Ms. Dominique

Ms. Dominique
Ms. Dominique

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Worst Movie of All Time: Frailty

When people think about "The Worst Movie of All Time" they usually pick on poor _Plan 9 from Outer Space_ (1959)

This doesn't seem fair to me, because this film had no money, no acting talent, and no studio support.

To be the "worst" film, in my thinking, it should be a film that had everything going for it, then threw it all away.

This is why I think _Frailty_ (2001) is the world film of all time.

I am not suggesting that the film be censored, just expressing my opinion that this film, which had the potential to be a film of great importance, was instead turned into a B-movie with a stupid Stephen King-style ending.

Imagine for a moment that you are sitting in a theater in 1942
watching the film _Casablanca_. You've reached the point in the
film when the characters are all gathered at the airport.
Suddenly, the U.S. army attacks, led by Gen. Patton (played by
John Wayne) and they round up all the Nazis and shoot them in the
-- end of story.

This is the feeling I had watching _Frailty_. Both my son and I left the
theater stunned at the bizarre (and incredibly stupid) turn at the end.
Personally, I suspect that there must have been some hanky-panky at
Lions Gate studio that led to this bizarre turn in what had been, up to
the last ten minutes of the film a potentially excellent film, into a
piece of silly trash. And I think I know where this bizarre ending came

During the last 25 years, I have felt more and more concerned about
the growing right-wing Christian culture. Surely you can see, in
the enormous popularity of Tim LaHaye's awful end-of-the-world
"Left Behind" series of novels (for example) that many people are
beginning to accept the idea of a Christian jihad against secularists,
humanists and non-believers.

The message of this film is that the end of the world is here and it's
alright to go out and kill "demons." As one of those people who have
been "demon-ized" by the far right, I am concerned. And I think you
should be concerned, too.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Freud, Sigmund - Drug use


Most people familiar with the career of Dr. Sigmund
Freud, the founder of psychanalysis, are aware of the scandal of
cocaine use in his early career. As a young doctor, Freud
experimented with cocaine and even promoted its use as a sort of
cure-all for a variety of physical and psychological ailments.
Eventually Freud became aware of the addictive power of cocaine
and stopped promoting its use. Cocaine addiction was common in
the 19th century, and Freud's cocaine use has been popularized in
books and films, including _The Seven-Percent Solution_. Many of
Freud's followers are, to this day, a bit touchy about this
episode in Freud's early career. But it looks now like a new Freud
scandal is looming on the horizon.

A new book _Libraries in the Age of Mediocrity_ includes a
chapter "Freud in the Garden of Good and Evil" which presents
irrefutable evidence from the memoirs of Freud's son, Martin, that
Freud involved his children in "mushroom-hunting expeditions"
looking for hallucinogenic mushrooms. Freud often took his family
on vacations in the Alps, and there he organized his children on
mushroom hunts where they searched for the Amanita Muscaria
mushrooms that grow in mountain forests.

This variety of mushroom has been recognized by Europeans as
a powerful hallucinogen since the early 18th century when travelers
brought back reports of its use as an intoxicant by Siberian
hunters. It is likely that Freud, while doing research on primitive
religious practices, came across reports of its use and began his
own experiments, using his children to help him locate areas where
the mushrooms grow. Fairly large quantities of the mushroom are
needed to create a prolonged hallucinogenic "trip" and this would
explain why Freud involved his children in the search for these
elusive mushrooms.

In Martin Freud's memoir _Sigmund Freud: Man and Father_, he
describes the Amanita mushrooms but he is clearly unaware of their
hallucinogenic properties. It wasn't until some years after the
publication of this memoir that scholars outside of the fields of
ethnography and biology became familiar with this Amanita species,
which explains why this episode in Freud's career remained obscure
to Freud's many biographers.

It is an open question as to how much Freud's experiences
may be documented in his papers, which have for many years been
tightly controlled by a small group of Freud's followers. If
evidence of such experimentation is a part of Freud's papers, it
may help to explain why access to his writings has been closely
guarded for so many years. Like his cocaine use, it is also a
question how much this episode in Freud's career may have influenced
his writings, including _Civilization and Its Discontents_ and
_Totem and Taboo_.

Earl Lee, author of _Libraries in the Age of Mediocrity_,
discovered the reference to the amanita mushrooms in Martin Freud's
memoir while doing research for his book _Drakulya_, which deals
with occultism and psychology in the 19th century England.

publication date: Sept. 1, 1998
ISBN: 0-7864-0548-1
$25 [144] pp. softcover, notes, bibliography, index.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

X-mas story

Yes, Virginia, there is a Jesus.

I know this because he mows my boss's yard every other Thursday.

Or maybe you're thinking about the illegal they call Little Jesus.
He works at the meatpacking plant, or at least he did until last week
when the INS guys raided the plant and sent him back to Mexico.

