The World and Everything in It - July 22, 2022
On Culture Friday, a special conversation between John Stonestreet and Andrew Walker; Collin Garbarino reviews two 40-year-old sci-fi films that speak to issues today; and George Grant explores some new words and some old words, and some that should never have fallen out of favor. Plus: the Friday morning news.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Good morning!
Today on Culture Friday, a special conversation with John Stonestreet of the Colson Center as well as Andrew Walker, the managing editor of WORLD Opinions.
NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead.
Also today a review of two old movies that remain relevant today.
And Word Play with George Grant.
BROWN: It’s Friday, July 22nd. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
BROWN: Time now for the news with Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Biden covid » President Biden is isolating at the White House for a second day after testing positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.
First lady Jill Biden said his symptoms are mild.
J. BIDEN: I talked to him just a few minutes ago. He’s doing fine. He’s feeling good.
His doctor cleared him to continue working, so the president has been joining meetings by phone and zoom.
BIDEN: I’m doing well, and getting a lot of work done. I’m going to be getting it done.
Biden is vaccinated and has received two booster shots. It’s unclear if his infection is the BA.5 strain of COVID, which is known to evade immunity.
Jan. 6 hearing » The House panel investigating the Capitol riot held another primetime hearing last night. The chairman of that committee, Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson, has also tested positive for COVID-19. He issued remarks by video.
THOMPSON: Over the last month and a half, the select committee has told a story of a president who did everything in his power to overturn an election.
Last night’s hearing continued that theme, focusing on the actions of former President Trump.
Lawmakers heard from more former White House staffers and security officials.
The panel suggested that Trump didn’t speak out sooner because, in their view, he supported the actions of the rioters.
House GOP leaders responded saying the panel never points out that Trump asked his supporters to demonstrate “PEACEFULLY.”
Russian shelling in Kharkiv » Russian bombs killed three people and wounded dozens more in Ukraine’s second-largest city. WORLD’s Mary Muncy has more.
MARY MUNCY, REPORTER: Buses pierced with shrapnel and burned-out cars smoldered in the streets of Kharkiv Thursday.
The city’s mayor said the blasts hit one of the most crowded areas of the city where nearly one and a half million people lived before the war.
He said “The Russian army is randomly shelling peaceful residential areas,” killing civilians.
Police said the bombs struck a medical facility, a bus stop, and apartments.
Elsewhere on Thursday, Russian forces also shelled the southern city of Mykolaiv and multiple eastern cities.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Mary Muncy.
Thomas Lane sentencing » Thomas Lane, one of the officers involved in the death of George Floyd … learned his fate on Thursday.
A federal judge sentenced the former Minneapolis police officer to 2 1/2 years in prison for violating Floyd’s civil rights.
Lane held Floyd’s legs as Officer Derek Chauvin restrained Floyd on the ground in May of 2020.
The sentence is well below the more than five years prosecutors requested. But Lane still faces sentencing on state charges in September.
Migrant trailer deaths update » In Texas, a federal grand jury has indicted two men accused of leaving 53 migrants to die inside a sweltering trailer near San Antonio. WORLD’s Josh Schumacher has that story.
JOSH SCHUMACHER, REPORTER: Police found Homero Zamorano hiding in bushes not far from the trailer last month. And after examining Zamorano’s phone records, they ID’d the other suspect indicted this week, Christian Martinez.
A security camera at a border patrol checkpoint caught footage of Zamorano driving the 18-wheeler into southern Texas. More than 70 migrants were inside. Only 20 of them survived.
Prosecutors charged the suspects with conspiracy to transport migrants illegally resulting in death, and conspiracy to do so resulting in serious injury.
Democratic Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar said 11 of the migrants in the trailer had “serious criminal records” in the United States.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher
Migrants overwhelming shelters » And the border crisis is spilling into cities across the country. Officials in Washington D.C., New York, and other cities say homeless shelters are overrun with migrants seeking asylum, many arriving from Texas and other border states.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams said nearly 3,000 migrants arrived in the city in recent weeks. He’s asking the federal government for resources to help.
ADAMS: Our goal is to have our teams specify what we need as in emergency cash assistance to be able to provide for these families.
But the Mayor Pro-tem of Eagle Pass, Texas, Yolanda Roman, said Thursday …
ROMAN: Good luck to them because we haven’t gotten the help that we need for over a year. So somebody - [if] they do, I would be interested in knowing how they’re getting it over there and we can’t get it here down on the border.
