On the Joy of Wrapping Christmas Presents

So, I have to let you all know something.

I really enjoy wrapping Christmas presents every year.

It’s one of those weird holiday chores that you have to do because it’s just kind of tacky to hand over a gift that hasn’t been concealed in some festive wrapper, but every year I find myself looking forward to it.  I suspect it’s partly the fact that wrapping a present and putting it under the tree signals that gift shopping for a particular person is finished; getting that particular holiday activity out of the way early is always really satisfying.  It’s also partly because having gifts sitting under the Christmas tree was always a really big part of the festivities when I was growing up.  My extended family was quite large when I was a child, so my parents had to buy a lot of gifts; it was typical in our home for the weeks leading up to Christmas to see the living room become impossible to traverse because of the sheer number of items that sprawled out from the tree.  Part of my joy at gift wrapping just comes from the activity itself.

I am not very good at origami.  I don’t have patterns for any of the common shapes memorized, and my folds are usually kind of sloppy.  Despite that, I really love the act of folding paper.  It’s a very soothing activity.  Gift wrapping gives me a chance to do that to a specific purpose, and to make use of slightly more interesting materials than the scrap paper that I usually have at hand when I decide to do some origami.  Of course, my folds are never terribly neat, so my finished presents usually look a little homely, but part of the fun is in continuing to practice and improve.  I remember just how awful some gifts that I wrapped when I was still in elementary school came out, and I’m pretty happy to recognize that I do a better job now than I used to.  The most recent gift wrapping innovation that I came across was three years ago at this website.  I’ve been fascinated with Japanese style gift wrapping ever since, and every year a big part of the holiday season involves me looking forward to getting more opportunities to practice it.  Even after three years I’m still not great at it, but I think I’m improving.  Someday I’ll get those nice straight edge folds.

This year I decided that I was going to make use of ribbon for gift decoration as well, which is pretty much a whole new aspect of gift wrapping for me.  I know some basics for wrapping with ribbon, but I’m far from an expert, and the gifts I’ve put ribbons on this year could definitely look better, but I’m not complaining.  It’s all part of the fun of the holidays.

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Boxing Day

It’s the day after Christmas, and I’m preparing to enjoy the second week of my winter break, which is the best time of year aside from the summer break that’s four times as long.  In that time, I hope to do some revision on a short story I wrote during NaNoWriMo (it’s always nice to have goals that don’t involve just sitting on the couch, reading comics and playing video games) and catch up on some podcasts (I’m pretty much over the moon that I got a new MP3 player this year since my last one went kaput over two years ago).  Besides the ambitious goals, I also have all the typical vacation plans of just enjoying my Christmas gifts and then writing furiously about them, because stories are meant to be engaged, and one of my favorite parts of getting into anything new is the chance to think it over and share my thoughts on it.

Anywho, here’s a quick rundown of things that I’ll be mulling over in the near future, as a kind of road map to what I want to discuss in the coming weeks (I’m not going to say in the coming year, because I operate on the academic calendar, and as far as I’m concerned the year ends in May and starts in August).

I’ve picked up several volumes of some comic series that I’ve been excited about following, including the first story arc of the new Ms. Marvel ongoing (I picked the first issue up way back in May and was instantly taken with it), the first volume of Rat Queens (on the recommendation of a friend of Rachael’s, who I now fully trust has excellent taste in comics), and a couple volumes of Saga (I know I said I was going to write about that one at some point, but I never got around to it; maybe with three volumes of the series to read through, I’ll get back to it now).  I expect I’ll have read through all of them before the end of the weekend, so maybe I’ll have something on at least one of those series in the next week.

On the video game front, I’m still working my way through Dragon Age: Inquisition, and I expect I’ll be chipping at that for a while.  If I have any further thoughts beyond, “This game’s a lot of fun, and I really don’t like Vivienne,” then I’d love to share those.  For Alex, who specifically asked me if I’m going to do any writing on Chrono Cross, the sequel to Chrono Trigger, I’d really like to blog through a replay of that game.  It’s an odd one, and it does a lot to complicate Chrono Trigger‘s pretty streamlined narrative (as much as any time-travel story can have), but I remember the game being such a big deal in my mind when it came out simply because it was a sequel to that game that I’d love to revisit it and see how it holds up fifteen years later.

