Alone Yet Not Alone in an Oscar yank

I took a blissful little break today and played in the new snow atop Schweitzer, coming in to work in the evening because my work is awesome like that, and because my e-mail dings around the clock anyway due to the multinational nature of my job. Apparently by doing so, I had missed 24 hours of internet gossip, which in that field is basically a lifetime.

The subject: the rescinding of Alone Yet Not Alone‘s Oscar nomination for best original song. The suspect: Bruce Broughton, a former Academy governor and current executive committee member in its music branch. The charge: that Bruce violated Oscar rules by e-mailing voters. The response from the American public: varied, as usual.

Alone Yet Not Alone‘s Facebook page is awash with comments blaming Satan, “Godless Hollywood,” and the nebulous destroyers of traditional family. However, my favorite comment is probably “It would have been very nice to see something with good morals win,” from one Brian Merrick.

Brian, I agree with you. I’m all for good morals in Oscar wins. As such, I cannot support someone who breaks the voting rules to get ahead, even if he justifies it as “the simplest grassroots campaign.” The thing is, the composer has produced great work before, the kind that really gives you chills. But the other thing is, there is no way this particular song could have been nominated based on its musical merits alone. It’s just not that good. It sounds like most songs you’d hear flipping to the Christian radio station — long in the inspirational lyrics department, and short on musical genius. I say this as someone whose musical diet up to age 18 consisted of Christian contemporary, hymns, classical, and country. Mash all that together into an all-too-familiar package, and you’ve got what is supposed to be one of the year’s five most original songs.

So from here, the story will diverge. Many Christians will no doubt overlook the fact that Bruce broke the rules, and claim that somehow, disqualifying the nomination is a slap in the face of all good moralists. Meanwhile, the rest of America cringes and reminds themselves: this is why we think conservative Christians are hypocrites who’d rather assume the rules don’t apply to them (and then claim persecution when they’re caught) than produce true artistry.

5 thoughts on “Alone Yet Not Alone in an Oscar yank

  1. Hey Katie,

    I have just began to read your blog and wondered if you consider yourself a “conservative Christian”? From some of the posts I’ve read I’m aware of your upbringing and the effect of patriarchy on a few of your relatives but wondered if you were steeped in the whole patriarchy, homeschooling, dresses only type of lifestyle and then began to question or just changed directions…?

    The reason I ask is because I’m at the edge of throwing a lot of what I’ve come to believe away and either starting over or walking completely away. I wasn’t raised in church but in a dysfunctional home so legalism is very appealing. Of course Vision Forum seemed awesome and well midway through college I began the whole dress wearing, homeschooling type mentality (all before marriage at 28 and becoming a parent).

    Fast forward to now and I’m a 35 yr old wife and mom who is now asking myself what in the world do I really believe? Have I started homeschooling because I think it’s the best educational choice or because I’m scared if my child goes to kindergarten then she’ll get knocked up? Are skirts/dresses the only way to go? Of course there are a lot more questions but these are a few.

    You see I married a wonderful, thinking, highly skeptical preacher’s son who isn’t down with the whole Calvinist FIC stuff and I’m feeling out of place being a married woman of 7 yrs with only 1 child (infertility sucks!) in a church full of Duggars.

    The fear of stepping out and doing something new is overwhelming but I just don’t think I can slap a smile on anymore and play the role of a Vision Forum woman. I’m beginning to think there is something definitely wrong with the Kool-Aid……any thoughts?

  2. Hey Katie,

    I have just began to read your blog and wondered if you consider yourself a “conservative Christian”? From some of the posts I’ve read I’m aware of your upbringing and the effect of patriarchy on a few of your relatives but wondered if you were steeped in the whole patriarchy, homeschooling, dresses only type of lifestyle and then began to question or just changed directions…?

    The reason I ask is because I’m at the edge of throwing a lot of what I’ve come to believe away and either starting over or walking completely away. I wasn’t raised in church but in a dysfunctional home so legalism is very appealing. Of course Vision Forum seemed awesome and well midway through college I began the whole dress wearing, homeschooling type mentality (all before marriage at 28 and becoming a parent).

    Fast forward to now and I’m a 35 yr old wife and mom who is now asking myself what in the world do I really believe? Have I started homeschooling because I think it’s the best educational choice or because I’m scared if my child goes to kindergarten then she’ll get knocked up? Are skirts/dresses the only way to go? Of course there are a lot more questions but these are a few.

    You see I married a wonderful, thinking, highly skeptical preacher’s son who isn’t down with the whole Calvinist FIC stuff and I’m feeling out of place being a married woman of 7 yrs with only 1 child (infertility sucks!) in a church full of Duggars.

    The fear of stepping out and doing something new is overwhelming but I just don’t think I can slap a smile on anymore and play the role of a Vision Forum woman. I’m beginning to think there is something definitely wrong with the Kool-Aid……any thoughts?

    1. Thanks so much for sharing this. I’ve always hoped than in writing about all this stuff I would help other people sort some of it out; help create the idea of a larger, though obviously disparate, community so that they would know, at least, that they are not alone in it. The emperor has no clothes, so there is no need to drink his Kool-Aid.

      I was homeschooled until age 18, and the rural homeschooling-ish community I spent most of my formative years in trended towards the whole Bill Gothard/courtship thing… almost nothing I grew up with was quite as blatant as the stuff Vision Forum preaches (there was the occasional flyer in the mail, of course, telling women they e.g. needed to wear button-up shirts and long skirts at all times in an effort to hide their figures) but I still absorbed a lot of the same messages, partly because of my own personality, I think. I’ve written about it, and my journey of processing all of it, at greater length about it here: https://kbotkin.com/2013/07/01/emotionlogic-sexpurity/ and under the Homeschooling and patriarchy tags generally.

      To answer your first question, I am certainly not as conservative as I was once, although I hope that what I write about will appeal to a wide variety of people.

    2. Nah, I say you’re just coloring in the lines too much. Before you get all baby and bathwater, it might help to see that there are any number of ways to look at the same thing. And perhaps it’s not the “things” fault. I’m a conservative Christian, homeschooling, dress-wearing mother of five – and I’m a total screwball. 😉 I don’t belong to any groups, I don’t conform, I don’t live the way I do because someone told me to, I do it because I love it. No kool-aid involved. These are the things I’ve felt out and made my home in. And they rock my socks off. Don’t fall for a “grass is greener” mentality, if you found something that spoke to you, see it through and find the good. Then keep adding to it. Is it true, is it good, is it beautiful? Or is it seedy, discontent, and indistinct? My advice, find the rocks and stack them. Don’t entertain the rubble.

  3. Thank you, Katie, for your hospitality. I have thoroughly enjoyed my stay here, perusing your blog on and off for a week now. It has been refreshing to read what you have to say. This may sound odd, but I find it especially refreshing to read your thoughts while knowing you are a Botkin. Gives me hope. (Is that weird?) Thanks again!

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