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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Baptist professor says Frozen’s Elsa is Satanic

elsasatan

Elsa might be the most marvelously feminist Disney princess ever, and Frozen is without question the most feminist Disney movie ever. Naturally, this galls some people. From the Guardian:

A Southern Baptist university professor in Texas is suggesting that Disney’s animated feature Frozen, now doing well at the box office and just nominated for two Academy Awards, “might be the most Christian movie that I have seen this year”. In fact, [Collin Garbarino] says, it may be “a better allegory for the Christian gospel than CS Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” – borderline blasphemy for many believers.

Frozen, Garbarino argues, also echoes images of hell in both Dante’s Inferno and Milton’s Paradise Lost. In Dante’s hell, instead of the expected vision of a fiery pit, lies a frozen wasteland. Garbarino notes that Elsa, like Satan, yearns for complete freedom when she sings the Oscar-nominated song, Let It Go.

“No right, no wrong, no rules for me. I’m free!” she croons. “Disney depicts Elsa’s fall in a manner consistent with the western literary tradition’s picture of humanity’s descent into sin,” wrote Garbarino on his blog. “We call license ‘freedom,’ and it enslaves us. Luckily for Elsa, a redeemer is coming to rescue her instead of leaving her trapped in her frozen hell.”

Read that again: A woman who yearns to be herself and no longer be constrained by stifling conformity and other people’s fears of her natural humanity — you could even say “her God-given talent,” if you believe in that sort of thing — is not just sinful but evil.

Also: “No right, no wrong, no rules for me. I’m free!” does not appear in the lyrics to “Let It Go.” Not in any interpretation of the lyrics, not by any stretch of the imagination. (Oops, those lyrics actually do appear in the song.)

Are women who refuse to follow narrow rules about what makes a “good girl” instantly transformed into immoral she-beasts?

*grrrrrr*

Read Garbarino’s full essay at his site.


posted in:
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  • Adam R. Charpentier

    I’m not agreeing with the part of this that’s outright lunacy (the source of the claim) but I do think it’s an interesting read. Those lyrics in particular and then there are scenes supporting the read. It’s interesting. I don’t think it’s intended or the best read. But it’s not as stupid as the title suggests.

  • As which title suggests? The title of my post? Cuz Garbarino does equate Elsa and Satan. There’s no “suggest” about either my title or what he writes.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    His title sounds bonkers. It reminds me of the Wertham and Seduction of the Innocent. Real propaganda stuff. But the read isn’t as off kilter as the source, Garbarino.

  • Bluejay

    Actually, the lyrics “No right, no wrong, no rules for me, I’m free” ARE correct — they’re included in the movie version sung by Idina Menzel as Elsa, not the radio version sung by Demi Lovato. (And I’ve just confirmed it in the liner notes to my Frozen soundtrack.) But, yes, Elsa is awesome, and Garbarino is full of bullshit.

  • Yes, it was the difference between the two versions that confused me. I’d already corrected the post.

  • Danielm80

    The strange thing is that the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen was overtly religious. In the original story, the heroine saved her friend by singing him a song about the Christ child. Disney went out of its way to remove all of the Christian content–possibly because it wanted to appeal to a broader audience.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Disney did the same thing with The Little Mermaid. Not only that but they also changed the ending. So… Big surprise.

  • Danielm80

    In this case, they changed the ending, the middle, the beginning, and every major character. Also, Frozen is about as Christian as The Shaggy Dog.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Wait, what?

    No, seriously, what the actual fuck is this asshole talking about?

  • Bluejay

    Okay, I’ve just read his full essay, and his comments to the Guardian, and he’s still full of shit. Here’s where he goes wrong (spoilers included):

    Except, is Elsa really free? She’s trapped herself in an ice palace, and she’s all alone. She’s not free. By indulging her gift, she’s imprisoned herself.

    But Garbarino is conflating two completely different things: on the one hand, her acceptance of herself and her full powers and humanity; and on the other, her belief that she has to be alone to be herself, which is what REALLY leads to her self-isolation.

    When Anna “rescues” her, it’s not by convincing her to put her powers back into a box and be “the good girl” again. It’s by showing her that Anna loves her for who she is. And that’s how Anna welcomes Elsa back to society, where, at the end, she can STILL use her powers fully and openly — and is loved for it. It’s not just that Elsa learns she doesn’t have to be alone to be different. It’s also that the townspeople learn to love Elsa WITH her differences.

    So if there’s a Christian message in Frozen at all, it’s not what Garbarino thinks it is. It’s not a message for “sinners” to “repent” and come back to a Christian God. If anything, it’s a message for Christians to stop seeing people’s inborn differences AS SIN, and instead embrace them fully for who they are. Basically, Frozen is saying that women (and LGBT folks, and anyone not a straight white male) are full human beings, that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with them, that they are not to be feared or shunned or controlled, and that we can all live happily together in the same society. I wonder if that’s a message Garbarino is ready to accept.

  • Jacob

    what? seriously? crazy opinion..

  • LaSargenta

    I wonder if that’s a message Garbarino is ready to accept.

    You’ve answered that in your refutation. And you hit the nail perfectly on the head.

  • RogerBW

    So if there’s a Christian message in Frozen at all, it’s not what Garbarino thinks it is.

    Quite a few of what one might call the “ideological” critics — Marxist criticism is very similar — seem to start with the message that they’re determined to find, and then find it.

  • Lina

    My uncle (a pastor) thinks the movie goes more along the lines of 1 John 4:18
    “Perfect love drives out fear.” :)

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Garbarino’s Christian message appears to be “Don’t be like you, be like me, because I am Christ-like, because I say that I am.” (OK, I added that last bit.)

    So… not too far off from the Christian message of a large number of Christian messengers, I suppose. But still not the message in Frozen. Not even close.

    Christ, what an asshole.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    This is exactly right.

  • lordhayes

    Finally a Disney princess/queen who isn’t shoving herself into the “protect me” mold. She isn’t the “perfect girl”…is anybody else not finding this hot? My son has declared his undying love for this Snow Queen…and I can’t help but remember myself at his age….longing for a certain Red Haired Mermaid.

  • Chris McVey

    I dont believe shes satanic but shes more on the line of an imperfect human because if you think about it Prince Hans and created a deceiving plan and lured Anna in through temptation and tried to kill Elsa while for Elsa she was just scared and careful in order to PROTECT Anna from possible injury or death. I put emphasis on protect because ive never heard of satan protecting anyone but the exact opposite. If she were satanic she wouldve tried to kill anna not keep her from her power for good reasoning. And anna is like Christ she tried to save her and say its ok there’s nothing to be afraid you will be safe with me come back into the light (Arendelle) and you will be safe. So no Elsa is not satanic she is just imperfect like the rest of us and just afraid of the persecution from the world because she has magical power which she was also afraid since she was different from everyone else.

  • Blasphemer.

  • Bluejay

    :-D

  • David C-D

    I admit to being mostly lost as to how your post is a refutation of Garbarino. I read him as being substantially in agreement with you.

    But Garbarino is conflating two completely different things.

    I see Elsa conflating those two things, that is what Garbarino is pointing out. For Elsa at that point in the story, freedom to be herself requires isolation and the rejection of the rules that she grew up with.

    When Anna “rescues” her, it’s not by convincing her to put her powers back into a box and be “the good girl” again. It’s by showing her that Anna loves her for who she is. It’s by showing her that Anna loves her for who she is. And that’s how Anna welcomes Elsa back to society, where, at the end, she can STILL use her powers fully and openly

    I don’t see him saying anything to contradict this. Though he doesn’t comment directly on the ending of the movie, he certainly implies that it is at the end where Elsa finds true freedom, whereas in her isolation she was trapped. Nor do I see him saying anything about Elsa putting her powers in a box or being “the good girl”.

    Basically, Frozen is saying that women … are full human beings…I wonder if that’s a message Garbarino is ready to accept.

    Again, I don’t see what he has said to make you question his acceptance of women as full human beings (or LGBT folks for that matter). For me, his obvious enjoyment of Frozen and holding it out as a positive example would suggest the opposite. I read some of his other posts, and while he has a strong view of people’s obligation to God, I don’t see anything to suggest he feels women need to be controlled or that straight white men should be in charge of things. Hopefully I’m not just being naive.

  • David C-D

    From my reading of his essay, this seems off base. I don’t see him calling Elsa “evil” (if that is in contrast to sinful) or “Satanic”. I see him saying that in her desire to be “free” in the sense of being alone and totally unconstrained by responsibility, she is actually trapped (which seems a pretty accurate portrayal of what we see in the movie, where she is divided from everything she cares about and mortally wounds her sister).

    Garbarino wants to compare this with what happens to Satan in Dante’s Inferno, which I haven’t read so I don’t know how good of a comparison it is. But Garbarino seems interested primarily in the image of Satan as being trapped in ice, which I can see as potentially a parallel to Elsa in her ice palace.

    I don’t see him saying that she is immoral because of not wanting to be a “good girl”. I guess by “good girl” you mean the constraints that her parents and subjects would have imposed on her at the beginning of the movie – the ending doesn’t really suggest that she went back to being a “good girl”, but rather that she took up her “rightful” role as ruler of the kingdom, magic powers and all. As Garbarino refers to this as redemption, I don’t see him espousing a return to her state at the beginning of the movie.

