Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Dear God, Save Me From Your Idiot Followers

I hear they've cancelled the TV series The Book of Daniel. Way too controversial. All the conservative Christian groups up in arms over this latest affront to their sensibilities -- especially its portrayal of Jesus who is someone other than Rambo with a halo.

Yet tonight, watching television -- frankly, I hate most television, but my mother, like a lot of elderly folk, wants to have it on all the time -- in two hours, despite my best efforts to the contrary I saw two bloodied, bullet-ridden corpses sprawled all over a sofa; a man getting his kneecap shot off, with the attendant gore and screaming; an individual being run over by a car; someone stabbed with a sword; persons hacked with an axe, with a charming close-up of the bloodied stump of a finger. That's when I finally turned the damn thing off. (Read a book, Mom.)

Where are the outraged Koncerned Kristian Krusaders writing angry letters to network executives and their local papers about this nonstop mutilation-fest and jamming the talk-radio phone lines to complain? Oh -- they're in the kitchen, popping more corn. And don't expect to see them at the barricades protesting the systematic gutting of our civil liberties anytime soon.

That's another thing. Today in the paper Cynthia Tucker's column talked about cultural conservatives' efforts to limit access to birth control. This got me to thinking, because I am on the pill right now, for my much-lamented ladies' complaint. What would happen if I lived in a community with a single pharmacy, one that refused to fill my prescription? What if I didn't have a car and couldn't drive to the next town? For that matter, what if my doctor refused to treat me, on "moral" grounds? This is already happening in localities in this country.

I have every reason to believe that, if God forbid I were raped tomorrow, there are people in this country who'd be more upset that I was on birth control and thus unlikely to conceive in this situation than that I had been sexually assaulted.

Dear God, save me from your idiot followers.

And for any readers offended by my use of the word "idiot": Be very glad that I didn't add all the other adjectives that I'm thinking right now.


MikeC said...

All points well made. A lot of anger, but every bit of it justified, and I agree with every word. The best I could do in my blog today was to point to yours.

LutheranChik said...

I heard Terry Gross' interview with the creator of The Book of Daniel -- nice guy, but terribly naive; he really didn't seem to have had a clue that so-called Middle America would have issues with the show, and why. I live here, in the hinterlands; ask me. You have a lot of angry, economically dispossessed people being led by the nose by certain interest groups that whip them into a froth, with Pavlovian predictability, over culture-war issues, neatly deflecting their attention from the real reasons why they're losing jobs that pay a living wage, why the social safety net is being shredded and why their kids are going to have a poorer standard of living than they are. Angry, increasingly marginalized people being manipulated by shamelessly power-thirsty idealogues into projecting their dissatisfaction onto designated social scapegoats -- think Weimar Germany. No, I'm not overstating it.

P. Softly said...

Apparently not only the writer of the Book of Daniel didn't have a clue....What is with the TV executives who "apparently" didn't suspect how this would come accross, nor the advertisers??? I'm not saying it should or shouldn't stay on; I just don't watch most story TV shows. But there must be a big enough portion of middle America who does watch shows where people stray from the straight path. Think Soap Operas.

I used to limit my kids to what I called "kids' shows." Unfortunately I think many of those went downhill, such as dealing with junior high sexual inuendos. So many of the comedies on TV seemed to deal with 20 something people jumping in and out of bed with other unmarried people, with no consequences. (Who protested that?) I finally decided that some of the dramas on TV which actually showed consequences were more realistic and more "educational" for my kids than the comedies.

But your larger point is even more important. Some of the "Christian leaders," seem to foam and spew about issues of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, while saying Happy Holidays, and holding signs with the 10 commandments on them, probably proclaiming that they were the recipients of God's blessings because the angels were so well dressed.

I also started thinking that these leaders want to keep their flocks from seeing coverage of the war, starvation in Africa, poverty in America. Get them stirred up about the evils of the Book of Daniel, stir up their perverted interest, so they watch that instead of reading something worthwhile about serving your fellow man.

In fact, they better watch TV all the time, so the only was to do that is to have a TV in every room, and the only way to do that is to bring the price down by making the TVs in China, which means the guy next door loses his job at the factory.

BTW, regarding the pill, et al. There is even a Lutheran blog against the use of any form of contraception, 'cause the women should stay home and have babies.

Ross said...

You are hitting a similar point that I've been thinking for a while. This country needs a good education in critical thinking. Maybe people need to define what values are really important to them, and learn to protest based on that.

My other half's sister has a strange filter for what she will allow her kids to watch. She is very against Harry Potter, but allowed the kids to see tons of violence and death on The Incredibles (a cartoon, at that!). When I pointed out the violence in the movie, after we all watched it toghether, she said she "didn't notice it". AUGH!

And being from the upper-Midwest, I'm getting sick of blaming the cancellation of all good media on "Middle America". I sure didn't cancel The Book of Daniel, and I haven't protested Brokeback Mountain (heck, I promote that movie!).

I could keep ranting, but this is your blog. I'll go rant on my own.

Ms. Obsessed said...

Amen!! I agree wholeheartedly.

