02
Dec
07

Things I Think

A disclaimer for this post: normally, when I write on here, it’s because I want to share something with the wonderful world-wide interweb, or there’s something I specifically think people should know about, or that they might find amusing.  That being said, this one’s just for me.

Here’s a few things I think:

1. You may or may not know that Sean Taylor, former NFL free safety for the Washington Redskins, was murdered last week in his home in Florida.  For someone like me, who checks ESPN.com and other various sports websites every day, this story is inescapable.  I’ve read a number of articles about the story and a few sports columnists’ opinions about the matter, and I have a bone to pick.

For the most part, the media has been doing an okay job of showing respect to the family and friends of Sean Taylor.  The day he died, every sports site had headlines of the tragic loss of a talented football player.  The problem was the story right underneath that one.  Almost every website also had a “how will this affect the Redskins’ playoff chances?” article.  Tasteless, if you ask me.  Taylor, despite his character issues, was someone’s son, and someone’s father, and now he can’t be that anymore.  That’s the tragedy, not the potential failure of the Washington Redskins, which essentially, is a business organization.  He was not just a piece of talent plugged into a football machine that now may produce fewer wins.  To tell you the truth, I’m more upset with the public than the media over this, because the writers wouldn’t write what the readers don’t want to read, and the fact that there’s people out there that would think about what effect this would have on the performance of something that now seems so trivial is the real shame.

2.  Friday, a man took two people hostage in a Hillary Clinton campaign headquarters building in New Hampshire.  I’m not claiming this is a conspiracy–that’s right (let me repeat that in caps for emphasis), I’M NOT CLAIMING THIS IS A CONSPIRACY.  I merely think it convenient, as I’m sure Hillary’s campaign people do, that this came at a time when she was losing some ground in the polls, and this gave her an opportunity to not only get some more attention from the media, but it also gave her a chance to make a super “I’m-in-charge-everything’s-okay-and-if-I-can-handle-this-I-sure-can-handle-being-your-President” speech.  Like I said, I’m not claiming this was intentional or planted, but I doubt that Hillary’s people are worried about what this will do to her ratings, which is one of those awful-but-true aspects about spin and politics.  For more on this topic, go rent “Wag The Dog,” which is number one on my list of “Movies You Probably Haven’t Seen But That Doesn’t Make Them Not Incredible” list.

3. Recently, our apartment got a letter from the Azusa Light and Water company that said that because of a drought, the city of Azusa was having some real water problems, and were thus making us decrease our water usage by 20%, or suffer some steep bill-related consequences.  I think this is great.  I’m no hippie, but I like the earth alright, and I think we should do what we can to maintain it.  I watched “An Inconvenient Truth,” and thought it was the most engaging powerpoint-presentation-turned-Oscar-winning-film I’ve ever seen.  If the statistics in that movie are right, we’re in a serious amount of trouble, so much so that only flushing after number two shouldn’t be that big of a deal.  My politically-inclined roommate tends to believe that if Al Gore said he was running for president any time before the first caucus, he’d be the next POTUS, and I tend to agree with him.  Right now, I think there’s two trains of thought in America: one that believes that we need to stop living so recklessly and stop draining our resources, and another that essentially says, “Heck, we’re Americans, we’re pretty badass, so nothing’s going to get in the way of us having a good time and doing whatever the hell we want, even if that means the next generation’s going to have a tougher go at it than we did.”  I think attitude #2 is a selfish one, and I think we’ve got to all move towards attitude #1 quickly, or else it’s going to be too late.

4. I think Christians need to stop whining about “The Golden Compass.”  In the same vein as Hillary possibly benefiting from the hostage situation, this movie, and the book it’s based on, is benefiting tremendously from a bunch of whiny Christians.  In this case, any exposure becomes good exposure, because it heightens the curiosity of the public and makes them watch it (or read it).  It doesn’t do wonderful things for the public’s view of Christianity either, because it’s yet another example of how, in the mind of a non-Christian, Christians are whiny, boring, no-fun downers that want to rain on everyone’s parade.