    Moreover I don’t see Garbarino being “galled” by the feminism of Frozen – he seems to enjoy the movie very much, which I doubt would be possible for someone who wants keep women in their place.

  • David C-D

    To be fair, I don’t know if Garbarino is properly impressed with Elsa’s awesomeness or not. He is clearly more interested in her “fall” and “redemption”. But “full of shit” doesn’t seem accurate to me. And it seems possible that he thought her awesomeness too obvious to require comment in this essay.

  • jimm r

    I didn’t bother reading any of this trash. Instead I came here to say, based on the title, this might be the most ridiculously retarded thing I’ve ever heard in my life.

  • SDG

    He connects Elsa with Satan’s rebellion, but clearly doesn’t EQUATE them, since he concludes that a “savior” (Anna) is coming to RESCUE her. Satan is usually considered beyond “rescuing” in mainstream Christian theology, so Elsa’s position is more like that of fallen mankind generally.

  • Collin Garbarino

    You seemed to have missed my point. My piece doesn’t have anything to do with gender. I would have made the same argument if Elsa was a man.

    But I suspect your piece is more about boosting page views than fostering understanding. You’re promoting controversy. I’m just thinking out loud about pop culture and western civilization’s literary tropes.

  • Collin Garbarino

    And I should probably add that I did enjoy the movie. I wasn’t galled by it in the least.

  • Matthew J. Hernando, Ph.D.

    As a friend and (for several years) a colleague of Dr. Garbarino, I would kindly suggest you actually read what he writes rather than merely responding to a second-hand account of it. He was not making the character Elsa out to be satanic, or evil. Nor did he address gender issues at all. You are beating up on a straw man, portraying a sophisticated argument about Christian typology in cinema as a chauvinistic jeremiad. You should do better, and all seven or eight of your readers deserve better.

  • SDG

    Just the opposite of SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT, really. SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT was an exercise in ANTI-pop-culture moral panic. Garbarino’s thesis is an exercise in PRO-pop-culture enthusiasm and appropriation.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    So, it doesn’t remind me of what it reminds me of?

  • SDG

    Heh. It can remind you of an apple turnover for all I care. I’m just pointing out the fundamentally opposed stances of the two approaches in question.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    They’re both interesting but deluded interpretations.

  • SDG

    Well, THOSE are legion.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    No argument from me.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    The link to the original essay appears in the post.

    Also, that last line? Is that a sophisticated argument, or just you being an asshole?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Or, maybe you’re not fully comprehending the implications of your own argument in the larger cultural context.

    Also, “boosting page views”? She’s sending traffic your way, dude. Why not just say “Thank you,” and get get on with your day?

  • But Elsa doesn’t need rescuing from her refusal to conform, only from her idea that she won’t be accepted if she’s not a “good girl.”

    Elsa’s position is about womankind, and the bullshit we’re trained from birth to conform to. She finally realizes it’s nonsense meant to keep women from fully embracing their own humanity.

  • I was being sarcastic, Downvoter. :->

  • freedom to be herself requires isolation

    No, she only mistakenly believes this. Anna shows her that it’s not the case.

  • But Elsa is NOT a man, and her predictament has metaphorical applications that it would not have were the character male.

    Yes, boosting page views. Clearly, this is what my site is all about.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Methinks some of our guest voters on this thread may be a somewhat touchy lot.

  • So, somehow the fact that I included a link to Garbarino’s essay leads you to conclude that I did not in fact read it?

    Interesting…

    all seven or eight of your readers

    Yes, that’s useful and on point.

    Not that it matters, but try 100,000.

  • Yeah. Most Christian of them.

  • Elixe

    “But Elsa is NOT a man, and her predictament has
    metaphorical applications that it would not have were the character male.”

    Could you be more specific as to why what he said could not be applied to a man? For that matter, would the movie have not worked in a similar manner if the characters had been to princes and if not why?

    “Yes, boosting page views. Clearly, this is what my site is all about.”

    A key way to tell if someone’s page is catering to the lowest denominator is if they are misconstruing what someone says to mean something else when it fairly obviously does not. Nowhere in his essay did he claim Elsa to be satanic, nowhere did he make commentary on feminism. His essay noted a similarity between Elsa’s plight and that of Satan from Dante’ Inferno, it did not go beyond that he certainly did not make her out to be a she beast but just someone in a difficult situation.

  • Could you be more specific as to why what he said could not be applied to a man?

    What he said *could* be applied to a man… with hugely different implications.

    If Garbarino is unable to appreciate that boys are treated differently from girls in our culture, and that men are treated differently than women, then I respectfully suggest that he is not looking hard enough.

    For that matter, would the movie have not worked in a similar manner if the characters had been to princes and if not why?

    Are you serious? The movie would have completely lacked the clear feminist overtones that it has. Because boys aren’t “protected” from the real world like girls are. Boys aren’t expected to be “good” and not make a fuss — quite the opposite. (I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “boys will be boys.”)

    A key way to tell if someone’s page is catering to the lowest denominator

    I invite you to take a look around this site. I think this is the first time I’ve ever been accused of such a thing.

    I seriously am unable to comprehend that anyone could argue that Garbarino doesn’t liken Elsa to Satan when that is the explicit text of what he wrote. It doesn’t even require any interpretation!

    Yeah, he made no commentary on feminism… except to say flat out that the most feminist female Disney character ever is similar to Satan, the most evil bad guy in the dominant religious fantasy in our culture.

    Do you honestly not see how some people might consider this problematic?

  • Danielm80

    I think part of the problem is that the film can’t be reduced to a simple allegory. It’s not just Elsa=X and townspeople=Y. The movie is more rich and complex than that.

    In American history, prejudice has often been based on fear. There was a false belief that a certain group was destructive to society: If women were hired for the same jobs as men, or if lesbians and gay men were allowed to marry, or if African-Americans sat in the front of the bus, then trouble would follow.

    But in the movie, Elsa’s abilities are genuinely destructive. She puts her sister’s life in danger, creates an ice monster, and sends a blizzard to Arandelle.

    That aspect of the movie seems to fit Garbarino’s thesis. There are types of behavior that can be gifts but can also be dangerous. Drinking alcohol is enjoyable–and it’s often a part of religious ceremonies–but when people abuse alcohol, it threatens their health and their lives, and it may hurt the people they love. But if we say that the film is just about destructive behavior, we’re ignoring the issues of identity and prejudice that are central to the film.

    Frozen is about prejudice and it’s about responsibility, but it can’t be reduced to either of those issues. It’s not about a social problem. It’s about a person named Elsa. And we can see ourselves reflected in her–whether we’re Christians, unbelievers, or something else–without seeing her as a metaphor. And I think that’s one of the things that makes the film worth watching.

  • Western civilization’s literary tropes are not kind to girls and women. Christianity is not kind to girls and women. And then you, just thinking aloud, state flat out that the most feminist female Disney character ever is similar to Satan, the most evil bad guy in the dominant religious fantasy in our culture.

    And *I’m* the one “promoting controversy”?

  • Elixe

    “Are you serious? The movie would have completely lacked the clear feminist overtones that it has. Because boys aren’t “protected” from the real world like girls are. Boys aren’t expected to be “good” and not make a fuss — quite the opposite. (I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “boys will be boys.”)”
    I am not sure but this sounds like this might have more to do with the house you grew up in, boys tend to get quite a bit of that also. Yes I have heard the phrase “boys will be boys.”, this does not exactly receive that much usage nowadays and when I have heard it used it is applied more for things that guys tend to do that girls do less frequently and was not used to prevent girls from doing things boys could not do.

    “Boys aren’t expected to be “good” and not make a fuss — quite the opposite.”
    Those in society who tend to go by such guidelines tend to treat girls the same way in this regard. It is not a good guideline for either guys or girls.

    “I invite you to take a look around this site. I think this is the first time I’ve ever been accused of such a thing.”
    Looking around your site it does not appear to be this way, but for this particular article does.

    “Garbarino doesn’t liken Elsa to Satan when that is the explicit text of what he wrote. It doesn’t even require any interpretation! Yeah, he made no commentary on feminism… except to say flat out that the most feminist female Disney character ever is similar to Satan, the most evil bad guy in the dominant religious fantasy in our culture.”
    He did not liken Elsa to Satan, he likened a similarity in their plights, you can do the same with Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, both having been brought up and Tatooine, suddenly getting thrust into the universe at large and being tempted by the darkside, have I likened Darth Vader to Luke Skywalker? No because despite similarities in what they go through and have to deal with, did Luke give into the darkside? Yes, he did in Return of the Jedi; he still did not become Darth Vader.
    If you take a step, back when looking at a painting you will often notice detail you failed to notice before. Likewise the same can be found with a movie, you can find more than one theme in a movie, that theme does not have to conflict with another. Just because Elsa is feminist does not mean she has to be perfect.

  • Matthew J. Hernando

    No, in fact I don’t think you read it, and I’m being very charitable in saying that. The fact that you linked to it doesn’t mean you read it. If you did read it, and you still wrote what you did anyway, then you are either being deliberately dishonest, or remarkably stupid. The Garbarino essay bears not the faintest resemblance to your characterization of it. If you were one of my students, this would merit an automatic F.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    You call students “stupid” and give them “an automatic F”? From one teacher to another, please, please, quit your job. Seriously.

