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More Jesus in My Vampire Porn, Pls

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Just last week, Pew Research released the results of a big religion survey, which found, among other things, that non-religious people were more educated on matters of religion than actual believers.  Now, given that the questions on the survey were insanely easy, I was not inclined to pat atheists and agnostics on the back for scoring 20/32 over believers’ 16/32.  Religious literacy is a problem in this country!  Here to illustrate the point for us is Big Hollywood‘s Leo Grin, whose “Catholic grade school” clearly failed him.  Recently Grin went to see The Last Exorcism and Let Me In.  To his, and no one else’s, surprise, they were terrible!  But rather than write a review that was all, “Dudes, these movies were terrible.  Don’t go see them,” Grin takes a classic Big Hollywood lateral approach and tries to make a big deal about how there’s not enough God and Jesus and crucifixes in horror movies.  He starts with a long bit from Stoker:

“It is the eve of St. George’s Day. Do you not know that tonight, when the clock strikes midnight, all the evil things in the world will have full sway?”

Those are words spoken by a superstitious old woman to Jonathan Harker in Bram Stoker’s novelDracula (1897). Fearing for the outsider’s safety, she gives him a crucifix. “I did not know what to do,” Harker writes, “for, as an English Churchman, I have been taught to regard such things as in some measure idolatrous, and yet it seemed so ungracious to refuse an old lady meaning so well and in such a state of mind.”

But later, overcome with terror in the bowels of the Count’s Transylvanian castle, he has reason to be most grateful:

Bless that good, good woman who hung the crucifix round my neck! For it is a comfort and a strength to me whenever I touch it. It is odd that a thing which I have been taught to regard with disfavour and as idolatrous should in a time of loneliness and trouble be of help. Is it that there is something in the essence of the thing itself, or that it is a medium, a tangible help, in conveying memories of sympathy and comfort? Some time, if it may be, I must examine this matter and try to make up my mind about it. In the meantime I must find out all I can about Count Dracula. . . .

Now, as anyone with a passing familiarity with the history of Christianity in Europe knows, the reason Harker balks at accepting the crucifix is its status as a Catholic symbol, with England’s political and cultural three-way tug-of-war between Catholicism, Anglicanism, and Puritanism over the previous centuries enough to give any late-Victorian “English Churchman” (ie, Anglican) pause.  In fact, a lot of Dracula is about the nearly-modern English identity struggling against its older, European roots:  London on the cusp of the Industrial Revolution vs. rural Eastern Europe, no-nonsense Anglicanism vs. superstitious Catholicism, old European aristocracy vs. the new professional British middle-class, etc etc.

Grin’s takeaway from this passage, however, is that there aren’t enough crucifixes in tween Mormon vampire fiction:

Over a century later, Stephenie Meyer managed to write four bestselling books concerning vampires (later translated into a quartet of popular movies) without the word crucifix appearing even a single time in her hundreds of thousands of words.

Meyer is a Mormon!  LDS doesn’t use crosses or crucifixes.  And while Jesus himself never makes an appearance in the Twilight novels, it does not take a genius to catch the constant usage of Mormon imagery, and the relentless advocacy of Mormon values.  Does Grin expect horror novels and films to be not only overtly Christian, but specifically Catholic?  Zah?

Written by dieblucasdie

October 11, 2010 at 6:04 pm

They Make Take Our Lives, But They Will Never Take Our Dadrock

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Man, what is with conservative columnists having epiphanies about AMERICA while dragging their kids to museum-of-boomer-rock shows?  First David Brooks tossed his advanced degrees in the gutter in favor the “emotional education” given to him by Bruce Springsteen (yeah, I don’t know what the fuck he was talking about either), and now Big Hollywood’s Joseph F. Connor has learned, with some help from Tom Petty, that everything about America statehood is awesome, except for, you know, the American government, which is evil.

I have never heard Tom Petty talk politics. When it comes to performers, that generally is a good thing.

Connor really hates it when musicians get all political.  That is the WORST.  He’d like to sit at home and vibe on “Soak Up the Sun,” but instead he’s got to listen to all these terrible NUGE records to maintain his pristine conservative earspace.  Now that Connor’s done admonishing artists for having political views and speaking about them, he’s going to spend the next few hundred words straining to read a political message into a Tom Petty song (spoiler: it lines up perfectly with his own ideology!  Who would have thought?):

Last week my wife and I took our kids, 13 and 11, to see Petty and the Heartbreakers…

As the band played “Refugee” I couldn’t help but focus on the audience, including my children, singing in unison “everybody’s got to fight to be free.” Like many Petty lyrics, its a simple, direct, powerful line; easily repeated but probably rarely internalized.

