Rick Santorum: Hollywood mogul

Former U.S. senator and Republican primary runner-up Rick Santorum has a new job: CEO of Echolight Studios, “a faith-based film company.”

“I often say that culture is upstream from politics,” Santorum said, “and I know entertainment also can be strength and light for people who want to be uplifted and reinforced in their values.”

Here’s part of Santorum’s announcement to his followers on “Patriot Voices”:

If we are going to make a positive impact on our country’s cultural challenges, we have to do it by reaching the masses often through entertainment. For too long, Hollywood has had a lock on influencing the youth of this country with a flawed message that goes against our values. Now, we can change that.

EchoLight Studios has the resources and commitment to produce, finance and distribute faith-based and family friendly films.

So what, exactly, is EchoLight Studios?

Pretty much what you might guess: A low-budget studio producing aggressively “wholesome,” mostly direct-to-DVD films featuring struggling former TV actors who further struggle trying to transcend material that also couldn’t cut it on TV.

I haven’t seen any of these films, but I’ve now watched all the trailers that EchoLight has online. A few of these look like they might actually be not terrible. But only a few.

The Redemption of Henry Myers looks like a World Wide Pictures version of Shane-meets-Witness. It’s a decent, if unoriginal, premise, and they get bonus points for trying to bring back the Western. But they lose points for including a prayer-of-anguished-repentance monologue. Spiritual intimacy, like sexual intimacy, is almost impossible to film without reducing it to pornography. Christian filmmakers need to learn when to fade to black.

• “Seasons of Gray is a modern-day retelling of the story of Joseph and his coat of many colors.” That premise seems cleverly executed — and Andrew Cheney seems a likable, Rob-Lowe-ish screen presence. But the film — from 2011, but still awaiting theatrical release — also seems to reduce the biblical story of Joseph into a moralistic little fable about “the power of forgiveness.” The actual story is much stranger and more problematic. It is, among other things, an origin story — “How Pharaoh Became a Despot Owning Everything and Everyone.” The alleged happy ending of the Genesis story comes about by Joseph exploiting a famine to oppress an entire nation, which doesn’t so much suggest “the power of forgiveness” as it does the will-to-power of a psychopath who sees the vulnerability of the poor as his divine right to prey on them and take what is theirs for his own enrichment. The trailer for “Seasons of Gray” is intriguing enough to make me wonder how they handle that horrific ending in this revision of the story.

• Corbin Bernsen wrote, directed and stars in 25 Hill. The Soap Box Derby flick has a professional cast (including Psych co-star Timothy Omundson, who’s always good) and seems like a pleasantly wholesome, familiar story, albeit one that’s kind of, well, coasting.

• Bernsen’s 3 Days is a Christmas comedy that promises a “heartfelt message” — some pious platitudes — layered onto a frazzled-father family farce with a bit of Home Alone tossed in (Christmas burglars foiled!). Think of it as National Lampoon’s Vacation Bible School.

• Bernsen also wrote and directed Beyond the Heavens. Who knew Henry Spencer was an auteur? This looks like an unholy mess:

Oliver is a bright 12-year-old who lives in the shadow of his parents’ loss of their first son. His family appears fine on the outside, but is broken behind closed doors. As they work out their faith, Oliver is left to grapple with his own belief in God and the answers to life’s biggest questions: Why am I here? What happens after death? Who made us? An angel disguised as a quirky traveler is sent to help him bring the pieces of the puzzle together. As Oliver’s struggles cause him to mistakenly look to science for answers, he discovers God is found by faith not by sight.

Those first two sentences are movie No. 1. The horrible false dichotomy of faith and science is movie No. 2. And the “angel disguised as a quirky traveler” is movie No. 3 — one that has no business anywhere near movies 1 & 2.

• I Am Gabriel is another angelic visitor movie. It’s notable mainly for the Kent family reunion of Jon Schneider and Dean Cain, but not even Superman could save this thing and its treacly advocacy of the so-called prosperity gospel. Yes — the prosperity gospel, meaning this one doesn’t so much look wholesome as, well, evil.

• In church youth group we went to evangelistic events by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes — a display of athletic prowess, followed by an awkward segue into an altar call. We saw that same formula in a host of similar events: Christian magicians, Christian weightlifters, Christian break-dancers, and of course Christian rock concerts. Foolishness is a video version of exactly the same thing, this time with skateboarding. EchoLight and director/skateboarder Brian Sumner seem to misunderstand that simple formula. The trailer showcases the altar call while downplaying the attraction and the hook: skateboarding. There’s nothing in this trailer I couldn’t see done by the kids at the local skatepark, and it all seems filmed in an attempt to make it seem even less impressive.

This doesn’t look like a movie that’s even trying to “make a positive impact on our country’s cultural challenges.” It looks like the kind of movie that will be shown in church basements by youth ministers who desperately hope that it will make the kids in the youth group think they’re cool.

• “She was broken, betrayed, and finished with life. But life wasn’t finished with her.” That’s EchoLight’s summary of 1 Message — which looks indistinguishable from countless disease movies on basic cable’s Lifetime Movie Network. It stars Ashley Kate Adams as Meredith Baxter Birney.

Clancy is “an inspiring story of one girl’s hope.” But wait, it gets worse:

Clancy is a little girl with a big heart. At the tender age of 11, she takes to the streets to dodge social workers in hopes of returning to her mother once her home life improves. In the grit of the city, she latches on to Nick, a homeless war veteran who wants little to do with life—much less a runaway who won’t leave him alone.

• Clancy gets to live because that movie is about her and not about her parents. When the focus is on the parents, EchoLight movies seem to like killing children. Here’s their summary for The Potential Inside, which focuses on a professional cyclist:

When an unexpected tragedy takes the life of his young daughter, Chris finds his own life changed in an instant. After years of climbing rugged trails, he hits rock bottom. Now, estranged from his grieving wife and consumed with guilt, Chris struggles beneath the weight of his selfish past. But when he surrenders everything to Christ and begins living for others, Chris finds peace where once there was only pain – and resolves to rebuild his life and serve his family as God intended.

Romans 8:28. You keep quoting this verse. I do not think it means what you think it means.

The best thing that can be said for The Potential Inside is that they at least refrained from having the child-killing car accident happen on Christmas Day. The trailer also features prayer-porn.

• And then there’s Undaunted: The Early Life of Josh McDowell, a biopic of the pop-apologetics evangelist and favorite convincer of the already-convinced. It chronicles McDowell’s awful childhood living with an abusive, alcoholic father, potentially providing theological insights for the audience that seem to have escaped the film’s subject.

That last film shows why all of Santorum’s talk about making “a positive impact on our country’s cultural challenges” is hogwash. EchoLight doesn’t make movies that aspire to influence the wider culture. It makes movies that will be deemed safe and permissible within the subculture. These are tribal movies produced by and for members of the tribe.

And who is that tribe? White evangelicals — the kind of people among whom Josh McDowell is a top celebrity.

That tribe loves Rick Santorum and Rick Santorum loves that tribe. But Santorum has never been a part of that tribe. He shares their opposition to feminism and LGBT rights, but beyond that, he doesn’t share their religious culture any more than Opus Dei shares the religious culture of Campus Crusade.

Look again at all the “family friendly,” G-rated melodrama described above. Not one of those films is about abortion or homosexuality. And once you stray from those subjects, Rick Santorum doesn’t have a lot to talk about with the white evangelical tribe. (School prayer, maybe, but they’ll wind up arguing over whether or not state-mandated school prayers should be in Latin.)

 

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  • FearlessSon

    Frothy’s stated purpose for accepting this position is at odds with what the actual result is likely to be. He speaks of influencing culture through media, and I think he sincerely believes Hollywood is toxic to his value system, but he is mistaken if he thinks that this will provide any kind of counterweight. Like you said, Fred, these are the kinds of movies only circulated within the tribe, only bought by those who have already circled their wagons against the wider culture. It does nothing but make that tribe more insular than it already is and does not bring its message to a wider audience. However, inside that tribe these movies are widely, almost compulsively, purchased. Which means that this position stands to make Frothy a good deal of money…

  • http://redwoodr.tumblr.com Redwood Rhiadra

    Money that will be helpful for his 2016 candidacy – and I suspect that’s what it’s ultimately about.

    As Fred notes, he was the runner-up in last years GOP primary. Since Nixon, the runner-up has always been chosen as the candidate the next time around, with the exception of 2000 when Buchanan (’96 runner-up) quit the GOP entirely.

  • Michael Pullmann

    Santorum as the nominee next time would be a godsend for progressives. The Democrats could run Bill Clinton’s dead dog and they’d win.

  • http://redwoodr.tumblr.com Redwood Rhiadra

    With SCOTUS striking down the Voting Rights Act, that may not be true…

  • Turcano

    He wasn’t “the” runner-up so much as one of many runner-ups. The 2012 GOP primary was one of the biggest greased-pole races I’ve ever seen.

  • http://redwoodr.tumblr.com Redwood Rhiadra

    Santorum was the second-place finisher. Sure, there were a lot of candidates, but there were quite a few in 2008 as well – and Mitt Romney took second place then, presaging his win last year. This has been the pattern in every GOP primary back to the Nixon era (except, as noted, 2000).

  • FearlessSon

    Spiritual intimacy, like sexual intimacy, is almost impossible to film without reducing it to pornography. Christian filmmakers need to learn when to fade to black.

    I think that Dreamworks’ The Prince of Egypt did this pretty well in this regard when Moses returns to Tzipporah after seeing the burning bush. We do not hear what he tells her, we just see the two of them, from a distance, talking, as though the audience was a voyeur. His enthusiasm and sincerity are evident from his movements, as are her doubts and growing excitement, but what words they share are left intimate to just them.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I guess that beats watching God try to kill Moses because he’s not circumcised.

