The World and Everything in It: September 30, 2022
On Culture Friday, the reality of sex, marriage, and babies; and Amazon Studios releases a new film that focuses on a modern philosophy centered on self. Plus: listener feedback, and the Friday morning news.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Good morning!
Millennials and maternity, why that generation is not keen on having kids.
NICK EICHER, HOST: That and more with John Stonestreet on Culture Friday.
Plus WORLD’s Arts and Media Editor Collin Garbarino reviews a new film adaptation of a classic book.
And your listener feedback.
BROWN: It’s Friday, September 30th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mynra Brown.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
BROWN: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Ian » Hurricane Ian could be the deadliest storm in Florida’s history. That according to President Biden on Thursday.
BIDEN: The numbers are still unclear, but we’re hearing reports of what may be substantial loss of life.
Rescue crews steered boats through flooded streets Thursday in a scramble to save people trapped after the storm.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis:
DESANTIS: There were 911 calls from people saying ‘hey, the water is rising in my home. I’m going to go up in the attic, but I’m really worried.’
DeSantis said his state has never seen a flood event like this.
Ian struck the Florida coast Wednesday around Ft. Myers, very nearly as a Category 5 hurricane, one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the United States.
It knocked out power to millions and caused untold billions of dollars in damage.
Hurricane Ian is now spinning over the Atlantic on a collision course with South Carolina.
Governor Henry McMaster:
MCMASTER: We’re prepared, but people, be careful. Be careful, be smart. Don’t be a statistic.
It could slam the coast later today with wind speeds of up to 80 miles per hour.
But Jamie Rhome with the National Hurricane Center says flooding may pose a greater risk and that risk extends well inland.
RHOME: Charleston, Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, potentially all the way to Roanoke, VA - a risk of heavy rain.
Much of the southeastern seaboard is under a storm surge warning.
Russia annexation » Russia is expected to annex more of Ukraine today in an escalation of the seven-month war.
The Kremlin has planned celebratory concerts and rallies in Moscow and the occupied territories. That just days after it claimed Ukrainians voted in referendums join Russia.
President Biden declared again on Thursday…
BIDEN: This so-called referenda was a sham, an absolute sham. The results were manufactured in Moscow.
Moscow says the Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions will be folded into Russia.
The move is expected to further isolate the Kremlin and draw more international punishment.
In response, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on Russians to resist Moscow’s military mobilization.
He told would-be draftees, "If you want to live, run. If you want to live, surrender. If you want to live, fight on your streets for your freedom."
Russia draft offices » Meantime, in Russia, thousands of men continue to wait in long queues at border crossings in vehicles and on foot as they try to flee military conscription. And the Kremlin is now moving to stop them. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Military officials are now handing draft notices to men as they wait in line at border checkpoints. Officials say they plan to hand call-up notices to all eligible men trying to leave the country.
The military is opening new enlistment centers on the Kazakhstan border.
And earlier this week, makeshift draft offices popped up near border crossings into Georgia and Finland.
More than 200,000 citizens have fled Russia since Vladimir Putin last week announced the military mobilization.
The Kremlin has said it plans to call-up some 300,000 people, but Russian media reported that the number could be as high as 1.2 million.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
Senate averts shutdown » The Senate passed a short-term spending bill on Thursday that would avert a partial government shutdown when the fiscal year expires at midnight.
AUDIO: On this vote, the yeas are 72, the nays are 25. The 60 vote threshold having been achieved, the bill as amended is passed.
Neither party had an appetite for a shutdown right before midterm elections.
The continuing resolution pays the government’s bills through Dec. 16th. It keeps spending at current levels. But Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell says there are some exceptions, most importantly:
MCCONNELL: Assisting Ukraine is not some feel-good symbolic gesture. It is literally an investment in our own national security and that of our allies.
The bill provides another $12 billion in aid to Ukraine.
GOP states sue over Biden student loan plan » Several Republican-led states are suing the Biden administration to halt its student loan debt forgiveness plan. WORLD’s Josh Schumacher has more.
JOSH SCHUMACHER, REPORTER: Six states say the administration is overstepping its executive powers with its plan to erase private debts with taxpayer dollars.
President Biden said his proposal would cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for many borrowers.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is leading the suit. She said it’s unfair to saddle working-class “Americans with the debt of those who chose to go to college.”
She added that the Department of Education is legally required “to collect the balance due on loans … and President Biden does not have the authority to override that.”
