The Magnificent Seven & It’s Politically Correct Cultural Appropriation

Bloggers Warning — This article commits the sin of noticing. If you are offended by the sin of noticing you will not want to read this post.

Increasingly we are told that “cultural appropriation” is, at the very least, in bad taste and at the very worst exploitative. White people wearing cornrows, white people twerking, white people wearing black face are all considered in bad form. Team names like the “Cleveland Indians” or the “Washington Redskins” outrage some people and brings the accusation of cultural appropriation. Recently, “Victoria’s Secret” sent model Karlie Kloss down a runway in a fringed suede bikini, turquoise jewelry, and a feathered headdress—essentially a “sexy Indian” costume—many called out the underwear company for insensitivity to Native Americans.

Now, while I personally would not be disappointed if nobody did cornrows, twerked, or went around in blackface (this not being in keeping with my fashion tastes) it is considered a sin on the part of white people to culturally appropriate in this fashion. Just up the road from me in Lansing, Michigan students recently protested because of the cultural appropriations of the Native-Indian dress on the Michigan State campus.

However, moving in the opposite direction does not seem to be a problem. Increasingly minorities are culturally appropriating Western Culture and I read only a few people pointing out the inconsistencies. In 2014 we had a remake of “Little Orphan Annie” that found the role of Daddy Warbucks and Annie being played by Minorities. The 2017 release of a new King Arthur film finds the presence of Minorities sprinkled throughout the Ancient Arthurian Kingdom, including the mentor of the future King Arthur and the noble leader of the resistance to wicked King Uther. A third example of this cultural appropriation moving in the opposite direction was the remake of the Magnificent Seven.

In this remake, the hero role is played by Denzel Washington who is given the name “Sam Chisolm.” Of course, the name “Chisum” was a minor American Western white cowboy hero of the 19th century. “Chisum” was also the name of a 1970’s film with the title role of “Chisum” being played by John Wayne. Denzel Washington would be culturally appropriating both an American Western legend and a film legend known for his Westerns if it were possible for cultural appropriation to move in a direction contrary to whites culturally borrowing from minorities. Denzel Washington is the new John Wayne.

So, in the new “Magnificent Seven” we have white sheeple townsfolk looking to a black law officer for redress of grievances against a White evil Robber Baron. How often do you think that this would have occurred in the 19th century Western America?  Keep in mind here that in the original “Magnificent Seven” it was a community of Mexican sheeple who were appealing to the Magnificent Seven for help against bad guy Mexican Bandoleros. We have gone from the incarnation of evil being a Mexican Bandolero to a white Robber Barron and we have gone from a community of Mexican peasants being sheeples to the American farmer and merchant Christian white people playing the sheeple.  We need to throw in here that the cowardly white sheeple are led by one brave soul out for justice but settling for revenge. This brave white soul is a woman homesteader whose husband was killed by the bad guys as the film opens. This character (Emma Cullen) played by amply endowed Haley Bennet who’s breasts and cleavage is credited with a co-star billing.

Just a brief word on our white Robber Barron villain. I do believe that the modern Corporatist is a major villain in our culture but the Left’s narrative tends to cast anybody who makes money as being an evil capitalist. That holds true for this film.

In this latest version of the Magnificent Seven, we have four minority members. We have already mentioned Denzel Washington’s lead role as Sam Chilsom. Likewise, we have an outcast American Indian (Red Harvest), a knife-wielding Oriental (Billy Rocks), and an outlaw Mexican (Vasquez).  Of the three white Magnificent Seven, we have the coward Southerner, (Goodnight Robicheaux) the slightly nutty and Scripture-spouting Mountain man (Jack Horn) and cheating gambler (Joshua Faraday).

Of the four Magnificent Seven who are killed as heroes in the end in the battle against the bad guys (who are all white except one Indian) only one is a minority (the Oriental knife wielder). The rest are all the White guys. The coward is cast as the lone Southerner. In the end, the White Southerner redeems himself but he still plays the coward.

