There was no sobbing or squealing, and Merlin was magnificent.

Following my original post on Dunkirk, I have now seen the movie (twice).  I am pleased to report that not only was there no sobbing in the theater, but there was no squealing when Harry Styles came on screen.

It is really astounding to think that Mehera Bonner at Marie Claire watched the movie, and instead of feeling empathy for the men (and a few women) undergoing such an ordeal, felt envy for men:

…to me, Dunkirk felt like an excuse for men to celebrate maleness—which apparently they don’t get to do enough.

As I noted I ended up watching the movie twice.  The first time I went with my wife.  After my wife described the movie our daughter asked if I would take her to see it too.  My wife had in the meantime read about the process the filmmakers used to shoot the aerial scenes in IMAX, and this made me decide to watch it the second time in an IMAX theater.  As USA Today explains in How Christopher Nolan shot those amazing aerial ‘Dunkirk’ dogfights:

“I would be on the ground waving (them off),” says Nolan. “Craig would run the camera and fly the plane. They would do a half-hour sortie, come back and we’d look at the tape.”

IMAX cameras allow for only three-and-a-half minutes of film shooting at one time, so the process was drawn out  — each short shoot required a landing, review and film reloading.

“There were literally hundreds of take-off and landings. Up and down. Reload and shoot,” says Hosking

I’m not sure I noticed a big visual difference between the regular theater and IMAX, but the sound was much better in the IMAX theater.  Either way, the entire movie is excellent, and the Spitfire scenes are truly magnificent.

One aspect of the movie shatters the normal pattern, and is especially unusual if your frame of reference is Christian movies.  One of the protagonists (Mr. Dawson) is a father, and yet his character is portrayed entirely positively.  There is no reference to God, but otherwise in word and deed he is the archetypal Christian father.  He is a courageous and wise leader who not only cares for the survival needs of the men he rescues, twice he also steps in to defend individual men’s dignity when their courage is questioned.  While this kind of positive portrayal of a father sadly can’t be permitted in Christian movies, at least some secular film makers are still willing to buck the feminist anti father narrative.

At one point Dawson makes a reference to one of my other favorite characters in the movie.  Dawson recognizes the Spitfires without having to turn to look at them, telling his son:

Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. Sweetest sound you could hear out here.

Indeed it was a sweet sound.

Posted in Dunkirk, Envy, Marie Claire, Movies, Ugly Feminists | 77 Comments

Moving beyond the nuclear family.

On Wednesday Pastor John Piper published a response to a single mother named Anna who asked if she had a biblical obligation to marry.

My question for you is one that I have wrestled with since the birth of my only child, a son. He is three. I’m a single parent and have been since his conception. I thank the Lord for his work in my heart that has transformed my soul and lifestyle from where it was then. Now, as I attempt to wrap my head around the overwhelming task of raising this boy into a man by myself, I do not feel called to marriage. But am I obligated to find a godly mate to complete the model of family that is clearly laid out in Scripture? As a single parent, is it forbidden for me to embrace a life of singleness and ‘unhindered service’ to the Lord as described by Paul in 1 Corinthians 7?”

She doesn’t say she knows she came to be in this position due to her own sin, and she doesn’t say she repented, she says God changed her soul and lifestyle.  She is saying she is saved, and not that kind of girl anymore.  This is especially important because there is a very common tendency for single mothers to deny their own sin and instead say something like “life dealt me a difficult hand”, and compare themselves to widows.

Not only does Piper not address the issue of sin and repentance, but he goes so far as to make the rationalization himself.  Piper likens her to the widow in Luke 7:12–13.  He speaks in the language of the harlot, saying life has dealt her a difficult hand (emphasis mine):

…First, Jesus, the incarnate Jesus that we know in the Gospels as an expression of God’s own heart, has a special concern for mothers who have children to raise on their own.

For example, in Luke 7:12–13 we read, “As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.” Her husband is gone, the only son she has is gone, and this is the next thing we read: “A considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her.”