    Also, you’re wrong. On several points. And you’re still being an asshole.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I have heard the phrase “boys will be boys.”, this does not exactly receive that much usage nowadays

    Assuming you don’t live in a cave, you’re viewing the world through a set of blinders. The phrase gets plenty of use, both explicitly and implicitly. And it has always been a code for excusing behavior one would otherwise consider unacceptable. Consider, there is no equivalent “girls will be girls”.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Also, up-voting your buddy while he’s being a jerk does not reflect well on you, sir.

  • Collin Garbarino

    Yes, he’s being snarky, but no less so than this blog seems accustomed to. I’ve read the other comments on this thread.

  • Matthew J. Hernando

    No, I don’t call my students “stupid.” I said that “stupid” is one possible explanation for this blog post if the author: a) actually read the original article, and b) wrote what she wrote anyway. Obviously you need to work on your reading comprehension. Until you’ve improved in that area, I kindly suggest that you quit your job.

  • Matthew J. Hernando

    The other possibility, of course, is that she’s just being dishonest. Take your pick.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    ooh, false dichotomy. No A+ for you today.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Really? So what’s the automatic F for? Writing something you disagree with? Cause the essay does draw a line between Elsa and Satan (Dante’s fan-fic version, anyway.) He’s also cramming Elsa into a mold that he likes better, which is precisely the attitude the movie is arguing against.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    There’s snarky, and there’s rude. He’s rude. Learn the difference.

  • Elixe

    “The phrase gets plenty of use, both explicitly and implicitly.”
    Those that I hear use it as an excuse to justify poor actions tend to treat girls in the same regard. I would argue, “It’s girl thing” is an equivalent phrase. I am not aware of any study of the usage of the phrase that could prove either of us wrong unfortunately. Keep in mind blinders can fit on more than one horse.

  • Bluejay

    If one is drawing parallels between Frozen‘s plot and imagery and Christian symbology — where Elsa self-exiled in her palace is equated with Satan imprisoned in hell — then one is making a very strong implicit claim that Elsa is, if not evil, then at least fallen (as another commenter here has pointed out). And if someone is fallen (as far as I recall from my Catholic-school days) it means that person has sinned, and is a sinner. And actually it’s more than an implicit claim; Garbarino writes, “Disney depicts Elsa’s fall in a manner consistent with the Western literary tradition’s picture of humanity’s de[s]cent into sin.”

    What, exactly, is the nature of Elsa’s “sin”? How can her moment of self-liberation from years of shame and repression be likened to a “fall”? It’s true that she isolates herself (and partly, I note, for the rather selfless reason of attempting to protect her sister from harm) but is this tragic misunderstanding really the equivalent of “sin”?

    It’s THAT implication — that Elsa has sinned in any way at all, that she is fallen/broken and thus presumably needs to be fixed — that I’m pushing against with my argument.

    Though he doesn’t comment directly on the ending of the movie

    True, and I took that omission to mean he either ignored or failed to understand the “message” of that ending, if any. I’ll grant that your reading of it is more generous than mine. :-)

    I read him as being substantially in agreement with you.

    If you’re correct about this, then I’m glad to hear it. :-)

  • Collin Garbarino

    Was that snark or rudeness? I couldn’t tell. (See what I did there?)

  • Matthew J. Hernando

    The F is for writing something that completely misrepresents another person’s work, either out of ignorance or out of blatant dishonesty. And if by “draw a line” you mean “mentions in the same paragraph,” well then yeah, he totally draws a line. Except it’s not the line that you, or the author of this insipid blog post think it is. What Garbarino actually does is compare the PREDICAMENT that Elsa finds herself in, trapped in an ice palace of her own making, cut off from everyone who cares about her, to the predicament that Dante’s winged Satan finds himself, trapped in a frozen lake at the lowest level of hell, struggling to free himself only to become encased ever deeper in the ice. It’s one of the most arresting pieces of imagery in western literature, and also one that a perceptive reader might fairly conclude has typological parallels both to this film, and to Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Snow Queen” on which the film Frozen was (loosely) based. Not that I would mistake you, or the author of this post, for a perceptive reader.

  • Elixe

    He said early in the essay that he was not going to give away any
    spoilers that were not already in the trailers, this explains why he
    would leave the ending out.

    Someone gave a nice explanation of Elsa’s “sin” in the comment section I posted what they said below;

    “But in the movie, Elsa’s abilities are genuinely destructive. She
    puts her sister’s life in danger, creates an ice monster, and sends a
    blizzard to Arandelle.

    That aspect of the movie seems to fit Garbarino’s thesis. There are
    types of behavior that can be gifts but can also be dangerous. Drinking
    alcohol is enjoyable–and it’s often a part of religious ceremonies–but
    when people abuse alcohol, it threatens their health and their lives,
    and it may hurt the people they love.”

  • Elixe

    If you read the article the professor wrote it is very clear that was not what he was saying at all.

  • Guest

    If you read the article the professor wrote it is very clear that he was not saying Elsa was Satanic, or equate her to Satan.

  • Elixe

    If you read the article the professor wrote it is very clear that he was not saying Elsa was Satanic, or equating her to Satan.

  • Elixe

    If you go through and read the article the professor wrote it is very clear that he was not saying Elsa was Satanic, or equating her to Satan.

  • Elixe

    If you read the article the professor wrote it is very clear that he was not equating Elsa to Satan or saying she was Satanic.

  • Guest

    I am given the impression from your posts like this one that your reason for misinterpreting his article has more to do with your hatred towards Christianity and that you may have even agreed with his article had it not been related to Christianity. As I gave as a previous reply to you;

    “He did not liken Elsa to Satan, he likened a similarity in their
    plights, you can do the same with Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, both
    having been brought up and Tatooine, suddenly getting thrust into the
    universe at large and being tempted by the darkside, have I likened
    Darth Vader to Luke Skywalker? No because despite similarities in what
    they go through and have to deal with, did Luke give into the darkside?
    Yes, he did in Return of the Jedi; he still did not become Darth Vader.
    If
    you take a step, back when looking at a painting you will often notice
    detail you failed to notice before. Likewise the same can be found with a
    movie, you can find more than one theme in a movie, that theme does not
    have to conflict with another. Just because Elsa is feminist does not
    mean she has to be perfect.”

  • Elixe

    I am given the impression from your posts like this one that your reason for misinterpreting his article has more to do with your dislike towards Christianity and that you may have even agreed with his article had it not been related to Christianity. As I gave as a previous reply to you;

    “He did not liken Elsa to Satan, he likened a similarity in their plights, you can do the same with Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, both having been brought up and Tatooine, suddenly getting thrust into the universe at large and being tempted by the darkside, have I likened Darth Vader to Luke Skywalker? No because despite similarities in what they go through and have to deal with, did Luke give into the darkside? Yes, he did in Return of the Jedi; he still did not become Darth Vader.

    If you take a step, back when looking at a painting you will often notice detail you failed to notice before. Likewise the same can be found with a movie, you can find more than one theme in a movie, that theme does not have to conflict with another. Just because Elsa is feminist does not
    mean she has to be perfect.”

  • Elixe

    Yes, I concur. If you go through and read the article the professor wrote it is very
    clear that he was not saying Elsa was Satanic, or equating her to Satan.

  • Elixe

    If you read the article the professor wrote it is very
    clear that he was not really saying Elsa was Satanic, or equating her to Satan.

  • Bluejay

    You are quoting Danielm80, who I see upvoted my comment that you’re responding to (he also upvoted my original argument). Maybe Danielm80 can chime in (if he cares to) as to whether he sees Elsa’s potentially destructive abilities as “sin.”

  • Bluejay

    Why are you repeating this statement to practically every commenter here, even the ones who aren’t talking about this particular issue? Just say it once. We can all read it.

  • Elixe

    Yes everyone can read but they are more inclined to read something that they get a direct comment on. I would like to make sure that everyone reads the actual article and takes a more critical eye to articles like this from this site in the future.

    I am sorry that I annoyed you by doing so.

  • Bluejay

    People here tend to read the whole thread… just like you. Make your statement once. Repeating it word for word, multiple times, just makes people tune you out, the opposite effect to what you’re hoping for.

  • Danielm80

    I think that Elsa was being reckless and thoughtless when she ran away, and I think it’s reasonable to criticize her for that. But I also think that Garbarino was ignoring the larger context. He said:

    I also detect echoes from Milton’s Paradise Lost when Elsa sings, “No right, no wrong, no rules for me. I’m free!” Disney depicts Elsa’s fall in a manner consistent with the Western literary tradition’s picture of humanity’s decent into sin. We call license “freedom,” and it enslaves us.

    That makes it sound–to me, at least–as though she’s running away because she wants to indulge in her wildest, most irresponsible fantasies. I would say that she’s running away to protect the people she loves, even if she hasn’t thought through all the consequences. But there’s more to the story than that. For most of her life, she’s been told that she’s dangerous a

  • Elixe

    Thank you for letting me know, I will not do that again.

  • Danielm80

    Disqus is acting up, and it published only a portion of my comment. I’m going to try to go in and edit.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    It’s about a person named Elsa.

