Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Parable of Scary Mary or Religious Wackos Eat Children

I admit it. Mary Poppins is one of my favorite movies. So when I heard about the youtube clip called Scary Mary, I had to watch it. It's classic:

That clip is, of course, harmless fun. In fact, I had been meaning to post it here for some time. What finally made me do it was Geoffrey's post here. He's had a few run-ins with "fundamentalist" Christians lately, so when he saw the following clip, he deemed "these people" scary:

I admit I have no idea who the leader guy on stage is, or if his intentions are evil or not. But this video report does not do anything to solve my ignorance of the matter. It comes across the same way that "Scary Mary" does, full of quick shots of the stage and screaming people, with ominous background music to set the tone. Taken alone, it's quite ridiculous.

Which, of course, is the problem with watching TV. Most of the "news" is ridiculous pandering of this nature. It gets everyone riled up; the people they're portraying get offended and protest, and everyone else thinks those guys are insane child-eaters. Either way, people watch. Which I suppose is the point.


Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

I agree that there is something piecemeal about the CNN report. I also think it is possible for one to suspend judgment concerning the event pictured pending further information. The problem with such a viewpoint is that the televised report shows something all too familiar from recent history - which is why I invoked Triumph of the Will and the Cultural Revolution. The latter came to mind as I saw people running down aisles carrying red banners. The endless discussion of "culture wars", the criticism of contemporary popular and high culture by the Christian right, the mind-numbing stupidity of so much right-wing rhetoric all put this within a larger context in which it seems that, for some at least, the gloves are off, and the battle for America's soul is in full earnest.

I found the "scary Mary" video funny, but it could also be taken seriously by some wo are far too literal, far less amenable to the vagaries and ironies of life than some others. You must admit, Cameron, that there is something vaguely unsettling to the story of Mary Poppins, especially as her "powers", whatever they may be, are not explained. When the children attempt to explain to their father their adventure in the chalk drawing, and Mary denies any such event took place, we are entering a realm similar to that of child abuse; an adult and a child participate in an activity together, and then when the child tells another adult about it, the adult with whom the child participated denies it. Since all adults know that children are prone to confabulation, the children's description of events is denied. I am not saying this is the only description, but it is both plausible and fits the facts as presented in the film.

As for religious whackos eating children - I honestly wouldn't put it past some of them.

Ashlee said...

Okay...love the Mary Poppins clip. That was just awesome. Never though of Mary Poppins in quite that way before. ;0) But in reality, it was a children's movie made decades ago. I hardly think there was an underlying message in there.

As far as the other clip....the guys message was portrayed as the news journalist wanted it to be. What would grab the attention of the viewer to get them to watch. Not just the plain old story. It sounds to me like he's just trying to get teenagers to stop and think. Wouldn't it be great if more teens were strong enough to speak up when put in the tough situations they are now put in. Kids as young as junior high students are dealing with the pressures of drugs on a daily basis. I'm scared for Landon. Will it get to him in the 5th or 6th grade now? Will it progress that far? I hope not. We, as parents, should be instilling strength in our kids to deal with what they are dealing with.

As far as the protests against him...all I have to say is...Freedom of Speech. I didn't hear anything in his speech about being anti-woman, anti-gay, or pro-war. War in the sense they are referring to. I assume he's meaning the war that our children are facing everyday. The fight against drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, etc. I realize I did not hear his entire speech, and though he did get all riled up, it doesn't sound like his message was all that different from a day at EFY. ;0)

Cameron said...

Geoffrey, I've never felt unsettled by Mary Poppins. It's a good, fun movie.

As for the CNN deal, it seemed to me that it was just a snippet plugging the actual report to be aired this week.

Hopefully the real thing will be at least a little informative, and not the overdone propaganda that the commercial implies.

Ashlee, your analysis of what was going on in that video could be entirely accurate. If it is, then the way it was portrayed by the reporter and editor is tragic, and frankly will probably lead to even more of those pep rally-like meetings.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Cameron, I was being a tad facetious - there are fewer movies more wholesome and wonderful than Mary Poppins and I mean those words as generous compliments. I was merely offering the opinion that different people can see things that aren't there - or see things that might be hidden because their perspective is so different.

I do believe it possible that I overreacted to the CNN report - the whole running-banner thing reminded me of an old Chinese Communist propaganda film my ninth grace social studies teacher showed us - Red Guards running through Tianenmen Square carrying huge red banners, surrounding people arrested for various thought crimes, like reading Jane Austen novels, that kind of thing . . .

I think that it is possible for people to take the most innocent thing in the world and turn it sinister. Remember, please, that Charles Manson took Paul McCartney's song about riding the roller coaster as symbolic of the coming race war, a race war Manson was insistent on starting by slaughtering innocent people.