Or, then again, maybe you're thinking about the Jesus who is the
mayor of Garden City, Kansas. A republican woman (who was just
elected to State Bored of Education) said that he wasn't born in this
country and he had no business serving as mayor. But Jesus says that
he was born in Garden City and so was his Dad, ... but she's not so
sure about that.

Then, of course, there is the Jesus that the Southern Baptists talk
about. That Jesus hates Catholics, homosexuals, liberal Democrats,
and a lot of other people. That Jesus is not so sure about women or
blacks, either.

I guess there's a Jesus who goes to the Catholic church, too. He
hates protestants, Moslems, communists, atheists, abortion doctors
and women who use birth control. I've never met this Jesus, but I
think he must have a son, Jesus, Jr., because I read in the newspaper
that a catholic boy named Jesus accused the priest of molesting him.
I don't know what Jesus, Sr., thinks about this, but he still goes to
that same church anyway. I guess Jesus, Sr., must really like church
a lot, because he still goes there and takes communion from the
people who molested his little boy, Jesus, Jr..

Anyway, yes, Virginia, there is a Jesus. There are lots of Jesuses,
and some of them are nice guys and some of them are not....

If you enjoyed this, you might want to read: _Raptured: The Final
Daze of the Late, Great Planet Earth_

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Golden Compass movie

Last night we invited about two dozen students from the creative writing program over to our house for a get together. These kids (most are in their twenties) are all fairly bright people and got along very well. Even the Christian girl seems to get along with the gay couple .... up to a point.

At the end of the evening the gay couple got up to leave, and they suggested that they were going to catch the late show of _The Golden Compass_. At this point, the Christian girl jumped up and asked them *not* to go to this movie, because it was based on a children's book written by an atheist (English author Philip Pullman). I found the whole scene a bit surreal. She seemed (as far as I could tell) to have no problem with the fact that they were a gay couple, but the idea that they might go see this film, which she assumed was some kind of atheist propaganda... or at the very least an enticement that might lead children to read the book... well, for some reason this really bothered her.

Frankly, I am bothered by the fact that christians can promote all sorts of horrid crap, like the sado-masochist and anti-Semitic film _The Passion of the Christ_ and even show this film (now on DVD) to small children in their churches. There is no telling how much severe psychological damage has been caused by this disgusting film. The night I was at the theater, there were many people crying and emotionally crushed by this piece of propaganda.

At the same time, Christians have no problem attacking _The Golden Compass_ without having bothered to see it. The fact that the book was written by an atheist is sufficient reason to condemn the film.

As much as Christian groups like to pretend that they are being persecuted, it is the atheists who are shunned and boycotted by these small-minded bigots.

It's easy to see why the Catholic church hates this film, since it is an attack on authoritarian religions. But why do evangelicals attack the film? Aren't all these Protestants supposed to be anti-authoritarian too?

I guess just being smeared with the atheist label is enough.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Who's Stupid Now ?

A couple of Christian pundits have taken me to task for my book _Raptured: The Final Daze of the Late, Great Planet Earth_. The general sense of their comments is:

"Do you think all Christians are stupid, or what?"

To me this question misses the point. None of these Right-wing evangelicals care about my opinion, so why do they ask? Similarly the Pope in Rome (Joe "the Rat" Ratzinger) couldn't care less about my opinion, nor do any of his followers. Obviously, they are not going to be buying my book anyway -- unless they enjoy books that mock loony Right-wing Protestants (as opposed to the loony Right-wing Catholics, who recently elected an ex-Nazi to be Pope).

So why do they care what I say? Why do they even ask?

I think this comes from a deep-seated fear that Right-wing evangelicals have about the leaders of their religion. They look at men like Richard Roberts, Pat Robertson, James Dobson and wonder this same question:

"Do you think all Christians are stupid, or what?"

The reason for this fear, this intense self-depreciation is that these "men of God" these "religious leaders" treat the people in their ministries as if they were complete morons.

For example, when a man dips into funds belonging to the ministry and then spends them on his own personal desires, doesn't this suggest a contempt for Christians? Doesn't embezzling money from a ministry suggest contempt for those people who donated their hard-earned dollars?

For example, Pat Robertson has made himself a millionaire several times over by using his ministry to advance his own private media empire. Some of the transgressions are obvious, like using planes belonging to a religious charity to move mining equipment in Africa, or using the 700 Club program to establish his own television network, which he later sold for many millions. More recently, Robertson has been hawking a high-protein shake and even demonstrated his new muscles in a fake weight-lifting demonstration. Robertson is so arrogant that he believes his followers will have no trouble accepting the idea that a man in in 70s can set a weight-lifting record by using a protein shake!!!

I wonder, when Pat wakes up in the morning, does he ever say:

"I shouldn't do this! The people in my ministry are too smart to ever fall for this silly crap."

Evidently not.

So if Christians want to escape the "stooopiddd" label, maybe they should take their leaders to task for abusing them, over and over and over again.