Pop Xulture Newsletter # 5 – Focusing on 1981’s Slow Mutants. 6/29/22
Hi friends! Welcome to the fifth installment of my Newsletter. I’ve got details on some of my visual and auditory content as well as my monthly exclusive, so let’s get into it!
Recently my article “The Bob's Burgers Movie: Hope and Hijinks for the American Family” was published on Christ and Pop Culture (CAPC). And, keeping my promise from the last Newsletter, I posted the article “Moon Knight, Jesus, and Why Adaptations Succeed Once in a Blue Moon.”
I’m currently working on an article on Hokusai’s “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” which will be out in July on CAPC and my piece titled “The Unexpected Parenting in Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor Who” is now available to the public.
I’m especially excited to announce that my podcast “Thoughts Beyond Thought” is ready for your ear holes! It’s available on all platforms, direct links here: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and Audible, and Google Podcasts. The podcast is a collection of unscripted conversations between my friend Travis Meredith and I.
Travis is a builder, artist, and universalist so the conversations often have spiritual themes dealing with all the stuff we think about life and death. It’s also slightly more fun than that sounds. We’ll release a new episode every two weeks and with six sessions already recorded there will be no shortage!
Every year I compare the current year to its counterpart in the ’80s. Now that it’s June, we’re six months away from my 1982 vs. 2022 piece, but my “1981 vs. 2021: Searching for Salvation” is also six month old. These are fun articles to write, getting to see history repeat itself but also what crazy changes have transpired.
So this month’s exclusive is a section from “1981 vs. 2021” that was cut for word count. For maximum enjoyment you may want to read the final article here, but for context this would have come after the section on COVID and AIDS. My point was that for some, the Presidential changeover and COVID vaccine may have been a light at the end of the dark tunnel of 2020. But spiritually that light may very well have been an oncoming train…
Your Gunslingers Will Let You Down
Stephen King’s 1981 story “The Slow Mutants” became part of The Gunslinger series about a hero hell-bent on hunting down The Man in Black. The entire novela takes place in the dark of an unending mountain tunnel as Jake, a boy The Man rescued, joins in the chase. In the tunnel, “a day might have been a week, or a week a day” (sound familiar to 2021?).
Timelessness is punctuated by (SPOILERS!) battling the mutant cave-dwellers, culminating in Jake slipping off a railroad trellis. The Gunslinger is faced with saving Jake or pursuing his nemesis. Shockingly, the hero let’s Jake fall! Part of me appreciates King’s willingness to write the unconscionable surprise, but another, deeper part of me, disagrees, believing the hero can always save and exact justice. And yet, heroes disappoint us.
The phrase “never meet your heroes,” originated exactly a decade prior, so by 1981 the idea was firmly implanted in the western subconscious. Whether it’s a President or CEO or religious leader or even a friend, humans will let us down. When so many of our hopes and needs have spiritual underpinnings, why do we set ourselves up for failure by pinning our hopes on heroes?
[END EXCLUSIVE ARTICLE CONTENT]
The theme of the article was that we’re always searching for a savior. And the above section was meant to point toward Jesus instead of a human hero. The Bible says Jesus is fully Man but somehow also fully God (John 1). So He is not so far above us that He can’t be known or won’t love us but His Godship elevates His perfection and ability to save. Because of who He is, He will not only not disappoint us but He deserves our worship.
The section above was pretty short, but every word counts in a magazine article, especially one trying to cram two years of pop culture and spirituality in. I’m not sure what 2021 pop culture entity I would have compared or contrasted to “The Slow Mutants,” but I’d love for you to make a suggestion in the comments below!
I’d also love to hear any suggestions on what you’d like me to write about or improvements I can make to the Newsletter. Feel free to subscribe to this Newsletter and to the “Thoughts Beyond Thought” podcast. Thanks for reading this far!
-Chris (the Bearded Wonder) Fogle