*American Honey*

by on October 11, 2016 at 3:37 pm in Film, Religion | Permalink

This sprawling, 2 hour, 42 minute movie likely will be seen as one of the important creations of the decade.  Variety described it as “femme-driven corrective to…”Spring Breakers””, and “Part dreamy millennial picaresque, part distorted tapestry of Americana and part exquisitely illustrated iTunes musical,” the phrase “Midwestern America Walpurgis Night” came to my mind.  “…Almost ridiculously full of life…” was another account.  Most of all, it is a story of how a post-Christian America can go awry, told through the classic medium of a road trip.  Instead of the blood and flesh of Christ at Holy Communion, here the serving is toxic mezcal and eating the worm inside the bottle, for cash of course.  The other parallels I do not wish to give away.

In terms of cinematography and especially soundtrack, it’s as strong as any movie in recent times.  Scene after scene felt special and memorable, and only about ten minutes or so dragged.  I kept on thinking it couldn’t keep up its pace of quality, but it did and in fact kept surpassing itself.  Sasha Lane deserves the Best Actress Oscar, and in her film debut at that.  I just ordered everything I can by British director Andrea Arnold.

Recommended (re)reading for a viewing includes Genesis, most of all the story of Jacob, his family, and his wrestle with the angel.  But don’t expect the reviews to mention any of that — Ross Douthat, telephone!

Remember people, the influential thinkers of the next generation will be the religious ones…whether you like it or not.

1 Ray Lopez October 11, 2016 at 3:40 pm

So American Honey has no good sex scenes? Crossing that off my ‘must see’ list.

2 Tyler Cowen October 11, 2016 at 3:44 pm

That is not what I wrote, Ray…

3 Urso October 11, 2016 at 3:50 pm

Negative pregnant.

4 Ray Lopez October 12, 2016 at 12:46 am

OK, thanks. Sounds from this review http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/american-honey-2016 it’s like a film on Irish Travellers, ‘pavee, an lucht siúil’, aka, in Europe, gypsies.

Bonus trivia: they don’t have gypsies in the Philippines.

5 Ray Lopez October 12, 2016 at 12:52 am

I forgot to add, it’s like a modern remake of the classic, now preserved as such in the National Archives as a historically important film, “Easy Rider” (1969). Probably a modern rip-off of that copyrighted classic, and I use the term ‘rip-off’ loosely.

6 George October 12, 2016 at 8:55 am

Hey how’s the whole extra judicial killings going on over there any way? I’m guessing you’re probably in your bit of paradise untouched by the drug war.

7 Hazel Meade October 12, 2016 at 9:25 am

A cursory glance indicates nothing about Irish Travellers.

I think the better term is “gutter punks”.

8 CL October 11, 2016 at 3:57 pm

“Remember people, the influential thinkers of the next generation will be the religious ones…whether you like it or not.”

What are the arguments behind this claim again? It’s a bit hard to believe. Especially since a lot of important thinkers believe in God already, mostly without being too religous though. I don’t see a single reason why they would become more religious.

9 Todd K October 11, 2016 at 4:20 pm

I don’t buy it either – at all. We, um…I mean they, will be a mix but very likely less religious than the current batch of Influential Thinkers.

Let’s take a sample of one of the current influential thinkers:

Ray Kurzweil – “Do I believe there is a God? Not yet…”

See? There is a clear trend already.

10 Thiago Ribeiro October 11, 2016 at 5:56 pm

“God exists, and He’s American.” (or will be– or Chinese, thy have the top supercomputer, don’t they?) However, in Brazzil, we say He’s Brazilian.
“But had the oxen or the lions hands,
Or could with hands depict a work like men,
Were beasts to draw the semblance of the gods,
The horses would them like to horses sketch,
To oxen, oxen, and their bodies make
Of such a shape as to themselves belongs.” — Xenophanes

― Xenophanes

11 Josh October 11, 2016 at 8:45 pm

Like Weston in perelandra!

12 Sir Barken Hyena October 11, 2016 at 4:37 pm

Of course, because an excess of scientism creates a spiritual void for modern populations, who then revive old religions. Spengler’s “Second Religiousness”

13 A October 11, 2016 at 5:30 pm

It could be even earthier than mean-regressing “spirituality”. Simple population aging might encourage religiousity,

14 Todd K October 11, 2016 at 6:04 pm

Nope. No dice. Anti -aging pills are coming soon and will keep improving. Thousands of bloggers know this but Tyler and economists over 50 don’t get it yet. But they will!