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: the reality of relational arrangements.
Plus, a new movie that was better as a book.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It's the 30th day of September, 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. It’s Culture Friday!
Let’s bring in John Stonestreet. He’s the president of the Colson Center and host of the Breakpoint podcast.
JOHN STONESTREET, GUEST: Good morning.
BROWN: John, I am a mother of two adult children and a step-mom of two more and honestly, I cringed when I read a recent article from WORLD Opinions contributor Shane Morris. I think you know him.
He wrote, “Millennials who are very cavalier about not having children are in for a shock when they enter their 40s and realize life is only half over. What do you do at that point? Keep trying to be sexy and have fun? I expect to see a lot of sadness and confusion about what to do at that point.”
That one statement produced an onslaught of angry comments on social media, I won’t take the time to repeat any of them here. But John, this seems like more than young adults turning their backs on parenthood. This has worldview implications.
STONESTREET: Oh, huge worldview implications. And I just want to be clear that I don't take any responsibility, or try to defend anything that my colleague Shane Moore says out loud, particularly on social media, but we he's talking about something that we talk about a lot around the Colson Center and Breakpoint, which is just completely how our culture has lost an understanding of sex, marriage, and procreation. And by a culture, I don't just mean them out there. I think, you know, I speak on this a lot. And when I make the suggestion, which I think is biblical, and historical, that sex, marriage, and babies are a package deal, and I make the case that they're built into reality, as created norms. And a lot of people think of the choice to have children as nothing more than a choice as the choice to have sex, as nothing more than a choice as an institution, like marriage is something that we made up and maybe was, you know, helpful at one point in time, but now we're just going to change. And we expand marriage, we changed the definition of marriage, we completely redefined it in all kinds of ways, and then expect it to still bring the kind of social goods. It's a completely different relational arrangement than what was actually baked into creation from the very beginning. And it just doesn't work. Now, one of the examples of this radical redefinition is what Shane was talking about here, I think, and that is just the birth dearth. And the future that's going to be determined, largely, as it always has, by demographic realities, you have the economic problems on a macro scale, but you also have this idea that life will go on forever as it is, and I can get what I want. And I will always be able to access what I want, even if I, you know, it's kind of like, I chose to step off the roof because I love the euphoria of falling, but I'm gonna choose not to hit the ground. That's not the way gravity works. That's not the way relational arrangements work. That's not the way marriage works. That's not the way children work. What we're learning and what Shane is pointing at, is there's a generation that's going to learn that marriage, family, sex, babies, these things are actually real things. They're not just, you know, figments of my imagination or objects of my desire. They actually exist in life in the world, and it matters what you do with them.
EICHER: John, I want to call attention to a really great roundup on state-level action on abortion on the November ballots, five states in particular: Kentucky (a pro-life amendment), Michigan (a pro-abortion one), California (pro-abortion), Vermont (pro-abortion), and Montana (pro-life).
Leah Savas reporting for WORLD: “The campaigns around the … upcoming abortion-related ballot measures have taken a similar tone. Whether pro-life or pro-abortion, the opposition to each of these state proposals plays on the extremism of the proposed language.”
That’s interesting to me. I think she’s got her finger on the pulse here: Where the abortion issue is concerned, it seems there’s a perceived advantage to be had if you succeed in painting the other side as extremist. I guess time will tell, because I can imagine California has plenty of leeway to be extreme, at least the governor seems to think so. But perhaps Kentucky and Michigan offer a really interesting test. I wonder, though, what that notion—“don’t be extreme”—says about where we are culturally in the early days after the fall of Roe vs. Wade?
