Mennonites and Media: Mentioned in It, Maligned
It, and Makers of It: How Mennonites Have Been Portrayed in Media and How They Have Shaped Media for Identity and Outreach by Steven P. Carpenter
|About the Book|
Anabaptists and Mennonites have often been the subject of media scrutiny: sometimes admired, at other times maligned. Luther called them schwarmar, a German word meaning fanatics that alludes to a swarm of bees. In contrast, American independentMoreAnabaptists and Mennonites have often been the subject of media scrutiny: sometimes admired, at other times maligned. Luther called them schwarmar, a German word meaning fanatics that alludes to a swarm of bees. In contrast, American independent film producer John Sayles drew inspiration from Mennonite conscientious objectors for his 1987 award-winning film, Matewan. Voltaires Candide features a virtuous Anabaptist. Oscar Wildes play The Importance of Being Earnest contains an Anabaptist reference. An Anabaptist chaplain is central to Joseph Hellers antiwar classic, Catch-22. President Lincoln and General Stonewall Jackson both had something to say about Mennonites. Garrison Keillor tells Mennonite jokes. These are just a few of the dozens of fascinating media references, dating from the early 1500s through the present, which are chronicled and analyzed here.Mennonites, although often considered media-shy, have in fact used media to great advantage in shaping their faith and identity. Beginning with the Martyrs Mirror, this book examines the writings of Mennonite authors John Howard Yoder, Donald Kraybill, Rudy Wiebe, Rhoda Janzen, and Malcolm Gladwell. Citing books, film, art, theater, and Ngram, the online culturomic tool developed by Harvard University and Google, the author demonstrates that Mennonites punch above their weight class in the media, and especially in print.Mennonites and Media is a treasure trove of information about how Mennonites have been portrayed in various media and their involvement in portraying themselves and their beliefs. More than providing information, helpful as that is, Carpenter also offers analysis and notes the importance of media for doing mission. This is a resource I will refer to often as I explore the relationship of Mennonites and media in my own work.--Gordon Houser, Associate Editor of The Mennonite, Newton, KSA cross between history lesson and anthology, Mennonites and Media is a wildly interesting, thought-provoking, expansive resource. Even born-and-bred Mennonites will gain new insights on how culture, faith, and heritage intersect.--Rachel S. Gerber, author of Ordinary MiraclesSteven Carpenter is Director of Development and Church Relations for MennoMedia, the publishing arm of Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada. For eight years he penned Carpenters Line, a regular column in the former Mennonite Weekly Review. He is a graduate of the Coast Guard Academy, a retired military officer, and a first-generation Mennonite. In 2011, he completed an MAR at Eastern Mennonite Seminary. He and his wife, Christine, live in Harrisonburg, VA.