Dude, next time just let little Johnny and Susie go see Soulja Boy like they wanted to.  Or get a sitter and just take your wife; she deserves a night out if she’s dealing with preteens belting out “Refugee” around the house.

We, as Americans, do have to fight to be free.

Who am I supposed to be fighting again?  The British?  The concept of tyranny?  I guess terrorists, maybe, but that’s not something “we, as Americans” all have to deal with.  It’s not like those guys are running up all in my and Joseph F. Connor’s grills, personally, telling us we can’t do stuff.  Just for you, Joseph F. Connor, next time a jihadist comes up to me all, “Hey, dieblucasdie, stop being free,” I’mna punch that guy and sing “You Don’t Know How It Feels” to him.

The upcoming generations need to understand that. Our grandparents had to fight to be free of Nazism. Our parents and my generation (though we can discuss The Who at another time) fought to be free of Soviet style communism.

But for this generation and the at least the next, not only do we have to fight to be free of radical Islam but more insidiously we have to fight to be free from the tyranny of our own federal and even local governments’ designs on our liberty. We, who are parents, have a responsibility to educate our children. Our freedoms are threatened by those within and without.

Oh, I see, it’s my local aldermen I should be punching.  He isn’t clear about which liberties my local government might have “designs” on, so how am I supposed to educate the kids?

We must teach our children about the Declaration, the Constitution, our God given individual rights, the brilliance, morality, sacrifice, and bravery of our forefathers and instill in our kids the motivation to become active participants in guaranteeing their own freedoms. Pink Floyd asked, “Mother, should I trust the government?” The answer is “no.” It is filled with too many people who would gladly step in and decide our freedoms for us.

I’ve often wondered how the paranoid anti-government right manages to reconcile such an intense distrust of American institutions with a stringent, no-caveat dedication to American exceptionalism/American nationalism.  My pet theory has always been, “They just don’t think about both at the same time,” but here’s Connor, disproving it.  For him, hatred of American government isn’t just compatible with true American patriotism, it is American patriotism’s defining feature.  Oh, whatever, let’s just go watch some VH-1 Classics.

Adventures in Selection Bias

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August must be a slow month even for those brimming with manufactured outrage, because over at Big Hollywood today, the best James Hudnall can come up with is a dashed-off piece about how Jimmy Carter sucks and Sylvester Stallone rules.  No, seriously.

After the moribund Carter years, the age of Reagan issued in a new era of American confidence. And with that confidence came a wave of films full of male bravado after a decade of paranoid, navel gazing films with negative endings.

I’m not going to quote the piece more extensively than that, since that’s basically his whole argument right there.  The “New Hollywood” films of the 1970s were the perfect pseudo-intellectual, hollow, self-obsessed type of the Carter Administration, just as the hyper-masculine action hero pictures of the 1980s were  perfect type of the Reagan-era’s Nietzschean vitality.  While it’s worth nothing that Hudnall is not so enamored of Schwarzeneggerian masculinity as to hit the free weights and slug the whey protein himself, the idea of art-as-a-mirror is certainly a familiar and tempting one.

The problem, though is that he’s comparing the arthouse picture of one era with the summer blockbuster fare of the next.  After all, the first Superman movie, Grease, Saturday Night Fever, and two Bond movies all grossed in the top 10 in the 1970s, and Platoon, The Killing Fields, and Ordinary People all won Oscars in the 1980s.  And of “Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Willis, Gibson, Norris, Van Damme, Seagal,” only Stallone had a movie in the 1980s that out-grossed Platoon.

I’m not trying to make the point that the 70s were better than the 80s for film, or vice versa.  We’re talking about fucking ten-year periods here; they both had a lot of movies, and when you try to generalize this broadly, you only open yourself up to death by a thousand counterexamples.  For every Taxi Driver there’s also a Do the Right Thing, and for every Lethal Weapon 2 there’s a Smokey and the Bandit.  But if this is the way Hudnall wants to kill some time in late August, I don’t really hold it against him; I just worry about the type of person who curses Jimmy Carter under his breath while watching The Graduate and gets a hard-on for the Great Communicator mid-way through Bloodsport.

