (excepting the one single occasion where he snaps and has his “dark night of the soul”)…He’s the anti-Ellenjay.

    And suddenly I have a clear picture of what Nicolae looks like.

  • Anonymous

    Fred’s written about how when Young Earth Creationism breaks it tends to take everything else with it too. This post with it’s mention of music reminds me of my favorite of his, http://slacktivist.typepad.com/slacktivist/2009/04/dont-stop-believin.html, and it’s true. That’s the saddest thing about modern Evangelical Christianity it’s become so sealed and tribal it’s forbidden transcendence or even the possibility of transcendence.

    I think it’s because transcendence by its nature is an open and free thing. You can find it reading The Sermon on the Mount or you can find it in looking at a waterfall. It can come through years of Bible study just as easy as it can come to you in a song lyric. And that’s what the Religious Right and their ilk won’t have, the idea of freedom and finding meaning in something that they don’t control and have power over. That you can be moved to tears by the power of sacrifice and grace in Pan’s Laybrinth. Or even somethingly as frothy as dancing around your room madly to Lady Gaga feeling happy and free, letting the music flow through you and letting your mind spin on possibilities.

    The Kingdom Hall I went too was a dull biege place and it prodcued a dull biege religion. I felt nothing through years and years of talks and conventions. But I still remember the shivers that ran up my spine the first time I saw Close Encounters of the Third Kind, or heard the opening bars of “I Was Made to Love Her.” Like Joan Didion says “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.”

  • Shadsie

    I like Ned. As I said, he’s the nicest guy in Springfield. In the movie, Bart spent a lot of time wishing Ned were his dad. Homer’s dislike of him is mostly out of jealousy (it was originally supposed to be a “keep up with the Joneses” joke and it just kind of took on a life of its own). He’s made fun of for being bland, reserved, overprotective and a little nagging, but he’s also portrayed as the guy who’d lay down his life for you in a heartbeat.

    He’s actually a good take on how to do a well-rounded character – someone you’re meant to laugh at a bit, but not a cookie-cutter sterotype. TV Tropes has the term “Flanderizing,” named for him to denote “a character who has a single trait or off-joke about them that becomes increasingly sterotypical of their personality over the progression of a show/book/series.” but even the Trope Namer never got so bad as other characters on other shows (I’m looking at *you* “Family Guy.” I can’t even watch that show anymore). Ned’s always struck me as very human – when his creators could have so easily gotten away with a cruel sterotype, especially over the last several years.

  • Rikalous

    Oh, definitely. I’ve seen a couple Ned-centric episodes, and they’ve got a lot of heart. One that comes to mind is one that deals with his overprotectiveness. It comes to light that since his wife died, he’s been terrified of losing one of the boys. It takes a negative character trait that the show plays for humor and gives it a very touching motivation.

  • Rikalous

    Oh, definitely. I’ve seen a couple Ned-centric episodes, and they’ve got a lot of heart. One that comes to mind is one that deals with his overprotectiveness. It comes to light that since his wife died, he’s been terrified of losing one of the boys. It takes a negative character trait that the show plays for humor and gives it a very touching motivation.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    The thing I always liked about Ned Flanders is that he represented everything “good” about Christianity, only taken to comical extremes. He is a caricature of a Christian, certainly, but the point of the humor is the idea that “love thy neighbor” Christian values can be absurd when taken too far. I think that this is illustrated especially well in the episode where Ned’s house is wrecked in a hurricane. It turned out he did not have homeowners insurance because he considered it a form of gambling, and therefor a vice to be avoided. He later explodes in anger at a failed attempt by the Springfield community to rebuild his house, after which he had himself committed. It is revealed eventually that he keep taking “turn the other cheek” to such an extreme that was unable to find ways to express any anger at all, and when he could take no more, it all came out in a harsh torrent.

    I think that episode was also good for Ned’s characterization. He seems so nice, a paragon of neighborly Christian ideals, but the strain of keeping it up to that degree eventually wore him out. Of course, it might not have worn out if he was not living beside a neighbor who constantly tested his “love thy neighbor” values beyond their reasonable breaking point, but it was a flaw that helped to humanize him as well.

