Showing posts with label Media Madness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Media Madness. Show all posts

Thursday, October 7, 2010

GLEE-ful propaganda against religion

Over at Jezebel they had a piece the other day on the newest episode of Glee, "Grilled Cheesus." This bit stood out:
However, this time Glee lived up to the hype. Murphy told Entertainment Weekly that he and the writers were striving to create a balanced story about religion with this episode so, "We went through and counted it word by word and line by line... Every time somebody said something anti-religion, we made sure somebody said something pro."
I didn't even have to see the episode or read another word of the writer's recap to detect the bias.  Glee's creator may think he is being scrupulously fair here, but the sticky wicket is that, unlike Hollywood, fifty percent of America is not openly hostile to religion and religious people.  America may be losing religious adherents, but the majority still believe in God and 76 percent of them identify as Christians.  (Note how unrepresentative the cast of Glee is.)

However, to be fair, I went over to Hulu and watched it.  And it was dreadful.  If this is the best Glee can offer...

The episode opens with football player Finn making himself a cheese sandwich in his George Foreman grill.  It comes out looking as if the face of Jesus has been burnt into it, and Finn takes this as a sign.  Kneeling before the "grilled Cheesus," he asks for numerous things: to win the next football game, to make it to second base with his girlfriend, and to be quarterback again.  During the course of the episode all these things happen, and he takes this as a sign that God has heard his prayers.  He asks the glee club to celebrate Jesus, and his request is granted - in a modified form, celebrating "spirituality" - which angers cheerleading coach Sue who is for clear separation of Church and State.

Meanwhile Kurt, the gay Glee cast member, has an argument with his father hours before his father has a heart attack and goes into a coma.  The glee club wants to help him and try to pray for his father and give comfort from their varying religious traditions, but Kurt is having none of it:
If I wanted to sing Jesus I'd go to church. And the reason I don't go to church is because most churches don't think very much of gay people. Or women. Or science.
Wow, so much nuance there, I can hardly peel back all the layers to get to the meaning.  Wait, no.  Kurt gets a number of chances to disparage religion in this episode, so many that he comes off as a bit, well, self-righteous.  Sue gets her shots in too.

It is true that Emma, the school guidance counselor, and Mercedes, the diva-ish, gospel singing glee club member, react with compassion towards Finn and Kurt and, on the surface, state the case for religion, however their dialogue is more or less rephrasing the doubts people have about religion in a more sympathetic way.  They and the "religious" glee club members are none of them especially devout and appear to think that religion is for answering requests or for feeling connection rather than for worship of a glorious God and gracious obedience to his precepts and commandments.  They parrot feel-good spirituality disguised as real religion likely because no one writing, producing, or directing Glee seems to be able to comprehend what religion is (except bigotry and stupidity).

More evidence of the bias:  Finn, our grilled Cheesus observer and would-be evangelist, is the good-hearted dimwit of the group. Making him the representative of Christianity is inherently insulting.  One of the other Christians is Quinn whose portrayer describes her character as "terrible, the meanest girl."  The smarter, savvier Glee kids are atheists (Kurt) or Jews (Rachel, Puck).  Huh.

Sue Sylvester, is not sympathetic, but her reasons for being hostile to religion (that her older, disabled sister was mocked and she was unable to change this through prayer) are portrayed as reasonable and sympathetic.  Her softening at the end of the episode takes back none of the "logic" of her previous arguments.      

Finally, a question for the writers on the miraclesacrilege of a grilled Cheesus.  Would you do a Mohammed on Rye?  If not, why is putting the face of Jesus on a sandwich acceptable?  Because you won't get death threats?  Is it possible, maybe, to show a little reverence for Jesus Christ, the man billions of people worship as the Son of God?  No, I guess not.  So much for a fair examination of religious meaning in America.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Piece of Advice #65: Aim higher than prostitution

Seriously.  You can do it.  You have it in you to be more than just a paid hole to plug.

It used to be that all women acknowledged the truth that prostitution was the vocation of last resort. All other avenues being closed to you, your family dead or having turned you off, no money, no skills, no friends, no strings to pull, that's when you wound up on the street.  Because if you didn't have anything else, you always had your vagina, and someone would pay to use it.  It was a way to stay alive, but it was the last stop before checking out, and women dealt with it mostly by drinking or drugging so much they were out of their minds when they had to perform their work duties.

Now it seems prostitution or one of its sister jobs, stripping and pornography, is viewed by some young women as a first step on the ladder to success.  No longer is it demeaning to spread your legs for strangers.  Now it's empowering.  It gets you noticed.  It gets your foot in the door.

Last week news broke that Laurence Fishburne's daughter, Montana, was getting her leg up via pornography.  Some quotes:
"[My dad] is very upset. I heard that he's mad at me but I haven't spoken to him yet," Montana Fishburne, 19, told, adding that her famous father is "very hurt" over her decision to star in an X-rated flick.

But Montana - who also goes by the name "Chippy D" - thinks she'll be able to work her way back into the "Matrix" star's good graces. "I feel pretty confident that I can work things out with him," she told the gossip Web site. Montana even thinks her dad might eventually get behind her new career move. "I think he wants to support me in everything I do," she said, "and though he sees this now as a negative, I believe in time he will view it as a positive."

Although Montana told TMZ she didn't warn her dad about her steamy career move, she said she plans to meet with him soon to explain her motives.

"I've watched how successful Kim Kardashian became and I think a lot of it was due to the release of her sex tape," Montana said in a press release from Vivid Entertainment. "I'm hoping the same magic will work for me. I'm impatient about getting well-known and having more opportunities and this seemed like a great way to get started on it."
A few thoughts:

  • Any job that requires you to take a stage name like "Chippy D" is a bad idea.  A BAD idea.  
  • Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton are not role models.  They are screwed up kids from rich families who have made money because watching them makes regularly dysfunctional people feel superior.  And everyone likes to feel superior.  No one should view a leaked sex tape as an opportunity.  It should be the cue that your life is so off target that the honorable routes open to you are suicide or volunteer penal colony hard labor supervised by nuns.  
  • Montana is delusional that her father will ever get behind this career.  He may still love her, but being proud of her is now pretty much out the window.  Who can be proud knowing you have a stupid, slutty attention whore short-cut taker for a daughter?  
I know I've said before that given no boundaries people will act like animals and go for short-term gratification over dignity, integrity and long-term success, but it baffles me how we as young women could go from wanting to be doctors to wanting to be strippers in just one or two generations.  I mean, come on!  Sex work is the opposite of empowering.  No one respects you, and your "power" is ephemeral, lasting only as long as it takes for whoever you are working for to get off.

Mothers, if you see any sign that your daughters are starting to glorify the pole, it's time to shut down all access to the outside world and enroll them in convent school.  Cloistered convent school.  There will always be girls who make terrible decisions that put them on the slow (or quick) slide to the bottom.  Some girls are full of self-loathing and will choose this to get them the life they feel they deserve.  But to see girls with everything - girls like Miley and Montana Fishburne - embrace pornography and lap-dancing is a sign of the end times.  The end of our civilization.