I made a similar argument about the uproar over Brokeback Mountain. The movie "Hostel" was released about the same time as Brokeback and I never heard one word about people protesting THAT movie (Hostel) even though from the previews all I could tell it was about was violence, blood, pain and horror. And yet somehow that's "okay" in our world, but a movie about two consentual adults in a loving relationship isn't? Mmmkay. (And for the record, I haven't seen either movie, so I could be talking out of my you-know-what here.)

LutheranChik said...

For me "Middle America" refers to a psychic, not geographical, area.;-)

And, again -- the thing that got the conservatives' shorts in a twist about The Book of Daniel was not the story line nearly as much as its portraying a non-mean Jesus who wasn't threatening hellfire and brimstone, or demanding "The Sinner's Prayer." The same people who complained, I'm sure, tune in to Desperate Housewives every week and lap that up. It's true; they have no critical thinking skills. And everytime James Dobson or Don Wildmon or another one of their puppet-masters puts out a call for boycotts or angry letters, they obediently go to their mailboxes or computers and do that. It's like The Manchurian Candidate.

And as far as any meaningful organized opposition...snort. I hate to say it, but we're all amusing ourselves to death, one way or the other...just like Cabaret.

Sheryl said...

I completely agree with you in principle, but I have to admit that it doesn't bother me one bit that The Book of Daniel was cancelled. I completely applaud the effort to show clergy as flawed human beings with the same problems that all of us face, and I actually loved the portrayal of Jesus as an approachable savior rather than an unreachable deity. If that alone was the reason it was cancelled, that makes me sad.

But the fact was, the one episode that aired was just bad TV. The effort to show the realness and the humanity of the minister was way, way overblown to the point where every possible problem that a human being could ever remotely encounter, he and his family had. It was just an outlandish plot, not well-written, and not well-acted, IMHO.

Someday, some writer will write a script with a clergyperson in it that lacks the syrupyness of Seventh Heaven or the melodrama of this show, but still manages to show him/her in a human manner. And it will be wonderfully written, and wonderfully active, and everyone will love and embrace it.

A woman can dream, right?

RevHRod said...

Way back when, Dan Ackroyd had a sitcome in which he played an Episcopalian priest who was a widow with some goofy teenagers. He rode a motorcycle, but that was about the most outrageous thing about him.

I liked it. He made clergy seem like they were "normal." I think the show lasted half a season.

Some day, we'll get our own show. Until then, the rest of the population will just have their suspicions about us. Do we really sleep at the church? What's under that robe? Are we holier than they are? Do we really pray for good weather and then get our wish? ;-)

Luthsem said...

Amen. these are the same people that support the War in Iraq.

LutheranChik said...

Actually, if any of you remember Nothing Sacred -- THAT was a great show; a very true-to-life drama set in a Catholic parish. The ueberconservative Usual Suspects, of course, generated a great hue and cry -- most of whom not having actually seen the show -- and the executive wusses at ABC responded by alternately preempting the show and moving it around on the schedule until no one could find it...at which point ABC said, "Well, d'oh gee, the ratings are down, so we'll have to cancel it." Yeah; whatever. Spineless twits.

RuthRE said...

I do concede that it (BOD) was excessive in having too many plot lines but I was willing to let it make its impact then settle down a little...2 topics at a time please.

But MAN.
How are we to actively and equally impactively speak out against these Kristian Krusaders...making our opinions and numbers heard apart from theirs....without....being like them?

If you are doing God's work you are not looking for credit. But these people proudly wear each notch in their belt of something they've squashed "in God's name" as if God couldn't speak for himself.

Peace and justice people, peace and justice....not tattle tailing and finger wagging.

How would they have reacted if the portrayal of Jesus was a black man? Or a man of Arab decent. Wow...that's just crazy talk.

LC, I too am on the same medication for the very same reason...I think I'm safe in New England.....but otherwise...if I were denied.....I would probably bleed to death.

Sigh...k...I'm done.

Sheryl said...

LC, I was trying to thing of the name of that when I wrote my post! That was wonderful, and the most realistic portrayal of a Catholic priest and a Catholic parish that I have ever seen on TV or in the movies. Of course, that's probably why so many Catholic groups hated it...

Conrad said...

I went to the NBC website and sent someone an email from which I have not received a reply.

If anyone knows of an email address that will actually do some good, PLEASE inform us.

I had emailed our local station (KARK)a few weeks ago when it didn't air the show & the general manager actually called me!

They at least defered the show to the local WB affiliate.

Admitadly, the show was a bit to "friendsish" for me but I thought last Fridays episode was fleshing out nicely.

Conrad said...


Book of Daniel will webcast tonight at 8:00 EST


Bad Alice said...

Hey, I think there is a movie about Jesus as a black man, set in contemporary Africa. Nope, not going to come up with a name--nothin' in my noggin. I'm sure it's floating around somewhere.

I do doubt, however, that the protestors are all salivating over Desperate Housewives. All popular culture is anathema to them.

LutheranChik said...

Oh, I'm not so sure...having lived with the fundagelical, and been in close proximity with coworkers of that persuasion -- methinks there are more than a few "sneakin' deacons" and deaconettes consuming popular culture.

Anonymous said...

I like you're point of view. I guess we just have to tolerate (sp?) each other and pray and hope, yet speak and do whats right.