Since last October, border officials have stopped more than 1.7 million migrants along the southern border.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: a special Culture Friday conversation.
Plus, two sci-fi films from 40 years ago that are still relevant today.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It's the 22nd day of July, 2022. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Myrna Brown.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Next up on The World and Everything in It: Culture Friday with John Stonestreet of the Colson Center and WORLD Opinions managing editor Andrew Walker.
But a little different format this time.
You know this has been a very busy travel summer and this week was no exception. I was at a conference and had the chance to get together with John and Andrew—this time face to face—instead of screen to screen.
So, because of the schedule, it worked out that we needed to record this week’s Culture Friday right there in the conference center and we found a quiet place to talk. Let’s listen now to that conversation.
MYRNA BROWN: Well, it's not every day, we get both of you at once, and also in person. So I want to make the most of this time with you. This week, we talked about communicating in a hostile culture. I'd like for you to talk about using storytelling as a weapon in this fight, who wants to go first?
JOHN STONESTREET, GUEST: Well, Myrna, I will go first. And it is great to know that you actually exist in real life and are not just you know, pixelated, on the screen, as we so often do these weekly conversations. It is a very difficult thing to communicate truth, if all we had to deal with was the fact that people are fallen in their own rationality they don't actually have, we don't always have the ability to connect our actions and consequences and cause and effect and what we see in the world around us with the Creator that's behind all of those things. But when you talk about a culture, like ours, which in many ways, pretty committed to denying moral realities, and even objective reality, such as biology, then you know, these are very big gaps. And one of the gaps that's created is that certain stories are elevated, and other stories are not. One of the things that we've heard this week are stories of people who, you know, if you didn't look for them, you would not know that they existed, in fact, they're not supposed to exist, they're not supposed to be, for example, people in our culture who regret certain lifestyle decisions, or people who regret transitioning against their bodies into a new “identity.” People who've regret decisions they made for “their reproductive health.” So we cover up these stories, we pretend they don't exist. And we often use these made up words in order to hide their stories. And that is a powerful thing for Christians to do, which is to uphold the stories and tell them.
ANDREW WALKER, GUEST: I think the fact that story speaks so powerfully to us as human beings and not just as Christians, is the fact that when we look at how God has communicated his truth to us, he didn't give us our truth in the form of pure propositional truths. Like there's not a book that says, here's 88 truths that you need to live your life by. Now, obviously, there are truths that we live our lives by, according to scripture. But I think I remember a statistic, saying something to the effect that 85% of Scripture actually comes to us in narrative form. And I think that that is, that has to say something true to our nature, in the fact that when God creates the plan of redemption, that plan isn't just again, facts. It's not just, it's not just propositional, it's also narrative. And so, all of us as human beings, again, not just as Christians, we kind of find our identity. In terms of reference points and chapters, I mean, you you notice the the proclivity, oftentimes, people define their lives by so called chapters and seasons. And I think that's actually speaking to something that's not merely kind of an evolutionary quirk, brought about by blind forces. But it's a reality given to us by God, that God who doesn't have a beginning and end - because He is God - He has created creatures who mark time, who mark beginning and end by narrative and by story.
BROWN: Well, a lot of discussion this week on using truthful language, I think that's how it was termed instead of false constructs like biological male, transgender woman, transgender, this and that. Why do you think that resonated with so many,
WALKER: I think the conversation around the language that we use, it speaks to the reality that language is attempting to name reality. And if we find ourselves playing by the word games and word constructs of a culture that doesn't believe in our understanding of truth, we're now playing according to their rules. And so you have language that we see in the culture now, of sis-gender. You know, I hear Christians use the term cisgender. And I immediately stop and say, Okay, no, you really shouldn't use the term cisgender because even though you don't identify as a transgender person, you have now been brought up and drafted into the transgender revolution because you're playing according to the language games that they think is true of reality, because again language, we are moral realists, as Christians, we believe that reality must conform, sorry, language must conform to reality as it truly is not something that is merely just an emotive response to our feelings about the world. And so we need to be very, very vigilant about the language that we use, and understand that if we're not being culturally discerning, we can, even with good intentions of trying to love our neighbor, get swept up, and to a real firestorm of moral relativism.