  • Ben English

    That has always struck me as the most bizarre passage of the Bible. And that’s saying something. This is the guy you just chose to lead your people out of Egypt–WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL HIM, GOD?

  • Alix

    …I have to admit, I kinda love that passage for just that reason.

    Also, it’s been used as evidence for the original polytheism of the early Hebrews. One god chose Moses, one takes issue with that for purity reasons.

  • Jurgan

    How can the same people who make movies that show loving parents losing their children also advocate the Prosperity Gospel? Wouldn’t the truth of the latter render the former impossible? Maybe the parents didn’t pray hard enough.

    “But they lose points for including a prayer-of-anguished-repentance monologue. Spiritual intimacy, like sexual intimacy, is almost impossible to film without reducing it to pornography. Christian filmmakers need to learn when to fade to black.”

    Here’s
    the most successful and heartfelt prayer-of-anguished-repentence I can think of. I think it works because it doesn’t shy away from stating what the person did and why. It may not have much impact if you haven’t seen the dozen or so episodes in which you get to know him.

  • Jason Jones

    I loved Trigun! I saw it long before I became a Christian, and I was always impressed with Wolfwood’s character. He came across as a lot more genuine that many other Christian characters that I’d seen up to that point. The machine gun cross didn’t exactly hurt either.

  • FearlessSon

    It helps that the creator of Trigun is himself a Christian. You see a lot of Japanese and Christian values kind of mixed together in that series in ways you rarely see in the west. They really hammer on the “Thou Shalt Not Kill” and such.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    “It’s heavy with compassion.”

  • FearlessSon

    Incidentally, I once saw an awesome short AMV of Wolfwood set to Rufus Wainwright’s cover of “Hallelujah”.

  • Persia

    I know the woman who made that one, she’s amazed that people are still watching it.

    God, I love Wolfwood.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    If you’re telling stories primarily to “reinforce… values”, you’re doing propaganda, not stories.

  • Vermic

    Thank you for this, Lliira. I’ve spent over 10 minutes trying, and failing, to articulate exactly why Santorum’s quote had me scratching my head, but you cut right to the heart of it. The idea of people seeking entertainment that “reinforces their values”, as though that were a naturally understood function of entertainment, baffles me on some deep level. It sounds like they’re asking for propaganda, but who willingly asks for such a thing?

    I remember discussing Michael Bay’s Armageddon with a friend years ago. He was defending the film, and when I asked why, he replied: “Well, it’s very patriotic.” That answer puzzled me then just like Santorum’s assertion does now.

  • Carstonio

    My theory is that folks like Santorum don’t understand what art of any sort is about. They see all art as an attempt to indoctrinate, pushing either their own values or a competing set of values. It doesn’t occur to them that the artist is expressing a viewpoint or vision without necessarily demanding that others subscribe to it.

  • Ben English

    It’s really prevalent and the reason there’s so much demonization of Hollywood by the religious right, or why some pastors refer to HBO as Hell’s Box Office–as if the behaviors depicted in films are well OBVIOUSLY endorsed by the writers unless there’s a clear and explicit punishment meted out.

  • Emcee, cubed

    Even IF there is a clear an explicit punishment meted out. See all the “the villain does bad things, therefore these books/tv shows/movies/etc. must be destroyed” they come up with.

  • The_L1985

    Bonus points if said “bad things” also appear in the Bible.

  • Jenny Islander

    The classic for me is the fuming over the 1st edition Dungeons & Dragons core rulebooks, which “obviously” endorse idolatry and/or demon-worship right on the cover. One book has a band of adventurers battling a big red horned guy, who happens to be an efreet, but in any case he’s the enemy. Another book has a group of adventurers in close contact with an idol, as in prying the gemstones out of it, but that’s TOTALLY the same as chanting hymns to Satan, guys!

  • Carstonio

    Most likely they long for a return to the Hays code, which opposed not just sexuality but also “sedition” and sympathy toward criminals.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motion_Picture_Production_Code#Don.27ts_and_Be_Carefuls

  • FearlessSon

    I was going to bring up the Hays Code if no one else did.

    This idea that stories meant to entertain must have some moral value, and if it not a certain specific set of moral values then it must be immoral.

    It occurs to me both that some people really give children too little credit, and not all that is meant to entertain is necessarily directed at children either.

  • http://hummingwolf.livejournal.com/ Hummingwolf

    It’s not just children who are given too little credit–it’s everybody. Even adults in the subculture will get looked down upon or admonished for watching films or TV shows with too much of the wrong kind of content. I’ve got relatives who sincerely worry about my entertainment choices–and I’m over 40 years old, with distinctly grey hair.

  • Ben English

    Sure, the characters are paper thin, the dialogue is insipid, the science is laughably wrong, and the editing will make your eyes go numb, but at least it makes America look cool!

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Armageddon is far, far worse than The Abyss, on which I’m certain the former was based on.

  • http://algol.wordpress.com/ SororAyin

    “It sounds like they’re asking for propaganda, but who willingly asks for such a thing?”
    Fox “News” viewers.

  • http://hummingwolf.livejournal.com/ Hummingwolf

    It sounds like they’re asking for propaganda, but who willingly asks for such a thing?
    People who worry about the fate of their souls should they allow themselves to doubt. People who want to take their unsaved friends (or relatives, should they have no unsaved friends) to an “uplifting” movie that might convince them to repent and pray the Sinner’s Prayer. People who really, really don’t want to be even slightly corrupted by the values of the outside world. People who want their entertainment to act as a shield to protect them from the values of the outside world.

  • Lorehead

    And not only that, if it’s reinforcing values, it’s particularly worthless propaganda, because the audience already believes.

  • http://hummingwolf.livejournal.com/ Hummingwolf

    Not worthless to people who believe that if their values aren’t constantly being reinforced, they are going to be under constant attack from the Satanic values of the outside world. Many folks very much want entertainment that eases their fears and erases their doubts. Because everybody has doubts sometimes, but some people aren’t allowed to admit that.

  • Alix

    I don’t know that I agree with that. Propaganda has more uses than just recruiting more people to one’s side – it can be used to reinforce group identity, among other things, and I think that’s the primary way we see it used here.

  • Lorehead

    But that’s still fewer uses than Fox News.

  • The_L1985

    Or as Andre Norton put it, they sold their soul for a pot of message.

  • Jenny Islander

    That was her? Awesome! I quote that all the time, but I had forgotten who said it first!

  • smrnda

    And propaganda tends to be bad art almost all of the time, since its just shoddy narratives and shallow characters and trite plots cobble together to make a point that could have been made better (and less ridiculously) on a bumper sticker.

    Good art tends to present morally complex situations and deals with provocative questions rather than easy answers, and art like that is anathema to people like Santorum who want to just shove a particular set of values down the throat of the audience. If something can’t be reduced to a bumper sticker slogan it’s suspect to them.

  • FearlessSon

    Incidentally, Extra Credits has a good episode on propaganda games, and how interactive medium can be abused to shill certain values.

  • Kagi Soracia

    I think, more specifically, it is the presenting of the morally complex situations and the lack of easy answers that they object to (basing this on my dad, who totally wanted to vote for Santorum and was hugely disappointed that he lost the primary) because they prefer to see ALL moral questions as black and white and having only one right answer. Because if there is not only one right answer, if everything cannot be cleanly divided into ‘Wrong’ and ‘Not-Wrong’ then you will never be certain you are right, and that invalidates their entire identity. They have to be completely, absolutely Right, or their whole faith and value system falls apart. Which is sad, really. Nothing in life is actually that simple.

  • dpolicar

    IME, people who want simple, pat answers to complex answers sometimes end up in the kind of rigid authoritarian framework you describe (“there is ONE right answer and all other answers are WRONG”), and sometimes end up in a kind of rigid relativist framework that is superficially opposed to it (“there are NO right answers and all answers are EQUALLY WRONG”).

    I suspect they have more in common with each other than they do with thoughtful egalitarians (“there are shared values we can agree on, and nonshared values we can agree to mutual tolerance about, and conflicting values we will enforce, and it’s important to keep them distinct”) or thoughtful majoritarians (“there’s a majority that can agree on most of their values, and it’s most efficient to let them define what’s right in a culture”).

    Nevertheless, in the U.S. the egalitarians tend to get classed with the relativists in “the Left” and the authoritarians tend to get classed with the majoritarians on “the Right.”

    It can get confusing.

  • Kagi Soracia

    Those are good points; I probably lean farther to what you are calling ‘the relativist’ than I should, because when you have grown up with rigid, black and white thinking, it’s hard to see all the ways it affects the way you view things, even when you realise that the original authoritarian premise is flawed. I am sometimes, I think, too inclined to think ‘nothing is 100% right’ because I just don’t trust absolutist framing anymore, but a blind spot of this perspective is that it effectively does sometimes work out to ‘everything is equally wrong’ or more exactly, has an equal chance of being wrong – I don’t know, it all does get a bit confusing, but mainly I just try to remember that while we all do our best to figure out what’s right for us, what that is can change over time, and I may be proven wrong eventually about any given thing, and should be prepared to accept that if so.

  • Veylon

    Christian movies – and books – only seem to work properly when the main characters abandons the material and superficial world. The glitzy, gimmicky cross-themed Evangelical world of glib excuses and mass events very much qualifies.

    A movie about that person who answered telephones for Billy Graham, but gradually realized she was a part of turning “saving souls” into a routine of scripts, checked boxes, and aggregated numbers would probably be far more relevant and spiritually healthy for the Tribe than any of the feel-good stuff up above.

  • walden

    National Lampoon’s Vacation Bible School — I’d pay to see that!

  • -G-G-

    Obviously the opening prayer would have to be the pledge of allegiance.

  • Carstonio

    seems to reduce the biblical story of Joseph into a moralistic little fable about “the power of forgiveness.”

