Week 22 in the year of our Lord 2021

Shrewdness w. the power of art and culture

8 minutes to read

It’s hard to watch Alien and not pick up on the horrification of children, birth, and motherhood. As well as the general motif, there is also specific imagery that is very similar to the aftermath of an abortion.

The movie seems to have gotten this from the artwork of H.R. Giger.

Giger denied there was any connection, but consider the motivation behind Giger’s “Babies” painting. He explains:

What led me to paint these repulsive children’s heads which frighten all women? What scares me most is overpopulation, with all its horrifying side effects such as epidemics, mass hysteria, famine, and total environment destruction. For me, the greatest criminals against mankind are those who, with the help of religion, or false ethics, forbid the pill, prevent abortions, and hinder old people from dying.

There is a fear and hatred of fruitfulness deeply embedded in our cultural consciousness. Alien, one of the most significant movies of the 20th century, reflects this sickness. It reflects our horror about the connection between sex and procreation. It is a kind of feminist fable. The crew awaken from cryosleep so that the feminists can present their own nightmare: “Hey boys, how do you like it? How does it feel when there’s a rapacious being out there that wants nothing more than to inject its seed into you, forcing you to carry its offspring until it consumes your very life? Not so good, right?”

It’s not a coincidence that the alien has a disgusting, toothed phallic “tongue.” Neither is it a coincidence that the protagonist is a woman—nor that she is one of the most celebrated characters in film.

Yet at the same time, it is impossible to tell a fable like this without the symbolism turning back on itself. If the fable is fundamentally absurd, because it is turning God’s good design into a nightmare, then the story flips, and what we see is no longer a symbolic depiction of reality—because the reality is beautiful and good—but rather a depiction of feminism itself.

Under this flipped interpretation, the feminist is a demonic force of evil. The visual connection between the alien and the Serpent is overt. And horrifying beings from the heavens that infect and consume mankind, and energize a twisted hatred of God’s order, aren’t exactly new to the human experience. Thus, it isn’t too hard to read the feminist zeitgeist onto the alien, inverting the fable. Who is really devouring mankind by dedicating their own offspring to otherworldly monsters?

Ironically, of course, to defeat the feminist symbol of masculinity in the fable, Ripley must become hyper-masculinized herself. Eventually she escapes the horror of the xenomorph by aborting it out of the womb of the ship. It is only then that she can rest easy, finally safe and alone.

But she is not lonely. She has a cat.

This is the sort of stuff we’ve been stewing in for decades.

We’re not suggesting that the average movie-goer picks up on this imagery and is persuaded by it. That isn’t the level stories operate at. It is far more subliminal than that; and far more ubiquitous. One story does not a culture change; but Alien is a particularly powerful example of the thousands of stories working together to change our thinking.

Media is power.

Stories are power.

Art is power.

Culture is power.

The left gets this, and that is one reason why they are winning.

Faithful Christians today are naturally concerned about cultural influence. They’re not just interested in telling stories that counteract the leftist script. They want to use the social hierarchy to give Christianity a leg up too—instead of the current situation, where all of the levers of power are against us.

You see the same mindset in men who are eager to discuss all the legislation that needs to change in order for Christianity to flourish and righteousness be restored to the nation.

It is good to recognize the potential in top-down approaches like these. There are some people who have the broad cultural influence to enact massive top-down change, and if you have the opportunity to bend their ear, you should act wisely. Why do you think Paul exercised his right to appeal to Caesar?

But having said that, an emphasis on top-down change is a foolish and dangerous mindset. It inevitably becomes tied to winning those already in power, so as to exercise dominion outside our realm of influence—and thus neglecting dominion over what God has actually given us, so that we are unable to work our own people into those positions of power instead.

For full victory in the culture wars, a top down method is necessary. Think Constantine. But a top down mindset prior to that point leads to rapid corruption. It was the bottom-up approach that got the Roman empire to the point that Constantine was possible.

As soon as you make cultural influence and power your objective, you end up with Lil Russ, Tim Keller, etc—punching right and leaning left in order to ingratiate themselves with the current power-brokers.

The biblical model, by contrast, is to be faithful in little—and leave it to God to decide whether He will make you faithful in much.

If every Christian man was concerned first for exercising wise top-down dominion in his own household, and letting that house simply be one small tool in a bottom-up approach to culture, we would not be in a situation where we’re lamenting how badly the world needs top-down change.

New content this week: #

Podcast episode: Nice-Guyism Part 3, the final of our three-part series on “nice guys.” In this episode, Bnonn explains “the male burden of performance,” its connection to “nice guy-ism,” and how the gospel frees us from it to work out of an abundance mindset.

Btw, if you haven’t checked out the podcast, here’s a snippet of some reviews on iTunes. And if you have checked it out, and you left a review, thank you—knowing how we help men like you truly makes our work worthwhile.

Notable: #

  • Project Veritas: Facebook Insider Who Leaked ‘Vaccine Hesitancy’ Docs Morgan Kahmann GOES ON RECORD After Suspension
  • How Men Can Pursue Belonging on the Hard Men Podcast. Here’s a snippet:

    We’re so afraid of words, which is a feminine nature. The feminine nature is, the group means survival, and if I get rejected from the group I die. That’s the primal nature of the feminine. The primal nature of the masculine is, if you get rejected from a hierarchy, you become famous and infamous to the level of the man who kicked you out. So if you use it rightly, you can now start a new hierarchy as a rejected man at the level of the man who kicked you out.

  • Doug Wilson, Never Apologize to Your Wife Unless God Thinks You Wronged Her. Money quote:

    When a man and a wife have had a conflict over something, there are only two possibilities. It is either the case that God thinks he should go apologize for what he did, or—and again, follow me closely here—God doesn’t think that.

    Now suppose for the sake of discussion that God doesn’t think that. If God doesn’t think that, then why should the husband think that?

    And yet there are still plenty of women around who think that this is not good enough. There is many a queen bee in many a hive what doesn’t go along with all this, and surely she and her feelings should be consulted in the matter, no?

    he men who go along with this kind of thing are men who are trying to build a good marriage (or perhaps save a poor one) by means of lying to their wives. The problem is that you cannot actually do either. If you keep the peace by apologizing simply in order to keep peace, and without reference to whether any genuine wrong was done, you don’t have a good marriage. You have a charade.

    And if you believe that you can avert divorce by capitulating (yet again), and catering to her feelings, because the alternative would entail standing up to her, then you are sinning. You can’t really save your marriage by sinning against your marriage. You can’t be rescued from drowning by staying on the bottom of the pool.

Talk again next week,

Bnonn & Michael

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