Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Another example of Religion pissing me off.

I've made no secret about the derisive opinion I have for organized religious, particularly the 1930's barnd of Tent Revivalisst inspired cult currently calling themselves the Funny-Mentalists. (Or something like that.) I want to share with you all yet another example of why I feel sorry for the children being raised by these basket-cases...

I was on Netflix last night looking for some new titles. (I did snag both Iriku and Throne of Blood, BTW, Conchobar! LOL.) And I stumbled across one that's not out yet on DVD, but I was curious when it what coming and what people thought of it. It's called PONYO and it was this year's latest (American) release from Hayao Miyazaki, the greatest living animator in the world and one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. This was also the first Miyazaki movie to get a broad release in the U.S. He's been loved in Japan for decades now, but he's still relatively new to American audiences. So, OK... obviously I'm a HUGE FAN of Miyazaki-san. That being said, let me also say the Ponyo is NOT one of his best movies. It's GOOD. Quite good. But not GREAT. It's not the worst he's even done, just somewhere in the middle. As good or better than My Neighbor Totoro, but nowhere near as good as Spirited Away or Howl's Moving Castle. It's a very intelligent, but VERY kid-friendly, kid-oriented movie. Disney might have done something like this back in their Golden Days. (Or, more recently, they DID, since Ponyo is really just a loose interpretation of The Little Mermaid.) I'm saying all this because I don't want anyone to think that I'm pissed about someone just dissing a movie I liked. I'm sure there are MANY hard-core Miyazaki fans (myself included) who LIKED this one, but didn't LOVE it. So you're perfectly free to NOT LIKE this movie for any reason, as far as I'm concerned, except THIS ONE:

User: Jeikobu
Review of Ponyo, 3 Stars:

Miyazaki's latest effort delivers his usual quality on a physical level - spectacular animation, a great musical score, terrific storytelling, deep and charming characters, excellent voice acting
(I speak of the Japanese language version) and nearly unparalleled imagination.

(So far so good...)

Unfortunately, on a spiritual level, it takes a heavy fall. To rate this G is insane. The film exhibits the same problems that have plagued Miyazaki's films since Princess Mononoke - sorcery and false gods. Ponyo's mother, a goddess, is heavily disturbing and offensive for a Christian like myself. Magic is used very often, and the film undermines the specialness of humans by making a fish be capable of becoming a human. (worse yet, Ponyo can transform only because she tasted human blood when she licks Sousuke's cut) Ponyo has a lot of appeal and charm, and is very heart-warming and cute in places. I really did get taken with Ponyo and Sousuke's characters, and if it weren't for the negative content, this could've been my favorite Miyazaki film. Still, the dark spirituality hurts this film immensely, and is one I could never see myself recommending to anyone, especially children.

Did you get that? It's "insane" to give this film a "G-Rating." I-N-S-A-N-E. Why? Because it has MAGIC in it! OH-MY-GOOOOD, NOOOOOO! ANYTHING but MAGIC!!! Do you want to know what I think is "insane?" Being so wrapped up in such a narrow view of your religion that you are OFFENDED by anything that falls short of outright prostilytising, and feel that any story that has magic, fairies, godesses, supernatural beings, etc... that are not of a Judeo-Christian Bibilical nature is somehow, out of hand, not suitible for children, regardless of the remainder of the content.

I guess Harry Potter would have been OK for this moron to take her kids to if only they'd ended up BURNING Harry and his friends and all the teachers AT THE STAKE at the end of the movie!

I do not understand how it is possible for ANY human being, no matter bereft of reason and sanity, to be so utterly brainwashed by their cult-leaders that they feel that everythig outside of their narrow world-view is some kind of competing cult, trying to steal to childeren away from them. I truly feel sorry for these people's kids, who will lead such a dull and colorless childhood, and even angrier when I realize that these kids will grow up to become more stupid, mindless, zombie-like adults who will in turn torture their own kids the same way.