    Ever since loosing his wife though, his views seem to become increasingly unhinged. I wonder if her death has shaken his faith a little, and as a result he tends to cling to it more strongly, trying to compensate for what he lost.

  • Anonymous

    It’s funny too, I still don’t like Perry’s music but compare her with somebody CCM like Carman and she comes off so much better. Sure her stuff may be bubblegum pop, but it never pretended it wasn’t, and she seems to care about putting on a good show and performing well. Carman’s videos are jaw dropping camp and not in a good way. It’s like watching your friend’s dad try to have a music career 10 years after the style of music he’s aping went into retirement. And for messages, again I’ll take it’s fun to be young and flirt and have fun over smug I’m better than you and eat it sinner faux spirituality.

  • Anonymous

    “Maybe I’m just exercising a high degree of what Paul would call my “Freedom” in Christ or maybe I’m severely “backslidden.” Who knows? ”

    You should know. If you’re not being convicted that what you’re doing is wrong, chances are, it’s not. Very few things exist which cannot be enjoyed, at least in moderation, without sin. A good litmus test is whether or not your activities damage or impede the further edification of your relationships.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, his personality induces more pity (too bad the poor fellow can’t enjoy life more!) than indignation (what a sanctimonious jerk!), whereas Ellenjay certainly brings out loads of the latter.

  • Anonymous

    “Fred’s written about how when Young Earth Creationism breaks it tends to take everything else with it too. ”

    I find that especially frustrating, especially considering that by Jesus’s time, the vast majority of Jews had rejected ancient Hebrew cosmology in favor of an old-Earth view which regarded the Genesis account as symbolic. Chances are, the apostles and early church fathers held the same view (and indeed, the few mentions of the matter that exist indicate that at least a few of them did). Modern “literal” Creationism is a mostly modern, mostly Western phenomenon. And its almost wholesale rejection of the sciences of geology, anthropology, biology, and others really undermines theism as a whole. Especially since the most common explanation of the evidence presented by those aforementioned sciences is something along the lines of “God just made the world LOOK old”. In other words, God lies. Screw that. I don’t worship a liar, and I consider it the height of evil to try to get another person to do so.

  • Anonymous

    I went to a Carman concert when I was in 6th grade. It was so boring I kept falling asleep, only to be jerked awake by a loud burst of sound from the speakers. When people ask me, “how many concerts have you been to?” I don’t count that one. And I really, honestly don’t feel like I’m lying.

    On the other hand, the Newsboys put on a hell of a show. Two and a half of the funnest hours of my life. They are one of the few CCM acts I actually enjoy and respect (at least, I did before Peter Furler left).

  • Shadsie

    Makes me think of the Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books… In them, Earth is actually a creation of a planet-creating business for clinets who are pandementional beings trying to find the Question to Life, The Universe, and Everything. When Earth got ‘sploded by Vorlons, the pandimentional beings wanted to continue their experiment (part of which was, apparently, messing with humans’ minds), so when Earth was being created again, the planet creation business had to take care to place the dinosuar bones.

    In other words, according to some people, maybe God is a white lab mouse.

    *Geek grin*

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    Absofrigginlutely.

  • Anonymous

    Ah, yes. There is no topic for which there is not an appropriate reference to Douglas Adams’ (pbuh) work.

  • Anonymous

    DC Talk had great shows too…Been out of my Christian “phase” (for lack of a better way to put it) for almost 10 years and those guys still make my playlists.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche


    When Earth got ‘sploded by Vorlons

    Vogons. Vorlons were the cryptic aliens from Babylon 5.

    But now I’m wondering what Vorlon poetry would be like…

  • Dan Audy

    Vorlon poetry would be very very structured.