In the end, all the bad guys are white people except for one Indian played by Jonathan Joss as Denali, an exiled Comanche warrior. However, we are relieved by the film-makers decision to have the good guy Indian (Red-Harvest) be the one who kills the bad guy Indian after the bad guy Indian kills the God-talk spouting Mountain Man. Can you imagine the outrage if a white Magnificent Seven good guy had killed the bad guy Indian? And what a coincidence that the particularly Christian good guy Mountain man who the film reveals was no friend of Indians in his life is killed by the heathen Indian.

The film repeatedly slights the white man beyond what I have already noted. When the good guy Indian (Martin Sensmeier) shows on the scene all the white Magnificent Seven are pensive and apprehensive but the minority leader of the Magnificent Seven reaches out and makes friends and asks the Indian to join their hero-posse. The character played by Chris Pratt (Joshua Faraday) mocks the Mexican for being Mexican. The film reveals that the character played by Lee Byung-hun (Billy Rocks) has been mistreated by white men. Ethan Hawke’s character (Goodnight Robicheaux) informs the viewer that a bar “didn’t want to serve Billy’s kind.” Billy, the diminutive Oriental cowboy, is taunted to fight by a white cowpoke with “come on you scum sucking runt of a man.” Billy himself tells us that his friendship with the Southerner Goodnight Robicheaux is one where “Goodnight helps me navigate the white man’s privileges.”

As the film progresses this multicultural crew is able to set aside their natural cultural, ethnic, and racial animosities and congeal together to be a force who is stronger than a thousand white hired gun bad guys.

There is also a subtle subtheme in this film regarding Christianity. When the film opens the sheeple townsfolks are meeting in a Church to discuss the problem of the Robber Barron Bogue who wants to cheat them of their land. Robber Barron Bogue shows up and in this opening scene, the Church is burned with a shell of it remaining.  That shell of a church provides an inclusio for the end of the film where the lone female kills the bad guy (Bogue) under the cross as he is being forced to pray for forgiveness by the Sam Chisolm character. So, as the film opens the Church is the place where the cowardice of the white townspeople is revealed and in the closing, the Church is the place where a white man not interested in asking for forgiveness is being forced to beg for forgiveness for his sins by a minority and finally being killed by a white woman as he is, in an underhanded sneaky fashion, trying to kill the minority who is choking him to death for his past sins against Chisolm’s people. In the opening, the Church fails to provide resistance from white people. In the end, the Church failed to provide any solution for the redemption of the white man’s sins.

All of this worldview malfeasance crammed into a delightful Western. It really is a classic Western on the surface complete with gun fights, quick draw exhibition, the gambler theme, the lone cowboy heroes, and the plucky Western homesteader wife. However, scratching below the surface this is yet another piece of both cultural appropriation and an attack on the heroes and history of the Christian white man.

 

 

 

 

 

Short Critique On Eastern Orthodox’s Rod Dreher’s “Benedict Option”

Rod Dreher with his call for cultural withdrawal via his “Benedict Option,” keeps saying “politics will not save us,” and as such Christians should give up on Washingtonian politics.

A few points,

1.) Whoever suggested that politics will save us?

2.) It is true that politics will not save us but it is also true that not doing politics will not save us either. So, what’s the point Rod?

3.) Where in Scripture do we find the authority to give up the antithesis in any area of life?

4.) Whatever happened to “take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ” Rod?

5.) The answer to lousy saltiness is to become exceptionally lousy in our saltiness?

6.) One can not isolate and cordon off areas of life like this. Life is lived as an integrated whole. Because that is so if Christians were to retreat from Politics the consequence would be that pagan politics would go on the attack seeking to increasingly circumscribe the Christian witness in every other area of life.

We have to find a name to live by besides “Christian” because the way the “Christian” is used now is something God certainly abominates.

Ask the Pastor…. Strengths and Weaknesses of Postmodernism?