He says to her, “Do not weep” (Luke 7:13). The point of the story is that he has power to raise the dead. He raises the boy from the dead. He does it, he uses that kind of power in the service of compassion, for someone for whom life has dealt a very difficult hand. That would be the case for Anna. The first thing, Anna, is to take heart that Jesus has a special kind of compassion for women in your situation.

Keep in mind that this is a message not just for Anna, but for all of the single mothers who are reading.

It takes a village.

But then Piper does something even more astounding.  He explains that married couples are the old way to make a family.  It turns out that women like Anna are a sort of cutting edge Christian:

Departure of the Nuclear Family

Second, never think of the family — the nuclear family: husband, wife, and children — as the only or the eternal or the main family with which God is concerned. The church is God’s main family on the earth. In the age to come, there will be no nuclear family because Jesus says in that age that we will “neither marry nor are given in marriage” (Matthew 22:30). The nuclear family is temporary. The eternal family is the church with God as our Father and all of us as brothers and sisters.

I want to elevate this. She didn’t mention the church, but I’m sowing the seed for her to think about it. I want to elevate the local church as the expression of God’s family for her life. That’s precisely where she should embed this child in relationships with the wider family — men, women, boys, and girls — so that the child will connect in all the varying ways that he’s going to need in order to be as rounded as he should be.

The third is just an expansion of it. The church is where this little boy is going to find or should find strong, humble, godly men in action.

Posted in Complementarian, Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Dr. John Piper, The Gospel Coalition, Traditional Conservatives, Turning a blind eye | 230 Comments

Wife beaters and the prairie muffins who love them.

Pastor Wilson has a response of sorts up to some of my recent posts.

In the meantime, my original 21 theses had apparently been responded to here, which I just now read in the writing of this post, and I am afraid my response to the corporal punishment aficionados was taken as an assertion on my part that any disagreement with me from my right must be coming from wife beaters. Such poisoning the well would be a bad thing, and so for any readers who were disappointed in what they considered charitably to be uncharacteristic squid ink, please know that I did not do this thing. I was not responding to any possible conservative critic in that second post. I was responding a particular problem in my own comment thread.

While it is true the only conservative critics Wilson acknowledged in And Now a Brief Word for the Wife Beaters were wifebeaters, the post wasn’t solely a reply to wifebeaters.  Wilson spent roughly half of the wifebeaters post responding to feminists who objected to his assertion that submission was an erotic necessity, and even a bit of energy criticizing complementarians on the topic of headship.  The wifebeaters post was not a response to a specific group of wifebeating critics, it was a response to critics in general*.  Either way, by repeatedly focusing on what I can only assume is a strong Wilsonian** streak of wifebeatery, Wilson did in fact poison the well.  We are now in our third (out of three in the series) post by Wilson on submission that chums the waters with accusations that men who believe in headship are really just abusers.  This is textbook well poisoning, not that it is a difficult maneuver to pull off.  Whenever the topic of submission comes up, if you want to nuke the discussion simply imply that men who believe in headship are likely wife abusers.  The women reading will get their feminist dander up, and the men reading will flee from the idea of headship and submission in terror.  Calm, rational discussion of headship and submission is now impossible, even for the few who are wise enough to try to look past the bait.  Note that you can repeat this pattern as often as you like, and it even works when you yourself are the one who brought up the topic of headship and submission in the first place.  Wilson either doesn’t understand how this works, or is intentionally and repeatedly poisoning the well.

This brings us to Wilson’s odd attack on some women’s hairstyles and fashion choices (emphasis mine):

…words like patriarchy do have accumulated cultural connotations, and those connotations are not simply manufactured by the feminists. In other words, biblical practice is caricatured by the feminists, sure enough, but there are more than a few self-professed advocates of the biblical understanding who do their level best to live out the caricature.

So this means that when you come across some rabid feminist online who was brought up in a prairie muffin jumper, and who had her hair in a bun for a couple decades, but who is now a lesbian queer theorist, we have to keep in mind the fact that when she attacks the patriarchy as an absurdity, she is quite possibly doing so as someone who grew up in the middle of such absurdity, frequently presented to her on a daily basis and in technicolor. In other words, she is not necessarily hallucinating. What she is rejecting is actually out there.

