Don’t miss the latest Mark Judge column in which he compares the new movie about Jackie Robinson, 42, with the new Selena Gomez party-feature SPRING BREAKERS.

Why in the world would you compare the two? Well, the latter stars Gomez as a character named Faith:

. . . she’s an evangelical Christian. In early scenes she is seen at prayer meetings, where the pastor tells her that Jesus will shield her if she encounters evil. Faith gets involved with three bad girls, and they rob a local restaurant to pay for a trip to Florida during spring break. They party, apparently only own one item of clothing–bikinis, and get arrested. Then they get involved with a gang banger . . . and things turn out as you might expect.

Faith escapes the worst of the consequences by . . . . . . returning to Jesus?  No, but by returning to . . . . . . college. Of course. Whereas, with 42:

Dodgers owner Branch Rickey and player Jackie Robinson are not only jocks, but literate men. Robinson went to college at UCLA, and Rickey can both quote the Bible and give the Greek meaning of words like Philadelphia. Theirs is a faith that is grounded in learning and reason . . .

They reason through why Robinson will need to exercise a heroic  turning-of-the-other-cheek to the inevitable racist abuse if they are to achieve the breakthrough they seek. And the film shows how Robinson’s faith enables him to do this. Whereas,

In SPRING BREAKERS, the characters are so illiterate they repeat phrases over and over again like mantras–“It’s like a dream, it’s like a dream.” . . . The film becomes banal, violent, and absurd . . . [and it] gets old.

And of course the film cannot bring itself to present Faith’s initial faith as anything of real substance or challenge. So all this is the evidence for Judge’s main point:

Comparing the treatment of Christianity in 42 and SPRING BREAKERS indicates that Americans have become more secular not through any kind of Enlightenment, but through illiteracy and a loss of reason.

Absolutely.

P.S. I suppose the equivalent pop music juxtaposition would be Annette May’s lyrically stern (but musically delicious) “Vacation in Heaven,” with Blur’s outrageously banal  “Girls and Boys.” Unlike the dogmatic secularists you meet in college faculties or in prestige journalism, Blur are the sort who seem ready to admit that the actual world brought to us by secular modernity is pretty pathetic, and that it gets old .

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