15 Millian October 12, 2016 at 3:42 am

But Europe’s older than ever.

16 Lit October 11, 2016 at 5:03 pm

My guess is that Tyler believes non-religious artists and critics have exhausted the stylistic limits of their form for a while, much like guitar music has. The advantage of religious thinking is the wealth of material from which to draw. After such a long dry spell of religious thinking by leading artists and intellectuals, such material is due to seem fresh.

Take Knausgaard. Although he isn’t religious, much of his material is unironically religious.

17 Urso October 11, 2016 at 5:37 pm

I read it as, the 21st century will see the Muslim world gaining in intellectual/cultural status and the Western world declining in the same.

18 Michael October 11, 2016 at 6:21 pm

Don’t think so, the words “Muslim” and “thinker” don’t go together very well. I remember he related it to the rise of Eastern Europe, much of which is nominally Christian. In 2050, the richest nations on Earth(excluding winners of the oil lottery) will be the nations located between Czechia and Estonia, and Japan(and possibly Israel).

19 Callum G October 11, 2016 at 9:04 pm

>the words “Muslim” and “thinker” don’t go together very well

[Citation needed]

20 Alan October 11, 2016 at 9:19 pm

Michael October 11, 2016 at 6:21 pm

21 NotANoob October 11, 2016 at 10:37 pm

PWned

22 Peter Akuleyev October 12, 2016 at 3:16 am

Eastern European Christianity is just as unhealthy as Western Christianity. In Russia the Orthodox faith is incredibly shallow, dominated and directed by political hacks trying to go through the motions of a tradition that was viciously eradicated generations ago. In Ukraine religion is deeply tied to nationalism, the churches are corrupt, and the church is hardly a source of universal human values. In Poland the Catholic church seems to be headed quickly toward the same irrelevance as the Irish church. Even the nominally right wing pro-Catholic government has been distancing itself from overtly religous policies, such as the attempt to outlaw abortion. Czechs are rabid atheists. I don’t see the rise of Eastern Europe doing much to generate exciting religious thinkers, unless there is some religious revival in Romania down the road.

23 Millian October 12, 2016 at 3:43 am

You forgot “cuck” and “race traitor”.

24 Matthew October 11, 2016 at 6:17 pm

Because of the demographic implosion of atheists.

25 Dan October 12, 2016 at 10:15 am

That was my armchair theory on what he meant. Wealth, atheism and women’s lib seem to combine to depress birth rates and necessitate immigration to keep the economy firing (without the economic engine I dont see liberalism doing as well in general and eventually being outcompeted as a mode of life). This immigration is going to come from poorer, more religious places where women have more traditional, religious values.

Either that or a place with more robust population growth (and likely much more religious) eventually displaces the US/EU as the “center” and these thinkers “win” purely on the size and influence of their audience.

26 Hopaulius October 12, 2016 at 9:10 pm

My wife comes from a missionary family. Her sister has five children and 16 (or so, I lose count) grandchildren. They are all conservative evangelicals. So far. Her husband’s sister is a progressive who has been married twice and has no children. I don’t know any liberal couples that have more than two children (unless they are unlucky enough to have twins after their first). They tend not to believe in procreation. Around here public education is also quite conservative. And if the schools get too liberal, the conservatives just home-school. The kids are well-inoculated by the time they get to college, if they go.

27 Keith October 11, 2016 at 7:07 pm

The pendulum swings back. People are tired of our current state.

28 Walt Guyll October 12, 2016 at 10:35 am

I find it hard to remember that which has not happened.

29 WC Varones October 11, 2016 at 4:03 pm

Yes please!

30 Israel October 11, 2016 at 4:19 pm

Was spring breakers so powerful that it needs a corrective? Or is this damni g with faint praise?

31 SImon October 11, 2016 at 5:56 pm

Did you see spring breakers? It is an incredible film.

32 The Other Jim October 12, 2016 at 8:12 am

On the contrary – it is pure mindless drivel.

33 John Hall October 11, 2016 at 4:24 pm

Just caught it this weekend and was impressed. Not sure it’s one of the most important of the decade though…

Fish tank is fantastic. I would start with that.

34 M October 11, 2016 at 4:34 pm

In art, those who combine religious impulses and concerns and symbols with a free, alive and searching artistic spirit are often a *bit* special. (And also a bit rarer than you’d think, as religion and conventionality can go together like eggs and bacon).