    C’mon, man, that’s just silly. Is 1984 just a story about a guy named Winston Smith?

    You have to ask: what is Elsa’s story? What makes her story interesting? Her story is the social problem, and how that problem affects her and the people around her.

  • Elixe

    I do note that you appear to be serious in your viewpoint and I apologize for thinking that you were only catering.

    Another thing to consider, if he had put the phrase “yet obviously Elisa and Satan have almost nothing else in common”, would you have been okay with it? The fact is pretty obvious that they do not, if something is so obvious is there any point in mentioning it or can one just assume that their regular readers will understand without a problem?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Oh, really?

    Satan and Elsa suffer from the same desire.

    That’s a pretty direct line.

    What Garbarino actually does is compare the PREDICAMENT that Elsa finds herself in

    Even if one accepts that the “predicaments” are the same (they’re not), you’re trying to make a distinction without a difference. Garbarino is saying, in so many words, that in this version of the story, Elsa is playing the role of Satan. Now, unless you’d like to claim that Satan isn’t Satanic, then the line is drawn. All that “arresting imagery” doesn’t stop with the perils of wanting things you can’t have just because you and Garbarino would find it convenient if it did. It’s like comparing someone to Hitler with respect to their painting styles – if you’re gonna make that comparison, you get to own all the baggage that goes with it.

    Not that I would mistake you, or the author of this post, for a perceptive reader.

    Would you kindly take this shit and shove it right back up your ass?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Neither. That’s a direct imperative: learn the difference between snarky and rude.

    And yes, I see. You’re trying to be clever. But you’re failing, and the failure state of “clever”, as they say, is “asshole”.

  • Daniel

    Perhaps the story Garbarino is underlining is that striving for freedom from all social constraint actually renders someone outcast by their own choice, and that mild conformity tend to less social constraint than absolute freedom. Even Ani DiFranco found that a typical motherhood role has granted her a happiness that her life was otherwise lacking. Perhaps that conformity was, in fact, a taste of freedom?

  • Aisling

    Well this is the weirdest thing I’ve read all day.

  • Likening Luke Skywalker to Darth Vader does not come laden with lots of other cultural baggage in the way that likening Elsa to Satan does.

    Just because Elsa is feminist does not mean she has to be perfect.

    Who said anything of the sort?

    But feminism is not Satanic.

  • If Garbarino’s essay wasn’t about Christianity, he couldn’t have equated Elsa with Satan. So yes, of course, my reaction would have been different because his essay would have been something entirely other than what it is.

  • Freedom is slavery. War is peace. Ignorance is strength.

  • SDG

    Converging agreement, MaryAnn. I’m not saying I find Garbarino’s thesis persuasive; I don’t, and the point that what she’s “rebelling” against was wrongheaded to start with is one of the reasons why. I’m just saying that Garbarino doesn’t see Elsa as equivalent to Satan, utterly corrupt and irredeemable. He just sees some echoes between Elsa’s frozen self-isolation (and her “no right, no wrong” lyrics) and the infinitely graver condition of Satan in INFERNO. This kind of linking in religious imagination doesn’t have to mean anything like equation.

  • Garbarino is a professor of history, teaches students about Western civilization, and writes on contemporary culture. If he is so tone deaf to the larger implications of what he’s saying when he compares a triumph of feminism in our horrifically anti-woman pop culture to the worst bad guy in Western religion, he cannot be very good at what he does.

  • Elixe

    Darth Vader is one of them most iconic villains in film history, I would argue that comes with a lot of cultural baggage. If I were to equate someone with him that would be seen as saying that person were evil. That however is not what I did when I compared Luke with him, I noted thematic similarities in their story, doing that was not saying Luke was evil. This is just like what Garbarino did in his essay, he never once equated them, but he noted thematic similarities.

  • The fact most certainly is NOT that it’s “pretty obvious” that a Baptist writer does not want to equate Elsa with Satan when he’s actually, you know, comparing them. Not with Christianity’s ongoing vilification of women and feminism. Not when the writer in question states publicly that

    much of my thinking has been formed by the fifth-century bishop Augustine of Hippo.

    Augustine’s views on women are appalling, and are hugely responsible for the Catholic Church’s retrograde attitudes toward women to this day.

  • If you’re unwilling to appreciate the difference in the cultural baggage that comes with a fictional character whom everyone knows is fictional — who is, in the end, redeemed — compared to a fictional character that an enormous number of people believe is actually real and asserting an actually real evil influence on the world, often via women who proclaim their own humanity, then I don’t think we have much more to discuss.

  • Elixe

    You are making it entirely obvious in this comment that the meaning you are getting out of his essay has almost nothing to do with its contents and more to do with your hatred of Christianity. Every conclusion you have made has to do with your own conclusions on Christians. Saying his views were formed by Augustine does not mean he believes everything Augustine believed. Much of my views have been formed by Sir Arthur C. Clarke, an atheist, does that automatically make me an atheist?

  • Elixe

    It does not appear to be cultural baggage that you are getting at, it would be quite offense for me to equate someone with Darth Vader, if you are unable to appreciate the difference between thematic similarities and equating someone then it does not appear that we have further to discuss on the topic.

    What are your reasons for concluding that Christianity is fictional?

  • Guest

    Make sure you read the actual article by the professor, he was definitely not saying Elsa was Satanic or equating her with Satan.

  • Sorry, I will not let this thread become a debate over the factuality of religion.

  • If you were a professional explorer and discusser of atheism and you warned readers that you were influenced by Clarke, then it wouldn’t be unfair to assume you agree with Clarke on atheism.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    First off, those (opposition to the essay and opposition to Christianity) are not mutually exclusive positions.

    Second, since the content of the essay is explicitly comparing Frozen to aspects of Christianity (or at least Dante’s Christian fan fiction), opposition to Christianity is a valid position to argue from.

    Third, opposition to Christianity does not a priori invalidate the rest of a person’s argument against a Christian position, no matter how much some Christians would like that it would.

    The rest of your post is a strawman.

  • SDG

    True, MaryAnn. But that’s conditioned by the fact that many people today openly agree with Clarke on atheism. Essentially no one in the Western world today openly agrees with the benighted views on women characteristic of Augustine’s time and place. Even Augustine enthusiasts who would go a certain way toward defending him as misunderstood would agree that he said some things that are just wrong and unacceptable. I’m not saying misogyny isn’t still a problem both inside and outside the Christian world–of course it is–but mere appreciation for Augustine is not today prima facie evidence of misogyny.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Not by itself, no. But, if you about your admiration of for Augustine, and later write an essay that draws a rather tenuous* connection between an explicitly feminist character and your (and Augustine’s) religion’s embodiment of evil, it’s not going to be difficult to connect those dots.

    It’s not that he admires Augustine. It’s that he admires Augustine and draws misogynistic conclusions.

    *”Tenuous” not in the sense that he dosn’t make the connection clear, but rather in the sense that it’s not a very strong connection.

  • SDG

    Isn’t “draws misogynist conclusions” a bit question-begging? His conclusions are interpreted as misogynist in part because of his admiration for Augustine, and his “misogynist conclusions” are equally evidence that he admires Augustine without sufficiently rejecting Augustine’s misogynist views.

    I do agree that “it’s not difficult to connect the dots” (particularly if you have some initial animus toward the religion in question). That is, it’s an inference that seems reasonable within a certain frame of reference. I would simply suggest that dots can seem to line up differently depending on where you’re standing.

  • SDG

    The charge of “tone-deafness” doesn’t seem unfair, although in fairness “larger implications” can be in the eye of the beholder. From Garbarino’s perspective, he’s talking about the largest implications that there are. Obviously you’re concerned with a different class of larger implications. I think this is at least somewhat a case of people with different frames of reference talking past each other. But the ability to engage and consider multiple frames of reference is a key asset for people who write about contemporary culture. Hopefully this has been an eye-opening experience for him!

  • Nope. Sorry. Garbarino says that “much” of his thinking is formed by a premedieval thinker. It’s up to him to explain which bits are included in that “much” and which aren’t.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Of course they do. That’s not actually all that profound, you know. You may as well tell me that the truths we cling to depend greatly on our point of view. :)

    On the other hand, this is a perfectly valid data set on which to draw a preliminary conclusion. Given the relative importance of this matter (i.e. once this thread dies down, I’ll probably not give Garbarino another thought), I’m comfortable with that. If he feels wronged, he’s welcome to offer up a defense of his work more compelling than “You missed the point.”

  • Elixe

    Yes it would be unfair as Clarke like Augustine had many other views and is better known for his works in Science and science fiction. Augustine’s views on woman are not exactly what is he most well known for, unless it is all you are willing to read into someone admiring him.

  • Elixe

    I applied the the same treatment to her post that she gave to the professor’s post. It is very obvious that the point she claimed he was making was not true. She is automatically associating with him because of an individual he admires and because he is a Christian. No opposition to Christianity does not invalidate and argument, her argument was invalid to begin with and seeing that she is using a view with almost no backing, it seems reasonable to assume that she is letting her personal views affect her judgement on the topic.

    I find one of the most interesting methods of a strawman arguments is to claims someone else’s argument is one without giving any reason’s to back it up.