On the front of non-graphical fiction, I’m nearly finished reading the third book in Dan Simmons’s Hyperion saga, and I’d love to mull over that series in depth once I’ve finished with it.  Without getting into too much detail, it’s a series that’s kindled a slight interest in Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and also reminds me so much of Mass Effect (which I strongly suspect was cribbing heavily from Simmons’s series).  Also, if I can keep my promise to myself about getting back into podcasts, I might try to write more regularly about stories that I listen to.  I already said it above, but it bears repeating: stories are meant to be engaged.

So that’s what I’m thinking about; we’ll see if I actually stick to any of these plans.  Nonetheless, I hope you all had a pleasant Christmas if you celebrate it, and happy holidays throughout the rest of the season.

Advent and Christmas

Early in the morning on December 24, my aunt Cheryl passed away.  She was 59.

It’s been a very strange few days here around the house.  Rachael and I were both quite sick over the weekend, and on the 23rd I was on the second really bad day of my illness when my mom called me to say that Cheryl was in the hospital, and the doctors expected that she wouldn’t last the day.  I told her that I’d be there as soon as I could, and then Rachael reminded me that I was feverish, and therefore contagious, and not fit to drive two hours to Atlanta that day.

So I spent the day resting at home and waiting for the inevitable news.

I should say that I don’t regret having to stay home; I had the good fortune to see Cheryl just at Thanksgiving and to let her know that I loved her.  We took a big family photo at that gathering.

Now it’s December 25, and I’m pondering what the remainder of this week will bring.  Tonight my family will celebrate Christmas.  Tomorrow we’ll rest.  Friday there will be a viewing, and on Saturday, the funeral.  My cousin’s asked me to be a pall bearer, and I’m honored to do it.

At this moment, while I’m sitting here in my living room writing down these thoughts, it doesn’t feel quite real yet.  I’m sure it will soon enough, when I see my family.  Lots of things whirl around in my head: memories of Cheryl from when I was a child, sadness at how poor her health has been for years, relief that she’s not suffering anymore, regret that her grandchildren lost their Nana so young.

Perhaps the most persistent, inane thought is this: Cheryl left us on the last day of Advent.

In the Christian calendar, Advent is a season of deprivation and hope.  The world grows more and more bleak as winter sets in, and we feel the darkness of our lives crowd around us as we sit and wait for something better to arrive.  We are longing for the sunrise.

Following Advent, we get Christmas.  It’s a celebration; God is with us, now and forevermore.  The wait is over.

It’s hard to feel like today should be a celebration.  My family has lost a part of itself.  We’ll eat good food and exchange gifts tonight, and mixed in with the laughter and the smiles will be tears, because how can you not have tears in the wake of something like this?

And I remember that tears express both joy and grief; sorrow and relief.  Cheryl has left us, but she is with God.  And God is with us.

The wait is over.

Merry Christmas.

Reading Humbug!

I am very fond of the story of A Christmas Carol.

I’ve never actually read the book, but the story has been adapted for the screen so many times that it’s easily recognizable.  Ebenezer Scrooge is a horrible, usurious miser who pinches every penny he can get his hands on and despises the festivities surrounding Christmas because he sees it all as an excuse to try to get him to spend his own hard earned money.  Scrooge’s business partner, Jacob Marley, died many years previous, and on the night of Christmas Eve Scrooge is visited by Jacob’s tortured ghost.  Jacob explains the cause of his suffering, and warns Scrooge that he’s to be visited by three more ghosts.  Scrooge is forced to relive Christmases in his past, observing how he became a cold, pitiless man, watch the Christmas events of London the following morning, seeing how he’s almost universally despised and ridiculed, and then look on as he sees a Christmas of the future where his death occasions no sadness in anyone.  Following all these visitations, Scrooge has a conversion experience and vows to keep the spirit of Christmas the whole year long.  He cancels numerous debts, raises his clerk Bob Cratchit’s salary, and keeps his word for the rest of his life.

Now I don’t care who you are, that’s a good story.

So why the heck did Jack Chick decide that there needed to be a Chick tract version?

