Mamma Mia! is dangerous, perhaps evil, and certainly hypocritical in the extreme

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Conservative science-fiction author Orson Scott Card says that Mamma Mia! is excellent art and entertainment — but it is also dangerous, perhaps evil, and certainly hypocritical in the extreme:

As entertainment, as art, there is so much to love.

As a social artifact, this movie is so loathsome it almost gives me a rash. Here’s why:

I can live with all the politically correct cant: You don’t need to find your father to find yourself! I’m glad I raised my daughter alone, it was better that way. We don’t need no piece of paper from the city hall! (Oh, wait, that was Joni Mitchell — but the sentiment is there, all right.) Isn’t it cute that Colin Firth’s character turns out to be gay?

I can live with it because I’ve been numbed. But what I can’t live with is the vile hypocrisy of it. Because, while the dialogue keeps delivering punchy little slogans for the elitist anti-marriage crowd (and all the pro-marriage sentiments are uttered by a naif who, at the end, changes her mind), this movie absolutely depends, for all its emotional interest and impact, on the audience’s innate longing for love and marriage, monogamy and fidelity, babies and nuclear families with a mom and a dad.

In other words, they’re having their cake and eating it, too. This movie has no point, it does not work, without the audience’s commitment to the traditional (and, one might even say, culturally necessary) moral worldview.

And yet the movie pretends to be post-marriage and post-family.

The problem is that while coasting on tradition, Mamma Mia! is normalizing the civilizational deathwish of our current cultural elite. As a social artifact, it isn’t worth scraping off of the bottom of my shoe.

I had a wonderful time watching it.

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