Dear Pastor,

In your opinion what brings the greatest concern with postmodernism and especially with the new generation Z.

Do you see any strengths of Postmodernism?

Thank you,

Bradley

Dear Bradley,

Good questions.

I.) Pomo’s Strength

1.) It not only deconstructs meta-narratives we know are true, it deconstructs meta-narratives that need to be deconstructed, such as Darwinian Evolutionary pseudo-science. Darwinism has been savaged by the Pomo’s and has really lost its status as the narrative of the West.

2.) Pomo reminds us of our creatureliness and that as creatures we cannot get outside of the universe in order to observe the universe and so know the universe. As such, there is always going to be subjectivity in our knowing. Creatures are subjective by definition and as such it must be admitted that the knowledge that we have of the objective has a tacit quality. Our knowledge is not only subjective as the pomo’s insist but neither is our knowledge only objective. See the works here of Michael Polanyi.

II.) Pomo’s weaknesses

1.) First, some would argue that pomo remains modernism but as on steroids, and there is a good deal of truth in that. Pomo like modernism interprets the world apart from God. As such pomo like modernism creates it’s own truths. The difference is that pomo admits it while modernism refused to admit it, choosing instead to embrace the nonsense of some kind of objective reality that can be posited by some kind of fiat act of the will via one kind of logical positivism or another.

2.) Pomo insists that there is no such thing as capital “T” truth but in doing so they demonstrate that Pomo’s capital “T” Truth is that there is no such thing as capital “T” Truth and that is every bit as much as a capital “T” truth as what modernity or any other meta-narrative ever wanted to offer. As such the broad claims of the pomo’s are myths.

3.) Pomo is irrational. So is modernism but Pomo doesn’t care and so doesn’t hide it like modernism does. Pomo’s today (self-conscious or not) embrace the most egregious and bald contradictions without caring one whit. They are irrational, and they love it so.

4.) Because Pomo’s think that they don’t care about capital “T” truth it is harder to get through to them with the Gospel or any true Truth in my estimation. When witnessing what you typically get is, “Well, if that works for you that’s nice.” As such to reach pomos you really have to understand that making them angry is the only way of doing so. (Angry because you have to really break up their worldview furniture before you catch their attention.) Even then they may not care. I’ve known more than one person I’ve engaged with who has said, “Yeah, I know I am in contradiction but I don’t care.”

5.) Pomo’s have no core in terms of character. If reality is what you make it then you can make up a new character and new reality every day. People who lie to themselves like this are sick people.

Thanks Bradley for the question,

Pastor Bret

Rev. McAtee contra Rev. Dr. Keller on Good Doctrine Being a Problem in Today’s Western Church

Starting @ the :52 second mark and ending at the 1:29 point

“I actually do think some people make an idol out of doctrine because there are sectors of the church that say if you have your doctrine straight, and if you have your doctrine right then you’re pleasing to God and  then you are part of the solution, not the problem and you’re not like all these other parts of the church that are very heretical.

There is a pride and a smugness about having good doctrine that, to me,  puts doctrine almost in the place of the saving grace of Jesus Christ and so it becomes an idol.”

Rev. Dr. Tim Keller, Pastor
Redeemer Presbyterian PCA,
New York City, NY

Rev. McAtee responds,

 

Rev. McAtee responds,

1.) Certainly, we must concede that as anything can be turned into an idol and so even doctrine can be turned into an idol. However, if and when that point has arrived the question that must be asked is whether or not the doctrine is the problem or whether the idolator is the problem. Of course, the problem is not the doctrine since it is only doctrine which will rescue the idolater from their making doctrine an idol.

2.) Keep in mind that if someone really has straight and right doctrine then it is not possible to be involved in idolatry since straight and right doctrine, by definition, is not compatible with idolatry. Indeed if one is making an idol of doctrine their doctrine certainly is neither straight, good nor right.  This is a large part of the confusion inherent in this statement by the Rev. Dr. Keller.