Written by dieblucasdie

August 17, 2010 at 12:05 am

Daily Idiot Manchild

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I’ve generally given up posting about Greg Gutfeld’s (ugh) “Gregologues,” in part because they mostly conform to a link-oneliner-plug format that doesn’t leave a lot of room for discussion, and in part because he’s the one member of Big Hollywood‘s sub-Caroline-in-the-City comedy team who at least tries to crack jokes instead of acting like creepy, seething, passive-aggression is comedy.  Maybe he’s only tolerable relative to the likes of Crowder, Jena, or Hudnall, but I’ve developed a bit of a soft spot for the big lug.

It must also be said, in the interest of giving credit where credit’s due, that Gutfeld is generally judicious when singling out figures or initiatives or soundbites from the left that are worthy of mockery.  My usual reaction to his column goes something like, “Wow, it’s a little sad that Greg is 35 and still pining for the ol’ frat days, but yeah, that was a silly thing Obama said, there.”

Today, though he’s getting his smirk on because there’s a harmless GOTV video where Obama doesn’t pander enough to “middle-aged white dudes”:

So, for this upcoming November election, here’s an idea to help restore American strength and prosperity. White middle-aged men must band together and throw the idiots out.

That’s all there is to it.

At least, if I follow President Obama’s lead. For, in his mind, his victory requires splitting the populace apart – and only these folks matter: young people, African Americans, Latinos, and women.

I like how Gutfeld acts like “white middle-aged men must band together and throw the idiots out”  hasn’t been his employer’s plan since, oh, I don’t know, Tax Day ’09.  But that shit aside, the video Gutfeld links to is completely harmless.  Obama talks about engaging and energizing people who didn’t normally vote before 2008, who came out specifically for him, and who are now in danger of slipping back into apathy.

Yes, that largely means women, black, Latinos, and young people.  Now, it may surprise Gutfeld to learn that women alone account for over 50% of the population.  Shocking!  I did a quick-and-dirty calculation based on census data, and those groups combined account for about 72% of the US population.

But Obama actually spent two minutes directly addressing the majority of Americans, while not addressing its most privileged sub-sub-sub-group, “middle-aged white dudes,” so clearly he’s a racist.

Acknowledging that people other than “middle-aged white dudes” exist is not the same as excluding them!  Is Gutfeld so used to seeing “middle-aged white dudes” pandered to that he can’t see the difference?  Guys, he works for Fox.

Written by dieblucasdie

April 28, 2010 at 5:21 am

If I Could Just Touch the Hem of Her Garment, I Know I’d Be Healed

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When Victoria Jackson kept displaying a brand of insanity that’s weird and disturbing even relative to her Big Hollywood cohorts, I had sort of assumed, perhaps naively, that John Nolte would eventually just change her login password and stop answering her emails.

I don’t respect much about Nolte’s writing or editing, but it can at least be said about him that he takes conservatism seriously, and wants to advance its interests.  So I’d thought a sideshow hot mess like Jackson would eventually get cut out, if for no other reason than that she makes them all look fucking crazy.

Silly Blucas, what were you thinking?  This is the far-right, where one can only fail upward, so of course Victoria Jackson’s joined up with the Tea Party Express, and has been traveling the country on the GOP’s dime. Being a low-level GOP-shill has its advantages, of course, one of which is the ability to come within poking distance of Sarah Palin:

Happy mayhem surrounds Sarah Palin.  Pushing, snapping, hugging.  I couldn’t get near her if I tried, so I just stood in the back watching the circus.  At one point, I couldn’t resist, while she was signing Ron Rivoli’s guitar, I reached out my arm through the crowd and touched her red jacket with my finger!

There is, in fact, PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE of Jackson’s creepy-subway-groper behavior:

Uhhhh, that’s her, in back left next to the bumper sticker, straining her neck to get into the shot.

But hey, we all have celebrities we’d spaz out over if we got to attend something like this with them, so I won’t make fun of her too much over this.  And if this were a dorky “ZOMG SARAH!!! DRILL BABY DRILL!! DRILL THOSE COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS RIGHT IN THE FACE!!!” bit by Jackson, I probably wouldn’t have posted about it.  It’s the weird, out-of-nowhere detour about race that really makes it awesome:

There were a few protesters on the outskirts of our rallies, but I only saw one up close.  In Albany, NY standing next to a statue of George Washington was an angry black woman holding a sign that said, “Yes, We Can.”  She looked very angry.  The media was on her like flies.  They got shots of our Tea Party crowd with her in the foreground.  I was asked to pose next to her for a group shot.  I kept glancing at her face.  It takes a lot of energy to keep a frown that long.  Finally, I asked her, “Why are you so angry?”  She whipped her head around,  her eyes on fire with hate, and snarled, “Don’t talk to me, Whitey.”  I walked away slowly, wondering why she was so mad at me.

