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And Then There Was Silence

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update and rants

Not much to report on. I intend to give little updates, but knowing me, they'll probably turn into big updates as I remember things I want to write down.

I saw Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade last night again. It was good fun but there were 2 big issues that bugged me. I know this movie is campy fun. Everything explodes and that's fun. Everyone is out to kill Indy and that's fun for the audience. The special effects are old, which makes sense because it's an older film, but that's part of the charm and fun. But:

1. The way the one female character was treated made me uncomfortable. She was beautiful, but stupid and ignorant. She was evil, but couldn't seem to decide whose side she was one. She was treated poorly from both sides - more poorly than male characters even though she seemed to be a trustworthy spy. Are these things meant to be reflecting attitudes toward women from the 1930s? Or is this the result of the sexualisation of women in Hollywood today? She's only good for being sex-on-legs and eye candy for movie goers. Even the sex scene - of which we only see the introduction to, is rather violent. There's obviously tension between them, but why is that tension expressed in a sex scene in which they force kisses and express distate for each other? I had little respect for her, and I don't suppose anyone really could respect her. Which makes me uncomfortable, because women need to be respected, just as men need respect.

2. The beliefs of these people are crazy. I summarise it as such: "I want eternal life and believe that a cup that Jesus drank from will give it to me. I believe this cup has that power because it held the blood of Christ. Meaning that anything Christ touched is holy and can benefit me. But I will not believe that Jesus' death and resurrection paid for my sin and guaranteed me new life in Heaven forever with God. Free from the sin and injustice of this world and entering into eternal love and joy forever."
I mean, come on! This is SO typical of the world today, to pick and choose which part of which faiths, religions and beliefs to believe in, making it suit their own ends and goals. Saying that this part of Christianity is true, this part of Buddhism is true and this part of Hinduism is true. But completely disregarding the rest of it because it's uncomfortable/inconvenient/stupid. What gives them the authority to make these decisions? Either something is all right, or all wrong. I accept that Muslims think I'm wrong. That's totally cool and I actually respect them more for being willing to say it and still chat/talk/be my friend/debate with me. I hope that they accept and respect me still, even though I do not cover up that I think they're wrong and misguided. But if we try reconciliation through compromising our beliefs and somehow meshing them together: we've just entered a whole new ball game! I am NOT prepared to go that far. But that is the kind of attitude Hollywood is encouraging with this myth of the Holy Grail to the detriment of the actual gospel.

In other news,
- James is totally wonderful. But you all knew that already ;) Today we've been together for 5 months! How time flies! OMGoodness it's the middle of April - how quickly has the year gone so far! We're already a third of the way through!! :O
- Uni is plodding on by, I have two assignments due on Wednesday that I haven't started. But they're not hard at all and I expect to have drafts of both by Sunday.
- Parents are coming down Sunday evening as Mum has an operation on Tuesday. She's not unwell - it's elective surgery. But it should help improve the quality of her life, so we're all hopeful.
- People are pairing up and it's very exciting! I'm sad I wasn't happier about this kind of thing when I was single. I am disappointed in my past-single-self.

Uuuum, the end :D
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5months already! wow that went fast!

as to Indie... well yes I think there's some stuff to be critical of there, particularly in relation to gender roles. To simply dismiss as representative of the times would be a mistake. Mad Men (tv show SBS, VERY GOOD) portrays women according to the times, but does so in a way that is clever and doesn't promote those ideals...
And the grail. Well many of those traditions were started by the church and incorporated into the modern folklore. If you read the 'Mabignonian' (probably spelt that wrong) you can see see how early Christians attempted to edit pagan stories to Christianize, hence stories about the cauldron of youth became stories about the holy grail. But I think these stories are so ingrained into our cultural heritage that I don't think they're going anywhere anytime soon. I don't too many people mistake those myths for actual Christian belief anyway, at least I really hope they don't. But yeah I see where you're coming from..

I get that the grail myth has been around forever and ever and this is Chrisianity's take on it. I get that I associate with an organised religion that has been around for the past 2000 years. I get that this religion has done lots of things, including mesh pagan stuff into their own stuff.

But I am viewing this through the lense of the Bible. And when taken from that perspective, instead of the religious/culture perspective, it's totally stupid! There's no mention of how the grail is super dooper special. There's just lots of talk about salvation and what now.

cranky early morning rant

1. Yes, there are some *very* valid things to be said about the Indy franchise's treatment of women. Granted, in this case, the sex scene to which you're alluding is more about Indy's virility than it is about any sort of real sexualization of the entire gender. Also, the tension they were trying to build was actually sexual tension, there just wasn't much in the way of that kind of chemistry between the actors. So, yeah, some of this is more acting!fail than gender!fail.