I’m not sure I’d call them the most influential *thinkers*, exactly. Perhaps most influential feelers and expressers of feels, if and only if the cultural mood is right (or else they do with the laboring in the obscurity).

35 Justin October 11, 2016 at 4:47 pm

Sounds like Andrea Arnold should be on Conversations with Tyler.

Please say more about why/how the influential thinkers of the next generation will be religious ones.

36 derek October 11, 2016 at 5:49 pm

It seems obvious. Almost every trend and event right now is driven by religion. Europe over the next 20 years will be defined by a religion. Feminism will probably be open to religious strictures instead of the ‘safe places’ and rape epidemics they seem to gin up. The Democrat two class reality on the ground resembles the old political catholicism in many disgusting ways, without the stuff to keep the peons in line.

The most striking example was a discussion on TVO Steve Paikin show a while ago. There was a few feminists and the discussion was about the shutting down of events at a university in Toronto that offended the sensibilities of these fragile creatures. It was very striking to me to hear almost the same arguments from these women that I heard in Quebec from political catholicism. Don’t expose yourself to evil speech and writings; maintain a vigorous indifference even ignorance of the world as a means of control, even down to the blunt instrument of mobs of the faithful.

The problem is that essentially these people want to drive far too many people out of acceptable and productive society, which ends up being rather dangerous. The Clinton Deplorables. 25% of the population is irredeemable. There is no saving of souls, there isn’t anything except some vague notion of equality and justice, all profoundly unsatisfying except to the most devoted. So I fully expect it to be rounded out with paths to salvation, mechanisms of forgiveness, and some notion of salvation.

Religious writers in the past didn’t believe a word that they wrote for the most part, and definitely didn’t live by them. It was for others, a means of controlling the dangerous masses. It worked pretty well for a long time.

37 Jill October 11, 2016 at 5:57 pm

“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people”.
Karl Marx

Half or more of people who support Trump probably ARE deplorable. It’s just politically incorrect to say so. What’s he going to do at the next debate? Punch Hillary in the face, to the thrill of the media because it will boost ratings? I asked that question here yesterday, and one of the Trump supporters here said he thought that would be perfectly acceptable for Trump to do that. If that’s not deplorable, I don’t know what is.

38 derek October 11, 2016 at 9:15 pm

Sure. Then what?

25%. That is what, 80 million people? Do you actually think that you can build a wall or an army or a police force that will keep that number of people under control? I believe that this year’s violence represents the end state of the vigorous policing that has been going on for a generation. For all the gnashing of teeth, you don’t see many white Democrats living in the rougher neighborhoods of Chicago.

This is bipartisan by the way. This election is characterized by who each side would like to exclude from society. Either side will be as nasty as the other in stomping down opposition and enacting policies that hurt the undesirables on the other side.

Religions offer a path to redemption. That is the basic thought behind all of them, either through devotion to religious symbols and ritual or community. Both strains of political thought only offer exclusion and disdain. They will collapse under the weight of the excluded and disdained, and as Tyler says, religious impulses will be leading thought.

And no, I don’t think it will work, in fact there is a good reason why political religion was rejected in the last century. But the ideological fundamentalism that characterizes political movements today is as bad or worse.

39 Jill October 11, 2016 at 9:36 pm

“Either side will be as nasty as the other in stomping down opposition and enacting policies that hurt the undesirables on the other side.”

You’re into false equivalence, are you? Both sides are not equal. If you listen to the candidates’ statements, rather than to conspiracy theory web sites, you see quite a difference.

Why should white Democrats live in high crime neighborhoods? They’d like to decrease crime and increase justice in policing. You certainly expect a lot of Democrats. You didn’t say anything you expect of Republicans.

40 Mikey October 12, 2016 at 2:39 am

The deplorables are the military and police and construction workers. Do you thin ineffectual, effete feelera like Jill can either build a wall or wage war? Jill exists in her climate controlled, secure lifestyle because of the deplorables, as do all of these creatures. Their lashing out is a symptom of the insecurity of the fundamentally useless like Jill.

41 J1 October 12, 2016 at 10:18 am

Contempt for people our lives depend on is as innate a human behavior as there is.

“They’d like to decrease crime and increase justice in policing”

If you lived in a high crime neighborhood you’d probably have more realistic ideas about what constitutes justice.