  • Elixe

    I find this somewhat ironic seeing that you feel a need to be condescending to Christians by claiming that their beliefs are fictional but seem to think that is on topic but doing so much as explaining your reasons for saying so it not.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    do you often combat what you see as bad logic with the same bad logic? That’s not smart.

    She is automatically associating with him because of an individual he admires and because he is a Christian.

    Associating what with him? You’re missing an important word here. That or “associating” isn’t the word you’re looking for.

    her argument was invalid to begin with

    Repeatedly asserting this is not going to make it true. Though I’ll confess to no longer being certain which argument you’re referring to anymore. You seem to shift around.

    The strawman is your rhetorical question. That’s not the logical path MaryAnn is taking. She observed evidence of a problematic view towards women, and then backed that up by noting that he’s an Augustinian.

    Look, if Garbarino, in spite of his admiration for Augustine, really opposes Augustine’s views on women, then he really ought to be more careful about stepping into a misogynist mine field. He could start by not equating, in any way let alone tenuously, an embodiment of female power and the embodiment of ultimate evil.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Are you somehow under the impression that Augustine’s views on women amount to “Oh, by they way, and totally off topic here, but bitches be crazy, amirite?”

  • Danielm80

    If you want to discuss the factuality of religion, there are plenty of web pages devoted to that topic. This thread is not one of them. MaryAnn made an argument about Frozen and the way it’s portrayed in Garbarino’s essay. Her argument will continue to be sound, or faulty, whether or not God exists. Derailing the thread with a discussion of MaryAnn’s personal life adds nothing to the debate.

    The only reason to bring up the topic is so you can say, “She’s an unbeliever. She’s obviously biased.” It’s not a very convincing argument. I believe in God–I’m an observant Jew–and I still have problems with his essay.

  • Elixe

    No, I am under the impression that someone admiring someone else’s work or taking after them does not mean they take after them in everyway or admire everything about them. If someone said they take after George Washington would it be your automatic assumption that they want to have slaves up to their death?

  • SDG

    I didn’t say it to be profound, Doctor. Merely on point.

    Beyond that, I can only say I prefer where possible to apply a hermeneutic of charity—to everyone. I would always rather give people the benefit of the doubt until it begins to look unreasonable to do so. I don’t rule out perversity, unreasonableness or ill will before that, but I generally prefer to proceed on the assumption that if people are perverse, unreasonable or ill-intentioned, it will come out on its own.

    A bias for decency and reasonableness isn’t a neutral stance, of course…but I find that it makes for a more human world.

  • Elixe

    No my reason is that if she wishes to continue to make insulting remarks about Christian beliefs she ought to be willing to discuss why.

    “It’s not a very convincing argument.”
    You seem to be responding to another post of mine. Her argument was bad to begin with it was not that she was an unbeliever it was that she hated Christianity to such an extent that she would quickly make such a conclusion on the professors essay based on the fact he was a Christian, she reflected that quite solidly in her other comment that I responded to.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I get that. But you’re also implying that Augustine’s views on women were separate from his religious views. They’re not. Now, someone else could do the work of untangling them, but that doesn’t seem to have been the case here.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    What makes you think it’s not coming out?

  • Bluejay

    So, I’m looking forward to the Frozen Sin-Along this weekend…

  • Elixe

    My logic had basis in the fact that she considered his being a Christian and fan of Augustine is viable reason to support her conclusion. Being Christian and/or a fan of Augustine does not automatically make someone anti-feminist.

    You are right that I should be more clear in some of my statements, I will try to be better about that.

    The way Garbarino’s finding thematic similarities between Elsa and Satan was not exactly different from my comment comparing that to finding the thematic similarities between Luke and Vader. In this case the minefield appears to have been made into one after he started crossing instead of before.

  • SDG

    Well, I see one person (our hostess) who keeps on saying that another person “equates” Elsa with Satan, even after it’s been shown to be demonstrably false. So, despite my preference to think the best of everyone, that begins to look like some sort of unreasonableness, to me. At least it seems like a bias to cast the other side in a pejorative light, rather than to be charitable or even fair.

    As for Garbarino, my only brief is that I don’t see mounting evidence for lurking misogynism either behind his tenuous connection between Elsa’s plight and Satan’s condition or his appreciation for Augustine. You say he should have been more careful about stepping into this minefield. I don’t disagree. Hopefully this has been an eye-opening experience for him.

  • Danielm80

    When did she insult your beliefs? She disagreed with them. She said that the Christian God is fictional, which is what she believes. As a religious person, I think she’s wrong, but I’m not insulted.

  • Elixe

    I would not say that I implied that, his views definitely were, but saying that because his religious beliefs were connected with his views on woman that must mean that someone says that he takes after him automatically agrees with this point would still seem a stretch to me. One could argue that since Nikola Tesla believe in eugenics that someone who says they take after him must also be pro-eugenics.

  • Elixe

    She was going out of her way to do so, it seemed fairly obvious to me that she was not just stating her beliefs but was trying to belittle Christian beliefs in doing so and antagonize those she disagrees with.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    It is reason to support her conclusion. You’re still following the train of logic backwards. We conclude that he’s anti-feminist from what he wrote. We note that he’s an Augustinian to try and explain where his anti-feminism comes from.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Again, if that someone makes a pro-eugenics statement, and I point that out, and you argue that said someone isn’t pro-eugenics, pointing out that they’re also an admirer of Tesla is pretty fair game.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    even after it’s been shown to be demonstrably false.

    It has not. You are insisting that anything less than a one-to-one mapping of every trait is not an equivalence. That’s an assertion based on semantics and pedantry. It’s not very convincing. This is not a mathematical proof.

    Garbarino claims that Elsa and Satan share common motivations and a common fate (at least at the mid-point of the film). If he didn’t mean to claim that Elsa was like Satan, he shouldn’t have said that Elsa was like Satan. He could have merely pointed out that Frozen appears to borrow imagery from Dante. But bear in mind, his thesis is that Frozen is a “Christian” movie, i.e. one which promotes Christian theology. (Never mind that Dante is Christian literature not theology.)

    As for not seeing the misogyny, I can tell you is that there are large swaths of this culture that make it very easy to not see misogyny. I think it would be nice if your desire to ascribe reasonableness could extend to the oppressed over the oppressor.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Oh, do grow up, you member of the dominant religious group in the Western world.

  • SDG

    From the perspective of the Christian worldview, the idea that a human being who is redeemable and in fact ultimately redeemed could ever be “equated” to Satan is absurd on its face. No one with a sympathetic grasp of the Christian worldview, whether they believe or disbelieve it, could be unclear about this.

    Incidentally, have you read INFERNO? It may be worth noting that Satan’s condition as described by Dante is also paralleled by simonists in the eighth circle. Christian imagination readily sees allegorical connections up and down the chain of being, without any whiff of “equation.” Adam and Eve are said to have fallen through the same sin as Lucifer (wanting to be as God), but they cannot be “equated” with him.

    While I’m not entirely sure what you mean by “large swaths of this culture that make it very easy to not see misogyny,” I think my own consciousness is reasonably elevated on this topic. For what it’s worth, I often agree with what our hostess has to say on this topic. As I said, I try to assume good faith and reasonableness for everyone.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    That’s still a semantic argument, it’s still not very convincing (as semantics seldom are), and it’s still a long way from showing MaryAnn’s interpretation as “demonstrably false”. That would require showing that Garbarino had not made the claim that Elsa and Satan shared motivations and fates (which he explicitly did). He believes we should liken Elsa to Satan, that she is the Satanic figure in the story, the one who won’t follow the rules and is punished for it.

    (As an aside, actually I think I could make the argument that, from a literary point of view, the fall of Satan and the fall of Adam and Eve are the same story, albeit with different plots. But that’s neither here nor there.)

  • SDG

    “That would require showing that Garbarino had not made the claim that Elsa and Satan shared motivations and fates (which he explicitly did).

    No, it would simply entail that sharing motivations and having similar fates (not “shared” fates) does not remotely amount to “equating” the two, as I pointed out. I’m not sure why this should still be unclear.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    The semantic argument is not improving with repetition.

  • Read some of my other writing at this site. I’ve covered my atheism plenty.

    Or just read some basic atheistic writing. I see no point in rehashing it.

  • SDG

    Then I can only say that, if Elsa is “equated” to Satan, so is every fallen human being who deliberately sins or goes astray, in which case the charge against Garbarino dissolves into meaningless “semantics.”

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Interestingly, I’m not sure you understand what I mean by semantics, since you’re still insisting on your definition of equate, one that I’m just flat not going to agree that I’m using. I’m also not going to agree to your definition of shared. In part because I think my choice of words conveys my meaning perfectly adequately. And second because that kind of pedantry is lazy and frankly just pisses me off.

  • Elixe

    The problem in this case is that the initial statement was not anti-feminist but was making a thematic comparison between to individuals, similar to the Luke and Vader comparisons I made if you saw some of my other comments. What she is doing is saying that he really believes this because he admired this guy which must mean he was really saying this.

  • SDG

    While I’m familiar with the normal semantic range of the word “semantics,” I can’t see into your mind and tell if you might might using it in some private, Humpty Dumpty sense, so I don’t know what I could say to alleviate your doubts on this point.

    Here is what Garbarino actually says: “Disney depicts Elsa’s fall in a manner consistent with the Western literary tradition’s picture of humanity’s decent into sin.”

