We have chatted and swapped emails about our occasionally differing views of popular culture. But we have yet to really dialogue in a constructive manner to try and illuminate and — perhaps, I sincerely hope — resolve our differences. With your compelling defense of Game of Thrones and your encouragement of Christians to engage with reality and the culture at large, this looks like a good opportunity to illustrate how my perspective on film has changed over the last four years and why we’re now in some ways polar opposites on pop culture preferences, at least when it comes to HBO’s offerings. You’ve named Game of Thrones as your favorite show. Sorry, but having watched everything up to tonight’s finale, I really HATE this show. It’s a textbook example of everything that sickens me about our culture today and that someday I’ll write a book about to diagnose fully. I agree with th commenter “Recovering Lutheran” from your post:
First, let’s get the obvious out of the way. “Game of Thrones” is not art. It is “Dungeons and Dragons” crossed with Playboy magazine, with a dash of “Days of Our Lives” thrown in. The plot is meandering and often pointless, the dialogue is tedious and sometimes predictable, the acting is mostly wooden, and the only thing that keeps much of the audience from tuning out is the prospect of a shapely actress doing the Full Monty. Most of the things that make science fiction and fantasy absorbing are diminished or absent in “Game of Thrones”. If you ever wondered what would have happened if Hugh Hefner had tried to make “Lord of the Rings”, you need not wonder any longer.
You’ve known me since not long after I started editing full time. I was 25 and was only a defense hawk and fiscal conservative but still “socially liberal.” Since then, for a variety of reasons (particularly my return to belief in God), I’ve come further in my ideological shift. I’m genuinely embarrassed by some of the socially conservative positions I find myself now arguing. Never in a million years did I foresee myself as the type that would ever side with those cautioning against pornography’s downsides and the “shocking” content in art. You’ve talked in the past about how you disagree with our mutual friend Ben Shapiro about his Orthodox Judaism-inspired approach to culture and sex. I used to also — and I still disagree with Ben from time to time on issues and tactics (particularly on gay marriage. This is a theological difference deriving from an interpretation of scripture. He and I will just have to keep arguing about it). But on the fundamental issue, the social conservatism he explicates from his traditional reading of the Torah is correct: sex is sacred. It’s impossible to have “casual sex” with someone — every sexual act is transformative. I came to this understanding differently than him, though, through first-hand experience and painful mistakes.