42 Lit October 11, 2016 at 4:48 pm

Is there evidence that Andrea Arnold is religious?

43 Todd October 11, 2016 at 5:11 pm

Is there evidence that the Coen Bros. are religious? Yet they take religion very seriously, at least in the structure of their films. “Barton Fink” is basically the Book of Daniel. “A Serious Man” is a re-working of the Book of Job. Many of their other films turn on pre-Christian understandings of Fate. Those dealing with religion seriously in the arts are often agnostic, if not outrightly atheistic.

44 ttt October 11, 2016 at 6:37 pm

“Barton Fink” is basically the Book of Daniel

yeah basically

45 KevinH October 11, 2016 at 10:25 pm

There is a big difference between seeing the Bible as one of the earliest sustaining works exploring the human condition and to believe it is the Truth.

If you change Tyler’s line to: ‘the influential thinkers of the next generation will be the ones thinking about the greater trends and patterns of human being’ then it isn’t nearly as controversial of a statement.

46 Millian October 12, 2016 at 3:45 am

It sounds less ingratiating to the American right, though.

47 Urso October 12, 2016 at 10:46 am

‘the influential thinkers of the next generation will be the ones thinking about the greater trends and patterns of human being’
ie, religious. Tyler didn’t say the thinkers of the next generation will be dogmatic. I think he believes that the Muslim world is headed for some sort of Reformation/Renaissance. If he’s right about this, it would certainly be the most important intellectual trend of the century.

48 Benny Lava October 11, 2016 at 4:50 pm

“the influential thinkers of the next generation will be the religious ones”

Mood affiliation!

49 Wonks Anonymous October 11, 2016 at 5:42 pm

Tyler is prone to over-using the term, but here you are doing so as well, since he’s not really talking about mood at all.

50 derek October 11, 2016 at 5:50 pm

Tell me what you think of Mohammed? If not why not.

That is the answer.

51 Troll me October 11, 2016 at 10:02 pm

Life was better after him than before him.

Too bad about the rule against making better rules (being the “last prophet” and all) …

52 Benny Lava October 12, 2016 at 1:38 pm

More important as a cultural figure than athlete or boxer.

What do you think of Temuchin? There is your answer.

53 Thiago Ribeiro October 11, 2016 at 5:18 pm

According to Arkady Shevchenko, Gromiko didn’t like American honey.

54 dearieme October 11, 2016 at 5:34 pm

“the influential thinkers of the next generation will be the religious ones”: maybe, but so far it doesn’t seem likely that they’ll be Christian. Or Jewish.

55 Jill October 11, 2016 at 5:50 pm

Oh, I see. As Urso mentions above, the influential thinkers will be Muslims, from the Middle East I guess. “Remember people, the influential thinkers of the next generation will be the religious ones…whether you like it or not.” means Muslim thinkers apparently.

Certainly it can’t mean influential thinkers from the U.S. Because:

Religiously unaffiliated people have been growing as a share of all Americans for some time. Pew Research Center’s massive 2014 Religious Landscape Study makes clear just how quickly this is happening, and also shows that the trend is occurring within a variety of demographic groups – across genders, generations and racial and ethnic groups, to name a few.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/05/13/a-closer-look-at-americas-rapidly-growing-religious-nones/

56 Jill October 11, 2016 at 6:26 pm

But then Michael, just below Urso, believes that these influential thinkers will be Eastern European Christians.

Personally I think the term “religious thinker” is an oxymoron. Most religions mean you aren’t allowed to think, only to believe. Unless these religious thinkers are Unitarians, who are not required to believe in any doctrines at all.

57 Jill October 11, 2016 at 6:27 pm

That would be interesting. All hail the influential Unitarian thinkers of the next generation.

58 Troll me October 11, 2016 at 10:04 pm

A lot of “theological” or “spiritual” thinkers. But once you’re particularly “religious”, yeah, it’s hard to say there’s much actual thinking going on. But I guess you can be “religious” in the sense of a vague or specific belief in God at the same time as using religious text as inspiration for a diversity of thinking.

59 Michael October 11, 2016 at 5:55 pm

The movie has gotten good reviews, so if there’s a Christian message, it must be buried pretty deep. References to the bible do not make the underlying message “Christian.” I’ve read the Bible, and despite my negative view of the Christian religion as a whole, I do find some wisdom there. That’s the attitude of a lot of secular people.

