Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Millions of moms threatened by an idea

Sound the alarm.

There is a new television series on Fox called Lucifer starring Tom Ellis (above) that portrays the Prince of Darkness as just one of us, albeit one of us who can easily finagle his way out of speeding tickets and is irresistible to women.

Lucifer is based on a comic book published by the Vertigo imprint of DC Comics. The comic itself was spun out of another series, The Sandman by Neil Gaiman, which is where I first became acquainted with this incarnation of the Devil. In that latter comic book, the evil one simply realizes how bored and unhappy he is with ruling Hell. So he leaves. He comes to our world in human form and in search of new things to satisfy his yearnings. Does that make for an interesting narrative premise?

The organization One Million Moms sure doesn't think so. This group is opposed to what they call a "spiritually dangerous" program and they have called for a boycott of the show's sponsors as a means of financially driving the series from the air. Businesses on this list include Olive Garden and Kay Jewelers. The OMM collective has the right to do this, just as many of us would boycott businesses whose practices we find disagreeable.

So why am I writing about this? Well, I suppose the actions of OMM bother me on two levels.

First, if their concerns are truly about the "spiritual," and with their site providing links to Christian organizations such as American Family Association it would suggest so, then one would presume that OMM should have greater worries. There are any number of social injustices that should concern a "spiritual" person. Love, as described in several different spiritual texts, could go a long way towards making a difference with social, gender, and economic inequalities. That doesn't seem to be what they're interested in though. Instead, they appear more preoccupied with opposing what GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz calls "New York values." Cruz has even credited that opposition with his recent Iowa caucus win, saying that "Judeo-Christian values" are why his campaign is "resonating."

For the life of me I cannot see what he means by these "values" other than pledging to stop legal and safe abortions and calling for holier-than-thou discrimination against homosexuals.

Perhaps my larger qualm comes from the text of OMM's boycott call. The statement includes a line of dialogue from the show: "'Do you think I'm the devil because I'm inherently evil or just because dear old Dad decided I was?' The question is meant to make people rethink assumptions about good and evil, including about God and Satan." I have zeroed in on their phrase, "The question is meant to make people rethink assumptions about good and evil."

How dare the show's creators do that? Why should assumptions ever be challenged? Why should anyone be made to think? I am not calling Lucifer a "TV show for thinking people," not by any stretch. More to the point, I am unsettled by OMM declaring that there are ideas that should remain free from the scrutiny of the human mind or that there cannot be multiple interpretations of a single idea. If there is anything greater than discussing, challenging, and examining the many possible meanings of good and evil, I don't know what it is.

But wait. Maybe they are arguing that it's not so much about the presence of the content as it is that children might see it. After all, OMM has led previous boycott campaigns against gay characters in comic books and the new "adult" version of The Muppets on ABC with each of these campaigns finding a startling lack of success. You don't want your child to view this material? Fair enough. Fortunately there is a simple solution.

Don't let them see it.

To attempt to nullify works that challenge your beliefs is to threaten an informed democracy. To do so in the name of "somebody think of the children!" is a logical fallacy. When this kind of thinking becomes a mode of political thinking, then I begin to get truly afraid.

And despite it all, I somehow think that Olive Garden and the Fox Network will survive.

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