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Scrooge’s conversion comes about because of lots of prayer–and a tract that Bob gives him on Christmas Eve. I see what you did there, Chick. (Image credit: Chick.com)

Humbug! takes the story of A Christmas Carol and recasts it as a peculiarly evangelical take on the tale.  Where the original has explicitly real ghosts, Chick’s version reduces Scrooge’s visitations to a mere dream.  It’s not Jacob Marley’s visage that greets Scrooge at his door, but a horn and goatee sporting devil.  The agents in Scrooge’s conversion are Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim, who pray for him overnight.

Now, aside from these differences, I’ll say that it’s still a pretty good retelling of the story (just with more explicit Jesus).  Chick’s art, which I usually find rather coarse, fits well in this setting (I might be inclined to forgive the art simply because I rather liked the Robert Zemeckis adaptation from a few years back, because he fully embraced the fact that people in Victorian London would have been rather ugly).  I even like one bit of theology that Chick includes here (well, the first half of it anyway): it’s scandalous that God would incarnate as a human, what with all of our flaws.  Chick goes on to espouse some stuff about utter depravity that I just can’t truck with, but that bit about the utter scandal of Christ’s incarnation does get to me.

Of course, that’s more because of a really good Advent meditation I read on Richard Beck’s blog the other day about just that very topic.  Check it out if you’d like some exposure to a bit of theology that has some love crafted into it.

Anyway, back to the story at hand.

My biggest complaint with this tract, and it may be moot considering that the point of the tract is to make the conversion story explicit, is that I think the conversion in the original is already breathtakingly good.  Scrooge has a truly divine revelation about the course of his life, and he immediately sets about making amends.  The fact that it’s framed as a ghost story is incidental to me; it still shows a person discovering and reveling in the love that Christ models for us, even if he’s not explicitly mentioned (again, I’ve not read the novella, so I can’t confirm how much the Christian angle plays into Dickens’s original).  Here in Humbug!, I can’t help but feel that Chick’s eliminating the ghosts and reshaping the narrative around Bob and Tim’s prayers because of some deep-seated feeling that it would be dishonest to suggest that ghosts are a real part of his theological outlook (the devil’s manifestation on the door knocker is totally okay though).  I can respect that from a perspective of not wanting to mislead readers in what he believes, but it diminishes the story!

I also can’t help feeling like there’s something off in this presentation of A Christmas Carol as it relates to the social justice that’s so integral to the story’s power.  Scrooge goes from being the worst kind of miser to being exceedingly generous with his wealth, and part of the benefit for everyone is that their quality of life is improved by Scrooge’s buying into the idea of communal responsibility.  Contrast that with Chick’s version of the gospel, which focuses almost exclusively on how Scrooge’s conversion means that he’s not going to hell.  Yes, he’s helping the poor and needy, which is wonderful and what God expects him to do as part of his repentance, but the big deal here is that Scrooge will go to heaven.  The possibility of eternal damnation is a bugbear that raises its head in Jacob’s visitation to Scrooge, but as the story progresses, that becomes less of a concern as the damage that Scrooge has done to the people around him takes center stage.  Scrooge’s ultimate punishment, if he fails to change his ways, is highlighted as the fact that no one will mourn him when he dies.  He’s doomed to being a drain on the community.  The eternal torment hangs there in the background, I suppose, but Scrooge’s conversion comes about because he realizes he’s already suffering in the absence of love.

Anyhow, if you’re looking to indulge in a particular version of A Christmas Carol as we draw closer to Christmas, give this one a pass.  It’s short, saccharine, and they took all the good bits out.

Merry Christmas.

So I Just Saw Jingle All the Way (Thrice)

As we’re leading into Christmastime, I’ve been doing a lot of holiday celebrations with friends lately, including watching Christmas movies.  The one that Rachael and I make a point of watching every year is The Muppet Christmas Carol, because it is, objectively, the best Christmas Carol.  I explained this to one of my coworkers who had never seen Muppet Christmas Carol, and he was skeptical, so I loaned him the movie over our break.  I expect him to sing its praises when we go back to work in early January.  The reason I love Muppet Christmas Carol is that it’s a really funny movie (Muppet brand humor is the best humor) and it also tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge with a great deal of care and depth.  When it’s all over and Scrooge is having Christmas dinner with all of London (long story), I’m rarely far from tears.

But this post isn’t about a good Christmas movie.

It’s about Jingle All the Way.

Cover of "Jingle All the Way (Family Fun ...