I hope the influential thinkers of the future won’t be Christian. As someone raised by secular parents in the Bible belt, I’ve found that the Christian religion mainly serves to give people a reason to see themselves as superior to others not because of what they’ve done or even what they’ve learned, but because they believe in a very simple, easy to understand message. Most didn’t even make the decision to embrace Christianity, they were born into it. I’m no philo-Semite, but at least in Judaism it’s the deed that counts. The ‘intellectuals’ are less upright about their sense of superiority, but it still permeates their writing. As bad as the anti-white Left is, at least they pretend to care about science, at least they pretend their claims are falsifiable. They are partially redeemable. But many evangelical Christians raise their children from birth to ignore the “scientific worldview.” They are almost proud of the fact that their views are based on “faith,” not reason. Thus, it becomes natural when they are told by their leaders to oppose things which are “un-Christian” such as abortion, eugenics, or “racism,” despite the fact that these are never mentioned in the Bible.

60 M October 11, 2016 at 6:47 pm

(The following may be rather pseud-ish).

Well, in theory, isn’t the religion (Christianity) all about giving a moral mythos which encourages humility, optimism, forgiveness and healthy guilt, and which helps people avoid sinful feelings? Rather than about promoting some hierarchy where doers of heroic deeds and righteous deeds who do ever more ostentatiously and pious religious actions get status above others. Its compatibility with modern life is, you could argue, that it’s weak in giving people directives towards specific courses of action in the world (which the rest of society is much better suited to provide to them), rather than a moral center, an inner resilience, an optimism and an inspiring myth.

61 Jill October 11, 2016 at 9:31 pm

Yes, in theory it’s about that.

62 efim polenov on tame monkeys October 11, 2016 at 9:34 pm

M at 6:47 PM – Not pseudish at all! Here are the humble opinions of someone who has thought about this for a long time… First sentence – there is no such thing as healthy guilt, you sincerely ask the Lord for forgiveness, you will get it; cor ad cor loquitur (heart speaks to heart) , and one of the Hearts has the power of forgiveness and reconciliation! Second sentence – you got it right. Third sentence – Christianity is absolutely compatible with modern life, the goal of Christian love is to allow each of us [- including the incompetent, the ugly at heart, the nasty, the hated for no reason and sometime for good reason, and the impossibly arrogant – think of the clueless vanity of – I guess, not that i have ever met any – so many bow tie wearers and out of tune torch song singers-] to get to relive (tracking back grammatically: the goal of Christian love is to allow each of us to get to relive) in the deepest way our heart could desire, every moment of our lives the way our lives were supposed to be. And then to start living a new life.
From that point of view, the modern world, as unpleasant as it is for so many of our waking hours and (for those with sleep disorders and troubled dreams) sleeping hours, absolutely essential as the base ground of much of what heaven is for (a) those souls who have, or will have, preceded us with the sign of faith in the sleep of peace and (b) Elijah, Enoch, Mary the daughter of Anne and Joachim and, my favorite group, since I hope many of my grandchildren will be among them – those alive on the last day (when the angels blow the trumpet of the Lord) and (c) the sinless pets, local wildlife, and the monkeys and gorillas and their friends at the local zoo – and other creatures – who will be lifted up by our sacrifices to the joy of understanding each other.

63 Thomas Taylor October 12, 2016 at 3:13 am

“Elijah, Enoch, Mary the daughter of Anne and Joachim and, my favorite group, since I hope many of my grandchildren will be among them – those alive on the last day (when the angels blow the trumpet of the Lord) and (c) the sinless pets, local wildlife, and the monkeys and gorillas and their friends at the local zoo – and other creatures – who will be lifted up by our sacrifices to the joy of understanding each other.”
Ha, ha, ha, ha. One just can’t make it up.

64 efim polenov on tame monkeys October 12, 2016 at 9:14 pm

Thanks! I worked hard on infiltrating into that comment subtle references to Joel 2:25, The Tempest, and the epic poem of the turn-of-the-twentieth century poet and fallen soldier of the proud French Armee Peguy: Eve (in the original French there are accents, but this is just the comment section on a blog, French-sthyle accents might be “de trop”. If you liked my comment you will like those sources just as much or more! Particularly if you are an entomologist (Joel 2:25 names more insects than any line in any ancient literature known to us); a bardolator (the Tempest – need I say more, my friend?), or a connoisseur of Hans Urs von Balthasar, who considered Peguy’s long poem Eve to be the culmination and completion of what Proust, at his best, was trying to do in calling us (those of us who want to reflect on what it means to be a human who cares about other humans in these pre-Apocalyptic-but-not-by-much times) to leave behind surface aesthetics and grapple with la voluntade donde se trove la nostra pace (the will of the Lord in which our peace is found).