    I read two children’s books about Joseph and both had that message. I don’t know if Andrew Lloyd Webber followed that template as well. I suspect that millions see the story as simply about forgiveness.

  • Ben English

    Well it can be red that way… if you stop close the book after Joseph forgives his brothers and don’t read what happens next.

  • Lori

    Eh, even before that point I always thought the story was more about the power of terrible parenting. Jacob was such an utter, favorites-playing failure as a parent and it has always bothered me that no one talks about that.

  • The_L1985

    I know, right? It was all about Joseph and Benjamin, and the other 10 (!!) children may as well not exist.

    If fewer than 20% of your offspring are getting affection from you, then you have too many offspring and/or have a LOT of trouble with that whole “unconditional love” thing.

  • Alix

    More than 10 additional kids, I think. There’s Dinah, and maybe other sisters?

  • The_L1985

    It’s been 15 years since I read Genesis, so I forgot about the girls. Not that most retellings bother to mention that Jacob had daughters–they’re barely even a footnote in the original!

  • Alix

    Dinah’s the only one with a name, I believe. He may not have had others – but given how the genealogies like to ignore women, and given the odds, I’d wager he did.

  • Lori

    “Unconditional love” is pretty much a foreign concept to OT parenting. Jacob loved the sons he had with the favored wife and didn’t give a shit about the ones he had with the spare wife he never wanted in the first place. This was supposedly fine because God said Joseph was the important one. Mighty convenient, that.

    And of course no one gave a crap about the daughters, because why would they?

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    There are days when mentioning Jacob is my berserk button. I’m… rather biased in favor of Esau, to put it delicately.

  • Lori

    I’m with you. I got into trouble the last time they talked about that story in Bible class because I could not refrain from pointing out all the ways in which the whole thing is just totally f’ed up and Jacob is not a hero. The ultimate issue being that unlike the rest of them I don’t think “Jacob was the son of promise” is actually an acceptable reason for, well, anything.

    ETA: Leah is my berserker button.

  • Alix

    Leah is my berserker button.

    Yes.

  • http://hummingwolf.livejournal.com/ Hummingwolf

    Jacob loved the sons he had with the favored wife and didn’t give a shit about the ones he had with the spare wife…
    And the concubines. Let’s not forget the poor handmaids! At least the two concubines had their own names and weren’t just called “Ofjacob” or something, though of course I can’t remember what their names were.

  • Alix

    Bilhah and Zilpah, iirc.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    And then we know Esau is the bad guy because God says he’s the bad guy, the same way we know that Er was wicked because God said he was wicked. Because when people die, it’s because God must hate something they’ve done and it’s up to the rest of us never to do that thing again. In fact, it’s up to us to kill anyone who does that ever again.

    Because that totally doesn’t sound like the reasoning of a…

    Actually, I should probably just trail off there. I’m the patron saint of Esau, let’s leave it at that.

  • Alix

    I … honestly don’t recall Esau being framed as evil. I recall Jacob thinking Esau was gonna fuck him up good for the shit he (Jacob) pulled, and being badly mistaken, and I recall neither Jacob nor Rebekah thinking Esau was too bright, but. I think I’m missing something here. :/

  • Lori

    The traditional reading of the story is predicated on the idea that Esau totally deserved to be conned out of the birthright. To sell that idea the story is that God chose Jacob because Esau wasn’t good enough. Combine that with the bits about him being dumb and murderous and the idea is pretty clearly to paint an ugly picture.

    I’ve always thought it painted a way uglier picture of Jacob the greedhead momma’s boy and Rebekah who schemed like a Borgia to get the inheritance for her favored spawn, including having the asshole take advantage of his father’s age-related disability.

    Edited to correct for the fact that I merged two things that both totally piss me off into one thing. Because being pissed is not conducive to clear thought.

  • Alix

    I honestly never got the sense (from Genesis, I mean) that Esau was murderous – more that Jacob really misunderstood him.

    I’ve always basically held the view you lay out in the second paragraph. :/

  • Lori

    Most of the people I grew up with take it as an article of faith that Jacob was correct and Esau would have killed him if he’d stayed.

  • Alix

    Huh. The prevailing view at my family’s church is that the whole anticlimactic reconciliation scene was meant to show that Jacob was an asshole who was way overreacting.

    That’s interesting.

  • Lori

    Obviously I think that any view that paints Jacob as the asshole is closer to the truth, but I was raised with the idea that it took all that time for Esau to cool off.

    ETA: It always seemed obvious to me that Jacob was a perfect example of the idea that we see the world not as it is, but as we are. Jacob is a nasty piece of work who gladly cheated his own twin and conned his dying father for money. It makes perfect sense that someone like that would believe that Esau would kill over it. I’m sure that if their positions were reversed Jacob would have (and his damn mother would have sharpened the knife for him).

  • Alix

    Your ETA is pretty much exactly Mom’s pastor’s take. I recall going there for one sermon where he explicitly compared Esau to Jesus.

  • Lori

    I just looked it up and in fairness, Esau did threaten to kill Jacob as soon as the mourning period for Isaac was over. The guy was pissed. However, Gensis 33 implies that he was long over it by the time Jacob returns (having left Laban on the run because of yet another dispute over money).

    Esau was clearly not the greedhead Jacob was. When Jacob tries to bribe Esau into not killing him Esau’s response is “I have plenty of money of my own. Keep yours because I don’t need it and I wasn’t planning to kill you any way.”

    Because Esau is the bad guy.

  • Alix

    I guess I tend to read reconciliation-Esau as the genuine Esau, and him earlier as rather justifiably pissed.

    In my opinion, people can’t be pissed enough at Jacob, the ass.

  • Lori

    I’m with you.

  • P J Evans

    Rebecca certainly told Jacob how to work it so Esau would get cheated. She deserves a lot more grief that she got.

  • Lori

    But Isaac and Rebekkah are one of the great love stories of the Bible. Because nothing says twu lurv like helping your kid put one over on your dying husband.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Considering Rebekkah’s position, I don’t blame her one tiny bit. The only power she could have at all was either as “favorite wife” or “mother of heir”. And when a woman didn’t have that kind of power in that kind of society, she had no power at all. No power over her own body, nothing that guaranteed she wouldn’t be thrown on the street to starve.

    As for Isaac, he deserved to be as manipulated as humanly possible by everyone around him. He benefited massively his whole life from a system in which the only way the people around him could get anywhere was to manipulate him.

  • Lori

    She was the mother of the heir either way. (Rebekkah was also Esau’s mother. Jacob & Esau were twins.) By favoring Jacob she didn’t strike a blow for independence, she just made herself primarily Jacob’s mother instead of primarily Isaac’s wife and screwed Esau for no obvious good reason. If she felt that she would be better cared for if Jacob got the blessing than if Esau got it, that’s likely because she had favored Jacob literally his entire life.

    Even in a ghastly patriarchy not every shitty lie a woman tells is a stand for female dignity.

    I don’t care all that much about Isaac’s feelings, but the con isn’t some sort of rough justice for the fact that he didn’t reject the system in which he lived. His response to finding out that Jacob lied to him was basically, “Oh well, what can you do?” and he died shortly after that without it effecting his personal comfort at all.

    Because Jacob ran away Esau ended up in control of the family wealth in spite of the con. As far as I recall nothing is said about him using it differently than Isaac had.

    Jacob, the total shit, still got the blessing. The result of that whole thing was that he went on to treat Leah like crap, didn’t give a shit about his daughter(s) and spawned the guy who took advantage of a whole nation of starving people in order to get rich. Not exactly a blow against the patriarchy.

  • Alix

    Even in a ghastly patriarchy not every shitty lie a woman tells is a stand for female dignity.

    Thank you.

    I find it really annoying how culture apparently excuses whatever shitty things women do. :/

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Not entirely. Back then, it was believed that the father could confer blessings from God upon his children, so Jacob received God’s supernatural favor by stealing the inheritance (probably part of why it’s a Really Big Deal that a man know precisely where his children came from).

  • Lori

    Yes, the blessing was the really big deal. Per the story, it’s what allowed Jacob to prosper even though he left the family wealth when he ran away.

    Having Jacob get the blessing instead of Esau didn’t benefit Rebekkah though.

  • Alix

    Maybe the blessing also explains Jacob’s magic powers of sheep-breeding. (I’m not getting my stories mixed up again, am I?)

  • Lori

    Nope, Jacob was the magic sheep breeder. That little talent being the source of the argument with Laban & his sons that sends Jacob on the run from yet another aggrieved relative.

  • Alix

    Seriously, Jacob’s such an ass.

    And correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s another relative who he thinks is going to kill him, but who is all “wtf, dude, what’s wrong with you?” when they finally meet.

    I seriously think something was wrong in Jacob’s head. He seems … really, really paranoid, and really convinced everyone’s out to kill him. And no one actually is.

  • Lori

    Aside from Esau I don’t remember anyone saying that to Jacob. Joseph said it to his brothers when they met up in Egypt, but that was after he yanked their chain pretty hard. Esau did no such chain yanking, even though Jacob totally set himself up for it.

  • Alix

    I seem to recall Laban being really startled that Jacob seriously thought Laban wanted to kill him. IIRC, Laban’s reaction was: wtf, dude, I’m pissed that you won’t let me say goodbye to my daughters! (Genesis 31, I think.)

    Edit: Ah, apparently Jacob actually just thinks Laban’s going to take back his daughters and all Jacob’s ill-gotten gains. Which Jacob would more or less have deserved, so I have no sympathy here.

    Also, wow, Rebekah exacerbates things a lot more than I remembered. She basically goes out of her way to stoke Jacob’s paranoia, and is the one who convinces him Esau wants to kill him.

  • Lori

    Rebekah overhears Esau say that he’s going to kill Jacob. AFAICT Esau had no idea that his mother was in on it. Instead of trying to smooth things over or having a little faith that Esau, her son, will cool off she goes straight to Jacob and tells him to run for it. Because the only one she cares about is Jacob.