    If you want to contend that Garbarino, or any mainstream Christian, thinks that humanity is in any meaningful sense equal to Satan, or that attempts to distinguish the condition or moral status of “Satan” from that of “humanity” are “lazy,” “pedantry,” or whatever the hell you mean by “semantics,” you have the floor.

  • Danielm80

    If you read the line “My love is like a red, red rose,” you can say, “My love is not red, and she doesn’t grow out of the ground, so this poem is WRONG,” but you’ll sound kind of silly.

    The essay seems to be saying: Satan is rebellious and commits sins; Elsa is also rebellious and commits sins. That’s a direct comparison, even if there are other sinners in the history of the world.

  • The problem in this case is that the initial statement was not anti-feminist

    Sez you. I say it is.

  • SDG

    That’s true.

    And if someone else says “Burns equates his love to a red, red rose,” he also will sound silly, no matter how he defines “equates.”

  • Danielm80

    He could define it as it’s defined at dictionary.reference.com:

    3. to reduce to an average; make such correction or allowance in as will reduce to a common standard of comparison.

    Garbarino is making a direct comparison between Elsa and Satan, and even if he’s not “equating” them, it’s still a lousy comparison, with really unfortunate implications.

  • SDG

    And even by that tertiary definition, he’d still be wrong.

    “Equate” in this sense means “equalize” or “adjust the values of things to render equivalent or equal in value.” As an example sentence of this tertiary sense of the term, OxfordDictionaries.com gives:

    the level of prices will move to equate supply and demand.

    Simply comparing things that are not equivalent before or after the comparison is not “equating” them.

    Incidentally, the primary and secondary definitions from your source are:

    1. to regard, treat, or represent as equivalent…
    2. to state the equality of or between…

    So, by all three definitions, the claim that Garbarino has “equated” Elsa with Satan is nonsense on its face.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Here’s the thing: it’s clear you understand what we mean when we say that Garbarino equates Elsa to Satan, enough to argue that we’re using the word incorrectly (and then extend that to “and therefore you are wrong and unreasonable”, which doesn’t actually follow). So, our use of language is, in fact, conveying our meaning. Your argument is based not on the substance of the point, but on the definition of words. Therefore, semantics.

    Your choice of quotes from Garbarino isn’t on point. Can you tell why? (Hint: Garbarino himself is conflating things.)

    If you want to define the word “equated” in some way that winds up “equating” not only Elsa but all of humanity with Satan

    This is a strawman, because I am not making that argument. Your ascribing that argument to me, and then attacking that.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    With all due respect to danielm80, once you start busting out competing dictionaries, you’ve completely lost the semantic argument. Language is descriptive, not proscriptive.

  • Danielm80

    Does the word whoosh mean anything to you? Look over your head.

  • SDG

    Doctor,

    You say “it’s clear you understand what we mean.” For one thing, I may not be as clear on that as you think, but for another, you say “we,” but I’m really addressing our hostess’s usage, not yours, and I don’t assume your usage and hers are necessarily identical.

    I’ve been reading MaryAnn for well over a decade. I very much admire her writing. I’ve corresponded with her. I feel like I have a pretty good sense for a) her sensitive, vigorous, effective use of language and b) what her (considerable) critical strengths (and perhaps weaknesses) are.

    When she says Garbarino “equates” Elsa and Satan, my sense (and of course I could be wrong) is that, as far as MaryAnn is concerned, Garbarino (being a Baptist professor who admires Augustine and all) is presumptively a sexist pig who considers feminism to be an affront to God’s patriarchal dignity, and if he goes and compares Elsa to the Devil, it just goes to show that to him an uppity, insubordinate, empowered woman is effectively as bad as Satan, or at least on the same order of magnitude.

    That’s what I take from MaryAnn’s “equates”: As far as she’s concerned, Elsa and Satan are more or less morally equivalent, to Garbarino. I don’t think she’s misusing the word; I think she has such contempt for Garbarino’s perverse skewing (as she sees it) of Elsa’s feminist awesomeness as lapsarian error (my language, of course) that she washes her hands of hairsplitting distinctions that only matter in Garbarino’s mythological worldview anyway.

    P.S. At the risk of being pedantic: prescriptive, not proscriptive, is what language isn’t. I mean, it isn’t either, but you see, I knew what you meant, or so I believe. :)

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Feel free to make the assumption that I’m using “we” as shorthand to indicate that I reach the same conclusion as MaryAnn.

    …to him an uppity, insubordinate, empowered woman is effectively as bad as Satan, or at least on the same order of magnitude…

    As far as she’s concerned, Elsa and Satan are more or lessmorally equivalent, to Garbarino.

    Well, minus the terminology that MaryAnn didn’t actually use, yeah, that’s pretty much what Garbarino appears to be saying. So, meaning is being conveyed by the use of equate. My problem with you is that you seem to want to argue that equate not only means something else, it can only mean something else, and therefore this entire interpretation is “demonstrably false”. And that (for, seriously, the last time) is a semantic argument.

    The hairsplitting argument, I also note, isn’t very strong either. Comparison to figures like Satan and Hitler is like a loaded gun: don’t point it at something unless you mean to destroy that something.

    Yes, prescriptive. Mental typo; I’ve always preferred proscriptive there, but prescriptive is technically preferred.

  • SDG

    If you think I was arguing that “equate” meant anything other than “is (more or less) morally equivalent to,” I’m not sure you’ve understood anything I’ve written.

    And if you think Garbarino actually thinks or stated that Elsa is morally equivalent to Satan, I’m confident you haven’t remotely understood him.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Oh, FFS, really? Y’know what, I apologize if I’ve misinterpreted you. But a while back, I characterized your argument as you insisting on a one-to-one mapping of traits between the two characters before we could use the word equate, and you did not dispute that characterization. Could have saved us a lot of typing if you’d stopped me right there, since we are talking about the same thing.

    Meanwhile, Garbarino did state that he thinks Elsa and Satan are morally equivalent. He says, in so many words, “Satan and Elsa suffer from the same desire.” I’m perfectly comfortable calling that a moral equivalency. And given Satan’s status as the embodiment of evil, I’m equally comfortable stating that Garbarino thinks that Satan’s desires are morally wrong. Ergo, he is saying that Elsa is evil.

    Also, he is not writing his essay in a hermetically sealed, academic environment. He made the comparison, and so he gets to deal with the implications that others point out. I don’t care that that’s not what he meant: intent is not magic.

    And besides all that, he’s wrong. He’s gone to great lengths to not only miss the rather obvious message of the film, but to cram it into a narrative he’s more comfortable with. One wonders why he felt the need to do that. Then one looks at his personal background, and a pattern begins to form. And if it walks like a duck, think horses not zebras. (Look, I think mixed metaphors are funny.)

    Now, you are more than welcome to disagree with any of that that you like. But what you’ve been doing in this thread is casting aspersions that are unwarranted and making assertions that just ain’t so. And despite your snide insistence on how clear you’ve been, you aren’t communicating remotely as clearly as you think you are.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Heh. Is that meant to be a Freudian slip, Bluejay, or are you starting a new atheist tradition? :)

  • SDG

    Okay, look. Thanks, I appreciate your comments, and I apologize if I haven’t been as clear as I thought. I think of myself as a person with significant skill in engaging other points of view (connecting the dots in ways that other people would even if I wouldn’t), but sometimes, as seems to be in this case for both of us, you encounter someone whose perspective and interpretations are hard to predict or even understand.

    For instance, you say:

    Garbarino did state that he thinks Elsa and Satan are morally equivalent. He says, in so many words, “Satan and Elsa suffer from the same desire.” I’m perfectly comfortable calling that a moral equivalency.

    I say this for the sake of clarity, not to rip you: You seem like a thoughtful guy, and I’m sure this makes sense to you, but I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around a point of view from which that statement doesn’t look like crashing nonsense.

    For Satan, the desire for total autonomy consumes his entire being to the exclusion of anything good, generous or concerned with others. He is absolutely, unconflictedly corrupt, which even the most pessimistic 5-point Calvinism would deny happens in any human being on earth.

    Elsa is clearly conflicted, and clearly still loves her sister and is acting to protect her. Her motives, from Garbarino’s perspective, are far from pure; her wish to be free of “rules” about “right and wrong” is, for him, an impulse that evokes both the fall of Lucifer and the fall of mankind. This kind of “freedom” actually enslaves. But this doesn’t remotely mean that she’s absolutely depraved, which is the only thing that “moral equivalency” with Satan could possibly mean.

  • Rod Ribeiro

    Unless his real job isn’t teach history or Western civilization, but indoctrinate his students/readers with a certain (Baptist) view of history/civilization. A view in which (and for which) freedom from conformity *is* dangerous, irresponsible and evil! Shut up, be a proper lady and pay your tithe!

  • Rebecca Dalmas

    Women, like men, aren’t immune from the moral implications of their actions.

    It’s not “narrow rules” that Elsa refuses, it’s a world framed by morals of right and wrong.

  • Rebecca Dalmas

    Bad is good. Good is bad. Full circle ;)

    In Gravity, the main character discovers that the constraints of gravity in space are far more chaotic than on earth. The space environment is much more restrictive in many respects, but then again, allows for higher scope and perspective. In either case we face the same fact: neither the astronaut nor the bumblebee defy the laws of gravity, it is adaptation to them, that gives them the freedom of flight.