STONESTREET: Andrew, I think that's exactly right. I think it was G.K. Chesterton, who said if words aren't worth fighting for what on earth would be. And because words are at the base of how we understand and perceive reality. The postmodernist almost got this right. Post modernists said that language creates reality essentially. And that language refers to other language and other language and eventually we have reality. It's not human language that creates reality. It's God's language that creates reality. This is what we see in John 1, there's an ontological description of reality, which begins with the word which is why human words, because we’re made in His image, are so absolutely, critically important. Now, what's happened now is that the post modern use of language has now evolved into this critical theory use of language, and where there's this real mood and culture where we immediately, based on labels, language we put on groups, identify some people as the good guys and some people as the bad guys. So people don't often realize, to Andrew's point, that when we get drafted into using the language, we're actually being drafted into taking sides. Here are the good guys, here are the bad guys. And that's a real problem. Now, this is also, I think, wise warning for us as we try to communicate across worldview lines, because it gives you a very effective place to start in a conversation, which is a question that I was taught years ago, I think every Christian should have it in their back pocket whenever they're having a conversation. And that is, “well what do you mean by that?” In other words, fight for the definition of words, I remember once being on a plane with this lady, and she's like, “well what do you do?” And I said, “well I worked for this Christian organization.” And she looked back and said, “well, I'm an atheist, prove me wrong.” This was the beginning of a three hour conversation, right? And she started by saying, “prove to me that God exists.” Now I went to seminary, like I paid a lot of money to know the answer to that question. But I'd learned this, this tactic, and I said, “well, what do you mean by God?” And she goes on to describe, you know, this grumpy old man who can't wait to strike you dead with a lightning bolt. And I'm like, “you're describing Zeus, I don't believe in Zeus.” And the meaning of words means so much. You think about words in our culture, like love and justice and freedom and equality and inclusion. These are words that are thrown around. I just heard this phrase last night, and I thought was so good. “They're not just conversation stoppers, they're thought stoppers.” They stop people from thinking, “what do these words mean?” And I think God has been so gracious to gift us with that, the minds that we can understand the language that's at the root of reality that points us ultimately to Him. And we can ask these questions and hopefully, continue to point people to the truth. We do live in a time where language is tyrannical. It just controls our lives. And I think that's an effective way to fight back.
BROWN: Well, John, thank you, because you just helped tee up this next question. You did that on purpose. Yeah, talking about talking across worldviews. And we saw that this week in the general session. You know, we saw two people on practically different planets almost coming together on one stage telling a story of collaboration to benefit the welfare of children to benefit children. Andrew, I'd like for you to just in general terms, you know, talk about what you saw, what you make of that, what did you make of that and the ramifications of that kind of collaborating?
WALKER: Yeah, so this week, I was able to be an observer in a conversation between a conservative attorney and a very liberal medical doctor, who has been on the front lines of some of the gender revolution in our society, who is now more or less acting as a whistleblower, because this individual is understanding the coerciveness of the gender ideology at the root of the transgender revolution, and how this is not bringing about the resolution and healing of young children that the medicine was purported to be about, but it's really about conformity to ideology for ideology’s sake. And so again, you can find unlikely allies in the culture, when I think actually everyone is animated out of a concern for truth seeking. I know we have different conceptions of what the truth is in our culture, but just by virtue of common grace, and the fact that even people who aren't Christians can still have some grasp of the truth. We're going to find ourselves in some weird conversations. I'm thinking right now about individuals like J.K. Rowling over in the UK who is not a Christian, but who is making very obvious truthful statements and observations about basic male/female biology. And that's getting her in a lot of trouble. And so again, she's no friend of Christians as far as kind of our orthodox belief around the image of God. But because of common grace, she understands these truths of our embodiment. And so we want to come to her defense and to say, we don't think that she's animated out of animus, I hope that she wouldn't think that we're animated out of animus, what we're animated by is a concern for truth seeking, and truth seeking in service to human flourishing. That's what truth ultimately ought to be about.
BROWN: Well, we talked about some heavy subjects this week, and I'm so thankful that I got to meet you all in person, and you all are amazing, and great thinkers, and you're also funny. So thank you so much, John and Andrew.
That’s John Stonestreet, the president of the Colson Center, and WORLD Opinions managing editor Andrew Walker!
NICK EICHER, HOST: Why did the chicken cross the road? Or in this case, 13 miles of highway?
Well, we don’t know why, but we do know how.
A Vermont family’s chicken hitched a ride into town when a passerby spotted it wandering around.
