Fantastical Truth

Fantastical Truth

188. Can Political Pundits Create Fantastical Stories?

November 14, 2023

Last month saw the culturally conservative Daily Wire platform launching a new streaming service that offers dozens of television shows for children. Interestingly enough, two Fantastical Truth guests are now involved with creating these shows, and a third guest works with the company and has interviewed the co-CEO! Yet you, like us, may wonder whether people known for their politics can do this well. Shouldn’t faithful and excellent Christian creators ignore or suppress their punditry to make fantastical stories?

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Lorehaven quotes and notes

More quotes and notes

1. Should fantastic creators even talk about politics?
  • As always, if we touch on politics, we avoid parties, platforms, policies.
  • But politics is part of the real world, e.g. part of truth in Fantastical Truth.
  • In fact, some knowledge about politics helps us better engage stories.
  • Some very famous fantastical novels explore political movements.
  • Humans by nature engage in politics. You can’t know humans otherwise.
  • That’s partly why Stephen is a Daily Wire subscriber and often opines.
  • But there’s a place for that. He won’t do that here, only on other platforms.
  • May this decrease an audience? These days, it’s more likely to increase it.
  • In fact, “cultural conservatives” are one of four groups we hope to reach.
  • Christians like to know where you stand. You can be firm but not a jerk.
  • Still, with so much political obsession, it makes sense to get sick of it.
  • Right now, as we’ve said, politics is king of evangelical popular culture.
  • For those hoping to “engage the culture,” you just can’t ignore politics.
  • Some people have other conflicts going on. They can’t handle politics.
  • In that case, it helps to know whether/how to support those who can.
  • But now some culture-makers clearly want to use that for better ends.

2. How has political punditry ruined great stories?
  • Major corporations are literally getting movie flops related to politics.
  • This is not about specific policies/positions but new synthetic moralities.
  • In response, some cultural conservatives say “we need stories too.”
  • Yet they lack moral and even theological grounding to make them good.
  • Many politically motivated stories “have a mind of metal and wheels.”
  • Many pundits (even parents and church leaders) don’t care for growth.
  • They want a quick-fix to make little political activists rather than people.
  • There’s also the real problem of grift, fake “authors,” and ghost-artists.
  • Cf. some concerns about political leaders being “authors” of books.
  • That spreads the lie that anyone with fame and money can be an author.
  • Others, however, are thinking less politically and more humanely on this.
  • Despite their political platforms, they say politics should serve humans.
  • Some of them seem to think long-term with more biblical anthropology.

3. What are some pundits trying to do better?

Megan: So, how do you respond to headlines like the one at The Hollywood Reporter that said that The Daily Wire is trolling Disney with this new “Snow White and the Evil Queen” adaptation? Do you think that’s a fair characterization?

Jeremy: Well, yes, it’s an accurate characterization. We are political. The Daily Wire is political. Launching Bentkey is a political act. The content at Bentkey, however, is not political. It’s pre-political. It’s for children.

I don’t believe that children should be cogs in our, sort of, political war machine. I believe children should be children. But of course launching the company is political and of course making “Snow White and the Evil Queen” is political. It’s a reaction to the political move by Disney to remake their own animated classic, a tale of timeless truth, a fairy tale that was probably centuries old before it was ever written down by the Brothers Grimm that contains the kind of wisdom that generation after generation after generation after generation benefited from.

To say, as [Disney’s Snow White remake actress] Rachel Zegler did, “Yeah, it’s not 1937 anymore.” Rachel, the story wasn’t written in 1937. Those truths existed in that story long before Disney was born or Disney’s parents or his grandparents or his great-grandparents were born. To throw that out as though you know best, because you have imbibed the du jour woke politics — the crazy radical ideas of this fleeting moment — that’s the very reason Benkey exists.

And so, responding to that is, yes, a troll of Disney. It’s a rebuke of Disney. It’s saying to Disney, “If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, we wouldn’t have to do what we’re doing.” But we do have to do what we’re doing. Because, as I said at the top, I think this is the most important fight that Ben Shapiro or [co-CEO] Caleb Robinson or Jeremy Boreing or The Daily Wire have ever engaged in. This is what I most hope is our legacy.

[extra paragraph breaks added]

  • Frankly, this is the sort of long-term culture-building we need more of.
  • For him, it’s clear that punditry is short-term business for long-term gain.
  • Boring is inspired by a Christian fantastical series: The Pendragon Cycle.
  • Hearing him talk about it, you realize that for him was life-changing.
  • Let that be an encouragement to the many faithful storytellers out there!
  • Maybe that also helps us see some place for punditry, even “clickbait.”
  • Right now, that’s where profit is. But DW might use that profit for good.
  • Stephen answers: political pundits might create great fantastical stories.
  • Or, even better, they’ll hire and pay uniquely talented people to do this.

Com station
  1. Can political pundits help create fantastical stories?
  2. Do you think that stories should be non-political or pre-political?
  3. How do you feel when your favorite creators share political punditry?

Mission update

Next on Fantastical Truth

Have we talked enough about C. S. Lewis at Lorehaven? No? Well, let’s get ready for more of it! This week marks a new occasion called C. S. Lewis Reading Day, on Nov. 29. It’s founded by the Pints With Jack podcast, to celebrate our favorite quotes, fantasy, and nonfiction by the famed scholar of medieval literature and languages plus Christian fantastical truth. Today we tour our shelves full of Lewis’s work, and ask: which books are the best?