Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Evolution of Christian White



Once upon a time "Christian White" was a joke that a screenwriter tried to slip into a terrible script as an act of "Can you believe this crap?" subversion (emphasis added):
...
So I returned to New York to find that The Young Lawyers had barely escaped cancellation in the purge that blissfully rid us of The Immortal, Barefoot in the Park, The Most Deadly Game, The Silent Force, The Young Rebels, Tom Jones and Matt Lincoln.

But the price of being kept on the air is a high one.  It is total Agnew-ization.

No scripts dealing with drugs.  No scripts dealing with "youth".  No socially conscious scripts.  Lee J. Cobb comes into prominence.  Zalman King fades back quite a lot and a pure WASP attorney will be introduced to ease the identity crisis of the scuttlefish  (Steve Kandel, one of the more lunatic scriveners in Clown Town, when assigned the chore of writing the script that introduces the new characters, despising the idea, named him Christian White.  It went through three drafts before anyone got hip to Steve's sword in the spleen.)
...

-- Harlan Ellison, approx. February 1970, reprinted in The Other Glass Teat *
Four decades later, in the ever-darkening shadow of the Nixon's Southern Strategy, "Christian White" is now an overt statement of whiny dominionist paranoia by well-known "godbothering nuisance who once starred on a weirdly successful sitcom that ripped off everything it knew from Family Ties" (emphasis added):
...
[Kirk] Cameron said some of the claims that will be addressed in the film include: the notion that Christmas is really a church co-opting of winter solstice celebrations, that Jesus was not born on December 25, that Christmas trees are pagan and that consumerism is overshadowing the true reason for the season.

“It’s a scripted story about a guy named Christian White who represents the typical white Christian male and he’s got a bad case of religious bah humbugs,” Cameron said. “He is just deflating his wife’s entire Christmas party because he has come to believe that everything we’re doing at Christmas to celebrate is wrong.”

The movie includes reenactments of the original Christmas tree story, with portions and scripted scenes showing the nativity and the Council of Nicea, a pivotal event in the history of Christianity.

Cameron, who is also one of the film’s stars, told TheBlaze that he decided to make “Saving Christmas” to celebrate the spirit of the holiday season, while also pushing back against those who wish to “snuff out [the holiday's] holy root.”
...
And thus does entertainment history repeat itself, first as behind-the-scenes, Nixon-era dissent, and then as out-and-proud, anti-science, anti-history fundamentalist primal-scream.

I'm sure there's a lesson in there somewhere.

*Why my brain retains these little details from stuff I read decades ago, I have no idea.

8 comments:

Nangleator said...

Got to wonder what the black character's name is. And any Jewish characters.

But I'm hating myself for inadvertently coming up with comic possibilities in my head.

Strider said...

I got Banana Boy's Holy Root right here!

Frank Stone said...

Just to be a stickler, I reviewed my copy of The Other Glass Teat to find the exact column you referenced. It's installment 86, 27 November 1970.

n1ck said...

Ah, yes.

Kirk Cameron.

His movie is going to discuss the council of Nicea, apparently. Please let it be even somewhat accurate in showing a bunch of Romans picking the books of the New Testament as well as the debates about Jesus himself as divine or Human, and other things 99.9% of "Christians" don't know about their flawless religion.

I'm no Christian in the religious sense, but it'd be really fucking nice if Christians who are actually, you know, knew almost as much about their religion as I did when I was a young teenager.

Anonymous said...

At the risk of being nauseously self promoting, a musical collaborative experience (a.k.a. band) I belong to wrote a song that just might fit this sort of religioinsanity entertainment:
https://myspace.com/camberwellcarrotband/music/song/zombie-jesus-72631013-80107225

Great writing as always Driftglass

Fred said...

A friend played a "Christian Rock" CD for me. She is a lady who used to have great taste in rock'n'roll. The songs were written like a laundry list of styles. It was such a concoction of canned propaganda, one piece flatter than the next.
Christianist art has that red thread running through it. If they can just co-opt the popular stuff they can get the kids on board. Not so different from co-opting winter solstice celebrations for Christmas. There is a shallow blindness to how cynical it comes across.

Fred said...

You should always use a hackamore bit on a tyrannosaurus for maximum control. And spanish spurs too.

Unsalted Sinner said...

"The movie includes reenactments of the original Christmas tree story..."

I don't remember that part of the Bible. Is it mentioned in Paul's letter to Santa Claus?