Friday, September 29, 2006

Akeelah and the B.S.

Since one of the express purposes of this blog is to interact with cultural issues, I thought I'd post some thoughts on a movie we recently enjoyed. Yes, I did say "enjoyed" regardless of what you may be presupposing based on the post title. Akeelah and the Bee is a very wholesome movie that also very enjoyable; it's both positive and uplifting, as far as entertainment goes. However, it was the philosophical proposition that undergirded the movie that I would suggest is metaphysically bankrupt - hence the title of the post.

Receited a number of times, at crucial moments throughout the film, the thematic proposition was not exactly subtle. At length it goes:

‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond imagination. It is our light more than our darkness which scares us. We ask ourselves – who are we to be brilliant, beautiful, talented, and fabulous. But honestly, who are you to not be so?

You are a child of God, small games do not work in this world. For those around us to feel peace, it is not example to make ourselves small. We were born to express the glory of god that lives in us. It is not in some of us, it is in all of us. While we allow our light to shine, we unconsciously give permission for others to do the same. When we liberate ourselves from our own fears, simply our presence may liberate others.’

While some have attributed this quote to Nelson Mandela, a bit of brief research on the internet inclines me to believe that he likely said it in a speech, but was citing Marianne Williamson in Return to Love: Reflections on a Course in Miracles.

There are two lines in the quote that I agree with: 1) [If] You are a child of God, small games do not work in this world. 2) We were born to express the glory of God that lives in us. However, the context of both of these sentences obviously invalidates them (unless I apply a post-modern hermeneutic, which may just be culturally acceptable). Yet, even here, my aim is not heavy theological analysis. It's the opening two sentences that really rub me the wrong way, primarily because they defy common sense and experience. Furthermore, they were the lines that stuck out the most in both the movie and its promotion. What I dont' understand is who in the world could fall for such nonsense? Show me ONE person in the world who does not fear that they are inadequate in some capacity. This is the essence of all insecurity. Besides that, what is there to fear in being omnipotent (if indeed one considered this a genuine trait of all human beings)? Are you starting to see where the title of the post comes from?

Anyway, that's my rant. No epistemologically rigorous worldview analysis here, no theological sparring, just a rant. Don't misunderstand me, if you haven't seen it, I'd encourage you to rent it. Wholesome, feelgood movies are few and far between. Just be aware that it is put out by Starbucks Entertainment. Thus, it's kind of like Starbucks: tastes great, but philosophically less filling. In other words, I love their coffee and atmosphere, but I reject much of their worldview. So it is with Akeelah and the Bee.


smlogan said...

love the rant, and quite agree - but am still struggling with the title...what does b.s. mean? :)(pitchford, if you're reading this - don't help)

dwilson said...

Nate, I'm with you on how you concluded your post. There are many things that we enjoy and take part of, but have to reject their world-view. It seems that all nice and enjoyable establishments, coffee houses, movies, etc… fall into this type of category. As I think of Europe and the world view there, this is what we have to minister in and be affective in it as we move forward in our Christian lives. I think if we have a strong theological world-view it will be evident in our societies that have a post modern worldview. Enjoyed your post.

Reel Fanatic said...

That quote is indeed hogwash on several levels, but I have to also agree with you that Akeelah was a rare breed of family fare .. as entertaining as it was informative, and young Ms. Palmer was fantastic

Anonymous said...

I have seen this phrase "B.S" used elsewhere,I think it went something like this ... "If you cannot dazzle them with your brilliance, then baffle them with your B.S." I believe the "B.S." may stand for "bogus spiritualism", but I could be mistaken. :-)Mom Mihelis (I like that! :-)P.S. Thanks for the review on the movie, I was planning on watching it this weekend! Love ya Son :-)

NWMihelis said...

Well put!