29 January 2009

Rapture Ready!

When I read an early review of Daniel Radosh's first book all I could say to myself was, "Why didn't I think of that first?!" Having finished it I think Radosh was much better suited to cool-headed analysis of Christian pop culture than I would have been in the same situation, so perhaps it's all for the best.

In RAPTURE READY! Radosh, whose byline you might recognize from the New Yorker's Talk of the Town section, goes about examining Christian books, movies, video games, and other forms of popular entertainment I didn't even know existed. (Bible theme parks, I had heard about, but who follows Christian wrestling?) Along the way he interviews a ton of people involved in the industry, as well as a few consumers.

The reason I think Radosh is so successful in his reporting is that, as an outsider to this world (humanist Jew I believe is the correct way to describe him) he's able to keep an open mind about what he sees, without dropping the faculties to evaluate whatever he comes across. From the book I can remember only one time where he describes himself as losing his temper -- at a Christian music festival, when he gets a leaflet describing the product of infertility treatments (like Radosh's very young twins) as abominations. I, on the other hand, lost my temper several times in this book when faced with the intolerance Radosh reports on -- but that doesn't make it less of a worthwhile read.

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