STONESTREET: Well, I think the numbers have been all over the place. And, you know, you know, for the Democrats, there's no question this is providing some sort of issue by which they might be able to mitigate the absolute devastation that was headed their way in the midterms because of the economy. I think there's probably, though, at the end of the day, going to be an overreach of this. My take on this is the political forces are overestimating where most people are on this. Part of that is I don't think that two sides talk to each other very much. And that's probably part of it, too. But I think what you have is you have people who really care about preborn children, and you have people who really care about abortion rights, and then you have everybody else in the middle. And that's a much larger group than the others. So painting the other side is extremist, if you're able to do that, and stay away from the nuance that so many of these bills require, or so many of these bills offer, then you're going to be able to get the electoral advantage on this. Now, of course, it's completely different. If you live in Kentucky, or you live in Alabama, or Mississippi and you live in Minnesota or Colorado or California. It just is really all over the place. And that tells me that we'd have a lot of work to do. I mean, again, we've been saying this, but it's an example of what many of us have been saying: the Supreme Court didn't settle the issue with a doctor's decision any more than they settled the issue with Roe v. Wade. Basically, what you have is the supreme court saying that there's not a federal mandate for abortion rights that gets returned back to the state and the way that Roe was decided, in Casey was decided was actually bad law. And that's not the way law needs to be decided by the Supreme Court. So that just leaves it up in the air, in a sense, and you have a state level movement that is feasible, and we should take as much of that movement as possible. But we shouldn't expect the court to have done or even state level legislation to do what it cannot do. And that is it cannot build a culture in which abortion is unthinkable. You know, there's so much of this that makes me worry about the lessons learned from prohibition. Where legally you pass things, and culturally, it's not there. And you know, it's basically a short time of a prohibition. And then, you know, the idea of ever legislating this stuff again, becomes unthinkable. So I think there's a lot of historical lessons to be learned here, too.
EICHER: I have to bring up something that the commentator Matt Walsh has done exceptional work on and that is shining a light on transgender issues. He produced a really excellent documentary titled “What is a Woman?” and now he’s doing some whistleblowing activism on so-called “transgender medicine.” He’s brought evidence that his local hospital Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville is prescribing hormones for young teens, doing double mastectomies on healthy girls, and even suggesting repercussions against conscientious objectors, doctors who won’t participate. He’s done enough that Tennessee officials are now demanding an accounting. Here’s the question: Right now, this whistleblowing seems to shock people who hear it and there’s really no defense offered when the whistle is blown, but do you think there’ll come a day when the larger culture will just shrug this off and just say, hey, that’s bodily autonomy, kids ought to have a choice to do this?
STONESTREET: Yeah, I mean, I think in some cases, that's already you know, what, what's being done is people are blowing this off, as if bodily autonomy explains what on earth is happening here. But I actually think there will come a day when we look back at this and say, What were we thinking? How were we able to harm little children this way? And justify it, I think, there was a time in the west where people looked at a grave evil being done against people like the British slave trade. And they shrugged it off, saying, economically, it's not feasible to end the slave trade. We don't want to pay too much sugar. And then there's another day, our day, which we look back at that and say, how terrible, how evil, how awful, that people actually justified, it was such a silly explanation. And I think that's what's going to happen. I think there will be a day where we go all the way down the pit of despair into this kind of bodily autonomy as all that matters for anything. And realize that what we were doing was pressuring and harming kids and in the name of advancing adult rights, because that's really what this is. There's no reason to push this sort of medicine. There's no reason to hurt kids this way. Unless you're trying to justify something that adults actually want. And we're backloading all kinds of different reasons. You know, on to this I think Matt Walsh and some others are on the front of saying this is really crazy. So I think we'll look back years from now and think about it that way. And I think one of the reasons is not only because of documentaries like this, or you know, investigative journalism like this, but because there's more and more voices stepping up, saying, I was harmed by this ideology. Social media is giving them a platform and a voice. And other social media is highlighting just how crazy and bizarre some of the language and some of the efforts are to, you know, violate parental rights to brainwash little children, and to force ideas on children at an age that's just irresponsible and really evil. So I think those are the things that are going to move the needle in the long run the most, but it's not going to be one thing. It's going to be everything. And we're gonna reach a point where we look back at this and say, you know, good heavens, what on earth? What on earth were we doing?
BROWN: Well, John Stonestreet is president of the Colson Center and host of the Breakpoint podcast. Thank you, John.
STONESTREET: Thank you both.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Friday, September 30th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Myrna Brown.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.
Amazon Studios has a new film based on a classic Newbery Honor book, so families might be tempted to queue it up when it debuts on Prime Video next week.
But arts and media editor Collin Garbarino warns that this is definitely a case where the book is better than the movie.
COLLIN GARBARINO: Catherine Called Birdy is in select theaters now and debuts on Prime Video October 7th. The film adapts Karen Cushman’s 1994 Newbery Honor book set in medieval England. But in the opening scenes the filmmaker communicates this story about the Middle Ages has a contemporary twist.
The movie is about a 14-year-old girl named Catherine who goes by the nickname Birdy. She's the daughter of a minor nobleman in medieval England. She’s headstrong, and she finds the expectations placed upon a nobleman's daughter hard to bear.