Lo Fasano told WCAX that when she couldn’t find the owner, she called an animal shelter—and even the police—and got the following response!
FASANO: And they said they don’t do chickens.
So Fasano took the chicken home and posted a picture to Facebook. And that post eventually found the bird’s owner, Rebecca Thibeault.
THIBEAULT: I was like, this is my chicken! So we need to go get my chicken.
Her beloved bird is back home, safe and sound. The chicken’s name used to be “Bug.” But after she flew the coup, Thibeault renamed her “Amelia,” as in Amelia Earhart.
It’s The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Friday, July 22nd. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: classic science fiction.
Arts and media editor Collin Garbarino looks at two films celebrating their 40th anniversaries. He says they still have something worthwhile to say today.
COLLIN GARBARINO: Sometimes we think about science fiction predicting the future. But often, science-fiction stories have more to do with our fears in the present than they do with our hopes for what’s to come. This struck me anew as I recently revisited some classics from the summer of 1982. These movies are celebrating their 40th anniversaries, but they still seem strangely relevant.
MUSIC: [Blade Runner - End Titles]
Blade Runner didn’t break any records at the box office, but it frequently shows up on “best sci-fi” lists. Ridley Scott directed this dystopian movie set in the Los Angeles of 2019. Harrison Ford plays Rick Deckard—a reluctant cop known as a “Blade Runner.” His job is to track down and kill escaped “replicants.”
Bryant: I need you, Deck. Now, this is a bad one, the worst yet. I need the old Blade Runner. I need your magic.
Deckard: I was quit when I come in here, Bryant. I’m twice as quit now.
Bryant: Stop right where you are. You know the score, pal? If you’re not cop, you’re little people.
Deckard: No choice, huh?
Bryant: No choice, pal.
Replicants are artificially created humans who serve as slaves. They don’t have rights. They don’t have access to due process. And when they become inconvenient, they get “retired” which really just means executed.
Deckard: She’s a replicant, isn’t she?
Tyrell: I’m impressed. How many questions does it usually take to spot one?
Deckard: I don’t get it, Tyrell.
Tyrell: How many questions?
Deckard: 20, 30, cross-referenced.
Tyrell: It took more than a hundred for Rachael, didn’t it?
Deckard: She doesn’t know.
Tyrell: She’s beginning to suspect, I think.
Deckard: Suspect? How can it not know what it is?
Tyrell: Commerce is our goal here at Tyrell. “More human than human” is our motto. Rachael is an experiment, nothing more.
It’s a thought-provoking movie, and it leaves viewers feeling unsettled and unsure of what they know. Not even the filmmakers agreed on whether Deckard himself was a replicant.
But this old surreal movie set in a future that’s now past feels like it’s speaking directly to America’s abortion debate. Blade Runner’s pro-life subtext reminds us that even if the government refuses to acknowledge someone’s humanity they’re still human.
This dark, violent, R-rated film isn’t for everyone. It’s certainly not a family movie. The director and final cuts are racier than the theatrical release, so do your homework before queueing it up.
MUSIC: [Theme from Tron]
Tron is a more family-oriented sci-fi movie from 1982. The movie is set in cyberspace, and it was one of the first feature-length films to extensively use computer generated imagery. Remember those iconic neon heroes throwing glowing frisbees and riding lightcycles?
AUDIO: [Lightcycle sounds]
Tron has obvious parallels to the story of Jesus. Jeff Bridges plays a computer programer who leaves the real world and enters into the created world of cyberspace where he saves faithful computer programs and restores that which was broken.
Ram: Do you believe in the users?
Crom: Yeah, sure. If I don’t have a user, then who wrote me?
There’s imagery from the days of the Roman gladiators, but this Cold War–era film is really about the individual’s fight against collectivism. The enemy is a huge scary red computer program called Master Control Program. It brands programs that still believe in “users” as religious fanatics, and it seeks to stamp out freedom.
Sark: Greetings. The Master Control Program has chosen you to serve your system on the game grid. Those of you who continue to profess a belief in the users will receive the standard substandard training, which will result in your eventual elimination. Those of you who renounce this superstitious and hysterical belief will be eligible to join the warrior elite of the MCP.
The Soviet Union might be gone, but on Tron’s 40th anniversary, its warnings against totalitarianism are still all too relevant. Sure, Putin wants to absorb Ukraine. But America’s own thought police seek to stifle dissent. They brand free speech as violence, and they scoff at those of us who think about the designs of a creator.