  • Alix

    Yeah. :/

    Edit: And of course Jacob perpetuates the favoritism on into the next generation. I sometimes wonder if we (i.e. people using the modern Christian-influenced lens) are misreading the whole epic saga of that family, and we’re supposed to see this as some sort of “fall of the house of Abraham” kind of thing.

  • Lori

    Eh, I have no sympathy with Laban either. He lied to Jacob about what he had to do to be allowed to marry Rachel and in the process treated Leah like shit and set her up to continue to be treated like shit by her husband and her sister. And of course what Jacob took when he left was what he’d produced, so he was only stealing from Laban in the sense that Laban considered all the fruits of Jacob’s labor to be rightfully his, owing to the fact that Laban was the patriarch of that branch of the family.

    Jacob was an asshole of the first order, but two wrongs don’t make a right and I’m forever pissed at everyone who mistreated Leah because berserker button. Ditto on the patriarchy.

  • Alix

    I’m not too fond of Laban either, believe me. And yet Jacob still manages to pull a con on him* and think worse of him than he actually is.

    *Whether Laban deserved it or not, it’s evidence of a disturbing pattern on Jacob’s part.

  • Lori

    Yup, they’re both awful. Isaac was no prize, and as Fred pointed out Joseph was a shit too. On the whole the much-vaunted Patriarchs were at best a problematic lot.

  • Alix

    It all starts with Abraham, really. Including the fucked-up favoritism and pulling cons on hapless people.

    I mean, hell, doesn’t Isaac copy one of his dad’s cons? That whole “passing my wife off as my sister” thing?

    …God blames the victim in all those cases too, iirc.

    Edit: Although I suppose I have to give Jacob credit for one thing. He never dumped his unfavorite wife, the unfavorite handmaids, and their unfavorite children out in the desert to die of thirst. Way to clear a low bar, man.

  • Steph

    I read somewhere that a few theologians speculate that Isaac was retarded. He was born to an old mother, is the only man who has to marry a woman other people find for him, was fooled so easily by Jacob, etc. This was also supposedly the reason that Abraham thought God wanted him sacrificed?

  • Lori

    That’s sort of horrible. Which obviously doesn’t mean it’s not the case since the story is pretty much just a parade of horrible.

    I don’t think any assumption of mental disability on Isaac’s part is necessary to explain Jacob’s ability to fool him though. He was nearly blind and at death’s door, so it figures that his perceptions weren’t all that keen. Also, as far as he knew Esau was the only one who knew that he was ready to pass on the blessing. He had no way of knowing that his lovely wife had overheard their conversation and was scheming with her favorite.

    And it’s not like he wasn’t suspicious at all. When Jacob comes in Isaac asks which one of the twins it is. Jacob assures him that it’s Esau, but Isaac isn’t convinced and asks to feel his hands (Esau was hairy & Jacob was not). Even after feeling the hair Isaac knows the voice is wrong and Jacob has to lie to him straight up a second time, which Isaac would not have expected him to have the nerve to do. Even then Isaac is not totally convinced. He makes Jacob kiss him so that he can sniff him and it’s Esau’s smell that finally seals the deal. (Jacob smells like Esau because clever, clever mom put him in Esau’s favorite clothes before she sent him off to lie & steal.)

  • Lori

    I knew I remembered something else about the crappy way that Esau gets screwed over in the story. The story of Esau selling his birthright to Jacob (the supposed justification for what Jacob & Mommy Dearest do later) is in Genesis 25: 29-34.

    Jacob is cooking stew. Esau comes in from working in the field (Why is Esau working & Jacob is not? Who knows?) and he’s exhausted and hungry. He asks his twin for some stew. Jacob responds, “Sell me your birthright.” Esau has a bit of a drama queen moment and says, “I’m about to die of hunger, so what good is the birthright to me? Fine, it’s yours.” Jacob then gives him the food and Esau goes on his way.

    No normal person would take that as a serious contract, but what does the story say? “Thus Esau despised his birthright.” So, the sale of the birthright was Jacob’s idea, because he’s an envious shit who has always hated the fact that it’s to go to his brother. Esau tosses out a throwaway line in order to get his brother to give him some food, which Jacob should have offered without payment, the little shit. And that’s proof that Esau was a bad guy who didn’t deserve the birthright.

    The fact that Joseph later takes advantage of the hunger of starving people in order to make himself rich makes perfect sense. That apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

  • http://hummingwolf.livejournal.com/ Hummingwolf

    I have heard Calvinist-leaning preachers say that, no, Jacob wasn’t any better than Esau, and they’d agree that he was rather an asshole (though they wouldn’t use the word “asshole”). God’s choice of Jacob over Esau wasn’t an indication of human worth or lack thereof, but a shining example of the mysterious working out of God’s grace toward (predestined) sinners. It’s all about predestination, for them.

  • Alix

    …I think that’s the only way to make the story creepier than it already is. :/

    I honestly think this is one of those stories that fits better in a polytheistic context (esp. since iirc part of what causes issues with Laban is Rebekah stealing the household idols?).

    Edit: RACHEL, not Rebekah. Brain, where you at.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    It’s hard not to suffer some negative emotions when dealing with anything to do with Calvanism. I’ve never quite gotten over the response to an e-mail someone posted up here a bit ago. It pretty much went, “I know I’m a member of the Elect, but I’m afraid my wife is a Reprobate. What should I do?”

    The answer was, “The Reprobate exist in order to show God’s capacity for patience with our vile, disgusting kind, after which they go into Hell for all eternity to be tortured as we so rightly deserve. We, as the Elect, are spared this through His infinite mercy, while the Reprobate are given this life as an example of mercy and kindness despite deserving neither. If she is a member of the Reprobate, this should satisfy her.”

  • Alix

    ….ouch. >.<

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    When you know that Westboro Baptist Church also teaches Calvanism, it makes one wonder if being beneath sociopathic regard is a theme for which Calvinists strive.

  • hagsrus

    Calvin was a POE?

  • The_L1985

    The question itself disturbs me. How the fuck do you know that? Doesn’t your god work in “mysterious ways?”

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Apparently you can tell because the Reprobate aren’t real people, so they lack a certain spark, as it were. Meaning, yes, the Elect reassure themselves that they’re in the right by dehumanizing the Reprobate.

  • Ben English

    Wow…. just… wow.

  • Lori

    Rachel stole the idols from Laban, and yeah that was part of the problem.

    Jacob overhears his brothers-in-law complaining about how Jacob has managed to use his duties managing the flock to make himself richer than he’s made Laban and they’re not pleased. God is also POed at him and then tells him to go home. Jacob gathers up all his stuff (wives, kids, flocks) and hightails without talking to Laban. Rachel (also a total shit who I’m sure would have gotten along like gangbusters with her mother-in-law if Rebekkah had lived long enough) steals her father’s household idols and doesn’t tell Jacob.

    When Laban catches up with them he’s all “WTH Jacob? What possessed you to take off like a thief in the night with my daughters and idols and all this money and just WTH, dude?”

  • Alix

    The lesson I take from all this is that Jacob had a bunch of really, really patient relatives. :/

    And Jacob’s the one I’m supposed to find heroic? Bleh.

  • Ben English

    I never read it as Esau being worse than Jacob, but that Esau was the victim of Jacob and Rebekah. Jacob knows–and Isaac calls him out on it–that he’s done something wrong. He later has a perfectly reasonable fear that Esau will kill him, but Esau shows him remarkable grace.

    At the same time I think there’s a ‘just so’ element to the story explaining why Jacob/Israel was favored despite being physically weaker and less imposing, and younger, than the Hebrews’ tribal neighbors. There are possibly some ugly cultural implications in there, but not the same ones I think you’re suggesting. (IMO at least)

  • Lori

    I think the condemnation of Esau for supposedly “despising his birthright” undermines the idea that the story is presenting him as a victim of Jacob & Rebekah. That’s presented as the justification for what they do later. That and the fact that God chose Jacob (but somehow couldn’t manage to just arrange for the little shit to just be born first so he could inherit without all this subterfuge and ill-feeling).

    The entire story is clearly a post hoc justification for things people did and ways that history turned out. (Rebekah favored Jacob so much not because she was sort of a shitty mom, but because God told her that he was the important one. Jacob didn’t steal the blessing because he was a greedy, envious mamma’s boy, God wanted him to have it. Blah, blah, blah.)

    The reason that the whole thing bugs me so very much is that I was raised by people who ignore the obviously self-serving nature of the story and instead yap on & on about the goodness of God and Jacob as a Patriarch and hero. Behavior that would be considered clearly horrible in other circumstances is A-OK if God tells you to do it and blesses you for it. It’s the same attitude that causes people to celebrate the genocide and enslavement in Joshua and I think it’s fairly clear that it has implications for how Christians treat people even now.

  • Ben English

    I can’t speak for your experiences but in my experience, I’ve never known the story to be read like that even in the more conservative Churches I’ve been in. The birthright and blessing are not just boons but a responsibility. Esau may not get to be father of the nation of Israel, but he also doesn’t have to deal with believing his son is dead for years only to later find him and watch him become a tyrant.

    An professor of mine (who is an atheist) observed that in a lot of ways Genesis is the story of a bunch of people who royally fucked things up. It’s not that their bad behavior is endorsed, it’s that you’re the people God chose, dammit, and you’re going to be a light for all the nations whether your like it or not.

  • Lori

    The whole dead son/tyrant thing is, as we’ve been discussing, something Jacob largely brought on himself. It’s not like it was an automatic consequence of receiving the blessing. It’s entirely possible that had Esau received the blessing his sons would not have been like that.

    I was also raised with the idea that the Israelites often screwed up, but they were God’s chosen people dammit. It’s always struck me as being rather Calvinist, which I don’t find comforting or convincing.