Cover of Jingle All the Way (Family Fun Edition)

For anyone who may have missed this particular movie, it’s a holiday vehicle for Arnold Schwarzenegger from the mid-90s that revolves around the trials and travails of Howard Langston, a workaholic dad, as he tries to find the “it” toy of the year for his son, a Turbo Man action figure, on Christmas Eve.

Before I get into analysis of the film, I suppose I should probably give some background on how I ended up watching this movie three times in the space of a week.  The first time was over the weekend with Rachael; we were doing Christmas-y things and wanted to put on a festive movie, so we picked Jingle All the Way.  A few days later, on the last day before my school closed for Winter Break, I was proposing movies that my class might like to watch to pass the time; they chose Jingle All the Way.  The day after that, Rachael and I were visiting with some friends while they went about decorating their Christmas tree, and they decided to put on Jingle All the Way.  It was during this third viewing that I started explaining to my friends everything I found wrong with the movie, and after someone quipped that I could write a paper, I decided that was what I was going to do.  Kinda.

Anyway, I might be a little overloaded on Jingle All the Way.

So, this is a kids’ movie.  It stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad, and goes to great lengths to depict the consumer stampede that is shopping for Christmas.  What it does not do is show just how horrific that kind of mass consumerism can be (several set pieces within the narrative revolve around Howard fighting through crowds of shoppers and assaulting store employees in search of that coveted doll, completely oblivious to the very real injuries that happen every year during Christmas time).  I don’t expect the violence to be realistic, since it’s a kids’ movie, but there’s something that just seems unsavory about watching and being expected to laugh at people getting trampled.  Nonetheless, the absurdity of the shopping craze is overshadowed by something far worse about this movie.

It’s racist.

Seriously, let’s examine for a minute our protagonist and his antagonist.  Howard is a successful salesman who lives in a nice suburban neighborhood in a house that’s very spacious for his small family of three.  He has no problem paying whatever price is asked for the various Turbo Man dolls that he comes so close to acquiring (anywhere from double the established retail price up to three hundred dollars).  Contrast Sinbad’s character, Myron Larabee.  Myron is a postal worker who’s just trying to get a Turbo Man for his son as well.  He wears his uniform and drives his mail truck throughout the movie, suggesting that he’s doing his Christmas shopping during break time on his regular route (that’s probably over thinking the fact that there’s a character who’s a postal worker, and he’s wearing his uniform to make that apparent to the audience).  Nonetheless, Myron can’t just take time off from his job to hunt down a Turbo Man like Howard can.  As a postal worker, Myron probably doesn’t get paid the best salary (certainly nothing comparable to what an ace salesman like Howard makes), so he’s probably not able to throw money at the problem like Howard tries to do (hence why when Myron appears, it’s always in an attempt to get a Turbo Man at regular price or even for free; in the sequence where Howard goes to a black market Santa’s shop to buy a Turbo Man, Myron is nowhere to be found).

All of those details serve to show there’s a class difference between Howard and Myron (the fact that Myron’s black is probably incidental, since Sinbad was a major actor in kids’ movies when Jingle All the Way first came out).  Nonetheless, at every turn we are expected to side with Howard over Myron.  This boggles my mind, because we have in the set up that Howard’s in this mess because of his own neglect, while Myron, as far as we can tell, seems to be trying to fit this one errand in around his work schedule.  Myron’s motivations are similar to Howard’s, though he has the added layer of feeling disappointed that his own father never delivered on Christmas promises when he was a kid.  There’s a fantastic (read: horrendously tone deaf) scene where Howard and Myron are commiserating in a diner during a lull in the rush to try to find a Turbo Man.  Myron explains his past, and it’s implied that he wound up where he is because of his father’s failure to show love through the accepted commercial avenues (buying him the stuff he wanted as a kid).  We get a flash from Howard’s perspective as he imagines his own son dressed like Myron and drinking from a flask of whiskey, saying this is all thanks to Howard.

What the heck?

Let’s set aside the absurdity of suggesting that a kid’s future is determined by their parents’ ability to deliver the magical fetish of the year on Christmas morning, and just focus on the attitudes apparent in this scene.  Myron is a working class guy.  He’s not fabulously wealthy, but he has a steady paying job with good benefits (yay, government jobs!) and he apparently loves his family enough to go through the hell of last minute Christmas shopping.  Howard completely freaks out over the possibility of his son Jamie ending up in the same situation, mostly because it’s a lower class life than what Howard has.  And we are supposed to find this reasonable.

