Posts Tagged ‘Violence’

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The Bible: Inappropriate for All Ages

January 22, 2010
Noah's neighbors considering moving to the suburbs.

Noah's neighbors considered moving to the suburbs.

[Apologies for the deafening silence. Here’s another one from the archives. Originally published May 15, 2009.]

To hear Sunday school teachers tell it, you would think the Bible is chock full of platitudes and see-through parables, all based on Peace, Love, Unity and Respect. But as you actually start to read the thing, you’ll see it has as much in common with those qualities as your local rave does. Why, it’s nothing but E’d-up teens dividing their time between rubbing on each other, asking you for drugs and trying to come up with enough pocket change to split a $6 bottle of water. Only more Biblical.

The Story of Job
In what is widely viewed by prominent theologians as a “dick move,” God tortures one of his most faithful citizens just to win a bet with Satan. God says, “Job’s my dog, yo,” and guarantees that Job won’t sell him out, no matter how bad it gets.

How bad does it get? His son and daughter and a bunch of their friends have the house collapse on them and then burn to the ground. His crops and livestock are killed. He’s covered head to toe in boils and blisters and is reduced to scraping at his skin with broken pottery. His friends taunt him. His wife leaves him (at least through the rest of this story). Uwe Boll flies in to host a film festival. Satan sits outside Job’s compound in a tank, blaring Ted Nugent’s Stranglehold and Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On.

His friends and neighbors stop by and encourage him to “curse God and die.” Or at least cop a plea and ask for a reduced sentence. But Job stands by his man, much to Satan’s dismay. After collecting His winnings, God rewards Job by giving him… exactly the same life he had previously. No bonus. No home version of the game. Nothing.

Oh. He also gives him ten more kids. Cause that’s the kind of thing that makes life worth living.

The Flood
In what is widely viewed by theologians as “excessive and punitive,” God destroys the world with a flood.

First, God picks local winemaker Noah to be His village idiot and has him get busy building a ginormous boat. God also shows His contempt for the metric system by making Noah use measurements like “hand” and “cubit.”

Noah dutifully clearcuts the surrounding area, heads to Home Depot for a “Cubits to Real Dimensions” converter and spends the next 40+ years on the ultimate arts and crafts project. As if building an ark in your driveway wasn’t enough punishment, his neighbors show up just to heckle him. (“20% chance of rain, tops. You want I should get you an umbrella? The hell is that, a cubitstick?”)

After finishing the Ark, Noah kicks back with a good Merlot and waits for rain. God quickly ruins his day by ordering him to gather “two of every living creature.*” After stressing the importance of boy-girl pairing, God sets Noah to his task. “Even those creatures we’re sick of dealing with?” Noah asks. “Especially those,” God replies.

This accomplished, Noah herds his family onto the noisy, cramped and foul-smelling ark. God then proceeds to “make it rain on these hoes” for 40 days and nights. Noah’s neighbors, sensing they may have backed the wrong team, beg to be allowed to come aboard (“Let us in Noah. There must be, like, 20 or 30 cubits of water on the ground. We think.”), apologizing noisily for the “umbrella thing.”

After floating around aimlessly, the Ark finally runs ashore. God says, “Hey, Noah, my main man. How do you feel about repopulating the world through massive amounts of inbreeding?” Noah says, “That’s cool, I guess. We’re kind of sick of fucking the animals.”

Sociologists agree that this was the “tipping point” that pushed the world’s ensuing population to more than 50% stupid.

*except non-related human beings

Sodom
Once again, God’s pissed and He wants to break something. This time it’s Sodom, birthplace of the Shocker. Oh, and sodomy. He threatens to destroy the entire city unless 50 “righteous” men are found. Abraham, stoned out his gourd, says, “No problem. Those dudes are all pretty righteous.” God says, “You’ve got to be kidding me. Are you stoned? Again? It’s, like 8:30 in the morning.” And Abraham says, “It’s cool. I’ve been up all night. *giggle*”

Later, God and a more sober Abraham speak again. The word “righteous” is clarified and Abraham knows he’s screwed. He begins to work his lawyer mojo and bargains God down to one. A safe bet, since the one he’s referring to is his nephew, Lot.

God sends two angels to Sodom to warn Lot and his family of the city’s impending doom. The locals gather outside Lot’s house, demanding that he send out the two visitors so they can gang-bang them. Lot does what any gentleman would do in this situation. He refuses to send his guests out.

He refuses to send the guests out but offers them the use of his two virgin daughters. Smooth.