  • The_L1985

    “It’s not that their bad behavior is endorsed, it’s that you’re the
    people God chose, dammit, and you’re going to be a light for all the
    nations whether your like it or not.”

    I like that sentence very much. It also fits with my idea that much of the OT is about God more or less saying, “You see this? This is why the children of Israel can’t have nice things. Seriously, when are you people going to learn to behave?”

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Malachi 1,

    “I have loved you,” says the Lord.

    “But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’

    “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his hill country into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.”

  • Alix

    Yeah, wow, I completely forgot about that. :/ Thanks for the reference. (Can you tell I spent a lot more time reading Genesis than Malachi?)

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I spend a lot of time reading Romans myself, and Romans references it in Romans 9:13. Scholars tie themselves in knots to explain how God loves all, yet hated Esau. Their explanations often boil down to “Esau must have been a horrible horrible person. Fortunately, we know Jacob was awesome, despite his mass-murdering and rape and theft and betrayal and lying and fraud.”

  • Alix

    Now that you mention it, I’ve heard the verse. I just have shit recall. XD

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Don’t worry, it’s just keyed together in my mind. Patron saint, like I said. Or guardian angel if you prefer the Talmudic interpretation. :p

  • renniejoy

    “Jacob Have I Loved” was one of my favorite sad books.

    I think I’ll look for it at the library tomorrrow. :)

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    I can’t reread that book. It makes me so futilely burning mad that I’ve had to regrettably set the beautiful parts aside as “not worth the rage-corrosion on my soul to get to.”

    Sometimes reading books in which the main character suffers a lot of unfair treatment creates a sort of low-level rumble of Unhappy With Humanity in me that persists even after I close the book, and I don’t realize it until I start taking it out on real people who then call me on it. Reading Jane Eyre was like that, too. I have to read books like that in total isolation from others and then have some sort of a unicorn chaser* before I rejoin society.

    *Literally, or almost. Pretty much anything by Peter S. Beagle will reset my meters to Well-Disposed Toward Humanity.

  • Kagi Soracia

    Yes, that was pretty much the reason I decided against reading it at the time. I was like, this is going to make me hate everything, isn’t it?

  • Kagi Soracia

    When I was a kid, we were, as homeschoolers, all voracious readers. Our parents would try to make sure we didn’t read certain things, but were often too busy or neglectful to enforce the rules. That particular book was considered subversive enough that we were strongly discouraged from reading it, and since it sounded depressing for various reasons I never went out of my way to sneak it in (it was all the unedifying SFF and romance and comics I was hiding under my mattress). I always remembered the title though, I was just thinking of it as I was reading the discussion and wondering if I should check it out again.

  • Matri

    Wow, that’s just… Wow…

    I’ve met Internet trolls who weren’t even half as big an asshole as this guy.

  • reynard61

    “And then we know Esau is the bad guy because God says he’s the bad guy, the same way we know that Er was wicked because God said he was wicked.”

    The same way that we know that Ray-Ray and Buck are “good” because God (or at least LaH&J) says they’re “good”, while Nicky Seven-Hills is “bad” because God/LaH&J say he is — even though through a good bit of three books Nicky wants to feed the World, stop nuclear war, try to end poverty and religious strife, etc. Now I know why they went with the whole “tell, don’t show” thing.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Which makes you wonder why he even slept with her, after he realized that he’d been had.

    It’s not like Rachel proved infertile. And then there was Rachel’s slave girl.

  • Ben English

    I believe he slept with her before he realized she wasn’t Rachel. Which… honestly makes me think he didn’t know Rachel all that well to start with!

  • Lori

    Oh yeah. How could I have forgotten that? It’s the source of the Jewish wedding custom of the bedeken*. It’s after that that Laban says, “Give her a week and then you can have the one you really wanted.”

    *I like the bedeken. It means that Jewish couples don’t have to contend with all that nonsense about the groom not seeing the bride before the ceremony. None of that flapping around about how you can’t go here or there because he;ll see you, ZOMG. Plus they can just go ahead and take pictures before instead of making everyone stand around after waiting for them.

  • The_L1985

    You’d think in 7 years, you’d know more about someone than “Her name is Rachel and she’s really pretty.” But this is Jacob we’re talking about here.

  • Lori

    Sleeping with her was initially part of the deal. Laban insisted that Jacob give Leah her bridal week before he married Rachel & started working on the 7 years labor for her. After that I’m sure it was a combination of convenience, wanting to give her children (to shut her up because of course women don’t need to be cared about as long as they have babies), and concerns about Rachel’s fertility.

    Rachel did eventually have Joseph & Benjamin, but it took long enough that they were worried that she was infertile. Jacob & Rachel had a big fight about it at one point and that’s how the 2 concubines with names come into the picture. Rachel gives them to Jacob to have children in her name so that she doesn’t have to tolerate Leah having anything that she doesn’t have.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Wasn’t one concubine Leah’s maid, not Rachel’s?

  • Lori

    I thought they were both Rachel’s, which would make sense since the purpose was to give Rachel children to claim. However, considering how badly everyone treated Leah it wouldn’t exactly surprise me if her sister said, “Hey, I’m going to take your maid & give her to Jacob she that she can have a child for me. You don’t mind do you?”

  • EllieMurasaki

    No, Rachel didn’t have anything to do with that, apparently. Genesis 30:9: “When
    Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she took her servant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife.” This is right after the bit where Rachel gives Bilhah to Jacob so she can bear children in Rachel’s place.

  • Lori

    I had totally forgotten that. Geez, that does not say good things about what was going on in that household. Leah had multiple children. It strikes me as saying a great deal about her position that she still freaked out and went the maid route when she couldn’t have any more.

    As we’re noted many times, Biblical families were fair from being the wonderful thing the bigots try to play them off as.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Tradition holds that he did not sort it out until afterward. It was dark, they’d made sure he’d had his fill of wine, there was a pretty strong familial resemblance, and it wasn’t like Jacob had seen either one of them in the altogether before.

  • Ben English

    Did Jacob *have* any daughters?

    Also I never read the story as endorsing Jacob’s favoritism. It was the favoritism that made his brothers hostile towards him in the first place.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Dinah. There’s a few paragraphs about her being raped (which might have been consensual sex for all we know) and her brothers slaughtering the town the man came from in retaliation.

  • Ben English

    Oh yeah, that. Because you have to make the punishment fit the crime. Why might the rape have been consensual sex? The latter doesn’t seem like something you’d kill a town over…

    …Not that anything does…

  • EllieMurasaki

    Genesis 34 3-4: His heart was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob; he loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her. And Shechem said to his father Hamor, “Get me this girl as my wife.”

    Dinah’s perspective isn’t given. We’re told in verse two that it’s rape, in verse five that it’s defilement, but Dinah’s perspective isn’t given. Shechem had sex with Dinah; we do not know whether Dinah wanted it, only that Dinah’s father and brothers didn’t. And I prefer to think of this as a love story that ends tragically, that wouldn’t end tragically if the society it took place in weren’t so horribly sexist.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Which in itself is more berserk button material.

    1) Dinah gets raped.
    2) Jacob tracks the rapists to the town and holds the entire town (including probably dozens of innocent people) to an ultimatum, “Get circumcised or all of you die.”
    3) They get circumcised.
    4) Jacob’s brothers wipe out the town anyway.
    5) Jacob complains that now people will think he’s a murderer.
    6) Jacob merrily goes along his way and apparently never gives it a second thought.

  • Lori

    Jacob had at least 1 daughter—Dinah.

    The story certainly doesn’t condemn Jacob’s favoritism or cut the older brothers any slack for the fact that it was the source of their hatred of Joseph.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I may be weird about this, but I never actually took the idea that Jacob gave all his affection to Joseph and Benjamin and didn’t give a damn about the rest at face value. I always assumed that was from the perspective of the older sons, who actually Jacob did too love, and it’s just typical older-child “Wah! You love the baby more than you love me!” sour grapes cranked up to, well, biblical proportions. I mean, I’m an older child. I get it. Sometimes it felt like Mom and Dad didn’t love you any more, and sometimes that was because they got all wrapped up in the needs of the needy younger child who, I’m just saying, was always getting into trouble or lying or provoking or getting into fights or refused to do her schoolwork, but most of the time it was really all in your head because you were being a jealous jerk.

  • AnonaMiss

    That’s a hard perspective to hold on to if you accept the bit about the coat. A normal coat would be fine – but this was a coat dyed in many colors, including IIRC purple. That’s like giving one of your kids a Benz while the others are driving around in Pintos.

  • EllieMurasaki

    KJV says ‘coat of many colors’ and names none. NIV just says ‘ornate robe’. I think ‘red and yellow and green and brown and scarlet and black and ochre and peach and ruby and olive and violet and fawn and lilac and gold and chocolate and mauve and cream and crimson and silver and rose and azure and lemon and russet and gray and purple and white and pink and orange and blue’ is entirely the invention of Andrew Lloyd Webber.

  • Lori

    The story says straight out that Jacob favored Joseph.

    Genesis 37:3 & 4

    Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him.

    It doesn’t say that Jacob didn’t love his other sons. However, I think the fact that 9 of the 10 other sons went along willingly first with the idea of killing Joseph outright and then with selling him, says a great deal. This wasn’t a childhood tiff and Reuben was the only one who argued against it. That degree of bad feeling doesn’t come from nowhere.

  • Persia

    This is why I had multiple cats instead of multiple children.

    Having said that, I have always thought of it more as ‘the youngest one got away with more, and Jacob had more money by the time Joseph came along, so his brothers got resentful ’cause Joseph had treats they didn’t get when they were kids.’

  • Lori

    Joseph wasn’t the youngest, Benjamin was. Jacob’s obvious favor didn’t transfer to him until Joseph was reported dead.

