Simmer Starters – June 19, 2015

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things – Or, Dim Reflections (Derek Rishmawy) – “Whatever you love most–sunsets, the taste of your favorite burger, sides aching from laughter with your best friend, the lingering sense of fulfillment after a job well done, the feel of a crisp winter morning–takes its goodness from the goodness of the God who made it. He is the creative and sustaining current source of its being–how could he not surpass it?”

In the Land of Make-Believe, Racial Diversity is a Fantasy (Washington Post) – I offer this as food for thought and discussion, because I think there is absolutely a need for more diversity in fantasy…and yet I don’t think this writer understands the importance of consistent worldbuilding.  Yes, fantasy is the realm where anything’s possible – but it has to be grounded in reality on some level.  She says, “Just as you don’t have to provide a metaphysical explanation for the existence of a talking snowman, neither would you need to explain why one sister in ‘Frozen’ was Latina, the other white and their dead mother Asian. A fantasy world just is. The strength of the story is all that matters.”  I think that is dead WRONG.  A fantasy world will fall apart with that kind of helter-skelter approach.  What’s your opinion?

Pappy (R.C. Sproul Jr.) – Some sweet reflections on the blessing of a godly father. “When you are a little boy and you ask your dad to make a muscle and you squeeze that muscle, you are not merely astonished and impressed—and by the way, if you had my dad you most certainly would be astonished and impressed. But it is not just the power of the muscle, it is the fact that that muscle is not a threat to you but that it is the answer to other threats to you. It is that that strength is in the service of protecting you and keeping you safe. That is what my father taught me, that is what my father modeled for me.”

I’m Grateful That Lady Forced a Bible on Me (Joshua Rogers) – “A day later, I think back on this Bible exchange and marvel at all the perfect timing required to get it into this young mother’s hands.  And it all happened because a fanatical Asian lady was willing to shove a Bible into my hands a few weeks earlier.  That lady had no idea what she was doing, but in His sovereign plan, God did.”

Do the Next Thing (Adrien Segal) – A tribute to Elisabeth Elliott, with some encouraging and convicting words for harried homemakers.  “A life of obedience to a God who created, saved, and loved me would never harm me. My obedience to him would never make me miss happiness and satisfaction. To the contrary, obedience was the surest, fastest path to my greatest joy.”

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  1. I understand where the writer in “Racial Diversity is a Fantasy” is coming from, in terms of wanting to see flexibility in races. After all, for some reason Frozen opens with a chant that doesn’t fit into their “Nordic” theme at all. And the thing is, Disney did produce the version of Cinderella with Brandy as the main character. But they also had the king as white, the queen as black, and the prince as Filipino. And it was really confusing. The genetics just don’t work. I understand the diversity angle and I appreciate that, but like you mentioned, things have to be grounded in some kind of realism.

    I have diversity in my story, but since it’s an AU based on earth geography and cultures, I have that play into which of my characters has which background. The other thing that reducing diversity to mere race misses, and I mean no disrespect, but it misses out on ethnic diversity. I’m a visual person. I understand the potency of images on a person’s self-concept and identity. But a third generation South Korean-American and a person raised in South Korea are going to have very different backgrounds. Shoot, there’s incredible diversity of ethnicity WITHIN races!

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    • Great thoughts!

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    • I’ve never seen that version of Cinderella. Interesting. I agree – a person’s background has a lot of influence, and simply putting a different skin color on a character who’s generically American doesn’t do much aside from – as you mentioned – being helpful for self-image and giving viewers of color someone to identify with more closely.

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  2. I was going to mention that version of Cinderella. It worked but only if you put believability even further out the window than usual. It was confusing.

    As for the Frozen chant – I remember being so surprised by it that I researched it and discovered it was more thematically appropriate than I’d ever have guessed. The song is a joik : it belongs to an ancient vocal tradition of the Sami people (aka Laplanders), and Vuelie is the name for this type of singing in Southern Sami language. To me it was just another indication of our mutual origins of Adam/Eve via Noah & his family.

    So I agree that fantasy opens the door to racial diversity but any fantasy that wants to be taken seriously needs good world-building. A fantasy world just isN’T.

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I love to hear your thoughts!