2. Let me just say firstly that I don't think anyone going into Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is seeing the film for its Christian overtones. I'm of the opinion that the Grail myth gets selected because it was a well-known story in a predominately Christian culture and involved a a magic item that Indy could retrieve, much like the Ark of the Covenant, the Kali stones, or the Crystal Skull.

Christianity has been borrowing from other spiritual traditions since its inception, or did you think it was accidental that Christmas and Easter fall so close to other traditional winter and spring celebrations? Even the word "Easter" has its roots in pagan worship, evolving from "Eostre", the name of a pagan fertility goddess. We get the painted eggs from pagan custom as opposed to Christian worship. There's a really line of scholarly research that indicates that Western concepts of monasticism and self-denial are rooted in Augustine's work and that he, in turn, was influenced by Hindu asceticism. I'm not going to go into the ways that pervasive Greek philosophical ideas even permeate the Gospels. ::cough, cough:: John's Logos ::cough, cough::

However, to defend Lucas a bit here, I think you're missing the most important part of the Grail story as it has become embedded in our culture. As jazz_machine notes, the Grail legend is yet another pagan icon that has wended its way into Christian spiritual tradition, but while tracking how that occurred is anthropologically interesting, what's most interesting is that in the Christian version of the story, whether one attains the Grail is immaterial. Indeed, in most versions of the story, the Grail seeker does not get to possess it or must give it up because what's important is the journey. The stories actually transmute the search for the Grail into a metaphor for choosing to follow Jesus, and the film script acknowledges this metaphor. Dr. Jones the Elder makes several comments to the effect that the search is what's important, etc. Even the challenges Indy faces on his way to retrieve the Grail constitute ham-fisted concretization of this overarching metaphor. Note, I'm not saying the film does this *well*, though I love it. I'm just saying it's there.

Finally, the Indiana Jones stories hearken back to comic/pulp fiction tradition of the twenties and thirties that involved super secret projects and magic gizmos. The story is supposed to be goofy, over the top, and full of stock archetypes. Furthermore, the film in question was released in 1989, over a decade ago. I'm not certain that making sweeping claims about how "typical" it is of Hollywood "today" is entirely appropriate.

Re: cranky early morning rant

I'm quite aware of the Christian celebrations and pagan celebrations being a result of the Catholic church christianising the masses. It's hard to be a Christian and not hear that educational spiel every year :). I feel like every time I post on something Christmassy/Eastery I need to preface it with a disclaimer of me knowing that the dates are taken from pagan holidays.

As to monasticism, I would argue that that's not a position that the Gospels advocate, so indeed, that it's taken from other sources is hardly surprising. And given that the NT was written in a Greek context, I'm not surprised that the writers were influenced by it. That being said however, it is still the word of God and, I believe, inerrant and infallible. I am not trying to convince you of why I believe this to be so, I'm just putting forth my position on the issue. :)

I understand what you're saying about the search of the grail being more important than the actual finding of it, but I don't think it being "a metaphor for choosing to follow Jesus" is correct. I base this on a live of Brody's: "The search for the Grail is the search for the divine in all of us". This is somewhat obscure and I recognise my own bias in interpreting this line, but also given the characters actions, it seems more of a quest for Donovan's own selfish means. To be eternal, to be divine, but not on God's terms.

The Indiana Jones movies are good fun - I rather enjoy them. Being goofy, over the top and having stock stereotypes is good fun. But there are many male stereotypes. There are many female stereotypes. The construction and treatment of this female stereotype bothers me for the aforementioned reasons. This movie was the final in a trilogy that Lucas, Spielberg and Paramount would have known would be popular - else they would have stopped at Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Although attitudes to women in films has improved substantially, attitudes to women in society have still a long way to go.

(Deleted comment)
Thanks for putting a bit more context to the decision making process regarding Dr Schnieder. She's set up at Indy's equal, but that status quickly degrades as she's shown to be a total dope. She still follows him around (and any other man who's on the current side she's following) and she still needs saving.

The one point in which she shows some backbone is when in Germany: Indy has her by the throat and she says "all I need to do is scream". But she looks so weak in that scene, particularly when Indy grabs her and throws her against a pillar.

It would have been nice if there were a female character who was *really* Indy's equal. That would have been very interesting indeed. But unconducive to a high pace action flick running on the adrenaline of the title character. :P

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