I have news for you idiots: No one ever read Harry Potter and then went out and statered worshiping satan, or practising "withcraft," in the Judeo-Christian sense of the word, because of it. NO. ONE. Modern day Wiccan's and neo-pagans don't even practiove "witchcraft" in the Judeo-Christian sense of the word! AND neither do the characters in Harry Potter (not the GOOD GUYS anyway!) and and neither does ANYONE in Ponyo. How mentally weak must your childeren be, that the mere site of a cartoon Godess will cause them to abandon their faith and go down the wrong spiritual path? (A better question might be: How stupid is your religion that it's grip on the minds of your children is so tenuous?) I'd hate to think of what they'd say about the 1980, Rey Harryhausen classic, Clash of the Titans! ZEUS! And POSIEDON! And THETIS! OH MY! (*head explodes*)

It called FICTION folks! No one ever studied Greek Mythology and started worshiping ZUES! Not even someone stupid enough to believe in the inerrecny of the BIBLE, with all it's internal contradictions and all the nonsensical claims it makes about the physical world that have been DISPROVEN by modern science, would watch "Clash of the Titans" and start worshiping ZUES! ...Or watch/read Harry Potter and start practicing "Witchcraft" (especially since there isn't any actual witchcraft even IN those books!), or watch Ponyo and start worshiping Gran Mamare, the Goodess of Mercy and the Sea!

No, fear not... Becasue about the only thing anyone THAT stupid would do upon seeing these films is START PROTESTING THEM.

Now... I do not think someone is stupid for believing in God, or for practicing a religion. Misguided at best, delusional at worst, but whatever. I'm initially inclined to view it all with a sense of utter indifference. I have very few atheist friends as it is, so who am I to judge? But it IS stupid to hold on to a biblical view of the world that has been DISPROVEN by scientific measurement and observation. What's more... however crazy anyone might think it is to believe in God, it is a hundered times crazier to believe in MAGIC! ACTUAL Magic and Demons and Pantheist Gods from civilizations long extint... It is I-N-S-A-N-E to believe that these things are real.

It's just make believe folks! For Crist's sake, just tell your kids "It's not real. It's just a different way to tell a fun story, and teach a life lesson." and they'll probably accept that and MOVE ON with their lives, paying it very little notice. (Unless they've inherited your propensity to being brainwashed. Maybe you know them better than I do.)

10 comments:

  1. Correction... after Clash of the Titans, I began adhering to Zeus worship, and years back, I worked with a man who worshiped Thor (the second part is true)!

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  2. Eddie-san:

    Thanks for the shout-out, and good viewing. I'd be interested in your reaction to the films. Since you put this info into your rant on religion, I've got a story about my first encounter with Ikiru which is topical. If you're interested, you can contact me by email.

    My 14-year-old is now doubly a fan of yours. He thinks Miyasaki walks on water. I had the good forsight (akin to Obama's grandparents prescience in faking his Hawaiian birth announcements) to room in college with a guy who would, years later, voice one of the characters in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. It's kept my "awsomeness" factor going, long after Kieran's reached the age where he should have discovered that I'm the world's most ignorant human.

    My response when I'm cornered by one of those literalist religious types is, "If you're a Christian, please direct me to the nearest Druid."

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  3. Kevin,

    LOL. And you know what? You're friend was either (1) a real smart ass, (2) a religious nutbag of an even higher order or (3) a HUGE nerd. (Absolutely nothing wrong with either the first or the last one, BTW!) ;)

    Conchobhar,

    I definitely would like to hear your Iriku story, preferably AFTER I've seen it! ;) I'll be sure to let you know, since you recomended it after all! :) Out of curiosity, is your son an anime fan in general, or just of Miyzaki? I'm curious if either you or he have seen 'Death Note' or not. (The one I mentioned in my last 'Friday' thread.)

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  4. This might be a good demonstration of how atheism is different from faith, as opposed to what many on the religious right seem to believe. If it involved faith, then surely some people would take it seriously enough to oppose movies that contained the existence of God. I'm an atheist, but it would never occur to me to be offended by such a thing by itself. Dogma, for instance, mocks elements of religion, but at the end of it all there is still a God. Has any atheist ever written a bad review of that movie for that reason? I find it somewhat unlikely. Movies that are deeply religious don't interest me, but I'm not offended at their existence either. I would never tell others that they shouldn't watch it because of my personal views. Maybe that's just me.