…Their mistake is that they (too conveniently perhaps) ascribe the errors they have known personally to absolutely everyone who ascribes to the label they reject. She grew up with her mother browbeaten and harassed by her jerk of a father, the kind who would use Ephesians 5 as a club, and so she simply asserts that any married couple that seeks to live out Ephesians 5 must be doing exactly the same thing her parents did.

Wilson is either being catty here, or he is implying that such hairstyles and clothes on a woman are a sign of an abusive husband (or both).  The term prairie muffin jumper threw me for a bit of a loop, as while I’m familiar with the basic form of cattiness I’ve never heard that particular term.  Long time readers of this blog will recall a similar snide comment by a different blogger:

And that I tend to strongly disagree with the flavor of “trads” who think that women shouldn’t be educated or pursue careers while single. This is for the simple reason that I find educated and accomplished women far more interesting than those whose only accomplishments are long hair, lack of makeup and prairie skirts.

So I had heard of prairie skirts, but not prairie muffin jumpers.  However, a search of the term immediately brought up the Prairie Muffin Manifesto, where the author explained why she chose to embrace this term:

What is a Prairie Muffin? I borrowed the term from R.C. Sproul, Jr. who jokingly and lovingly called his wife a Prairie Muffin (note: R.C. Sproul, Jr. has nothing to do with the writing of this manifesto). This was in response to those who make snide and derogatory remarks about those of us who choose a quiet life, diligently pursuing our biblical role as women and protecting the innocence of our children. Some women have been caricatured as denim jumper-wearing, Little House on the Prairie-worshiping, baby machines who never trim their hair or wear makeup. Like the Americans who bore the name Yankee Doodle as a badge of honor rather than be cowed by the enemy who used it in a derogatory way, the name Prairie Muffin is meant to convey the message that we are sticking to our convictions despite the silly labels people try to stick on us.

This is all I have to share about the post, as Wilson explained in the end that he will come back to the substantive questions in a future post.  I look forward to his clarifications on the issues I raised, especially in my response to his first post in the series.

*For clarity, Wilson’s wifebeaters post was written before my response to his 21 Theses on Submission in Marriage, so the wifebeaters post could not have been a response to me.  However, when I wrote my initial post on the series I had not yet noticed his wifebeaters post defending his 21 theses.

**I’m not referring to Wilson himself here, but referring to Wilson’s comment section, following Wilson’s pattern with the term Dalrockian.

Posted in Domestic Violence, Headship, Pastor Doug Wilson, Submission | 178 Comments

Does this mean there wasn’t any sobbing?

My wife found a hilarious review of Dunkirk by a feminist named Mehera Bonner at Marie Claire:  I Think ‘Dunkirk’ Was Mediocre at Best, and It’s Not Because I’m Some Naive Woman Who Doesn’t Get It As you can see from the title, Ms. Bonner wants you to know upfront that her objection to the movie isn’t that it sticks to the story and therefore offends her feminine sensibilities.  She loves war movies!

[Dunkirk is] a story worthy of being told and re-told, and I really enjoy war movies in general, but still—actual stuff needs to happen. Stuff other than scenes of men burning in oil-covered water, ships sinking, and bodies drowning. If you want to argue that the non-stop violent intensity of the film was the point, and that we should feel fully immersed in the war like we’re living it ourselves—I present Harry Styles.

Nope.  She isn’t another feminist bimbo who objects to stories that aren’t about women, or aren’t tarted up with out of place romance scenes featuring pop culture icons to keep the womenfolk entertained.  She is cool like that.

What bothers her is her fear that other moviegoers (who aren’t totally chill like she is) won’t be able to see the movie and avoid squealing OMG, it’s Harry Styles!

The One Direction band member did a surprisingly impressive job in what turned out to be a pretty major role, but I refuse to believe it’s possible for any viewer with even a semblance of pop-culture knowledge not see him and immediately go “OMG, it’s Harry Styles.”

I haven’t yet seen the movie, but when I do I’ll be on the lookout to see if the men in the audience start to squeal when the aforementioned dreamboat makes his entrance.  I’m not familiar with the band or the man, but it sounds like it should be pretty obvious when he appears on-screen.