    Beyond that, we have that sort of age gap in our family. I was adopted (after mom & dad had a premature baby who died shortly after birth) while my brother & sister were in high school. My parents were way more relaxed & had way more money while raising me than they did with the older 2. I got away with things they never would have. I was plenty annoying. Somehow J & E never tried to kill me, put me in a hole or sell me. They were sometimes irritated, but they didn’t commit mayhem over it. Even allowing for the fact that Bible stories tend to be heavy on the drama, something more was going on there than just normal younger sibling stuff.

  • Persia

    So Benjamin was also the son of his old age? Oh, Bible, you are so pretty with your language and so fucking confusing.

    EDIT: I should note that I, like, The_L1985, mostly have sanitized Bible School stories to remember so I apologize for my fuzziness.

  • Lori

    Yup. It would be more precise to say that they were the sons of his old age, but since he didn’t favor Benjamin the way he did Joseph that creates some inconvenient issues for the narrative.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    That sounds kinda victim-blamey, “If all those siblings hated Joseph, it can’t just be sour grapes; Jacob really must have mistreated them.”

    My father’s family had a bit of a schism as a result of the children who were born in the 1920s not feeling the love when mom and her new husband started doting on the kids who were born in the 1940s. And the one who took it the worst (in the “and then they didn’t talk for 20 years” sense) was the one who already had a kid of her own by then. Obviously, there was no attempted fratricide involved, but my dad’s got a sibling who survived to adulthood but who he’s to this day never met.

  • Lori

    It’s not victim-blamey since the victim was Joseph and I’m blaming Jacob.

    My dad’s family had an ugly split when his parents died over issues of favoritism. That’s been almost 15 years ago and it still hasn’t fully healed. All the people involved were adults by that time, but it still happened. The unhappy siblings handled their complaints really poorly but the thing is, they weren’t wrong. My grandparents did unfairly favor some kids over others. That’s not the favored kids’ fault and, like Joseph, they shouldn’t have born the brunt of it. However, the complaint was totally legit and the parenting was crap.

  • The_L1985

    Or worse–if you retcon Joseph’s amassing wealth and power for Egypt as Egypt providing food for everyone.

    No, really. I heard this story originally as “The Egyptians saved up so much before the famine that they were able to sell their leftover food so that other people could eat, too!” The fact that the Egyptians were essentially getting wealthy off of the suffering of other nations didn’t occur to me until I was older.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I take it the way you heard it didn’t involve getting to read the full story? I’d have tripped over the parts where people first had to sell their only means of livelihood and then themselves into slavery. o.O

  • The_L1985

    I heard the sanitized versions over and over. It wasn’t until I was in my teens and decided to read through the whole Bible, cover to cover, that I discovered how fucked-up a lot of the stories in Genesis really are. (And let’s not talk about Judges!)

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Sheesh. In a way I lucked out since my Christianity was absorbed by diffusion and self-direction and not by teaching (as in everybody else was Christian, so I just assumed I was supposed to be too), so I was almost totally ignorant of the Bible. I can imagine turning out very differently in both good and bad ways if I’d had formal instruction.

  • The_L1985

    Another creepy aspect of this is, as mentioned before, I was 5. I was not yet old enough for books without pictures to be of any interest to me–and most full Bibles aren’t illustrated. So I basically had my Bible lessons, and those illustrated “Children’s Bibles,” both of which were heavily sanitized.

  • Kagi Soracia

    I’m actually really puzzled because I still have never heard it any other way; it was always presented as a very noble and virtuous thing that Joseph and by extension, Egypt was doing for everyone else. I’m going to have to reread the original, if I can. Maybe I will have a look at the lolcat version. Bible-reading of the traditional sort is kinda triggery for me. :/

  • The_L1985

    Basically, Joseph never told anyone else the famine was coming, except the Pharaoh, even though he easily could have gotten word out with his new position of power. Joseph also encouraged the Egyptians to sell the grain at very inflated prices, which is obvious exploitation.

  • fraser

    It’s much more a theme about destiny or the power or God to mark your path, I’d say.

    And of course, the power of a slutty slut to get a guy in trouble by crying rape when nothing happened.

  • Carstonio

    I’m suggesting that millions have not read the original Genesis account, at least not in many years, and have been influenced more by the watered-down adaptations (Sunday school accounts, children’s books, stage versions).

  • The_L1985

    Ah, yes, the false rape claim by Potiphar’s wife. Or as ABB sanitizes it for kids as young as 1st grade:

    “Potiphar’s wife was jealous that Potiphar cared for Joseph more than for her, so she commanded Joseph to do sinful things. When Joseph wouldn’t obey, she told Potiphar that Joseph was disobedient and had tried to hurt her.”

    I would like it to sink in that I heard this story, along with such non-violent, family-friendly tales as the fall of Sodom and Gommorah and the story of Samson, when I was 5 years old. Just really think about that there.

  • Asha

    When I was two, my uncle and aunt took me to a puppet show on Revelation. Even at two, I knew the story was scary and bad- I had panic attacks for years whenever someone mentioned or quoted Revelation, even though the memory of the actual show was long gone.

  • Lori

    A puppet show on Revelation? For small children? Damn, that is whacked.

  • Asha

    According to my mom, I stopped wearing bright colors and was very, very subdued after that. Keep in mind, I was two. I didn’t cheer up until I started watching Rainbow Brite later.

    Yeah. She said she had ‘reservations, but didn’t want to keep me from the truth, and besides, she had been told it was made child appropriate!’

    I hadn’t known why I had panic attacks at the mention of it until later. I made myself read Revelation when I went off to college, and that helped to desensitize me. So did becoming agnostic.

  • Lori

    There is no way to make Revelation child appropriate. The very idea is just. I can’t even.

    I am so sorry that happened to you and so glad you’re better now.

  • Asha

    ‘Better’ is, as always, a relative term. *shrugs* My mom is… very odd. She has a very feminist attitude, but at the same time is religiously conservative to the point of being unable to have a conversation with her that doesn’t agree with her viewpoints.

  • Lori

    I’m sorry.

  • Asha

    Thank you. At this point, just gotta live with it. There’s no justice to be had.

  • The_L1985

    Sounds like my mom. Dad…doesn’t quite seem to notice that the women’s lib movement happened. :/

  • hagsrus

    Punch and Judy was standard puppet entertainment offered to children in my far-off days of innocence…

  • The_L1985

    I remember reading about Punch and Judy as a kid, and thinking it sounded hilarious. I felt like I’d missed out.

    Then again, Tom & Jerry is about the same, only with animals.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I get the impression that that’s a rewrite of the story because we can’t have one of the great cultural heroes depicted as seducing (or raping) a woman he’s not supposed to be touching.

    Of course, David and Bathsheba, but that’s not quite the same thing. David had power over Bathsheba, Joseph none over Mrs. Potiphar except probably being physically larger and stronger.

  • Daniel Björkman

    I think Andrew Lloyd Webber gave up on finding any sort of meaning in the story and made it into a cheery comedy about silly people instead. It might have been the wisest decision.

  • The_L1985

    From what little I’ve seen of the film version, I can’t but agree with you.

  • Jay in Oregon

    From the description of I am Gabriel (spoiler alert!) “In the end, with his back against the wall — surrounded by skeptics — the boy is forced to reveal his true identity.”

    It would be kinda awesome if the boy turned out to be Lucifer, collecting the souls of the inhabitants because the town founders made a deal with the devil 200 years ago to ensure the town’s prosperity. But I suspect that’s not the “prosperity gospel” they’re aiming for.

    It’s also possible that I’ve been watching too much Supernatural and Buffy lately.

  • Emcee, cubed

    It’s also possible that I’ve been watching too much Supernatural and Buffy lately.

    Huh? I understand the individual words, but together they make no sense. Is there such a thing as “too much Buffy”? (I am only on disc 2 of season 1 of Supernatural, so I have no opinion as of yet…)

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Wait until season 6 when the plot of “you’re going to Hell and there’s absolutely nothing you can do to stop it! … again!” has been rehashed four times.

  • Emcee, cubed

    I’ll assume you are talking about Supernatural (as the limited knowledge I have of future seasons seems in line with your comment). And yeah, that seems likely. I just ran across the broadcast of some episode (showing around noon, which tends to indicate an early to mid range of seasons) where they were talking about how there was no escape from the Pit for Dean, and my first thought was, “don’t they have like five more seasons to get through, though?”

  • iiii

    The recent seasons got much better once I decided that everything after the graveyard scene in “Swan Song” is one long dream of Sam’s. Sooner or later, Sam will come to in canon reality, and Bobby will be in the shower. It’ll be great. Just wait and see.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I stumbled on the official Supernatural character twitter accounts recently and nearly bawled when I saw the last few. Messily reproduced for your pleasure-

    ztniopl3bztinbbn9ylbqqyofzq

    vyarotiherrrejr1xqijy

    u2oIMRHTHEREezw

    zzzdammitizs

    33right af9HERE

    Idjits.

  • Ben English

    For that matter wait until season six of Buffy where everything is horrible forever.

  • Sereg

    I found that my Supernatural-viewing experience was much enhanced by skipping from about there to the beginning of season 4, watching until the end of 7, and then going back and watching the earlier stuff. (CAS CAS CAS)

  • The_L1985

    I would much rather watch that than the actual Call Me Gabriel.

  • MarkTemporis

    Yeah. While it would be a pretty heavy-handed screed against the prosperity gospel movement, I think the world sort of NEEDS a pretty heavy-handed screed against the prosperity gospel movement.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Hey, I just met you / And this is crazy / But god made me rich / So call me Gabe-y

  • Carstonio

    White conservative Catholics like Santorum and white evangelicals may be more closely aligned culturally and ideologically than Fred believes. From my observation, they share the persecuted hegemon mentality perpetuated by Limbaugh and Fox News. Their mutual opposition to abortion and homosexuality are largely proxy battles to preserve gender-based privilege, since both theologies’ gender roles are patriarchal.