I totally understand the desire parents have for their children to have better lives than them, or at least lives of comparable quality.  This fear that Jamie might end up in the working class represents a deep fear (which is not uncommon in America) that a lower socioeconomic status equates with a moral failure.  Whether the failure is Howard’s or Jamie’s is irrelevant in this case, because that fear’s used to elicit a cheap laugh at the expense of Myron, the character who represents the lower class reality and who gets dumped on repeatedly throughout the film as someone less deserving of accomplishing the goal than Howard.

“But Jason,” you’re going to say, “This is all evidence of classism, not racism.”  And you’d be right.  But why is it that our working class guy was cast as a black man, and black people are completely absent from the scenes of suburbia?  Jingle All the Way was made in the mid-90s, when conversations about these kinds of depictions weren’t as prevalent, but it still jars today to see a suburban landscape filled with just white faces (even if that does reflect a sad reality).  Unfortunately, class and race are tightly bound together in America, and assumptions made about one type of demographic transfer easily to another type that has large overlap with the first.

All of this crap comes to a head with the film’s climax, where Myron, so desperate to get his hands on a Turbo Man doll, dresses up as the villain from the Turbo Man television show and tries to steal a doll from Jamie in the midst of a Christmas parade.  It’s silly, and the whole sequence is kind of fun in a stupid way, but let’s consider that Myron has been driven to stealing from a child in order to get his hands on the coveted prize.  It’s an extreme action, and it’s probably intended as criticism of the “it” toy phenomenon (like the entire movie), but we can’t overlook that Myron is doing this because he has no other options available to him.  Howard ends up at the parade when he’s trying to reconcile with his family after failing to get the doll; he’s moved past the shallow motivation and just wants to be with his son and wife for Christmas (of course, as soon as he stumbles across an opportunity to get a really fancy Turbo Man doll and give it to Jamie, he reverts back to the stance he’s had through most of the film).

Essentially, Howard has a bit of dumb luck, and Myron tries to take advantage of it, because he hasn’t had the same epiphany that Howard did.  Myron still needs the doll in order to fulfill his promise to his son, and after some antics, he finally gets it (endangering several lives in the process).  Myron’s arrested, and the doll gets returned to Jamie, who decides in a fit of Christmas spirit that he doesn’t need the doll as badly as Myron does he has the real Turbo Man at home (Howard ends up in a fully functional Turbo Man suit and saves the day), so who cares about a stupid doll?  Myron’s eternally grateful for this show of generosity the caprice of children who get everything they want, and says this will make his son very happy.

Except that Myron’s going to jail, and won’t be home for Christmas.

Ghost of Christmas Present

For every day, there is a new spirit.  This spirit’s job is to observe the world in its entirety, recording in memory every moment, every word, every event from its one twenty-four hour period.

Jerome is the spirit of December 25, 2013.  He dreads his turn on the stage.

So much pressure.  Everyone expects the December 25s to record the happiest moments.  Gifts given.  Songs sung.  Drinks drunk.

No one cares that Jerome will also see the worst things.  Murders.  Rapes.  Illnesses.  Thefts.  Starvation.

“You’re supposed to be happy on Christmas,” people say.

Jerome wishes he had drawn December 26.

______________

I’m running a bit of fiction on Friday this week to participate in I Saw Lightning Fall‘s Advent Ghosts 2013 event.  Christmas is coming in less than a week, and it’s an exciting time for many people around the world.  I was feeling pensive, so I wanted to share something as a reminder that December 25 is still just December 25 to many others, and it’s subject to the same evils and injustices that we hear about every other day of the year.

Happy Holidays.

Reading Fairy Tales

Did you believe in Santa Claus when you were a kid?  What about the tooth fairy?  The Easter bunny?

Fantastic imaginary figures are a common childhood experience in America.  Most people who celebrate Christmas remember waking early that morning as a child to sneak a peak at what Santa left for them to find under their trees.  It was a joyful occasion, and even as an adult I still have echoes of that feeling when I wake at three in the morning because I’m so giddy about getting to open presents.

Of course, the lovely people at Chick.com think that this kind of childhood wonder is actually a gateway to murder.

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This is what happens when “Yo mamma” goes too far. (Image credit: Chick.com)

Yes, murder.