    It’s not unlike art, where the artist often find more inspiration by restricting themself to one set of media or theme. The stability provides the framework for individual expression.

  • This *might* be a valid argument if Elsa went on to behave in *any* way that was immoral. But she does not. She does not go on a rampage of destruction. She does not start killing mass numbers of people. Just the opposite, in fact: She merely isolates herself so that she cannot do anything that could qualify as immoral. She is overreacting to her own worry about the potential, *unintended* consequences of her actions.

    Yes, it is narrow rules Elsa rejects, the ones that define what being a “good girl” has always meant to her. Those rules aren’t about good or evil, but about obeying one’s parents even when they’re wrong, denying one’s own personhood, and being the person others expect you to be, not the person you actually are.

    But of course, many religious people do see a moral problem with the feminism that tells girls and women it’s okay to be themselves. It’s not hard to take that from Garbarino’s essay. And that’s what’s so unpleasant about it.

  • Rebecca Dalmas

    If she does indeed squirrel herself away to avoid doing anything wrong, is still a rejection of the obligation one has to live and adapt to moral law. Satan did not want people to live and adapt, he wanted them to be miserable. Hiding away is avoiding that living and adapting. As I said it was only a comparison in part. However, there is something I learned as a new mother. I learned I had enormous power as the primary caretaker for a new, helpless human being. It terrified me. It became absolutely clear, for once, that there was no way to live neutrally anymore. Inaction meant negligence and death. This responsibility was always there in my life to some degree, even before motherhood, it just so happened that this time it was intense and direct enough for me to realize it so well.

  • The *other* moral of the story of *Frozen* is this: Don’t shelter your daughters from reality. If Elsa’s parents had not done this, but had encouraged her to explore her talent and learn how to control it, she wouldn’t have felt so hopeless in the face of it. (This applies to Anna, too, who makes some poor decisions because she has had no interaction with the real world.)

    So if Elsa was shirking some sort of obligation, it’s because she wasn’t told it was an obligation she had! Not her fault.

  • If one chooses a restriction for oneself, fine. Feminism is necessary because others choose the restrictions placed on women. (And patriarchy imposes restrictions on men, too, that they might not choose if given the opportunity to do so.)

  • Rebecca Dalmas

    The natural world also places restrictions on all of us which interplay with our social lives. Restrictions aren’t always artificial.

  • Bluejay

    But THIS movie is about critiquing social restrictions, not natural ones. Unless you’re suggesting that Elsa’s self-liberation is Against Nature. Or that feminism amounts to unwisely resisting “natural restrictions.”

  • Rebecca Dalmas

    Really? Wasn’t the key to Elsa controlling her natural powers, love, the major climax and beautiful part of the movie?

  • Rebecca Dalmas

    What Elsa resists is the reality of the implications of what she does. In the end she is not freed from those implications, what she learns is how to manage them and that love is the answer. Because she knows how to control them, she is freer than before, when she couldn’t act at all.

  • Bluejay

    What does that have to do with this discussion? No one is arguing that love isn’t a good thing, or that mastering your talents isn’t a good thing. And by the way, the fact that she can openly and lovingly display her powers at the end is a direct rejection of the lifelong restriction imposed upon her, “Conceal, don’t feel.”

    MaryAnn stated that feminism is necessary to combat restrictions placed by society upon women. You countered that the natural world also places restrictions upon us, and previously argued that restrictions can be a good thing. That suggests to me that you think the restrictions placed upon Elsa were natural and good. And since your comment about natural restrictions was in response to MaryAnn’s general statement about feminism, it looks to me as if you’re saying that the restrictions challenged by feminism are natural and good. Am I wrong?

  • Rebecca Dalmas

    Daniel posited that social conformity can sometimes represent expanded freedom. Generally this is the case in humanity, where civilization enhances individual options because it accumulates skills and makes collective projects possible. The biggest single limiting agent is nature itself. We are engaged in individual and collective battles attempting tp manage natures…social conflicts, though very real as well are byproducts of the primary battles.

  • LaSargenta

    No. The whole problem at the start was that others (ie: her sister) wanted more of her (and her powers, which were indivisible from her) than she could provide and she kept trying to provide it rather than say “stop”. The key to controlling was everyone’s new-found maturity and expectations.

  • In what way does Elsa resist the reality of the implications of what she does?

  • Rebecca Dalmas

    Remember Elsa admitting to her foolishness when Anna tells her of the eternal winter? “Conceal, not feel” as her father taught was wrong, and so was “no rules, no right or wrong” in her Let it Go anthem. In the end she finds that her impossible situation is possible with love, by managing her power, not by escaping.

  • I don’t see how any of that qualifies as “resisting reality.” She is quite aware of her power and its dangers, and as soon as she learns that she has accidentally covered the whole country in snow and ice, she redoubles her resolve to hide herself away. If anything, she overreacts to reality, not the opposite.

  • Rebecca Dalmas

    Repressing is one way; which she grew up doing. Her new approach was escaping to the mountain to “no rules, no right, no wrong,” an attempt to completely cut off all human contact, where the chance to really learn the key to control would be lessened, perhaps even made impossible, all the while the unharnessed effects of her power sealing the surrounding lands in winter. The direction she was headed in was a sort of personal damnation, one she did choose for altruistic reasons but still counterproductive to what she really wanted.

    Referring back to your comment (in a different line of replies) that “it’s not her fault,” that isn’t at issue IMO, the point is to understand what is happening and the consequences. As far as the analoging her to Satan, the above is the essence of the similarities but no more. Once Elsa learned the key was love, she willingly used it to reverse her path and the path of her powers. That’s not something Satan would have done, (especially not in LDS cosmology, where he refused a solution, a Savior; and fought against it relentlessly, then after loosing sought the misery of all mankind.)

    The movie actually skirts the entire question of blaming Elsa, or her family, or anyone else in the matter of her powers and saves all the disgust and hammer of justice for Hans and Wesselton. I think that is appropriate, because it also skirts the entire issue of abuse of such power. What is centers on is righteous use versus misuse and how do one and not the other.

  • yup

    So with that being said, Shes the cartoon version of Jezebel

  • No, she’s not.

  • Derp McDerperson II

    What? Satanic? It’s a Disney movie. MYEEEEH!! Dude, its a FAMILY movie. There ain’t anything satanic about it.

  • hope canales

    Really this isnt anything new for disney, but only those who understand the bible and the war in heaven..but the lyris fit right in to what lucifer was thinking in his heart…disney is popular for saying follow your heart….yet scripture tells us not to trust our hearts from out of the heart comes evil. Little light studios talks more about this in a movie called the magic kingdom…I didnt believe it until I studied it. And I love disney movies

  • Attempting to reconcile two different fictional fantasies is probably never going to work.

  • Fran

    I agree Derp!

  • Fran

    Amen!

  • Elie’92

    Fantastic discussion ! Coincidentally , if your business are looking for a service to merge two images , I used a service here http://goo.gl/p2H7n6

  • Mick Price

    Yes she refuses to follow the “narrow rules” like don’t abandoning rulership of an entire nation with no word. Elsa is evil. She’s totally unconcerned about the potentially lethal consequences for thousands of people. No rules for me doesn’t mean “I don’t have to obey patriarchy” it means “No rules for me”. I can do whatever I want, and I don’t even have to explain myself. This complete lack of concern for others is sociopathic or pyschopathic.

    I would prefer Princess Azula from “The Last Airbender” to her as a ruler.

  • Nope. The rules she refuses to follow are the ones that say she has to deny who she really is in order to conform to a narrow idea of what she *should* be.

    Patriarchy tries to force men into narrow roles, too. You should try breaking free from them: it feels great.

  • Mick Price

    “The rules she refuses to follow are the ones that say she has to deny who she really is in order to conform to a narrow idea of what she *should* be.” ”
    Who is actually stopping her being who she wants to be? Nobody. Aside from a foreign noble yelling “sorcery” she faced no apparent consequences for her actions. The rules were set by the ruling monarch and she’s the ruling monarch. She can change them however she wants.

    What she can’t do is just abandon the country without notice or expanation and not be a massive dick. All she had to do was borrow a pen and paper, write “I hereby abdicate the rulership of Arrendelle in favor of my sister Anna”. That’s it. That’s all she has to do. Instead she abandons her post at a time when the country desperately needs to know what the hell is going on.

    And not just because of the freezing. Even without that, consider the Royal family has been shut up for years. People must be wondering why. Then they finally come out and they start fighting and somehow there’s ice magic and people saying the Queen tried to kill them? That’s exactly the sort of thing that destablises the economy, politics and maybe leads to other countries thinking Arrendelle is weak and ripe for plundering.

    Imagine if you were an Arrendelian and the Queen is finally being seen. Years of not knowing who the hell is in charge, what they look like, if they are even still alive, are over. Celebration time. Then it’s all yelling and panick and the Sovereign fleeing to the hills. Would you invest in your business knowing the government is up to this sort of thing? Would you fight for them if an invasion happened? Or would you get scared and listen to every insane rumour that comes along?

