Playing It Backwards

Back in the 1970’s, one of the popular memes in the US Conservative Christian circles claimed that, if you played various Rock ‘n’ Roll albums backward, you would hear Satanic chants and lyrics and messages. I’m guessing that only a few people actually bothered to try this, but a lot of people believed it earnestly, based on fifth-hand hearsay and the public testimony of various attention-seekers attempting to claw their way into the fifteen-minute spotlight of fame.

I’m one of the people who didn’t waste my time trying this, so I can’t really say how much imagination you have to put into the endeavor. My own fifth-hand hearsay indicates you have to add a lot of imagination, because what you actually hear is “mroo loobd theeblaan”, and you have to somehow imagine that this is pronouncing “My Lord Satan.”

It was a popular enough meme that it led to the well-known joke:

Q: What happens when you play a country-western song backward?
A: Your truck starts running, and you get your house, your wife, and your dog back.

There’s a new joke going around:

Q: What happens when you play a Disney movie backward?
A: A happy couple breaks up, and they go their separate ways and forget each other.

Who would have thought Disney was promoting such an anti-marriage message?

UnknownWhat sparked this new joke is a revival of the tired “play it backwards” meme, as explored at some length in a blog posting by someone who calls herself the “Well-Behaved Mormon Woman,” after she viewed the Disney film Frozen and decided that it was entirely about promoting the  “Gay Agenda.”

My wife and I watched Frozen last night — a very traditional Disney treatment of the Hans Christian Andersen tale of the Snow Queen, and a delightful film if you like Disney treatments of Hans Christian Andersen tales (and I do) — and all I have to say about the Gay Agenda in this film is: mroo loobd theeblaan.

In other words, if you twist your imagination hard enough to make it beg for mercy, you can find a Gay Agenda in Frozen, or, for that matter, a Communist Plot in Mary Poppins, or a portrait of Elvis in that mold stain on your bathroom wall.

Otherwise, it just isn’t there. It isn’t there at all.

Indeed, Frozen is remarkable among the roster of Disney animations for its almost complete absence of romance and sexual themes. The closest we come is when the younger daughter, Anna, gets herself precipitously engaged on her sister’s coronation day to handsome prince Hans, against her sister’s wishes (and to the astonishment of everyone else, since she’d just met Hans that day). Hans eventually turns out to be a murderous gold-digger who is only after the throne. So the message here is both heterosexual and very traditional: marriage is a serious matter and not something entered into lightly.

I have in fact read through the tortured reasoning in the WBMW’s post, and she makes a very clear exposition of exactly how she has abused her imagination into this conclusion.

The gist of her argument is this: Frozen is all about “coming out of the closet.”

Well, this isn’t entirely wrong, but it’s a textbook case of what happens when you view a larger theme through the troll-splinters of, in this case, the Anti-Gay Agenda.

[Incidently, “troll-splinters” are from another fairy-tale. Troll splinters are the opposite of rose-colored glasses: trolls are made of stone, as everyone knows, and if you defeat them in battle, you can get splinters of troll-stone in your eyes, which makes you see everything in life as ugly, and brutish, and corrupt, just as rose-colored glasses make you see everything as beautiful, gentle, and virtuous.]

The central theme of Frozen is that selfless, sacrificial love has power above that of even the most powerful sorcery, and can transform fear and prejudice into peace and justice, though at a cost (if I have an objection to Disney-fication, it is that this cost is always written off in the happy ending). A secondary theme is that true power can never be contained by force, but must instead be leashed in the service of a higher love, in this case, the love of a ruler for her lands and people.

To get to the point of leashing power appropriately, of course, you have to stop trying to contain it by brute force, and “Let It Go.”

So yes, for a gay person to come out of the closet requires that they stop trying to contain the power of their sexual energy by brute force. This larger theme does apply to the gay experience of coming out.

It applies equally to the Mormon experience of quitting doomed missionary work among the faithless in Nauvoo, Illinois, and moving West to find a place of their own, in Utah.

It applies to quitting a soul-rotting job to pursue your talents and dreams.

It applies to a well-behaved Mormon woman finding her voice and speaking her mind.

It applies to a lot of things.

The only way to read a Gay Agenda into Frozen is to start with the assumption that it must be there — since it comes out of Hollywood, and we know all about those people — and then run the film backwards and forwards until you find it.

This entry was posted in General.

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