    Perhaps the topic of fiction is what makes this difference clear; since atheists don't believe in things that have no objective basis, we have no vested interest in any particular story, while people that immerse themselves deeply in matters of faith are wrapping their senses of self and well-being around a story. Works of fiction that conflict with that view then become competition, and threaten that person's sense of identity.

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  5. Eddie;
    My boy likes anime, loves Miyasake. No, we haven't seen Death Note. He would tend to shy away from a title like that. I don't know that's due to a natural squeamishness, or to the fact that on 9/11, when he was six, we didn't know until mid-afternoon that his mother and two oldest brothers were alive. Not every family in his school was as lucky as we were.

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  6. Brab,

    Good point on Atheists never being offended, or pannign a movie, simply because it implies the exsistance of God (or gods.) Never thoght about it quite that way! I think you're dead-on regarding FICTION and their world view as well. I just don't get how someone can go though life, claiming to be a person of "faith" and yet seeing dark and sinister forces EVERYWHERE - even in the most benign thing! Some of these people even get offended by CS Lewis - and he wrote biblical allegory! That level of intolerance for alternative artistic representation... I'll just never get it. Plus, I think what bothers me the most is that they're seeing things, and being offended by things, that JUST AREN'T THERE. Ponyo (and Harry Potter, etc...) are simply not even trying to make religious points. And these people who think they are are just... NUTS!

    Conchobhar,

    Well... [Death Note] IS pretty intence. And DEATH is a constant theme, so yeah... It might be a bit much for him. Glad to hear that things were OK with you guys after 9/11. My cousin was ticketed on one of the Boston-LA flights that day. He got bumped however, and ended up on the flight immediately AFTER the one that was hijacked.

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  7. Eddie,
    I spotted a comment of yours on TPM or some other site, Huff Post maybe. Either way, I started checking the feed of your blog and it wasn't a mistake.
    Good post by the way. It's difficult. I live in the second most liberal state in the union and I still deal with crazy statements bred directly out of Conservative talking points daily. About half the people I work with are Catholic and it bothers me to no end they get to speak condescendingly about things their religion looks down upon, but God forbid (sarcasm intended) I speak my mind, then everyone gets all offended.
    Come to think of it, I might be in the first most liberal state of the union. I just read about something interesting on a different blog you might like:
    www.fivethirtyeight.com
    Right now, it's the third entry down (about Scozzaffava in NY23), but they are all pretty good.
    Anyway, keep up the good work.

    Jesse

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  8. Eddie;

    The vagaries of life are incredible. There was a series of newspaper stories, in the years after 9/11, about a young woman who was on the last subway train ever to stop at the WTC station. They were evacuating the station and, a minute after she surfaced, the second plane struck. A portion of the fuselage sheared off her backside. One hundred and fifty surgeries later, she's doing well. I mention this because, if one piece of debris had taken a different trajectory, her story would be my wife's, or my sons would be orphans.

    I'm glad for your cousin's good luck. Are you close enough to him to know if he's experienced any problems with survivor guilt? It can be very nasty.

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  9. Jesse,

    Thanks coming by and for your comments! I'll definitely check it out! Thanks.

    Conchobhar,

    I don't think my cousin has had anything like survivor's guilt or anything like that, but he's had a string of unrealated medical problems, due to a recessive gene in the family, that causes tumors, pain, paralysis etc... and for several years (2002-2005), I'm sure THAT was occupying his mind far more. (Plus he got divorced in the middle of all that.) He's doing fine now, but I'm sure that what he was dealing with at the time pretty much crowded out any thoughts of whatever he may have been spared from.

    Oh and, uh BTW... To anyone who thinks that it was God that saved that woman, or Concho's wife... Well, nothing agianst either of them - I'm always heppy to hear about anyone's good fortune - but to say that God spared THEM and thus, by the same token, DID NOT SPARE everyone else... Well... I'd have to say that I find that reasoning highly derrogatory towards all the victims of 9/11 or any other disaster. I do say "Thank God" a lot myself, out of habbit, but I'm doing it lot less these days both with this sentiment in mind, and because I don't really mean it literally.

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  10. Right, Eddie. That woman was saved by some heroes on the ground, some incredible doctors, an awesome fiance who's now her husband, and her own inner strength. Whether or not she needed faith to access that strength, I do not know.

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