  • Izzy

    Hell yes.
    I have similar feelings about Ke$ha and Gaga–okay, part of that is that I can’t help loving either “A Bad Girl’s Lament” or, more particularly, “Boots and Boys”–and frankly, I quite like bubblegum, and pop, and bubblegum pop.
    I have ideological problems with certain artists, and “I Kissed a Girl” has a few issues. (Although depending on context, maybe not? I mean, not everyone knows their orientation from the start, and there’s nothing wrong with a little experimentation if you’re not promising anyone forever or even third base.) But simply being bubblegum pop with a party-girl image is more likely to earn my love than my hate at this point.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    Vogons. Vorlons were the cryptic aliens from Babylon 5.

    Not to mention the super-advanced supernannies who weren’t ready to let the other races grow up and learn to be adults.

    But now I’m wondering what Vorlon poetry would be like..

    I am Kosh.

    We are all Kosh.

    Why are you here?

    You are not ready for immortality.

    Forget it, I’ll stick to Vogon poetry.

  • Sammy

    “But now I’m wondering what Vorlon poetry would be like…”

    Well, Vorlons always speak in riddles and half-truths, so it would probably be intensely cryptic and full of hidden meaning. In other words, probably very good. A heckuva lot better than Vogon poetry, anyway.

    Side note: JMS, an atheist, wrote some extremely sympathetic portrayals of religious characters into that show, and G’Kar’s answer to the question, “What is truth, and what is God?” is especially thought-provoking:

    “If I take a lamp, and shine it toward the wall, a bright spot will appear on the wall. The lamp is our search for truth, for understanding.

    Too often we assume that the light on the wall is God. But the light is not the goal of the search, it is the result of the search.

    The more intense the search, the brighter the light on the wall. The brighter the light on the wall, the greater the sense of revelation upon seeing it. Similarly, someone who does not search, who does not bring a lantern with him… sees nothing.

    What we perceive as God is the byproduct of our search for God. It may simply be in appreciation of the light, pure and unblemished, not understanding that it comes from us.

    Sometimes we stand in front of the light, and assume that we are the center of the universe. God looks astonishingly like we do. Or we turn to look at our shadow, and see that all is darkness.

    If we allow ourselves to get in the way we defeat the purpose, which is to use the light of our search to illuminate the wall in all it’s beauty, and in all it’s flaws, and in so doing better understand the world around us.”

    JMS’ sense of awe and wonder in regards to the universe puts RTCs like Katy Perry’s parents to shame. If only RTCs would bring more lanterns with them instead of simply getting in the way of others’ lights.

  • Anonymous

    I grew up largely outside of evangelical culture, which has unquestionably been a blessing on the whole.

    I had secular parents, had a wonderfully intense conversion experience when I was 16, have attended churches of a number of different denominations along the way and attended more fellowship groups than I can remember.

    One of the advantages of growing up secular was that, once I came to know the Lord, there wasn’t any particular group that I was the spiritual captive of, so to speak. I could fellowship with different Christians, and decide where I felt comfortable. And I had the luxury of being able to wrestle with the Bible and the big questions relating to my faith without having to decide whether I might have to swim upstream against an entrenched orthodoxy that most of the people who mattered to me bought into.

    It’s been different, but it’s worked for me.

  • Shadsie

    Whoops. I knew it was “something with a V.”

  • Anon

    I think those poor kids (and myself) have discovered dsquared’s general maxim:


    Good ideas do not need lots of lies told about them in order to gain public acceptance” -dsquared

  • Anonymous

    I think I have to admit I’m a Gaga stan, I’d love to go to one of her shows. But yes, it’s like the Monkees who I also love. There’s nothing wrong with being good honest bubblegum pop. It dovetails back into the idea of craft or expressing your spirtuality by doing the best job you can. Meaning I can’t find it in myself to hate “Mmm Bop” by Hanson because it’s so cheerful and bouncy, but I can sure work up a cup of disdain for “Satan Bite the Dust.”

  • Rob

    Only slacktivist could make me feel something like sympathy for Katy Perry. Now I’ll have to read the interview, and that will probably cause me to view her as some sort of human being rather a plasticine dispenser of terrible pop music. Sigh…

  • Tonio

    I have cousins who had a similar upbringing and went through a similar rebellion, running away and getting pregnant as teenagers. For years I thought it was simply their parents’ religious stance, but gradually I came to suspect that the parents’ personalities were also factors.


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