65 Troll me October 11, 2016 at 10:07 pm

A+ for managing to finangle “anti-white” into there somehow. Bonus points for unscientific complaints about some else’s lack of scientific-ness.

66 Thiago Ribeiro October 11, 2016 at 6:57 pm

One may argue about racism, but “racism” is not mentioned in the Bible because Christ probably didn’t go around Judea making finder quotes, preaching about “Ceasar” and “God” and “the meek”.

67 Adrian Turcu October 11, 2016 at 7:02 pm

“Remember people, the influential thinkers of the next generation will be the religious ones…whether you like it or not.” -The intriguing part is “remember”. Has Tyler spoken of this before?

68 Michael October 11, 2016 at 7:23 pm
69 y. ben-canaan October 11, 2016 at 7:23 pm

I remember this statement being dropped — maybe somewhere in a post about the resurgence of religiosity among young people in Poland and/or Hungary?

Either way, not gonna argue its merits until I have a better sense of why Tyler’s come to that conclusion. Would love to hear a cogent, non-East-Central European case for it.

70 Religious Reactionary October 12, 2016 at 5:00 pm

Would love to hear a cogent, non-East-Central European case for it.

Today’s secular thinkers mostly think that man’s origin and nature are well-understood, that the correct organization for civil society is obvious and agreed upon by all sensible people, etc. Consequently their “thought” tends to be analyses of cute stylized ethical dilemmas or condescending rants about people who don’t agree with them. Thus religious thinkers are far more interesting than Rawls, Habermas, Foucault, and those would take these 3 seriously.

71 B Cole October 11, 2016 at 7:56 pm

I do not think movies are important.

72 Todd K October 11, 2016 at 8:26 pm

No, they are not, and they have never been important for any serious discussion, partly because there are so many each year. Cowen says this flick is the movie of the decade, but I have not seen any movies this decade, so I can’t judge.

For me, just literature. I did see “Blackhawk Down” but that was in the previous decade.

73 Thomas Taylor October 12, 2016 at 3:15 am

“No, they are not, and they have never been important for any serious discussion, partly because there are so many each year.”
What about books?

74 Todd October 12, 2016 at 5:55 am

Fiction has been the same for a long time. I’m sure there are exceptions, but I can’t think of any off hand. I shouldn’t have said “never been important” for movies either, just not for a pretty long time.

75 Thiago Ribeiro October 12, 2016 at 7:23 am

What about political books, political sites, science books, university presses, churches, intellectuals? There are so many of them. What is important for a serious discussion?

76 too hot for MR October 11, 2016 at 10:19 pm

Someone could say “I do not think literature is important” and be just as happily oblivious to the culture. When I hear such things, I assume the speaker votes party-line GOP and has no idea how badly his wife wants to screw other men.

77 Todd K October 12, 2016 at 10:12 am

@Thiago

A non fiction book is much more likely to spark a broad discussion but there again I can’t think of many in the past 30 years. Dr. Spock’s “Baby and Child Care” did but that was published in 1946. “The Feminine Mystique” was published in 1963. The Closing of the American Mind – 1987.

Taleb’s “Black Swan” and Picketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” were wildly read but mostly in fiannce/economic circles, and I doubt many read more than the first hundred pages of the latter.

78 Urso October 12, 2016 at 10:50 am

When Tyler talks about “the culture,” he’s essentially referring to that group of people who follow Ezra Klein on twitter. It’s totally possible that, among that group, this will be the most important movie of the something-or-other.

79 Thiago Ribeiro October 12, 2016 at 11:11 am

So nothing important happened since 1987 and discussion are self-generating?

80 Todd K October 12, 2016 at 4:59 pm

Feel free to suggest a few books or movies in the past 25 years.

81 anon October 11, 2016 at 8:15 pm

The trailer makes me think this movie might be a bit dark for me. Yes/no?

On religion, this goes deep and it goes so current it is today’s news. In recent years we have trended toward a different view of religion in America, from separation of church and state, toward a reintegration of a specific form of Christianity with government. Whether we can or should be a Christian theocracy was raised quite a lot, starting about 10 years ago. Not coincidentally other competing theocracies were expanding at the same time around the world. It has continued until … Christians suddenly question whether pussy grabbing is a bridge too far.

