87. How Can We Best Enjoy Newfound Fandoms Like the Book and Movie ‘Dune’?
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“Keep the spice flowing.” “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.” New fantasy-fandom catchphrase unlocked! Yes, like a lot of you, we’ve found Dune, the movie, the book, the fandom we’d somehow missed all this time. Just like a young man discovering his purpose on a desert planet, new fandoms can be amazing, yet also come with a few dangers slithering below the sands.
1. The joys of joining new fandoms
- We follow the biblical themes of God giving people good gifts (Genesis).
- Recent example of Dune, forthcoming example of The Wheel of Time series.
- Christians, especially, love discovering really great Christian-made fantasy.
2. The perils of joining new fandoms
- The storytellers might not finish the story (but we are getting Dune part 2).
- Some might make bad adaptations or canon breaks (like The Wheel of Time might do).
- Fandoms, like those for some Christian-made fantasy, may be forced into obscurity.
3. How Jesus equips us to receive new fandom gifts with thanksgiving
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
—1 Timothy 4:1–5 (ESV)
- God speaks about good and marriage, cultural things that humans can adapt.
- That’s why we might apply this verse to stories: cultural things humans adapt.
- We see false teachings, false rules, and healthy ways to receive good gifts.
Autumn wrote another good comment re. episode 86:
It’s probably not healthy to flippantly label things as flippant, either. My family always decorated for Fall, never Halloween. But now and then my Dad and I would joke about what phrase or saying we would put on our gravestones. Mine was ‘I tried.’ Maybe people would hear our jokes and assume we were being flippant about our own deaths, but we weren’t. Our gravestone phrases have a lot of layers of meaning to them that are important to us as individuals. From my comments about what the Peter Pan story meant to me, it should be clear that I do take death seriously. But even though I joke about saying ‘I tried’ on my gravestone, it’s not said just to be funny. It’s also venting some of my own sadness and bitterness about certain things. Humor is often a communication tool, and a lot of comedians talk about things in their performances precisely BECAUSE the issue is important to them.
Next on Fantastical Truth
We’ve just explored the joys and perils of joining new fandoms. And we only lightly touched on one big danger: the systemic influence of false beliefs that are creeping into fandom. That’s making new generations of Christians and non-Christians say, “Well, if that story has ‘gone woke,’ then we want not part of that.” Our guest will be “Esther O’Reilly,” who just revealed her secret identity as Bethel McGrew, who writes about philosophy and sociopolitical issues. She joins us to explore how can we stay true to our identities in Christ while guarding our children and ourselves from evil ideas, yet also teach them and ourselves to “own” such stories with facts and logic—and biblical imagination.
Explore the best Christian-made fantasy, sci-fi, and beyond, and apply these stories' meanings in the real world Jesus calls us to serve.
Insert joke about discovering a new fandom for a book published in the 60s. Personally I like the worldbuilding for Dune better than the actual plot or most of the characters, but it’s been quite a few years since I read it and maybe I should look at it again and see if I think any differently of it.
Aw, you guys and your romantic notions of troubadour-warriors, so cute. And I’m only being a skosh condescending when I say that. There is something in the idea of people of culture who have artistic talents on top of their normal, mundane competence. Like 17th century German city clerks who include pretty good sketches in the margins of their notes of city business. But we can’t have nice things because schools have cut funding to all the arts programs, and society is pressuring everyone to turn all the nice things into mere side hustles as if to justify their existence. /separatesoapboxrant #breadandroses
Ugh, hamhanded gender crap. I’m feeling sympathy for all the nonbinary people who just can’t be arsed with the entire concept. But sadly, all this crap is probably a necessary step for societal development into something less crappy about gender.
Also for discussion: “death of the author” vs “the author is dead to me.” One is much more metaphysical, but the other is “I know what the author intended but it’s stupid and I’m electing to ignore it.” And how both play into adaptations and fanfictions. But I think y’all need to talk about fanfiction more, anyway.
But I have mixed feelings about your stretching Paul so far out of context with the marriage and food business. The original context was early Christian factional infighting. Luckily, there is plenty of modern Christian factional infighting to apply it to, but putting it in a Christian vs secular context feels like it needs better justification.