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Transparent


Peter T Chattaway
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No thread on this award-winning Amazon show yet? Very well then.

 

Christianity Today weighs in:

 

I know some people laud Transparent because it covers new ground, covering the “taboo”-ish topic of transgender people and humanizing them, giving shape and story to their plight. And that’s good reason. The transgender community is misunderstood, mistreated, and Transparent shows again the beauty of fiction’s ability to increase our empathy.

 

But for me, the story of the Pfeffermans covers ancient ground, ground we Christians always need reminding of: that God tells us—in fact, sent his Son to tell us—that we may mess up every which way from Tuesday, but that isn’t the whole of us. Despite it all, we are worthy of being loved.

 

The comments have begun.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I watched (and loved) the show a few months ago, but was leery about how it would be received here, so I never got around to starting a thread. Like the CT review says, it's not "just" a show about a transgender person; in a lot of ways, Maura Pfefferman (Jeffrey Tambor) is no more dysfunctional than his children. The way the show moves back and forth chronologically also allows it to explore the causes and origins of their destructive adult behavior in deep and meaningful way.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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I haven't watched the show yet, but I have... mixed... feelings about the CT review, e.g. the way it uncritically uses the term "trans woman" or the pronoun "her". Has CT ever used the phrase "marriage equality" uncritically in an article? It feels like a similar line is being crossed there. And I say this as one who wrestled big-time with Christian beliefs in general about 20 years ago partly because it didn't seem to me that Christian theology had taken the existence of intersexuality (which is not the same thing as transgenderism) into account in any meaningful way.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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The show itself questions the appropriate pronoun to use, since Tambor's character is still genetically male but has begun living as female. One of the daughters starts calling him "Moppa" (combination of mom and papa) and it sticks. Overall, they generally refer to Maura as she or her.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
Twitter Blog

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Yes, and when a show or film embraces the messiness of sex and gender labels, I appreciate it when critical reviews stray from PC terminology to highlight those themes.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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