|Mr. Kenny Klein|
On the very first page of his chapter on "Spirituality," Mr. Klein references a YouTube video from 2009 showing two white Christian teen girls trying to convert their equally young Hindu friend to Christianity in order to illustrate the behaviors of the "unspiritual." Undeniably, the stratagem of these girls was obnoxious and immature, but was this video an appropriate example to use? (A recent response from Kenny says that he did not mean the work to "bash" Christianity, and that he respects heartfelt Christians. However, that does not exempt him from being held accountable for the other reasons why this was a bad choice.)
As unpopular as my thoughts were in that group, I had some reservations for his choice and here’s why: Mr. Klein could have easily replaced this Christian imagery with the RavenWolfian fluffy bunny Wiccan stereotype and its nauseating promotion of “Love and Light™” and its absolute condemnation of BLACK MAGIC and Rede violations. However, I'll admit that such a caricature is less noticeable in our culture’s psyche, and it probably just wouldn't work depending on the audience. My bigger beef is that mentioning any of those or similar imagery so early on in a discussion about spirituality runs counter to the basic premise of the book as it may cause drama where there doesn't need to be drama. It's just careless.
I’m not even entirely against the inclusion of proselytizing behavior in the discussion (later in the book); however, I think it would have been wiser to use examples of adults rather than kids, despite this book being geared towards the teenager. My reasoning is simple and based on a basic understanding of childhood development; teens are still developing cognitively, and they do, think, and say a lot of fucking stupid things during this time. They think primarily in in-group versus out-group dichotomies, and one notices this in the video as one friend is labeled “normal” and the other labeled by her ethnicity. This goes way beyond religious issues, and so using children as a representation of a religion’s behavior is a bit inaccurate. You could just as easily replace “Jesus” with the Biebs and the level of fanaticism would have most likely been the same, or maybe even more so in Justin’s favor. It has very little to do with Christianity and more to do with the hierarchical power struggles of white middle school teenagers who are unaware of the world outside of their own backyard. This doesn’t make these behaviors acceptable, but I feel that the situation is more understandable when one frames it in terms of the typical teenage behavior of developing adolescents, but it makes for a poor example in Mr. Klein's case.
|Fact check, motherfucker, do you do that?|
Enjoy! And remember to do your research.
To be continued..