MCP: All programs have a desire to be useful. But in moments, you will no longer seek communication with each other or your superfluous users. You will each be part of me, and together we will be complete.
Tron warns us that humans need freedom, not a centralized state, to bring about flourishing.
I’m not necessarily recommending you watch these movies. Forty-year-old sci-fi doesn’t appeal to everyone. I just think it’s interesting to look back and see we’re still wrestling with the same questions. What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to be free? How do we promote human flourishing? The more things change. The more things stay the same.
Movies are really good at asking life’s big questions, but they’re pretty crummy at providing answers. For the answers, we must turn to the Bible and seek the one who came to save this sinful, broken world.
MUSIC: [Blade Runner - End Titles]
I’m Collin Garbarino.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Friday, July 22nd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.
Fridays are great! And Word Play Fridays are greater, because we get to enjoy that feature wherein we celebrate the gift of language.
So today, you’ll hear about neologisms—new words—but also and especially obsologisms—terms that have become obsolete, but are nonetheless clever, evocative words that maybe should never have fallen out of favor.
You’ll hear about that from George Grant with Word Play for July.
GEORGE GRANT, COMMENTATOR: Linguist and etymologist Richard Brooks has remarked, “Languages evolve, and English is no exception. Words come and go over time, and many eventually fall into obscurity.” The new vocabulary words that pass into our common parlance are called neologisms. The words that fall out of favor and out of usage are called obsologisms.
William Shakespeare has long been celebrated for the contributions he made to the English language, including for the host of new words he coined. Thanks to his plays and sonnets we have words like accommodation, aerial, amazement, apostrophe, assassination, and auspicious. And those are just the a-words.
But Shakespeare was hardly the most prolific neologist. That honor belongs to John Milton, best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost. He added at least 630 words to our common usage, almost triple the number of Shakespeare’s 229. Without Milton there would be no liturgical, no debauchery, no complacency, and no pandemonium—at least, not the words. He gave us padlock, terrific, fragrance, didactic, earthshaking, space, and sensuous.
But both Shakespeare and Milton have had some of their neologisms become obsologisms. Shakespearean inventions like “armgaunt,” meaning slender wrist, “impeticos,” meaning to put in a pocket, and “wappened,” meaning unchaste, wanton, or lewd, were words that just never caught on. Likewise, several Miltonian neologisms have fallen into disuse: “intervolve,” meaning to wind within and around, “accloy,” meaning to overfill or overstuff, and “brabble,” meaning to bicker loudly over trivialities.
Because they were coined by Shakespeare and Milton, these words can still be found in good dictionaries thanks to Samuel Johnson who compiled the first comprehensive English dictionary in 1755. Setting the standard, he wrote, “Of antiquated or obsolete words, none will be inserted but such as are to be found in authors who wrote since the accession of Elizabeth, from which we date the golden age of our language.”
“Sometimes though,” Richard Brooks lamented, “the sad fate of obscurity befalls perfectly good words—words that deserve another chance at life.” For instance, Milton’s “opiniastrous,” meaning disastrously opinionated, is a term that we could certainly put to good use today. And then there is “fudgel,” meaning pretending to work when you’re actually goofing off; or “groak,” to silently stare at someone as they eat; or “hideosity,” meaning extreme impoliteness or rudeness; or “growlery” a word created by Charles Dickens in Bleak House meaning, “a place to retreat from the world when you’re in a foul mood.”
Surely these obsologisms deserve another chance! As J.R.R. Tolkien affirmed, “The recovered-thing is not quite the same as the thing-never-lost. It is often more precious.”
I’m George Grant.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Your support is what made this week’s programs possible as well as our faithful team here who helped put it all together:
Janie B. Cheaney, Kent Covington, Mary Reichard, David Bahnsen, Lauren Dunn, Collin Garbarino, Josh Schumacher, Kristen Flavin, Onize Ohikere, Amy Lewis, Cal Thomas, Mary Muncy, George Grant, John Stonestreet, Andrew Walker, Steve West, and Grace Snell.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Johnny Franklin and Carl Peetz are the audio engineers who stay up late to get the program to you early! Production assistance from Emily Whitten. Paul Butler is our executive producer.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
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Remember to worship with your brothers and sisters in Christ this weekend, and God willing, we’ll meet you right back here on Monday.
Go now in grace and peace.
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