But the fact that the main character is too dreamy for her totally non flighty sensibilities isn’t what most bothers Ms. Bonner about the movie.  Her real problem is that it appeals to men, and reminds her of the kind of men who reject her:

But my main issue with Dunkirk is that it’s so clearly designed for men to man-out over. And look, it’s not like I need every movie to have “strong female leads.” Wonder Woman can probably tide me over for at least a year, and I understand that this war was dominated by brave male soldiers. I get that. But the packaging of the film, the general vibe, and the tenor of the people applauding it just screams “men-only”—and specifically seems to cater to a certain type of very pretentious man who would love nothing more than to explain to me why I’m wrong about not liking it. If this movie were a dating profile pic, it would be a swole guy at the gym who also goes to Harvard.

But enough about her, because, as she explained in the title, this isn’t about her objecting to a movie that breaks the current year mold by telling a story about men, in a way that unashamedly appeals to men.  This isn’t about petty envy or the need to mark all spaces as feminine.  Bonner explains in conclusion that she just thinks the movie would be much better if it focused on the kinds of inter-sectional feminist issues she personally finds so fascinating:

…to me, Dunkirk felt like an excuse for men to celebrate maleness—which apparently they don’t get to do enough. Fine, great, go forth, but if Nolan’s entire purpose is breaking the established war movie mold and doing something different—why not make a movie about women in World War II? Or—because I know that will illicit cries of “ugh, not everything has to be about feminism, ugh!”—how about any other marginalized group?

Update: I’ve now seen the movie, and have written my thoughts on it. There was no sobbing or squealing, and Merlin was magnificent.

Posted in Dunkirk, Envy, Feminist Territory Marking, Marie Claire, Men's Sphere Humor, Movies, Satire, Solipsism, You can't make this stuff up | 88 Comments

Maritime Supremacy

When women first began attending the U.S. Naval Academy in 1976, many observers foolishly asked “What’s the point?”  While progress at times may have seemed imperceptibly slow, the naysayers have been proven wrong.  We now have a steady stream of victories, lead by a new breed of warrior who brought priorities the Navy had previously never dreamed of.  Now, with the U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, these warriors have finally achieved full freedom of navigation by depriving the enemy of their last last toehold on the open seas:

The new aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford has all sorts of high-tech gear equipped for 21st century naval warfare. But there is one thing that male sailors will notice is no longer available: Urinals.

“This is designed to give the ship flexibility because there aren’t any berthing areas that are dedicated to one sex or the other,” Operations Specialist 1st Class Kaylea Motsenbocker told Navy Times

…urinals on aircraft carriers may be a thing of the past.

This long fought battle was not without significant cost, as marking all spaces on our warships as feminine came at the cost of both money and less important (war-fighting) priorities:

When he is designing a bathroom, Kaufman says he is required to allot around 1,500 square inches of space for a urinal. A toilet needs more than 3,300 square inches.

For a ship like the Ford, which cost upwards of $13 billion, every inch of space matters tremendously.

“Why would you want the ship to be bigger just for fixtures?” said Kaufman. “You can get twice as many urinals as water closets.”

But the brave social justice warriors who brought us the urinal free warship can’t rest now.  As is the nature of war, each new victory sets the stage for the next battle:

“[A toilet is] by far a less clean environment than a urinal. By far,”…

The only way to ensure men accurately aim into a toilet bowl is to force men to sit down, which is unlikely to happen, said Kaufman.

Moreover, sitting down to pee makes trips to the bathroom take longer.

Kaufman lacks faith in these warriors, but I do not.

Changes in the theater of battle also affect civilian supporters. I have received unofficial confirmation from my sources in the CBMW that their leadership is furious that the men of the U.S. Navy are making brave women sit down to pee in their place:

When will these cowardly men learn to stand up and sit down to pee?

See also: It would be petty to point out how petty it is.

Posted in Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Envy, Feminist Territory Marking, Feminists, Men's Sphere Humor, Satire, Social Justice Warriors, Turning a blind eye, Ugly Feminists, Weak men screwing feminism up | 78 Comments