I suspect she doesn’t like white people.

I used to think that black people didn’t like me because of the slavery thing a hundred years ago.  But, I just learned from Lloyd Marcus’ book “Confessions of a Black Conservative” that blacks are taught since the day they are born that “Whitey is keeping them down.”  No wonder why she hates me.  She doesn’t know it is a Liberal lie.

Now, while I do think that “Don’t talk to me, Whitey,” is a perfectly reasonable, measured response to being approached by Victoria Jackson, I’ll eat my hat if this woman actually said “Whitey.”  Do black people even say that anymore?  I’m pretty sure Victoria Jackson is getting reality confused with bad movies from the ’70s again.

In Lloyd Marcus’ book he talks about growing up in the “projects.”  He says that his family moved into a brand new building that within two years was filthy and dangerous.  Lloyd says, “All I kept hearing from the majority of adults was that everything was the ‘white man’s fault.’  Even at the tender age of nine, I sarcastically thought to myself, ‘How can we stop these evil white people from sneaking in here at night, peeing in the stairwell, leaving broken wine bottles on the ground, smashing the light bulbs, and attacking people.’”

He explains that the “liberal cradle-to-grave government dependency programs kill incentive and ultimately hurt people.  Meanwhile, Conservatism is branded as mean and heartless.  What is ultimately heartless is an ideology that enslaves people in a system that rewards sloth and discourages achievement.”

Lloyd continues to explain that he has “witnessed the devastating effect of liberalism in his own family.”  He writes, “My forty-something drug addicted cousin is a serial ‘impregnator’ with several out of wedlock children.  And yet, he enjoys a new townhouse, food stamps, free health care, and methadone all funded by working taxpayers.  In essence, the government is enabling and funding my cousin’s irresponsible life-style.”

So Jackson-by-way-of-Marcus’s argument is that black people simplistically blame white people for all the problems in their community when they should be… simplistically blaming liberals?  Awesome.  Way to break the cycle.

I know nothing about Marcus, but that weird detour about his cousin has me thinking he’s got to be playing white conservatives.  “Yes, we are all related, and we are all deadbeat welfare queens!  I can say so ’cause I’m black!  Just give me a book deal and you can quote me whenever you want to be racist, and no one will be able to call you on it!”

Jackson’s not done, though, and proceeds to post a picture of her “teenage daughter.. on the front of the bus flirting with David, a black teenager.”  Welcome to post-racial America, Victoria Jackson’s daughter, where your mother will post a completely unflattering photo of you sitting next to a hot black guy, with your mouth hanging open, in order to prove she’s not racist!  This might help.

Apparently, though, the simple beauty of young love in first blossom is not enough to quiet Jackson’s rage:

His black father William is sitting near me sleeping.  Reporter Richie keeps bringing up the race thing, for over an hour.  Finally, I explode, “The President is a Racist!  The “police acted stupidly” comment Obama made about the Crowley-Gates affair was the most racist thing I have heard in a long time.  And shame on the President for purposefully stirring up racial conflict!  It popped out of his mouth at the end of a health care speech when he was off Teleprompter!  Oops!  His Jeremiah Wright training leaking out!”  I immediately realized I’d given the NBC guy the fodder he was after.   I was caught in a tired moment and I didn’t even have my make-up on.  Well… Obama is a racist, but I don’t want to be involved in childish tit-for-tat whining.

I just want my country to be FREE.

Now, even if you didn’t like the “police acted stupidly” thing, and thought it was knee-jerk or irresponsible or whatever, how is it racist, unless you think a black guy criticizing a white guy is inherently racist?  And even if you think Gates contributed to the situation or escalated it, and/or you think Crowley made an honest mistake, he clearly wasn’t, you know, right.

You gotta love how she’s going to prove she’s not racist by going off on an incoherent rant, immediately namechecking Gates and Wright.  I thought this thing was about taxes?

All of Jackson’s tribulations at the hands of scaaaarrry black people were worth it, though:

In Boston, after I had touched Sarah’s jacket with my finger, I had gone back to watching her talk to her fans when suddenly Sarah had turned around and our eyes met.  She did a double take and said, “Oh!  I love you!”  She hugged me and then she said, “Thanks for all you’re doing.  I want your autograph!”