The townspeople refuse (this is Sodom, after all) and yell something about “banging some ass we haven’t had before,” leading Lot to believe that his daughters have misled him.

God then strikes the Sodomites blind, allowing Lot and his family to escape, and proceeds to rain fire on the evildoers. However, Lot’s wife, an avid swinger, takes a look back at all the random sex she’s leaving behind and is turned into a pillar of salt. Literally. (Even metaphorically, I don’t think it means anything.)

The Illustrated David and Bathsheba Fan Fiction Collection

The Illustrated David and Bathsheba Fan Fiction Collection

David & Bathsheba
David, king of Israel, while cutting thru the neighbor’s bushes one night, catches a glimpse of Uriah’s (one of his palace guards) wife, Bathsheba, as she bathes. Which is all she did, really, hence the nickname.

David uses his kingly powers of seduction to bang her a few times and, as often happens (especially in After School Specials), knocks her up.

He proceeds to do the honorable thing. He tries to talk Uriah into having lots of sex with his wife, starting immediately, in hopes that Uriah will mistake David Jr. for one of his own kids. No deal, says Uriah, preferring to follow the palace guidelines and stay with the rest of the guards (some speculation is allowed here).

David then proceeds to do the next honorable thing. He tells his general to take Uriah out to the next big battle and strand his non-marital-relationship-having ass way behind enemy lines.

Plan B works and David gets Bathsheba. Their new little bastard is born and then killed by a horrible disease, in accordance with the Hays Code.

Abraham & Isaac
God, bored shitless by an endless chorus of angelic praise, once again screws with Abraham. He commands him to head to Mt. Sinai and offer his son, Isaac, as a human sacrifice to Him.

Abraham, a true believer, hauls Isaac up the mountain mob-style, having him carry the wood and build the altar that he is to be killed on.

Isaac asks, with increasing paranoia, “Where’s the animal we’re going to sacrifice?” Abraham responds, “God will provide one, wink wink.”
“Why do you keep winking, Dad?”
“Ummmmmm… got some altar dust in my eye. Go ahead and get comfortable on that altar.”
“Why are you putting on those gloves, and that rubber apron?”
“I’m, uh, heading to the eyewash station, and I don’t want get my clothes bloody. Wet! Bloody wet!”

At the last moment, heaven’s governor grants a stay of execution. God says, “Well-played, dog. I thought you’d blink first, but you just had something in your eye. You ice cold, dog. Ice. Cold. Here, have a ram.”

For winning this game of “chicken” with God, Abraham received the reward of abundant prosperity and numerous children to spend it all. Full of good news and good “swimmers,” Abraham ditches his wife and heads out to marry his son’s cousin.

-CLT

Related writings on God and such:
What Jesus Can’t Save
The Real Story of Creation

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Happy Labor Day

September 7, 2009

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Happy Labor Day!

Brought to you by the unions of America, whose main selling points are:

1. Wal-Mart pays low wages!

and

2. The last time we did anything positive was over a century ago!

Thanks for looking out for us, fellas. May you continue to bankrupt companies, intimidate scabs and damage job sites in your quest to make America all she can be!

-CLT

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This Week’s Featured Soap Operas

September 3, 2009

Well. What do we have here? A returning feature?

Yes. Yes, we do. (Here’s the first shot.) A feature that proved so popular during its debut that I have brought it back for another spin and will probably continue to do so until all interest is lost (you go first).

Followed by "The Hideous and Deformed."

Followed by "The Hideous and Deformed."

This week on The Young & The Restless
Jack’s painkiller addiction is hinted at; quickly dismissed. Sharon entertains coworkers with a bungled camping trip anecdote. Gloria bets $200 on Black. In a portent of things to come, Victor files Married but witholds at the higher Single rate. Paul forgets his “safety word” and is hospitalized. With the Daytime Emmy Awards fast approaching, Katherine begins quoting lengthy portions of Shakespeare. Devon wonders if he should go get stitches. Nicholas tries out his new favorite word: “cuntacular.” Disaster strikes when Nikki mixes colors and whites.

Where doctor stuff gets done, with no specifics or enthusiasm.

Where doctor stuff gets done, with no specifics or enthusiasm.

