Good news: Jeff joins me on this quest to get director Zack Snyder’s original, complete, three-hour epic Justice League film released.
Bad news: He disagrees with me and believes Snyder’s challenges of Superman and Batman make their characters “irredeemable.”
Oh noes! Fans, even DC fans, disagree on a particular film. That means we must bite and devour one another on the social medias, yes?
Of course, in this case, no. Jeff and I want to disagree graciously, as disagreeing fans should. And in fact, a big part of this episode explores the nature of fandoms like these: their “stories,” worldbuilding, graces, idols, and solutions in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
‘Reboot the whole universe of expectations we have of stories’
Here’s one favorite moment. After I described the “worldbuilding” of the Snyder Cut fandom, including its flaws, Jeff asked me this:
So let me ask you. Just out of all that stuff you have raised . . . if you could change any of it, Twitter herd mentality, binary response to art, is there something you would just flip the switch and say, Things are going to be different in this way?
I know exactly what I would change . . .
I would change our very expectation for what a story is supposed to do. I would take us back to the Bible’s portrayal of human culture and what that is for, going back to that first chapter of Genesis where God tells people to be fruitful and multiply, start families, fill the earth, steward the resources.
And then implicit in that command and explicit in later content of the Bible is that command to make culture. Which includes stories. Which would include technology. Put them both together, you get popular culture: mass media distribution, movies, radio, songs, computers, internet.
I would go back to the very beginning and reboot the whole universe of expectations we have of stories: superhero, fantasy, and otherwise, so that we at least have a better chance of appreciating what stories are for, and keeping them in perspective.
They’re gifts that God has given us, to be able to make these stories. They’re therefore going to be subject to the idols that we have and the graces that we have—those parts that God has put in the universe, versus the distortions that people come up with. And that also means that all of that is going to get into any story. Some more than others. But it’s also going to get the fandoms, the stories that we tell each other, that we create on our own, surrounding the stories.
I think if we were to reboot our perception of the whole thing, then we could probably avoid seeing stories as either “yes or no,” absolute good/absolute bad, thumbs up/thumbs down, or the nastiness that fans have if they’re for or against The Last Jedi or for or against The Rise of Skywalker. . . .
To spread it beyond the Snyder Cut or Justice League fandom: this happens with a lot of fandoms, particularly when the story choices that the creators make are not pleasing to everybody. Or if they’re perceived as subverting the old stories. . . .
And watch this space for another podcast-related update, coming very soon.