Fairy Tales? is a story about young Harry, who’s awaiting execution on death row after a life of misery and hatred, all because his parents lied to him about the existence of Santa Claus.  The way it starts out, Harry’s parents just tell him the standard childhood stories: the tooth fairy leaves money under your pillow when you lose a tooth; Santa Claus brings your Christmas presents; the Easter bunny hides eggs for little children to find on Easter morning.  Harry believes these stories wholeheartedly, and why wouldn’t he when he’s eight years old?

There’s an admittedly funny panel here where Harry confuses the Easter bunny with Jesus, but otherwise it’s a rather bland depiction of a child’s complete trust in his parents’ word.  Naturally, that gets crushed by some kids at school who’ve already figured out the ruse and are taking great pleasure in stomping on Harry’s fragile beliefs.  Harry, being like any rational human being, can’t take the cognitive dissonance and so murders the offending children.

When he’s eight years old.

The police take Harry into custody and call his parents, to whom he explains that he got in the fight with the other boys because they said that Santa doesn’t exist, and if that’s true that would make his parents liars.  When his folks admit that, yes, Santa’s fictional, Harry goes berserk (fortunately he’s strapped to a bed “for his protection”), concluding that if his parents lied about Santa and the tooth fairy, they must have been lying about God and Jesus too.

Hey, maybe this Harry grows up to be last week’s Harry in a parallel universe (it would at least explain The Bully‘s motivations)!

Harry’s already extremely fragile psyche is shattered, and he kills multiple other people on his meteoric rise to the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list right alongside Osama Bin Laden.

That’s right; this kid whose parents didn’t tell him the truth about Santa is the equivalent of one of the most reviled men in American history.

I don’t know what the Bin Laden equivalent to Godwin’s Law is, but this is it embodied right here.  We’re not told about most of Harry’s crimes, but they must be pretty heinous for him to be set up with the likes of Bin Laden by the time he’s only 28 (I feel like such an underachiever).

In true Chick fashion, it’s a coin toss as to whether Harry’s going to repent by the time of his execution, but in this tract he doesn’t.  All because his parents lied to him about Santa Claus.

Alright, let’s go ahead and do this quickly, because it’s not going to happen often.

I agree with the point of this tract.

No, not all the stuff about how children who get lied to about imaginary things will grow up to become serial killers who reject God out of spite.  What I agree with is that Harry, as a child, implicitly trusts his parents, and rightly so.  When you’re that young, your parents are supposed to be the people that you can rely on to take care of your needs.  Assuming they’re doing a decent job at that, you’re going to love and trust them.

Of course, as we get older, we all hit a point in our development when we realize that our parents are fallible, just like us.  It’s kind of a painful thing to go through, but it’s a healthy step as we transition to independence.

What’s not healthy is leading your kids on with stories that you know you will have to explain weren’t true one day.  However you spin it, selling a fiction as a truth is deceit, and I find that practice abhorrent, particularly because it involves exploiting a person’s trust.  Learning that Santa’s not real is disappointing, and while it doesn’t typically lead to homicide, it is an inevitable part of passing the Santa story off as real.

The kicker is that I like Santa.  I think he’s a very fun, festive part of a holiday that is generally devoted to encouraging goodwill between people.  I don’t want to get rid of him.  At the same time, I wouldn’t want to lie to my children.  The best solution I’ve come across for this dilemma is simple.  You don’t act like Santa’s real.  Eventually your children will absorb the cultural narrative about him, and when they bring it up, you tell them the truth; Santa’s a game that everyone likes to play around Christmastime.  It’s simple, elegant, and will probably blow up in my face if the time ever comes where I get to implement it.

Okay, now that I’ve said all that (phew!), let me come back to say that like every other Chick tract I’ve read, the underlying point of this story is to scare its readers.  The writers at Chick.com are fearmongering in the worst kind of way in this case by playing on parental anxiety.  The fact is that children grow up to be who they are regardless of their parents’ intervention.  This story, with its worst of all possible worlds (remember, parallel universe Harry only grew up to be a drunken abuser who got saved), wants to makes parents fear that if they do anything outside of the prescribed child-rearing strategy of Jack T. Chick that they are dooming their kids to hell.

And that’s a lie that’s sure to backfire horribly on someone.