Morwenna: And cottage raisings are not for young ladies.
Birdy: Morwenna, I released the pigs, and I’m not ashamed. They’re only headed to slaughter, and I will not allow other animals to live lives of captivity like mine.
Morwenna: You are the most well-fed captive I know.
Birdy: Anyhow, I have a matter far more pressing.
Birdy prefers to run wild with the village children. She doesn’t count her position of privilege to be an honor, and she’s ill-suited to learning the pursuits of an English lady.
Birdy: Fourteenth day of August. I tangled my spinning again. What a torture. I’d rather be fed to a stroppy dragon than try and spin like a lady.
Morwenna: Oh, come on. Like I showed ya. No.
Birdy: I am, thank the Lord, very cunning. Most girls are, though they’re not given due credit for it. But I have a fantastic update. I’ve made a bargain with my mother. I shall forgo spinning, my greatest agitation of all, as long as I write this account of my days for my brother, Edward the monk.
The original children’s novel takes the form of Birdy’s journal entries, and the movie makes a nod to this by having Birdy narrate the events as she scribbles in her book.
Birdy: So what follows will be my book. The book of Catherine, called little bird or Birdy.
The film’s conflict arises from Birdy’s desire for freedom and her repugnance at the idea of marriage. Her spendthrift father hasn’t given Birdy much thought up to this point, but now that she’s approaching the marriageable age he sees an opportunity.
Servant: If, my lord, you were able to secure a profitable union for your only daughter…
Sir Rollo: A profitable union?
Servant: There is an opportunity to relieve this accumulated debt.
Sir Rollo: For Birdy?
Sir Rollo: With a man?
Karen Cushman’s novel entertains children while teaching them about life in medieval England. The movie based on that book does none of those things.
Let’s start with the educational aspect of the book. In her author’s note, Cushman says that the medieval world is very different from ours. It’s different in how they live, how they think, and what they value. Cushman researched the history, and she tried to accurately reflect the realities of medieval village life—though Birdy herself comes off as exceptional.
Amazon Studios’ version of the story, tells us almost nothing about medieval England, instead going out of its way to conform Cushman’s story to contemporary pieties. It’s not just the folk-pop sound track. The cast is made up of white, black, and Asian actors. A gay character gets thrown in for good measure. There’s no attempt at avoiding anachronisms—in fact, the film revels in them. There’s no reverence for the Church, the institution that dominated medieval life. In the movie, when Birdy visits her brother at the monastery she’s overwhelmed by the young hunky monks.
Birdy: We are too poor to offer the monks pies anymore. I simply bring myself. I always imagined Edward lived among God-fearing old nutters and musty old men who clutched their Bibles to their chests.
[song: “Honey to the Bee”]
Birdy: Wait! These are monks? Why hath no one told me?
I wasn’t surprised at these changes to the book. Lena Dunham directed the movie and wrote the script. She’s most known for creating HBO’s comedy-drama Girls. Dunham’s other work is feminist, licentious, and tasteless. Despite being based on a children’s novel, Catherine Called Birdy is rated PG-13 for some suggestive material and thematic elements. A surprising number of minutes in the movie are devoted to tasteless discussions of menstruation. Dunham substitutes community-based medieval piety with an empty modern philosophy centered on self.
Edward: Promise me you shall read. And read and read and read some more. And write. Knowing your own story will be your salvation.
The end of the story gets a total rewrite. In the book, Birdy eventually comes to terms with her role in her family and her society. In the movie, after 90 minutes of selfish behavior Birdy gains the freedom to become England's only individualist.
Catherine Called Birdy isn’t a movie for little girls who have enjoyed the book. No, I can’t help but feel this is a movie for adult women who feel liberated when they mistake autonomy, license, and crassness for maturity.
I’m Collin Garbarino.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Friday, September 30th. 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. Time now for Listener Feedback. We begin with a few corrections:
First, a mispronunciation. Listener Craig Willingham points out that during our Monday, September 12th newscast we said “ED-in-burg” instead of “ED-in-boro” when speaking of the capital city of Scotland.
BROWN: Next Brittany Gardner wrote in to point out a commonly misused word that’s popped up in our podcast a few times this month. She writes: “There were a few times…where the word “translate” or “translator” was used…However…the person being referred to was actually an interpreter. Professionally speaking, a translator is someone who translates (written language) and an interpreter is someone who interprets (spoken language).”
Thanks Brittany for the reminder.