Here’s the situation, in case you’re unaware.  There’s a series of books by a guy named Philip Pullman who just so happens to be an atheist, and just so happens to really know how to effectively market his stuff (we’ll get to that later…).  Anyway, the books, and the movies inspired by them, draw a lot of similarities to the Narnia books, except Mr. Pullman uses his stories to denounce religion.  The preview to the movie makes it look like it’s going to be pretty big: it stars Nicole Kidman, James Bond, James Bond’s girlfriend, and a whole slew of other people, it’s got the standard cool special effects and talking animals, a budget of $205 million dollars, and it’s supposed to be the next “Lord Of The Rings.”  Upon hearing this, some members of the church decided to do what they always do when they’re presented with something that is different than what they believe: they immediately got defensive.

Now there’s chain emails, there’s facebook groups, there’s websites, all with the purpose of informing Christians that taking your child to see this movie equates to buying them a first class plane ticket to hell, and will become the number one reason that they later will get into drugs, alcohol, and loud music.  You know what I think about this?  I think somewhere, Philip Pullman and the executives at New Line Cinema are smiling.

There’s nothing like a bunch of whiny Christians to draw attention to a cultural phenomenon.  There’s a brand of Christian out there that thinks that this movie is somehow going to turn our children against us, and while they may not be the biggest group, they certainly seem to be the loudest.  And like I said, I think ol’ Phil is loving it.  There was a time when “The DaVinci Code” was the greatest threat to Christianity since a hoard of hungry Roman lions.  The church got all pissy about it, and somehow, the book still managed to stay at the top of the best seller list, and the movie still managed to be the most successful international blockbuster of the summer of 2006.  Raise your hand if you think the church actually helped it become so successful.

From what I’ve read, Philip Pullman is a guy who understands marketing.  He starts with a product that has some merit- a good story, maybe some decent writing- and then he exposes it to as many people as he can, with the help of some obnoxious religious nutcases.  Pullman has been quoted saying of his books, “My books are about killing God.”

Does he actually mean this?

Maybe.

Did he know that saying this would cause an uproar that would give his books more publicity than he could dream of?

Definitely.

It’s quite possible that Pullman is a true blue atheist who genuinely believes the things he says.  It’s more likely that he takes things he believes to the ultimate extreme just to get some attention.  Either way, should this affect whether or not you see the movie?  Maybe, maybe not.

I say, if you want to see the movie, go see it.  Don’t let some facebook group (or dare I say it, some guy behind a pulpit) stop you or limit your enjoyment.   If you decide you don’t want to take your kids to see it, or you don’t want to see it, that’s fine too.  But if you do make that decision, make it because you’re informed about it, and it’s truly what you think, not because your Aunt Betty forwarded you an email that says Nicole Kidman hates Jesus.

So that’s what I think.

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3 Responses to “Things I Think”


  1. 1 Yes
    December 3, 2007 at 5:15 am

    First, I would love the complete list of movies-i-haven’t-heard-of…

    Second, luckily our pastor’s sermon skipped over the golden compass. Probably because he was leading a standing ovation (yup) because of Ohio State’s overrated journey to the national championship. In church. (I think mentioning Christ’s birth got an amen)

    Football brings people together.

  2. 2 andygraham
    December 3, 2007 at 6:35 am

    Here’s what I can think of as far as the movies go:

    (Also, I don’t claim to be the only person who’s seen these movies. Many of them are fairly popular, or were fairly popular when they came out. I just feel like a lot of the people I talk to haven’t seen these ones)

    Wag The Dog
    Searching For Bobby Fischer
    All The President’s Men
    Reign Over Me
    Quiz Show
    We Are Marshall
    Glory
    Spellbound
    Wordplay
    Comedian
    Into The Wild (that one’s still in theaters, so see it now or forever hold your peace.)

  3. 3 Andrea
    December 7, 2007 at 9:30 pm

    Because of all the hoop-la over the “Golden Compass” I link-plused the book and am half way done with it. It is a very entertaining book and I am enjoying it a lot. Its a trilogy so I dont know about the kids killing God but i’ll let you know when I finish the series : )


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