In today’s post at Times And Seasons I tackle the question: Are prophets superheroes? I think it’s a good post (not that I’m biased) and you should check it out.
But I also want to use this space to talk about some of the pop-culture references I made in that post. You see, I didn’t just cite conventional superheroes. I also quoted from Kill Bill and referenced Watchmen and Kick-Ass. I know plenty of people who would be horrified at the thought of watching Kill Bill and plenty of people who would literally not comprehend that this could be an issue for anyone. And, at the risk of offending everyone, I want to talk about that.
Let’s start out with full disclosure: I’ve seen large chunks of Kill Bill (both volumes), but only on network TV. I read all of Watchmen, but haven’t seen the movie. I watched Kick-Ass, but I haven’t read the comics. I’ve also seen a handful of episodes from each of Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, Mad Men, Battlestar Galactica, and other critically-acclaimed and wildly popular TV shows. But, along with my wife, I’ve made the conscious decision not to continue watching them. (Justified is about the only show in this category I watched regularly. I think I did through the end of season 3 before it got to be too much and I quit.) You now have the raw material with which to make your own independent moral / geek-cred assessments of me.
Here’s the thing: I really don’t want to be in the business of telling other people what to watch. That’s not a thing that interests me even a little bit. But I do know that these shows all get a ton of publicity and it seems like everybody watches them, and the only possible reason to not watch them would be one of taste. On the contrary, I believe that decision about what entertainment you consume do have a moral component. You’re deciding what themes and images you’re going to allow into your mind, which is a kind of sacred space for me. I think what you consume, not just what you eat, affects the kind of person that you are.
I liked pretty much all of those shows. The production quality was great, the writing was great, and the acting was great. It’s not an issue of taste for me. It’s an ethical decision. I realize that sounds judgmental, but that’s not my intent. I don’t think that I have the one true standard of what is OK to watch. I just know there are other people who opt out of these shows, and that we can kind of feel like losers and freaks for doing so. I sort of want to reach out and simply say, “You’re OK.” The only general point I want to make is that drawing a line and deciding what you want to support and what you don’t is a legitimate thing to do. I won’t tell anyone else where to draw the line, but I do think that it’s something everyone should think about and decide in a conscious, intentional way for themselves.
Lastly: I just don’t want folks to assume that everything I reference I am also recommending. I read quite a bit about these shows (reviews and plot summaries) just so that I can keep up with conversations that happen around me. So I’m generally aware of what they are about, what happens, and why people like them. But just because they are significant enough for me to reference doesn’t mean that I, personally, think it’s a good idea to watch them.