Loosen Up, Rex!

When I was ten I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."

--C.S. Lewis

Seriously, Rex Murphy is an excellent speaker and columnist, but I disagree with some of his targets. What should he care that so many of us are being parted from our hard earned dollars for two and a half hours of eye candy? Is anybody dragging him into a theatre, tying him into a seat and forcing his eyes open with an aparatus out of The Clockwork Orange? I have my own complaints about pop culture, but trying to stand against it is akin to King Canute commanding the tide to turn back. It strikes me as a recipie for frustration, and pop culture is not without merit. The X-Files was pop culture, but when it was at its peak, it was the best television series then in production. Star Trek is very pop culture, but Deep Space Nine was able to weave in interesting characterization and discussions about spirituality among its strongly told tales of courage and adventure.

Erin is an award winning poet, though she likes :Buffy: and used to like the X-Files. Cameron Dixon is as good as most published authors out there, but he likes Doctor Who. Are we the "intellectually homeless" that Rex Murphy warns us about? No. We just don't kid ourselves about the merits of Star Wars, Harry Potter or Doctor Who. We know that, at their root, they are just interesting ways to pass the time, but are valid nonetheless. Judging from Rex's tone, he may have seen a lot of people give themselves over completely to the Star Wars phenomenon, losing all sense of objectivity, but these people are in a minority. The overwhelming majority, even those who are interested enough in a book, television or movie series to write fan fiction about it, are doing so just to relax and play. That, in my opinion, is key to grounding our lives, resting us up for the time when maybe, just maybe, we could pull together something deep and profound.

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