EICHER: Next a suggestion from listener Mary Stella:
MARY STELLA: I got a bit of a, I don't want to say bone to pick, but there's a little bit of something that makes it hard to listen to. You have a lot of new people coming on and doing reports. I think they need a lesson, inflection and cadence. Everything is just trying to sound so impartial. But every sentence is ending in a downward spiral. I wish Mary Reichard would give a lesson in inflection and animation. She's the perfect combination of cadences, and all of that she is absolutely terrific at doing the podcast because of the way she speaks and the interest she puts in it. I really do appreciate your program. Love your program and pray for your program. God bless everyone. Thank you.
Thank you Mary. You’re right, we do have a lot of new, young reporters that we’ve introduced to you in the last few months. Their reporting is excellent, and for the most part, their training is in print and not necessarily broadcast.
But it’s interesting you mention Mary Reichard. She has been working with each of them—it’s part of her job with us—but it takes time and lots and lots of practice. Thanks for your patience as our reporters learn how to improve presentation skills in real time, and in a very public way. But I think they’re doing great.
BROWN: Well, I do, too. And, Nick, I think we ought to make the point that we all still have things to learn and work on. Ha! All you need to do is hear the “blooper reel” to hear how the quote-unquote Old Pros do it!
Next a word of praise for commentator Whitney Williams. This is Kevin Mathis in Asheville, NC:
KEVIN MATHIS: I thoroughly enjoy the world and everything in it every day among other things I listened to. Despite my enjoyment, it is extremely rare that the things I listened to evoke any kind of emotional response, but when I heard Whitney Williams share about the broken clock and how it related to her marriage, I immediately broke into simultaneous clapping, crying and shouting with joy in my car. Thank you so much for that.
EICHER: Next, Matt Brown from Tucson, Arizona left this voice mail about some of our long-form podcasts:
MATT BROWN: I just am so incredibly impressed with the quality of Double Take and Legal Docket. They just continue to get better and better and in the effort. You’re putting into it the research, the writing. It’s just absolutely superb riveting, and I think it’s timeless. So, I think these shows will be ones that people can refer back to for months and years to come. Thank you so much for all your effort and making quality programming from a biblical perspective. Thank you.
Thank YOU Matt. We’ve got two more episodes left in the Legal Docket podcast for this season. Next week, we cover a case about the opioid crisis in our country. And as for Double Take, Les Sillars is already working with his journalism students on season 2, but you’ll have to wait till next summer to hear it.
BROWN: And one more this morning, this one from Dale Fenwick from Mount Dora, Florida, in response to yesterday’s program.
DALE FENWICK: … just a comment on Josh Schumacher’s story today on the Russian reenlistment or draft. He referenced the molotov cocktail as a notorious Russian gift. I think it was a gift given to the Russians by the Finish Army. And if I remember right they named it the molotov cocktail after the I think then Secretary of War minister of War whatever it was for for Russia. Anyway, keep up the good work. And God bless.
EICHER: Dale, you’re absolutely correct! Molotov cocktails were named for Russian Vyacheslav Molotov during World War II. Thanks for the history lesson!
BROWN: And by the way—Mt. Dora, Florida‚that’s very close to Orlando and we’re thinking about you today. We so hope you’re doing okay.
EICHER: Well that’s it for this month’s Listener Feedback. Thanks to everyone who wrote and called in. If you have comments to share with us you can send them to [email protected]. And if you’re writing, why not take a moment and record your comments on your phone and send that along as well. We’ve included instructions on how to do that on our website: wng.org/podcasts. Or you can phone it in. Our listener line is (202) 709-9595.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Well, it’s time to say thanks to the team members who put the program together this week: Kent Covington, Mary Reichard, David Bahnsen, Collin Garbarino, Lauren Dunn, Leah Savas, Amy Lewis, Whitney Williams, Grace Snell, Janie B Cheaney, Josh Schumacher, Mary Muncy, Anna Johansen Brown, Anna Mandin, Cal Thomas, and John Stonestreet.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And thanks also to the guys who stay up late to get the program to you early: Johnny Franklin and Carl Peetz.
Kristen Flavin is our producer. Paul Butler is our executive producer.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
The Bible says in Proverbs: Be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. (Proverbs 4:20-22 ESV)
Remember to worship alongside your brothers and sisters in Christ this weekend. God willing, we’ll meet you right back here on Monday.
Go now in grace and peace.
WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.