  • Ben English

    And Fred has already noted how many Evangelicals are suddenly grossly offended by contraceptive care now that they can use it to unite Catholics and protestants against Obama.

  • Lorehead

    I don’t know enough Evangelicals or traditionalist Catholics to say, but: how many crazy ideas have just jumped ship from hanging out in the pro-Life movement together for so long? A lot of Protestants seem to have picked up Natural-Law theology as an intellectual justification.

  • fraser

    They also share a loathing of welfare, support for war (Santorum has specifically listed those as issues where he daringly breaks from the church), a conviction the Republican party platform is the 11th through 200th commandment and a conviction liberals can’t be real true Christians.

  • http://algol.wordpress.com/ SororAyin

    Man, this thread takes me back to my Catholic days. Yes, there are quite a few Catholics who would be entirely at home with conservative Evangelicals. They both seem determined to overlook that small and inconsequential bit in the Gospels affectionately known as the Sermon on the Mount.

  • http://checkpoint-telstar.blogspot.com/ Tim Lehnerer

    Remember that the cracker Taliban lined up behind Mitt Romney in the 2012 election despite the fact that he was an East Coast job-annihilating heretic who made money off of aborted-fetus-disposal. When it comes to politics or money, there’s not a lot of principles that the Christofascist right won’t abandon.

  • Carstonio

    I love the choice of art for this entry. Imagine a version of LB with Robert Evans as Nicolae.

  • Lorehead

    So what if that story about Israel supposedly commissioning Leon Uris to write Exodus is an urban legend! We’ll still give you some pointers, one tribe to another, Rick. That is, if you want our advice.

  • http://www.xkcd.com/285 Eran Rathan

    My first thought on reading this was “How could Shawn let Henry do something like be involved in all those awful movies?” (yes, I know, conflation of character and actor, blah blah blah).

  • cminus

    25 Hill, 3 Days, 1 Message — is EchoLight Studios taking naming advice from mid-90s pop-punk bands?

  • Lori

    Think of it as National Lampoon’s Vacation Bible School.

    I’m pretty sure that National Lampoon’s Vacation Bible School would actually be really dirty.

  • ReverendRef

    And I was thinking, “Yeah …. I’d go see National Lampoon’s VBS.”

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

    My filthy mind has already started writing this movie. I appologize for the crude humor below but well… given the source material >.>;

    Preacher: “And so you see, sin is like the drain on a bathtub, when there’s no sin there’s no drain and God’s glory fills the world, but every time we sin we step further away from that glory; in a sense, sin is a glory-hole…”

    Goofball Protagonist: *starts giggling*

    Preacher: “What’s so amusing Mr. Mendez?”

    Goofball Protagonist: “N-nothing, nothing… it’s just… well nothing.”

    Preacher: “As I was saying, sin is like a glory-hole it sucks out all of God’s glory…”

    Goofball Protagonist: *full on laughing*

    Preacher: “Mr. Mendez what is the matter?”

    Goofball Protagonist: “I-I-I’m not sure, I think th-the glory of God is on me.”

    Preacher: “The glory of the Lord has come upon you?”

    Goofball Protagonist: *dies laughing*

  • Lori

    And now I have a There’s Something About Mary quote stuck in my head—How could you not know what a glory hole is?

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    In the spirit of “Santorum” I suggest we simply refer to this studio as FleshLight Studios.

  • The_L1985

    Seconded.

  • themunck

    Thirded.

  • MarkTemporis

    Makes more sense, in that a Fleshlight is actually a thing.
    WTF is ‘Echolight’? Does light suddenly have a sound?
    Reminds me of a time I made a list of NPC Superhero names for an RPG once which included ‘Winterlight’, which I only realized made no sense when it became time to actually design the character.

  • Jamoche

    Winterlight makes sense at certain latitudes; the angle of the light has a noticable effect.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    Wait! Winterlight…is that the computer from Neuromancer? No wait, that was Wintermute.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    Weirdly I JUST saw a book by David Poyer called Winterlight on someone’s shelf. Baader-Meinhoff Phenomenon!

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

    I have a headache, but I can’t help but laugh at this.

    It even works on a metaphorical level, what with the movies being masturbatory fantasies for those still locked in the bubble.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    I think laughter is probably the best medicine for the sickness that is shot through Fleshlight Studios.

  • ReverendRef

    I think there are a few congregations in town who do some version of Movie Night, and I’m fairly certain that my congregation is the only mainline one doing it. Most of the others I’ve noticed have been from any number of “Bible Believing Churches.”

    Which means that my Movie Night list includes movies such asThe Outlaw Josey Wales, Hoosiers, The Princess Bride, Dogma, O Brother Where Art Thou, The Matrix, Apollo 13, The Truman Show and a whole list of others.

    The movies mentioned by Fred are what’s showing at the other places.

    It’s easy to see God and How Life Is Supposed To Be when the movie tells you how it should be. Things get a little more difficult when I ask people to discuss the efficacy of retribution in a character like Josey Wales.

    I’m not fond of providing people with easy, pat answers to something as complicated as God and life.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Not all of these movies have the message they think they do, either. I recall one that was reviewed by a member of the community which had a Wish Fulfillment/Alternate Timeline style plot device wherein the protagonist wishes he weren’t Christian and is allowed to see how his life would have been different. The thing is… some of the changes entailed are positive, at least from some perspectives. His parents get divorced “because you weren’t there to pray that they stayed together,” but his father is now remarried and extremely happy.

    Now, what kind of message does that send kids?

    1) If your parents divorce, it is entirely your fault for not praying enough.
    2) No matter how unhappy your parents are together, it’s infinitely superior to having them get divorced.
    3) No matter how happy your parents are with their new spouses, you know that they’re wallowing in sin and will go to Hell for eternity for adultery.

    I can think of no possible way this could backfire.

  • ReverendRef

    His parents get divorced “because you weren’t there to pray that they stayed together,”

    WTF?? Apparently blaming the victim goes well beyond rape culture — “Hey, let’s blame the children for our failures.”

    Just … no.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    It’s in a lot of places. Bullying, obesity, fraud, theft, debilitating illness… in general, there’s an element in our culture which believes that anything which you are unable to prevent or correct is your own fault because Real Americans handle their own damned problems without no wimpy crying or giving up.

  • The_L1985

    “You’ve been dealing with this depression thing for a few years now. Snap out of it!”
    –My dad, who still doesn’t understand the difference between “clinical depression” and “feeling really sad.” He even used the “I was depressed after XYZ happened, but I got over it,” line.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    *Winces* Yeah, I’ve heard that one too. I haven’t told my parents that I probably have PTSD because I already know the response will be “*Irritated sigh* Well, if you choose to be that way, you’re just going to have to deal with it. *Tsk*”

  • The_L1985

    Because after all, why wouldn’t anyone choose to have more difficulties in life!

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    In their minds, the only reason you would claim to have a mental illness is so that you can get out of your responsibilities and have people feel sorry for you.

  • Ben English

    Here’s the thing: Evangelical subculture has to be okay with victim blaming because they believe God is a victim blamer. Over two-thirds of the world’s population is non-Christian, deceived by ‘false religions’, yet they’re just as hell-bound as Richard Dawkins. To be rationalize believing in a God like that makes it easier to rationalize other suffering and victimization as deserved in some way.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

    That… makes me incredibly stabby. As a child of divorced parents – I’m actually GLAD my parents got divorced, they were destroying themselves trying to make it work; particularly my mom.

  • the shepard

    i agree.
    mom and dad’s divorce ended up being best for us kids and for them. misery is not meant to be the state of a marriage or family.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tomstone Thomas Stone

    I’d be curious to hear your take on Wales, since I’ve always seen that as a deeply flawed though brilliantly made movie- it’s probably Eastwood’s best self-directed Western until Unforgiven, but it’s also essentially gussied-up Confederate propaganda, written by an unrepentant white supremacist.

  • ReverendRef

    I’d be curious to hear your take on Wales

    It’s a lovely country just across St. George’s Channel from Ireland …. Oh, you mean the movie ….

    In a nutshell, it’s one of my favorite movies. I realize it’s “gussied-up Confederate propaganda,” but I like the way that members of the “good” North are portrayed as basically evil. War is hell, and even those on the “right” side do terrible things.

    I like the movement of Josey from single-minded revenge killer to peaceful farmer. In our discussion, we drew on the, “Vengeance is mine, says the Lord,” passage and how we can get caught up in that. A lot of gang warfare is based on the payback system. At some point it needs to stop. At some point, we need to decide that we will no longer participate in this spiral of violence. I think Josey and Fletcher both got to that point where killing no longer became their focus.

    There’s also the recognition that you do not have to be bound by your past. The war and murder of Josey’s family were the backdrop, but there’s more to life than being defined by your past.

    There’s almost a baptismal moment when Fletcher says, “I guess we all died a little in that damn war.” In baptism, we die to sin and death, and are raised to a new life (sometimes with a new name). Fletcher and Josey let their past lives die, and Josey was raised to new life as a peaceful farmer with a new name — Mr. Wilson.

    So there are a few thoughts in answer to your question.

    BTW — love your avatar.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tomstone Thomas Stone

    Haha, thanks. Yeah, I think that reading works- if one assumes that both the intended audience and the actual audience are predisposed to be more sympathetic to the Union, and that the depiction of Union forces as being evil will be read as them being _also_ evil- but unfortunately, that gets harder if one ever watches it with a Neo-Confederate uncle, as I had the misfortune to do. I do love the depiction of the sort of weary grace that is achieved when people are exhausted of killing, however justified. It’s something I suspect Eastwood picked up from Leone, as even his amoral character in the Dollars movies had a certain tenderness and pity about him in The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, brought on by the true ugliness of warfare.