This week on General Hospital
Max obtains a Class B driver’s license. Alice’s conspiracy theories expand to include most major land mammals. Sonny discovers he is powerless to stop anything, really. A flashback reveals Carly’s dark past as a city councilperson. Patrick deems fishing trip “enjoyable;” “successful.” Luke cuts the red wire. Samantha defuses a tense situation by farting loudly. Robin visits with Luke and Laura about the “amazing opportunities available through Amway.” In an effort to keep their relationship exciting and spontaneous, Jeff has Monica stalked and killed. Alfred asks a rhetorical question; is rewarded with a long fade to the closing credits.

-CLT

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Enjoy the Violence

August 10, 2009

Music and violence go way back. Back past the latest GNR riot. Past random shootings on the Jay-Z tour. Past Woodstock ’99. Past Altamont. Historians point to a 1783 riot in Salzburg, when a young Mozart left the stage after only two sonatas, citing “ruling class dabbling” and a general artistic malaise. 

Some music is dying to be identified with violence. Loud, angry men playing loud, angry guitars, making aggressive noises like cornered animals. Other hide it behind 808 beats and posturing, spitting out rhythmic chants of misogyny and brutality.

Some subvert the expectations entirely. The Happy Mondays hid lazy threats under shuffling club beats. Magazine dripped menace over some angular guitar and icy keyboard work. And god help you if you run into Momus. Severely fucked in the head and hides his mean streak under a harpsichord of all things.

This quick tribute is to those great movie scenes which subvert the expected with their juxtaposition of music and flatout violence. We’re all familiar with the techno-tracked club scene or car chase, the intrusion of a lusty saxophone during the love scene or the vicious beatdown featuring the latest thug anthem or Linkin Park-esque howling.

Here are some of my favorite music/violence scenes which turn the tables on these tired cliches:

Layer Cake
A simple request to borrow some money turns horribly wrong, as old memories come to the surface and unleash themselves as a vicious beating using available restaurant furniture and a coffee pot. Some backstory leads up to this point (which you won’t see in this clip) but the scene is still amazingly jarring in context.

Soundtracked by Duran Duran’s comeback hit Ordinary World, which slants, tumbles and breaks off sporadically as if synched to beating victim’s consciousness.

Snatch
In a spectacularly violent movie with a spectacularly great soundtrack, how do you pick just one? (Ed. – Arbitrarily.) Should it be the haunting strains of the Stranglers’ Golden Brown, hovering over Tommy like the angel of death after Gorgeous George goes down in the middle of the pikey camp?

Or Massive Attack’s Angel presiding over the torched pikey camp?

Or will it be Oasis’ Fucking in the Bushes playing backup to super slo-mo camerawork and audacious sound editing, bringing to life one of the best fight scenes ever captured on film?

Fight Club
Why not? As a lifelong Pixies fan, seeing this scene unfold for the first time was the simultaneous feeling of everything being both right and wrong in the world. Another one of those movies that you started dragging people out to see, just for the vicarious thrill of seeing it again for the first time. The acoustic guitar, the drums, Black Francis casually discussing his own sanity while onscreen a man with a gunshot wound in his face embraces the girlfriend he had all along as the world collapses around them.

Pulp Fiction
The unexpected anal rape scene (aren’t the all? I mean, unless you’re watching Oz or Deliverance) brought to you in full saxophoned glory by the Revels with Commanche.

This isn’t about that particular insane juxtaposition of violation and jubilation. This is about what it could have been.

Quentin “Fucking” Tarantino originally wanted to use the Knack’s My Sharona for this scene, because it had a “great butt-fucking beat.” However, the rights holders apparently felt it would be better if it soundtracked “someone dancing around a convenience store with a can of Pringles.” Hence, Revels for Quentin; the Knack for Reality Bites.

That movie pissed me off so much. The only sympathetic character (Ben Stiller) was shit on constantly by slacker lifetime award nominee Ethan Hawke and every other character in the film simply because he has a job. Sure, he’s misguided in his whole monorail scheme, but Jesus Christ, it’s fucking public transportation. It don’t get more PC than that.

As a budding fiscal conservative, I found the slackers’ general listlessness to be a complete turnoff and granting them some sort of “sticking it to the man by doing absolutely fucking nothing” wisdom is as disingenuous as granting every native person in every movie since 1980 “pious martyr” status.

Honorable mentions:
Scorsese’s work on Goodfellas, with nearly every piece of music significant, including some choice Rolling Stones cuts and Donovan providing the soundtrack to one (of several) brutal beatings.

I also would hate to leave out another Tarantino flick, Reservoir Dogs, with Stealer’s Wheel providing some earcutting and rugcutting music for Mr. Blond and his less-fortunate acquaintance. However, this remixed ending scene does it one better:

-CLT