I hope this reminder that politics are worldly will strengthen the separation of church and state, that churches a little more “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” but perhaps I am an optimist.

Vote your conscience, but be really really slow to see God’s plan in any candidate.

82 Josh October 11, 2016 at 9:05 pm

What on earth are you talking about. A Christian theocracy in 2006? There were 234 abortions for every thousand live births. Democratically created marriage laws were struck down by courts in Maryland and other states. The democrats won control of both houses of congress and americas military was engaged abroad to serve the interests of international business cartels and fanatical members of a (non-Christian) religion.

83 anon October 11, 2016 at 9:24 pm
84 Urso October 12, 2016 at 11:03 am

OK so a guy wrote a book. Here’s another book in the same vein. https://www.amazon.com/Christian-Nation-Frederic-C-Rich/dp/0393240118
In that one, he posited an America which, by 2022, would pass a sweeping set of laws which, among other things, would outlaw homosexuality (and in fact all premarital sex), the criminalize of all religions but Christianity, and baldly state that the “purpose of the federal and state court systems will be to do God’s will.”
Granted it’s not 2022 yet, but I would put pretty long odds on all this coming to fruition.

85 anon October 12, 2016 at 11:54 am

I noted Phillips and not Rich because I think Phillips was one of the best futurists standing in 2005. He spotted something (from the inside, where he had easy access) that has shaped the last 10 years. The ridiculousness of Jerry Falwell Jr. apologizing for Mr. Trump now is pretty much his arc.

It is not that America would unite to one Christian vision (“Too Many Preachers”) it is that this fundamentalist, mass media, evangelical faction would try to make conservative politics their own.

That they failed, and spectacularly overplayed their hand (they must now justify stalking 15 year old naked girls), but they tried. They tried.

86 Troll me October 11, 2016 at 10:11 pm

A lot of noise about “God bless America” while heading off to foreign lands to kill infidels and the like.

But I think the Marxian analysis of it being “opiate of the masses”, or perhaps the more modern political science interpretation of religion as a “mobilizing factor”, might be more on the money.

87 Urso October 12, 2016 at 10:40 am

That noted Christian theocrat Barack Obama cramming through gay marriage and mandatory transsexual bathrooms.

88 anon October 12, 2016 at 11:54 am

Even Trump, stalker of 15 year old girls, knows that the bathroom thing is noise.

I guess it’s surprising that he didn’t grab it though. It is red meat for the fundi faction.

89 Jim Birch October 11, 2016 at 8:48 pm

Religion has always made good theatre, ask Pete the Parrot. When there’s more theatre, there’s likely to be more religious imagery. But do thinking people take theatre that seriously? More of a good night out than any kind return to Old Testament values. The core propositions of religions have been eviscerated by science. To believe otherwise signals wistfulness, and a failure to think.

http://www.well.com/user/ari/archy/pete.the.parrot.html

90 Josh October 11, 2016 at 8:54 pm

As the enlightenment ages into just another historical epoc, we begin to examjnate more objectively and find it wanting. Hume’s anti-metaphysical doctrine and all that followed in his footsteps and tried to dismiss metaphysics on metaphysical grounds were just obviously wrong. The epistemology that followed from Descartes imminentism was wrong. The ethics that followed from these positions were wrong. Those philosophers who are not hacks, the ones who will matter tomorrow, are certainly aware of this. The enlightenment is dead.

91 Troll me October 11, 2016 at 10:15 pm

Early forays were not all correct, but all the ones you refer to led in the right direction.

The Enlightenment can continue to grow in many ways. We do not have to reject everything that came from it for the fact that it did not discover rocket science or neuroscience in the pre-electricity pre-evolution era.

Similarly, I do not reject theoretical physics for the fact that it comes up with more wrong theories than correct ones. Overall, knowledge moves in the positive direction without enabling the enslavement or destruction of humanity, and so there is no reason to turn my back on the entire area of thought for the fact that it is also often wrong.

92 Jim Birch October 12, 2016 at 10:33 pm

That sounds a little grandiose. Are you just saying that, or do you really yearn for medieval ways of thinking?

Admittedly, you don’t bring any evidence for your position, but to the extent that your comment is an argument that you make on your own authority you and your thinking are basically embedded in the enlightenment. What, are you personally reverting to?