    “Patriarchy tries to force men into narrow roles, too.”
    Oh god it’s a believer in Patriarchy. I love it how women are all for men breaking out of their patriarchial roles. Great when we’re walking down the street and we see a woman getting assaulted, I’ll scream like a girl and you take down the assailiant.

  • Oh god, it’s someone who thinks if you’re don’t “believe” in patriarchy, it doesn’t exist. Like evolution and global warming.

    I suppose that if you are unable to see the patriarchy in front of your nose, it’s too much to expect you to be able to appreciate a metaphor. I’ll tell you this for free, though: There’s a reason so many girls and women have responded so strongly to *Frozen,* and it’s not that we all want abandon our kingdoms and go live by ourselves in an ice castle in the mountains.

    I’ll scream like a girl and you take down the assailiant.

    Yes, take your patriarchal chivalry bullshit and go home. We do not need you.

    Have you ever actually come to the aid of a woman in public who was being abused by a man? I have. Because helping people who need help has nothing to do with patriarchy. It’s about being a decent human being.

  • Mick Price

    Patriarchy is designed as a system designed to benefit men. No such system ever existed. If it did women would fight the wars and dig the coal. End of debate.

    ” I’ll tell you this for free, though: There’s a reason so many girls and women have responded so strongly to *Frozen,* and it’s not that we all want abandon our kingdoms and go live by ourselves in an ice castle in the mountains.”
    Yes actually it is. Or at least you want to be able to abandom anything you like when it gets hard, and not be censured for it. Look did she or did she not act massively irresponsibly, for little or no reason? It’s one thing to abandon the role that the system wants you to play. It’s another to leave everyone in the lurch while doing so. One letter, that’s all it would take. Doesn’t even have to be a long one. Just say “I don’t want to be Queen anymore, Anna’s Queen now.”. That’s it.

    “Yes, take your patriarchal chivalry bullshit and go home. We do not need you.”
    Yeah but if I did scream like a girl and expect you to deal with the assailant you’d be the first to shame me. You’d be the first to impose “patriarchal” role models.

    “Have you ever actually come to the aid of a woman in public who was being abused by a man? I have. ”
    I doubt that and if you did you only did it because you believed someone would back you up. I knew nobody would.

    “Because helping people who need help has nothing to do with patriarchy. It’s about being a decent human being.”
    And yet feminists are fine with using male stereotypes to get men to help women. “Man up” anyone?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I’m sorry I just need you to know how hard I’m laughing right now.

    “Dig the coal.” Y’know, that might actually be meme worthy.

    This being a movie site, I think we can all appreciate that, yes gentle-people, we have met the philosophy-reading ape.

    Anyway, to the hush file with you, necro.

  • This is one of the most brilliant pastiches of a misogynist ever. Bravo.

  • Mick Price

    “This being a movie site, I think we can all appreciate that, yes gentle-people, we have met the philosophy-reading ape.”
    Well technically all that read philosophy are apes, but great insult nevertheless. It almost makes up for the complete lack of point.

  • Mick Price

    Nothing misogynist about it. You want women to get away with irresponsibility. Nowhere in my post did I say that women were in general bad, just that those who liked Elsa.

    What is misogynist is the whole Frozen movie. I mean there isn’t a positive female character in the movie.

  • Mick Price

    ” And then you, just thinking aloud, state flat out that the most feminist female Disney character ever”
    Wait what? Elsa is immature, fearful, self-indulgent to a potentially lethal degree, weak to a degree which would inspire contempt if we didn’t know her parents (which means it inspires pity) and needs a man to save the one person she doesn’t want hurt. Seriously even if “Mulan” wasn’t a thing she wouldn’t be the most feminist disney princess.

    From a feminist perspective (particulary an “intersectional” one) Elsa is the worst. She’s the classic evil magical female ruler, except somehow she gets a pass.

  • Mick Price

    “You call students “stupid” and give them “an automatic F”? From one teacher to another, please, please, quit your job. Seriously.”
    He didn’t say that he called his students stupid, and the “F” was only “automatic” after they had written something deeply flawed. So since you can’t read a simple post, quit your job. For the good of the chidren.

  • Mick Price

    “This *might* be a valid argument if Elsa went on to behave in *any* way that was immoral. But she does not. She does not go on a rampage of destruction. She does not start killing mass numbers of people. ”
    She does both of those or at least she would have if other people’s actions hadn’t saved the day. That she was originally unaware of the evil consequences of her actions doesn’t excuse her considering she didn’t change her approach once she discovered them.

    “But of course, many religious people do see a moral problem with the feminism that tells girls and women it’s okay to be themselves. ”
    Nobody is stopping Elsa from being herself, the problem is her self is a self-involved bitch.

  • Keep it up. You’re getting funnier as you!

  • Mick Price

    If I were misogynist I’d point to women like you as justification. Either make an argument or go away.

  • Bluejay

    If I were misogynist I’d point to women like you as justification.

    If I were rude and given to making ad hominem (but accurate) pronouncements, I’d call you a dense, clueless, raving, misogynist prick. But clearly we’re both just speaking in hypotheticals here.

    Either make an argument or go away.

    It’s HER website. YOU go away.

  • LaSargenta

    Men fight the wars and dig the coal because of the class system we have which is a subset of patriarchy and used as a tool…in much the same way as racism is.

  • Go away? You’re at *my* site. It’s on you to go away.

    If I were misogynist I’d point to women like you as justification.

    Aww. Sweet.

  • Mick Price

    Yes but you’re replying to me. Make an argument or fuck off. You’re just proving that you don’t believe I’m a misogynist, or wrong, or even not provably right. If you believed I was wrong you’d make an ARGUMENT.

  • Mick Price

    “Men fight the wars and dig the coal because of the class system we have which is a subset of patriarchy and used as a tool…in much the same way as racism is.

    Patriarchy doesn’t benefit all men, just those on top;”
    Then it’s not patriarchy is it? Because patriarchy was SPECIFICALLY DEFINED as a system to benefit men. But even the claim that it was part of the “class system” falls down. If the system was designed to benefit upper class men, why were they in the front lines for most of history?

    “but, it gets its support from the men not on top by pointing at women and saying that even the ‘lowest’ men are above the women.”
    Except that they’re not “above women” at best they’re above some women. A rich man’s wife or whore was still above 90% of the male population.

    “About that ‘coming to the aid of’ thing…actually, no, I don’t look for men to help me or to ‘back me up’ (as you claim). ”
    I doubt that. I’m calling you a liar. For a start you’ve immediately changed the context, which tells me that you’re not telling the truth about the original context.

    “And, yes, I’ve come to other women’s aid. Why not? Strength in numbers, and I know how to stay up on the street.”
    But have you come to the aid of a woman BY YOURSELF? I doubt it.

  • Mick Price

    “If I were rude and given to making ad hominem (but accurate) pronouncements, ”
    If they’re accurate back them up. I’ve said nothing misogynistic and you know it.

    “I’d call you a dense, clueless, raving, misogynist prick. But clearly we’re both just speaking in hypotheticals here.”
    Except that you’re not, you’re saying that all those things are “accurate” so you’re saying that I am all those things. BTW learn what an ad hominem is you moronic loser.

    “It’s HER website. YOU go away.”
    She has a choice she can stop replying to me, make a fucking argument, or admit she’s wrong. She’s chosen the 3rd option.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Huh, just found a reference to the “coal mining” thing dating back to 2010. So we seem to be cribbing off some one else’s cue cards. Doubt Micky’s had an original thought in his ineffectual adult life. Guess I’ll just point and laugh now.

  • And you have been fucked off: banned.

  • Fourth option: You’re banned for being a complete jackass and proud ignoramus.

  • bronxbee

    officially tired of this guy mick price…

  • LaSargenta

    No, the upper class men weren’t at the front. One anecdote that sums up military history ever since we got out of the Champion fights settling things period: Ever hear of Sedgwick? He’s possibly most famous for saying “Put the Vermonters ahead and keep the column well closed up.” Just because the toffs died, too, doesn’t mean they were universally in the front of things. General Sedgwick was killed by a sharpshooter.

    And you want to call me a liar? Seriously? For actually responding to something you wrote? AND you’re claiming I changed the context? Please reread what you wrote all the way up.

    Dude, if I wasn’t laughing so hard, I’d offer to send you a ticket to NYC and we could settle this in person. Yup, I have defended myself — obviously successfully, or I wouldn’t be here to tell the tales — and I have stepped up alone to help.

    It is true that we never know who people are on the other end of a comment on the intertubz, but, you don’t actually have any reason to disbelieve me except your personal prejudices.

  • LaSargenta

    I apologize for responding to him above. I did not see this until after posting. If you want to erase my comment, feel free.

  • Yeah, me too.

  • Nah, it’s fine. I totally understand how irresistible it sometimes is to respond to the idiots.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    If nothing it gave me the delicious mental image of him panicking as you went into issues not covered in his index cars, and frantically searching through his MRA Reddits for some reference to anything you were talking about.

  • Danielm80

    Nah, he’ll just make up his own facts to back up his point of view, and complain that the SJWs are censoring him because we can’t handle the truth.

  • LaSargenta

    I read comments he made elsewhere. (One thing Disqus makes easy.) He’s not always stupid, although he is always angry. Here he seemed to let his anger get the better of him. This was definitely getting dull.

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