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Zhongwen

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« Philanthropy and Tradition | Main | A Taoist Thanksgiving »

November 23, 2005

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Interesting suggestion. I have two parallel examples that might shed a little light on how an anti-consumerist emphasis on Confucianism might work in a consumerist world.

Example 1: "Veggie-Tales". Home video series that uses computer-generated anthropomorphic vegetables in humorous skits about Christian values. Surprisingly entertaining without being heavy-handed. The series is oriented toward children but is sophisticated enough that even adults enjoy watching it. Considering that its popularity is mostly caused by word of mouth, it is has been pretty successful without becoming overly consumerist. All of the supplementary products they sell are oriented toward moral education (some more than others. Mostly coloring books, board games and other such products). It is definitely counter-cultural in a subtle way.

Example 2: "The Chronicles of Narnia". This one fills my heart with trepidation since the Chronicles have been some of my all-time favorite books. Now it is undergoing the process of Disney-fication (literally, as it is being produced by Disney). C.S. Lewis was a bit heavy-handed on the Christian allegory and since Disney is in the business of making money, I suspect that they will attempt to tone down many of the Christian themes to appeal to the broadest possible audience.

Worse, C.S. Lewis's message is getting further distorted by the rampant consumerism inherent in any movie promotion. I'm an avid videogamer myself, but I felt like sacrilege had been committed when they announced a "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" videogame (chock-full of violence, not that there aren't violent scenes in the Chronicles, but the emphasis on combat in the game completely undercuts the nuances of the books. It would be nice if there were some genuine moral dilemmas for players to figure out instead of just mindless hacking and slashing). There are already action figures available for children to buy so they can enact their own battle scenes. And on it goes. I think C.S. Lewis would roll in his grave if he saw his message being put forth like this.

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