3.) Keep in mind that the only solution for those who have turned doctrine into an idol is to tell them to return to doctrine. Since the problem is not with the doctrine but with the idolator the only thing that is going to solve their idolatry is more doctrine. As the problem isn’t the doctrine the only solution is doctrine. If someone has turned doctrine into an idol they can only be reached by giving them true doctrine. As such, contrary to the Rev. Dr. Keller, the doctrine isn’t a problem.

4.) Obviously, we are pleasing to God only as being in Christ and coming under His protection and covering. However, that is a doctrine that I must have straight before I am pleasing to God. God is pleased when we by searching the Scriptures look to see what it is that we should believe (doctrine) in order to honor God. Now, while as a judge God is either pleased with us or not, as a Father God is more pleased with His children who search out Christ wherein are the treasures of all wisdom and knowledge (i.e. — doctrine). That this is so, is seen in how the Lord Christ deals with the seven Churches in Revelation. All Churches are Christians. Five churches are condemned for some weaknesses that the Lord was displeased with while two were only commended. God was more pleased by their faithfulness to the true doctrine than he was with those who were not faithful to true doctrine.

5.) Would to God that every sector of the Church would connect increasingly straight doctrine with God, as Father, being increasingly pleased with us. What other option is there? Would we say that God isn’t increasingly pleased as we are led by the Spirit to increasingly get our doctrine straight? Is God non-plussed over whether our doctrine is increasingly straight or increasingly crooked?

6.) People with crooked doctrine are part of the problem, no matter their good intentions. In the same way, people with straight and right doctrine are part of the solution.

7.) Would the Rev. Dr. Kell have us pray that our doctrine would not be good so that we would not suffer from pride and smugness?

8.) Rev. Dr. Keller complains about doctrine being put in the place of the saving grace of Jesus Christ and yet the whole idea of the saving grace of Jesus Christ is a doctrine that we’ve been warned against as having right, straight, or good.

9.) Rev. Dr. Keller worries about pride and smugness and idolatry and rightfully so. However, each of those is an issue of improper orthopraxy (right behavior). As proper orthopraxy can only be present where good, straight, and right proper orthodoxy (doctrine) first exists we realize that we can never steer clear of improper orthopraxy (pride, smugness, and idolatry) unless we are good, straight, and right, in our orthodoxy (doctrine).

10.) Some sectors of the Church are indeed very heretical and they are heretical precisely because their understanding of the truth as it is found in Jesus Christ is severely deficient.

Some might say, “Come on Rev. McAtee, you know what he means.” To that my response is, “I’d like to think I know what he means, but I honestly am not sure.” The Rev. Dr. Keller has had his bell rung on certain doctrinal issues that are important and where he has been less than clear upon. Is this a complaint on his part that people who dare disagree with him on his doctrine are examples of those who are pride, smug, and idolatrous?

Look, in our irrational age, it strikes me as passing odd to complain that one of the major problems of the Church is that it is over precise when it comes to its doctrine. This is like warning someone suffering from hypothermia that there is danger in sunstroke.

 

 

Make Sure and Laugh When Talking With and About the Absurd

In this interview,

Tucker Carlson debates a male transgender lawyer.

When we take matters like this seriously we have already lost the battle.

The male transgender lawyer is dressed here like a woman complete with blond wig, makeup, jewelry, etc.. Carlson and the Lawyer are having a serious conversation about what it takes to be officially Transgender.

I was getting sucked into the conversation when all of a sudden I start cracking up laughing from realizing how absurd this whole interview is.

I thought … “when we don’t howl in peals of laughter over the absurdity of all this we’ve already lost the battle. Taking any of it seriously means they win.”

In the past, in Ecclesiastic meetings, I’ve warned people about the danger wrapped up in having serious conversations about the absurd. I didn’t mean then and I don’t mean now that we shouldn’t debate about the perverse or about the perverted. Neither do I believe that we should not talk to them but if and when we do so it should be accompanied by belly laughs on our part during the conversation.