For the rest of the day I was speechless with a dumb grin on my face…

Just the rest of the day?

Written by dieblucasdie

April 26, 2010 at 2:31 pm

A Camel Passing Through the Eye of a Needle

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Steven Crowder is doing some quality trolling today with a headline like “Poor People Can Be Greedy Too”.  Judging from the url, it looks like the Big Hollywood editorial staff wisely trimmed Crowder’s original title, “Poor People Can Be Greedy Scumbags Too.”

Ever notice that the chronically poor nearly always share one thing in common? They are some of the most greedy SOB’s on the planet. I know it seems sacrilegious to say so. You’re just not supposed to criticize the poor.

Yeah, they’re always trying to get “food” and “shelter.”  Greedy fucks.

Now, I hate to throw a Proverb at you (particularly as it’s not of the trendy Chinese variety, but one of those scary Old Testament scribbles) but no matter what your faith, I would imagine that Proverbs 28: 22 would still have to be incredibly insightful.

A stingy man is eager to get rich and is unaware that poverty awaits him.

See, God isn’t condemning rich people. He’s condemning actions followed by a solemn warning of where they would lead. God seems to think that actions are a reflection of your heart. He’s a freaky dude when it comes to that kind of thing. Yes, I said “dude.” Feminists, start sending your letters.

Now statistically, it’s true. Poor people (particularly liberals) donate a lower percentage of their income than middle and upper-class Americans. To be fair, they have less to give… But then I guess it becomes the whole “chicken or the egg” deal. Do they have less to give because they’re stingy/greedy, or are they greedy because they have less to give?

The poor don’t… give enough money to the poor?  What?  And what does that random Proverb have to do with a goddamn thing?  Seems to me the Bible actually addresses the question of poverty and charity pretty directly:

He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.  Many rich people put in large sums.  A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.  Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury.  For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood. (NAB, Mark 12:41-44)

I agree with Crowder, though, that actions can reflect the heart.  So what does writing sarcastic blog posts attacking the least privileged members of society say about his?  Oh wait, the Bible has something to say on that, too:

Amen, I say to you, whatever you did to one of these least brothers of mine, that you did unto me. (NAB, Matthew 25:40)

Written by dieblucasdie

January 20, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Finished With My Woman ‘Cause She Couldn’t Help Me With My Mind

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Victoria Jackson with her Eurovision entry for this year:

It seems these days
I’m in a haze,
And I can’t concentrate on things,
Don’t eat or sleep,
Feel incomplete,
And kinda scared and creepy.

I look over my shoulder lots
And shudder when I watch TV.
I bite my nails and cuticles
And watch my words very carefully.
I bite my lip a lot
And fidget with the buttons on my blouse.
Why?
…BECAUSE THERE’S A COMMUNIST LIVING IN THE WHITE HOUSE!!!

I’m jittery, my teeth I grate
I twitch, I shake, I ruminate
Lately I’m perplexed and pinched
In pain, I pout and ponder.

Why aren’t people shocked or something,
Why aren’t people up in arms?
Does anyone read history?
Or see red flags, or hear alarms?
The streets are filled with deaf and dumb
As I squeal like a mouse,
“THERE”S A COMMUNIST LIVING IN THE WHITE HOUSE!!!”

My husband really misses me.
My parents think I’ve gone crazy.
Only Glenn Beck understands me,
And, of course, Sean Hannity.
But, it seems, besides us three,
And the nice people who drink the Tea,
There’s no one else who can see
THE COMMUNIST LIVING IN THE WHITE HOUSE!!

Maybe I have lost my mind,
Or have been drugged by some narcotic.
Maybe I’m watching a movie called 1984
Or maybe I am just psychotic.
If I’m in a dream, fast asleep
I guess I will just try to keep
My eyes shut ’til this goes away
And I awake to a happier day
When my ukulele does not play
This dire song of distress and dismay
Called…THERE’S A COMMUNIST LIVING IN THE WHITE HOUSE!!!

What I love about Jackson is how completely unconcerned she is with actual politics.  She doesn’t care about policy, she doesn’t care about the crass horse-race mechanics, she doesn’t even really care about half-baked conspiracy theories.  Her entire engagement with the political sphere begins and ends with some guys on the TV telling her to be afraid, so she’s afraid.  There’s zero political content in the above; it’s all about her fear.

She is like a parody of a parody of a Michael Moore strawman.  It’s pretty startling and saddening that someone like her actually exists.  If I were John Nolte I’d be embarrassed.