Friday, December 26, 2008

Random Post-Christmas Blathering

One of the advantages of no longer feeling all of the excitement and anticipation that leads up to Christmas is that you don’t have to suffer the crash that often results once Christmas finally gets here and is over.
So for me today was a day much like any other, most of which, if I’m honest, generally tend to be a bit of a letdown anyway.
I really didn’t do much of anything today. I signed onto AIM and logged into my work e-mail and no issues ever came up. At the end of my “work” day, I took a nap, most of which I spent dreaming that I was getting up from my nap.
Then I planted myself in the recliner and dozed some more while watching a marathon of UFO Hunters on The History Channel.
Anyone know what the deal is with The History Channel and UFOs? UFOs seem to have taken the position once held by Hitler.
After that I watched a bit of a show on The National Geographic Channel focusing on the Book of Revelation.
Among the people interviewed was Tim LaHaye, co-author of the Left Behind books. Calling him the co-author is a bit of an overstatement, actually, as he mostly provided theological guidance to Jerry Jenkins, who did all of the actual writing.
I’ve seen pictures of LaHaye, but this was the first time I actually saw a moving image of him, and I have to say that he’s really damned creepy.
The man is in his 80s and has fewer gray hairs than I did when I was in my 20s. It’s a clear sign of vanity, as it looks utterly unnatural in a way that makes it obvious that it’s either a dye job or a toupee.
Why would someone whose sole focus is supposed to be on glorifying God and who believes that we’re living in the End Times ™ bother trying to mask the signs of aging? It’s rather unseemly, and, quite frankly, a little on the feminine side, which seems a little shocking for such a manly man.
Of course, it led me to wonder about something. Over in the comments sections of the Slacktivist dissections of the Left Behind books and movies we often speculate on the specifics of the Rapture.
When the believers are sucked up from the Earth by Jesus and his magical Dyson (the expensive pet hair one) – I imagine it looking rather like the scene in Spaceballs when the giant vacuum sucks up the atmosphere from the planet Dryad* – so that they can skip out on that whole “dying” thing, which they get a pass on because they’re just that much more special than any and all believers who came before them, they will be naked as the day they were born.
All their clothes will, like the rest of the non-believing – or not correctly-believing – populace, be left behind.
One assumes that this means any jewelry they’re wearing will be left behind as well, and so will any sort of implants, dental products like dentures and braces, and other things that aren’t natural parts of their bodies.
So what about hair dye? Will Tim LaHaye leave behind a pile of clothes and a puddle of dye?
And what about the contents of bowels and bladders? All the germs, bacteria, and mites living in and on the human body? Tattoos?
There are no answers to these sorts of questions in the books or the movies – or in the Bible itself, where there’s also no mention at all of the Rapture – because neither LaHaye nor Jenkins were bright enough to even consider that these sorts of questions might even arise**.
Fred, the titular Slacktivist, often refers to the Left Behind series as “the worst books ever written.”
His problem with them is not just the horrific characterization, the utter lack of understanding of how the world works or the nature of the human condition, or even their frankly baffling obsession with telephony and travel arrangements, but rather with the insane, puzzling, and, in his words evil theology upon which they’re based.
Obviously I’m not a theologian, but I do have a more than passing familiarity with the Bible and with a lot of theological theories and with history, so while I’m not really in the same position to judge the validity of the theology presented in the books that Fred is, I can certainly understand his perspective.
Even so, I don’t exactly have a horse in that race in the way that Fred, himself an Evangelical Christian, does, so most of my outrage over the books is reserved for the bad writing.
It all brings to mind a line from the song Sweetheart Come by Nick Cave:

So let’s not weep for their evil deeds but their lack of imagination

In any case, pretty much most of the above was simply the result of feeling like I should post a blog entry but not really knowing what I wanted to blog about.
For the record, my favorite part of the Nick Cave song I mentioned is

Walk with me now under the stars
It’s a clear and easy pleasure
And be happy in my company, for I love you without measure
Walk with me now under the stars
It’s a safe and easy pleasure
Seems we can be happy now, it’s late, but it ain’t never

Some of you may have noticed that the guy in my wildly inappropriate Christmas picture appeared to be wearing a tux, and if you did, you may have wondered why.
So, what, you don’t dress in formal attire when opening your Christmas presents? Heathens.
Actually, the reason for the tux is that the reference image I used was a picture that was part of a pictorial featuring Barbara Bach that ran in Playboy 30+ years ago, back when she was a Bond Girl. Hence the tux.
So now you know.

Not Exactly A Spoiler Department:
To provide some further thoughts on the movie version of The Spirit, I felt I should mention, for the benefit of the haters, that Frank Miller has a cameo in the movie, and, as has been the case in pretty much every movie cameo he’s had, he gets killed. Brutally. So there is that.
In Sin City, he gets his brains blown out. In Daredevil, I just noticed, he apparently gets killed by Bullseye with a pen, as he’s credited as “Man with pen in head.” I don’t remember that, nor do I remember his cameo in Robocop 2, but he probably bought the farm in that, too.
Appearing as himself in the movie Jugular Wine: A Vampire Odyssey, he gets killed by a swarm of vampires, while Stan Lee, who compares the vampires to “angels,” looks on.

*In “fairness” to LaHaye and Jenkins, in writing Left Behind their only real consideration was the “message,” so any other considerations – pacing, plot, creating characters who even remotely resembled human beings, etc. – would be looked upon as irrelevant and frivolous.

**It’s worth mentioning that when we watched Krull the other night Scott referred to this scene during the bit when the Black Fortress flies off into space piece by piece.

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