  • Lori

    It’s also easier to look at it as Union forces being evil also, or being evil in spire of being the “good guys”, if you watch Wales in isolation. When you see it in the context of other movies in the genre the Confederate propaganda is much harder to ignore. It’s one of the films that I enjoyed more the first time I saw it, before I had seen enough others to connect the dots.

  • The_L1985

    TBH, I never saw the Confederate-propaganda bit. I just remember thinking, “Hey, a movie that’s not afraid to admit that white people did bad things too, from before Native Americans were generally treated as human beings by US culture!”

  • http://estneillaamata.blogspot.com/ JulianaSundry

    My church does that sort of thing, at least amongst the youth group: we have an ongoing tradition of gathering the youth together to watch various movies (almost always either currently-popular or classic “secular” movies) and then discussing how the characters handled the moral issues. The Harry Potter movies were particularly excellent for that.

  • Carstonio

    I’m not fond of people craving those easy, pat answers, either, although I understand the desire. The summaries of the RTC movies mentioned in this thread sound like children’s stories in their approach to good versus evil. I once encountered a Christian who said it was unacceptable if ultimate justice didn’t exist, because the lionization of Genghis Khan by modern Mongolians meant that he could commit brutalities and get away with it. It did no good for me to suggest that we work toward justice in the world.

  • the shepard

    what saddens and angers me most about this type of tripe is that it seems like everyone involved is willing to half-ass their art because their making “CHRISTIAN” movies (or books or music or cartoons),
    you’re going to reach a much larger, more receptive audience with a movie that has a message than you are with a message movie.

  • MarkTemporis

    Why isn’t it considered blasphemy to half-ass your art because it’s “Christian”? That seems less respectful to your god than anything I have to say.

  • FearlessSon

    Part of the problem is that they are making those movies with a very particular target demographic, who works on a system of mental check-boxes for what they are looking for.

    Think of it as having some of the same kind of appeal as fanfiction. Creative though some fanfics might be, a lot of the popularity is more because people who seek it out are seeking validation for ideas that they already have. That is part of why fanfics tend to have their content labeled so granularity, so people can find the stuff they like and feel that their ideas have weight by others writing about it.

    In the case of the “Christian media” industry, the same thing is happening. They are trying to sell stuff to a particular audience who is just interested in seeing their existing ideas validated. Part of the half-assing is because they are hobbled by the constraints of hitting the things in their to-include check-box and dodging the things in their to-avoid check-box. But as long as those marks are hit, there is no incentive to do any better, and their audience is unlikely to care anyway.

  • lawrence090469

    I disagree with the proposition that Ricky is not part of the tribe. This blog has repeatedly stated that the Tribe is defined by it’s ‘stance’ on abortion, gay rights, climate change, and young Earth creationism, in roughly that order. The fact that he’s Catholic is barely relevant. The Catholics have been colonizing the evangelical fundies since Paul Wyerich. They have always been at war with EastAsia, and abortion, and birth control, and environmental stewardship, etc.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Geez, what an uninspiring bunch of Hallmark-Lite movies. Such a shame too — I think there’s a hidden market for SyFy-style RTC fare … Sharkbortion, Gaynado, Immigator, Crockobama … and that was just off the top of my head…

  • http://algol.wordpress.com/ SororAyin

    *groan*

  • http://music.satellitereboot.com/ Matt S

    When my wife leaves me alone for extended periods of time, I acquire munchies and have a Bad Netflix Day. Those movies need to happen.

  • FearlessSon

    “Sharkbortion”? I think that someone on Newgrounds already did that.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

    Alright, I think this post has officially won the internet for the day., lol, too perfect!

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    It stars Ashley Kate Adams as Meredith Baxter Birney.

    Took me three tries to parse this sentence correctly, so appealing was the idea of this outfit accidentally hiring Meredith Baxter (She stopped using ‘Birney’ years ago, but I think Fred’s usage is historically accurate, since Ashley Kate Adams isn’t actually playing Meredith Baxter) to be in one of their Good Christian Movies, without knowing anything about her that post-dates the era of Lifetime-Movies-Staring-Meredith-Baxter-Birney.

  • reynard61

    ”Seasons of Gray is a modern-day retelling of the story of Joseph and his coat of many colors.

    “The actual story is much stranger and more problematic. It is, among other things, an origin story — ‘How Pharaoh Became a Despot Owning Everything and Everyone.’ The alleged happy ending of the Genesis story comes about by Joseph exploiting a famine to oppress an entire nation, which doesn’t so much suggest ‘the power of forgiveness’ as it does the will-to-power of a psychopath who sees the vulnerability of the poor as his divine right to prey on them and take what is theirs for his own enrichment.”

    It’s an ancient tune: “I’ve got mine — and I want *yours* too!” The Tea Party is just playing it on modern instruments.

    Oliver is a bright 12-year-old who lives in the shadow of his parents’ loss of their first son. His family appears fine on the outside, but is broken behind closed doors. As they work out their faith, Oliver is left to grapple with his own belief in God and the answers to life’s biggest questions: Why am I here? What happens after death? Who made us? An angel disguised as a quirky traveler is sent to help him bring the pieces of the puzzle together. As Oliver’s struggles cause him to mistakenly look to science for answers, he discovers God is found by faith not by sight.

    “Those first two sentences are movie No. 1. The horrible false dichotomy of faith and science is movie No. 2. And the ‘angel disguised as a quirky traveler’ is movie No. 3 — one that has no business anywhere near movies 1 & 2.”

    And that fourth sentence should be a clue to any *sane* audience to stay away from all three of these travesties of the cinematic art if they’re going to be made as a single entity.

  • Matri

    This studio will probably end up making Uwe Boll look like Stanley Kubrick
    Which would be quite a feat of nature.

  • alegrenaje

    Oh, man, that list up there is pretty much a shopping list for my parents. There is literally nothing on that list that they wouldn’t buy if the package advertised an affinity towards families.
    I’ve always rather hated this quality, but it sure does make holidays easier!

  • The_L1985

    My parents are a bit odd about this sort of thing. They liked that one Christian football movie (can’t remember the name, but it has a big, weepy conversion scene on the bleachers around midway through) but can’t stand Christian romance. They were tricked into buying an audiobook of Christian romance because it was labeled as “Inspirational.” Mom was pretty PO’ed about the idea that conversion suddenly magically fixed everyone’s problems, because she’s been a devout Christian her entire life–which has had some decidedly rough spots.

    Both of us also read Beverly Lewis’s first Amish trilogy, too. Both of us agreed that it was annoying that every single plot development was telegraphed from near the beginning of the first book (seriously, Bev, can’t you give us a few chapters of suspense?), but what really got us talking was how the third book basically says, “Amish people aren’t really Christian because they follow additional rules. Unlike evangelicals, whose extra rules are TOTES BIBLICAL, YOU GUYS.” Neither of us liked the anti-Amish slur there. Given that Bev’s an ex-Amish woman, I’d say she’s waaaaay too bitter about her past and needs some distance from it before she writes any more books.

  • Fanraeth

    Probably Facing the Giants, made by the same people that produced the dreadful Fireproof.

  • The_L1985

    Sounds right. I was accused of blasphemy for the particularly irreverent way I MST’ed the damn thing.

  • Fanraeth

    I was spared that particular movie, fortunately. Suffered through Fireproof though with my mom who loved it so much she cried in spots. I was actually still pretty conservative when I watched it, but it was so blatantly misogynistic that even younger non-liberal me picked up on it.

  • alegrenaje

    And me here thinking that ~all~ the denominations got along.
    I guess I understand a dislike of the culture? But to go as far as saying that they aren’t Christian (given the implication that this is a serious statement in the evangelical circuit- I could write a small term paper on its usage in my own house…), shows a very hateful standpoint.
    Why even was she writing about the Amish life if she was so disgruntled by it?

  • The_L1985

    The thing is, the first 2 books showed no sign of being anti-Amish. They were about a young woman who felt she didn’t belong in the Amish town where she grew up. She finds out she was adopted, and goes to find her birth mother. Book 3 is where she “accepts Jesus as her savior,” which is of course Christianese for “this is the moment at which she first becomes a Christian.” Implying that as an Amish, she wasn’t Christian.

    Also, there’s talk about “teaching the other Amish” about Jesus, as if they somehow didn’t know, and converting them to “Christianity,” which in this context means “get out of those dowdy clothes and start living like the typical middle-class white American.”

  • alegrenaje

    Huh.
    The idea that she would go back in the first place is a bit silly, I think? Don’t some Amish people do that shunning thing? (I think the sect is Mennonites, though that may not be at all related.) I’m thinking that everybody from her area would avoid her on the word that she had converted.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    My apologies if someone’s already hit this – I’m afraid that by the time I’ve caught up on the comments, I’ll have forgetten what I wanted to say – but the summary given here of The Potential Inside makes me think that Double Edge Films already did that story, and a wildly better job of it, with Ink — not least because

    SPOILER

    …ROT13:

    gur puvyq jubfr yvsr-guerngravat fvghngvba ercerfragf n pevfvf cbvag sbe ure sngure? Fur trgf gb yvir ng gur raq! Nyfb fur trgf gb or n erny punenpgre ba fperra, jvgu n qrprag nzbhag bs ntrapl naq rirelguvat! Bar pbhyq cbvag gbjneq ure ershfny gb fvzcyl or n cebc/Znpthssva sbe bguref gb svtug bire vf n uhtr snpgbe va erfbyivat ure sngure’f pevfvf cbvag va n ubcrshy qverpgvba, gbb.

    …/end ROT13

    /end SPOILER

    So there you go, EchoLight. You have Double Edge Films to live up to in more ways than three. It doesn’t sound good for you.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    If EchoLight can compete with Ink, they might make a convert. It would take that much.


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