This post is a response to Dalrock’s latest, Missing the point is hard work. In that post Dalrock pokes fun at a certain Trevin Wax of the Gospel Coalition. Mr Wax apparently was stupefied as to why young girls were taking Frozen and its song “Let it Go” as encouragement to be immoral. He was expecting a toxic message, seemingly found a decent message, and yet the toxic message seems to seep through. How can this be?
Well, let me be the Devil’s Advocate for Mr. Wax.
You see, I think the key is understanding levels of communication. As an adult Mr. Wax is picking up the (apparent) deeper message of the story. Namely that “letting go” is a disaster of an idea. This deeper message is not surface level- it requires analysis. Maybe not a lot, but analysis nonetheless. And it also requires a certain level of critical viewing skill as well. Guess what kids don’t have? Yeah, that.
The problem is that the toxic message is surface level. This is what children are picking up- especially through the music. The song celebrates rebellion, and all its accompanying sins. That is what the children listen to, that is what they sing, and that is what they memorize. They don’t do any of that for the deeper messages of the story (which I assume are present).
This is why Disney and similar products are so insidious. An adult watching them might think that the message of the story is ok- that it teaches that being rebellious and selfish and whatnot is a bad idea, and will leader to disaster. But the children are getting an entirely different message- one that is reverberated again and again, especially thanks to music.
Is all of this obvious- well, to some degree. But I suspect many miss it. A singular problem that I have noticed in my life is that many adults have forgotten what it is like to be a child. Especially parents. This only contributes to their often foolish behavior as parents. I suspect that some of this is going on as well.
But whatever else, this is how people “miss it.” It doesn’t even require willful blindness- just a healthy dose of folly and a lack of perception. And unfortunately those are in abundant supply these days.