Ah, Jared's Java. Pleasant taste. Slight Monsterism.

Welcome to the home of my mind, where I brew my intellectual and spiritual joe. Sit back and let me pour you a cup or two. I promise not to cut you off, even after you get the caffeine jitters.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Early Week Randomness From the Corners of My Brain

Well, my week has already been so crazy that I couldn't post yesterday. So, let's get this train wreck a rollin'...

A little follow up on my last post is deserved. Niki said, "I don't have a problem with any 'history months'. I'd be all for a 'Scottish History Month.'" I do, and I'm not. Having these "Celebrate your race" months is all a set up. It is just another frontier in the wars of racism. The lobbies responsible for their creation would never admit it. That IS the reason that there is no "Scottish History Month" or "German History Month." If anyone attempted to establish those, they'd probably get attacked and labeled as a white supremacist nutjob. We are all Americans, and we should celebrate that. Ethnic traditions (not racial, but ethnic, as there's a huge, chasmic difference) are most meaningfully celebrated in the context of the families that belong to those groups. Black and Latin History months just serve as an attempt to force down our throats a reminder of oppression that no one living was subjugated to and that no one alive is responsible for. In a perfect world, I'd be all for the "History Months." But if I have to hear Al Sharpton whine about one more truly harmless thing and call it racist...

Have any of you seen the commercial for the newest Kia? The model name is the "Rondo." No...no I'm not kidding. Rondo was a joke on one of the Mystery Science Theatre Hour 3000 episodes. Call me a nerd, if you will, that show was freakin' hilarious. But, seriously, the Rondo? How am I supposed to take that seriously? Do you want to be seen in a Rondo? I know I wouldn't. I think I'm going to start creating some top ten lists to go on the blog here. How about top ten worst car model names of the 2007 model year? That'd go at number two. The top spot going to the Khalkhalesh Butt Weasel. Poor translation by the auto makers of Gaggermyzykenstan was the failure there. They were going for "Sly Mule."

I went and saw Ghost Rider, starring Nicholas Cage, last weekend. I must say that I was rather disturbed by the previews for a Quentin Terentino movie that played before Ghost Rider. Not because I watched the previews; I heard his name and turned my head, but because several people had brought children as young as about 6 to see Ghost Rider, and I didn't see any or their parents covering their eyes. It was violatingly graphically violent, and very sexually explicit. The way Terentino glorifies those things just turns my stomach. We wonder why our kids are so indifferent to the injustice of the world...

Ghost Rider was, all-in-all, a really good movie. It had Sam Elliott, who is one of my favorite actors. He makes a much better cowboy than Clint Eastwood (which isn't to say I'm not an Eastwood fan). Watch Tombstone, you'll see what I mean. Nicholas Cage is not my favorite actor, but he is pretty stinkin' good, and he was really good in this one. The story may seem weak to some, but I found its themes very realistic (I'll explain that in a second), and it was all good, up until the end.

At this time, I'll issue a general spoiler warning. If you don't want to know anything about the movie until you see it (and if Benny Nowell is reading this, you should go see it, man), then skip on down past the bottom row of asterisks, and bask in the glory that is the randomness of the rest of my brain.
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Johnny Blaze (Nicholas Cage's character) makes an unwitting and half-hearted deal with the devil to become the Ghost Rider when he is something like 18 years old. He finds out his dad has cancer and says he's willing to do anything to have him better. That's when the devil shows up. Johnny is not aware that he is the devil, but he kinda gets an idea something freaky is happening to him when the devil asks for his soul in exchange for his father's health. He pulls out a scroll and holds it open for Johnny to see and "sign." Johnny takes the scroll to look at it and something pricks him on his finger. He quickly pulls his hand away to see he's bleeding a little. A drop of blood falls on the "signature" line, and it is sealed. After a few parting words, the devil disappears telling Johnny he'd be back for him when he needed him.

Johnny wakes up the next morning, and his dad is all better, doctor's reports and all. Then he dies about an hour later when he goofs up doing a motorcycle jump in his carnival show.

Johnny runs off leaving the girl he loves and everything else in his world behind.

Deals with the devil: they always end up leaving you with a revoltingly bitter taste in your mouth no matter how sweet it seems at the time. And Johnny running made sense. I think most people in his specific set of circumstances would have done the same. Most people handle their problems through denial or trying to run from them.

The devil comes back years later and gives him this sweet chopper (motorcycle, that is). Johnny turns into the ghost rider. This is where I'd say most kids under 14 would probably not do well handling the movie. It looks pretty creepy (but way freakin' awesome at the same time!). There are some disturbing, nightmare images during the movie that kinda creeped me out a little, but are worth seeing as it bears out the movies emotional and dramatic themes.

The end was disappointing. It all got tied up well, and the story ended well. It was more disappointing from a philosophical/worldview perspective. The devil, when he came to turn Johnny into the Ghost Rider, offered him his soul back if he could capture a demon that was set to overthrow him. So Johnny gets the job done, and the devil shows up. Yet, Johnny refuses the rights to his eternal soul back so that he can remain the Ghost Rider. He tells the devil that he is going to use his power to make the deal he made a curse for the devil. Something to the effect of "Wherever there's injustice, I'll be there. The spirit of vengeance, to make you pay." The devil gets all angry and says, "This isn't over!" and disappears.

Is the immortal soul worth so little? I find that really disturbing on a whole multitude of levels. Truly, the devil would be happy that Johnny would turn him down to reverse the deal. Not just because he gets to take him down with him in the end, but because the Lord says that vengeance belongs to Him, and that would work against the Lord's will. Maybe it is a good teaching point for kids, though. Maybe that is what we should come away with. It all ties in and seems a little less offensive if you know the Ghost Rider comic book lore, but it doesn't make it anymore biblically sound.

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I'd love it if y'all might visit this site, read up on the stuff on there and tell me what you think:
http://www.havidol.com/
Think about it before you respond, but please respond.

Jen and I didn't make it to a church on Sunday. I am still struggling to figure out what I want in a church. I know that I have to go to find it. It takes a lot of planning, though, if you are set in a theological school (like me being in the Reform area) , and you don't have many friends who attend different churches in the area. I have a few leads up my sleeve I plan to chase down today. Jen was ill, however, and that was the actual reason we stayed home.

Well, I'll quit torturing you. A round of gold stars for all the peoples who made it this far!

5 comments:

The Flip Flop Mamma! said...

Well Ghost rider sounds like something my hubby will want to drag me to, but not something I would care to see.

About that site. I don't know what you're looking for here....I know several people who could probably benefit from that kind of drug...I took the test and although I scored good (some of those questions were a bit strange) I scored a 22 and then the first catagory says to contact you doc immidiately, the second was says you may need to and the good one that I fell into says make sure you answered honestly. So basically they think everyone should be on it??? I don't get it.

Dapoppins said...

I didn't read the Ghost Rider review because I hope to see it. I have always thought Cage had a huge range as an actor.
And no, I don't think I would like to ride in a Rondo...it is right up there with the DART.

majeau13 said...

I totally didn't read the "Ghost Rider" review, only because I plan on seeing it in the next few days.

I'm a huge comic book fan, so I'm sure I'll love it

Niki said...

Good grief Jared! I was joking about Sottish History month!

Saw Ghost Rider lastnight - it was awesome. I totally agree with you about the ending. It was disappointing. I love Sam Eliot and I LOVE Tombstone.

tresspassers william said...

as far as the history months go i've already posted a comment about it on your "my turn to be offensive." post. but, i would like to say go see my post at hopefullyonesimus.townhall.com about "if it were really about slavery" and i think you might find part of their motivations.