And what are you actually doing here, anyway? As far as I can see, this blog is 100% a product of the enlightenment, it is not an explication of an authoritative source of wisdom. It’s kinda making it up as it goes, using evidence and reason, which I believe are considered key features of the enlightenment.

93 Troll me October 13, 2016 at 10:44 am

I think he’s basically saying that he doesn’t like Enlightenment stuff and wishes it would all just disappear. More “I wish I were right” than “I’m actually right” sort of thinking … I’d gather.

94 The Engineer October 11, 2016 at 10:29 pm

Can I rant a little?

I didn’t even know “Spring Breakers” existed (2013? Where the hell was I?). So I Wikipedia’d the plot.

WTF, people?!? How on earth can anyone be shocked by Trump’s “locker room talk”? Have they not seen Hollywood movies and television over the last umpteen years?

This is Howard Stern Nation, and Trump is the most qualified man to be President of this lewd and depraved culture.

95 Michael October 11, 2016 at 11:35 pm

+1

It reminds me of something Marge Simpson said, in a vision of the future, “FOX turned into a hardcore sex channel so gradually I didn’t even notice.”

96 anon October 12, 2016 at 1:40 am

Kind of like saying since Agatha Christie killed a lot of people, murderer for Prime Minister.

97 anon October 12, 2016 at 2:04 am

(I chose not to watch Spring Breakers.)

98 The Other Jim October 12, 2016 at 8:15 am

You chose wisely. Me… I chose poorly.

99 londenio October 12, 2016 at 12:52 am

Notice that Tyler does not at any point say that the leaders of the future will be “from an existing religion”, but “religious”. Which I interpret as being:

1. Fairly dogmatic

2. Emphasising in-group cohesiveness

3. Appealing to a collective illusions of transcendence

4. Overruling reason and substituting it by less noble feelings, moods, emotions, hopes, fervors.

Trump could almost fit into the category of a religious leader. And to some extent, I also see the hyper-rationalist community falling into these patterns.

100 Michael October 12, 2016 at 2:18 am

“1. Fairly dogmatic

2. Emphasising in-group cohesiveness

3. Appealing to a collective illusions of transcendence

4. Overruling reason and substituting it by less noble feelings, moods, emotions, hopes, fervors.”

That could describe (((them))) pretty well. But I do I think the point is less about religion per se than general patriotism and social conservatism. The young people are gradually relearning what their parents and grandparents forgot when they fried their brains ~1969.

101 Millian October 12, 2016 at 3:48 am

Sure. It’s religious, without the faith or ritual. Making it comparable on those 4 points to, say, Marxism. Which was already a pretty important kind of “religious” thought if you wanted to understand what humans did to each other in the 20th century.

102 Religious Reactionary October 12, 2016 at 5:10 pm

1. Fairly dogmatic

2. Emphasising in-group cohesiveness

3. Appealing to a collective illusions of transcendence

4. Overruling reason and substituting it by less noble feelings, moods, emotions, hopes, fervors.

That list describes contemporary progressives (eg. Vox readers) better than it describes any traditional religious group.

103 Thomas Taylor October 12, 2016 at 3:20 am

“The young people are gradually relearning what their parents and grandparents forgot when they fried their brains ~1969.”
Citation needed.

104 Millian October 12, 2016 at 3:50 am

The religious claim is an example of trolling. A great man never quite said that any sufficiently unsupported gnosticism is indistinguishable from trolling, but it is worthwhile to bear the principle in mind.

105 polly October 12, 2016 at 7:58 am

Tyler is about to get a surprise when his other Andrea Arnold movies arrive. She’s not religious and she’s not interested in religion. She is a fantastically strong voice, the best I know in movies, and is talking about something otherwise entirely invisible in pop culture in but I leave it to you and to him to discover for yourselves what that is. Enjoy.

106 Religious Reactionary October 12, 2016 at 4:35 pm

Remember people, the influential thinkers of the next generation will be the religious ones…whether you like it or not.

This is true simply because avant-garde nihilism has finally run its course and its increasingly apparent to regular people where it has gotten us.

107 anon October 13, 2016 at 12:05 am

Did atheist nihilism give us evangelicals backing Trump?

No. Athiests on one side, self-aggrandizing Christian hucksters on the other. I mean step back and look at Trinity Broadcasting, and at Trump Tower. They are variations on a theme.

http://www.vice.com/read/a-visit-to-the-worlds-largest-christian-tv-network

Right down to gold leaf rooms.

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