Friday, February 15, 2008

Planet of the Apes - Good or Evil? You Decide!

But you’d better decide carefully, because an incorrect decision could mean that you are unfaithful and will spend an eternity in hell. I will not give you the answer because that would be deciding your faith in God, and one’s faith in God is the responsibility of that person alone. Do NOT take that to mean that we should not be able to impose Christianity on you! The authority to force people to behave in accordance with the tenets of the Bible is something that every moral government should have. The point is that we are not robots; we have free will. And our outward behavior does not determine the true faithfulness that resides deep down in our souls.

So, back to the topic at hand: Planet of the Apes. Not an actual planet, but a series of movies. And not the meaningless, go nowhere, imitation film from 2001, but the original groundbreaking movie series from 1967-1973, starring the great Charlton Heston – a great man of God and guns! Let us first explore these fascinating films in NO particular order. Let us start with the first film “Planet of the Apes.” At the very beginning of the first film, Charlton Heston’s character, Colonel Taylor, is on a fantastic voyage through space and time! Then something happens to the ship, and Col. Taylor and his crew crash land onto a very mysterious, yet familiar planet. Col. Taylor and crew wander through a desolate zone called “The Forbidden Zone”. Then they encounter dumb humans who behave in a very slovenly and primitive manner! Then they encounter a race of talking, highly intelligent apes, and an entire ape civilization not unlike human civilizations from days of yore! Then Col. Taylor and crew are taken prisoner by the apes, and treated very cruelly. The other members of the crew receive lobotomies and are experimented upon by cruel ape scientists, until they are literally walking zombies – more dead than alive. Col. Taylor is protected from these atrocities by 2 friendly chimpanzee scientists named Cornelius and Zira, who learn that he can talk. Dr. Zaius, chief ape scientist and Defender of the Faith, then puts Col. Taylor on trial for heresy. This is where the deeper meanings of the movie start to come to the surface. Dr. Zaius threatens to lobotomize Tayor if he doesn't tell the "truth" about where he came from. But Cornelius and Zira execute a plan to free Taylor. They flee to the Forbidden Zone where, a year earlier, Cornelius had discovered a cave with artifacts of a mysterious advanced society. Dr Zaius manages to find them. After a struggle, Taylor finds a talking human doll in the mysterious cave that proves that intelligent humans were on the planet long before the apes gained control. Dr. Zaius allows Taylor to escape on horseback, without further confrontation, knowing that Taylor will find "his destiny…."

Soon after his escape, in the final, iconic scene, Taylor discovers a corroded remnant of the Statue of Liberty buried in the beach. He realizes that he has been on Earth all along, and that humanity must have destroyed its own civilization in a nuclear war, thereby paving the way for the Planet of the Apes!

What to make of this fascinating, yet confounding film?? There are many competing themes that, at times, almost seem to contradict one another. The society of the apes is itself a contradiction: On the one hand, we have what is ostensibly an evil society that takes pleasure in murdering and mutilating innocent humans in the name of science. Yet, on the other hand we have a society that is ultimately guided by faith and faith alone – clearly a good thing! The faith of the apes is based on the “sacred scrolls,” and any scientific inquiry that may contradict the writings on the scrolls is deemed heresy. Let us turn this concept “on its head.” If, instead of a society of advance apes freely mistreating dumb humans and governing their society in accordance with the tenets of “sacred scrolls” (essentially the bible of the ape society in the film), we instead were dealing with our own advanced human society freely using apes and other animals for our own purposes, all the while governing our society in accordance with strictest interpretation of the Bible. There is no question that that is good – even glorious. It is an ideal our society must strive for. So, you may be thinking that the movie is Good, right?? NOT SO FAST! Remember, this is a society of advanced apes! Not Humans! Furthermore, the movie clearly aims to portray this society as cruel and unenlightened. Therefore, we have an ape society behaving in a manner that is, according to the film, unenlightened and evil because of their mistreatment of humans and because the tenets of their sacred scrolls supersede any real scientific inquiry. Does this imply that humans are wrong for mistreating apes and other animals in our real world? Does it also imply that societies who govern in accordance with the Bible are backward and unenlightened? I believe the film is implying that. Therefore, based on this analysis, you may think you can make the correct judgment as to whether the movie is good or evil. But there is more to this story! Remember, “Planet of the Apes” is a series of movies, and there are four more films in the series!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wall Mart Shoppers are Good Christians

So last Sunday, I decided to have an exciting time by going out after church. So after church I went to Wal-Mart. For those of you looking to “go out” on weekends, or spend some time out on Friday nights, I recommend Wal-Mart as the place to be. It’s the place to see and be seen by good friends and neighbors alike. It’s also a great place for the ladies to go and chat and gossip with their church friends in the aisles concerning all the latest things happening on their lives. During my most recent trip to Wal-Mart I saw several church friends who had attended church services with me that very same day! I saw several neighbors who attended church services also. There may have been some people there who did not attend church but, thankfully, I didn’t recognize them. Regardless, I’m sure that many, if not most of the people there had attended church because Wal-mart shoppers always appear to be simple wholesome people who respect faith and values, and such people certainly know how to spot a bargain. Therefore, Wal-Mart is the ideal place to shop if you are a faithful church-going Christian. Wal-Mart is a Christian company with Christian ideals. They are headquartered, not in New York City or San Francisco, but in Bentonville Arkansas. The senior management consists of earnest, hard-working leaders, who remain faithful to their customers by working to keep prices as low as possible – thereby allowing Christian families to save money. The company is respectful of Christian ideals by banning inappropriate books, like that one book by John Stewart in 2004. They say that over 70% of Wal-Mart shoppers voted for George Bush in 2004. While most viscous liberals out there would cite that statistic as a point of ridicule aimed at conservative Christians who remained faithful to their values, I see it as a sign that Wal-Mart shoppers are simply good people who love their country.

I also believe that Wal-Mart provides great jobs for the local people. However, every time I visit Wal-Mart I get the impression that many of the workers are not thankful enough for their Wal-Mart jobs. Wal-Mart jobs are wonderful jobs for many people. They get paid 8.50 an hour and they get occasional bathroom breaks. They have the priviledge of being able to help the customers get low prices. They also get to wear those bright blue smocks. What on earth is wrong with that? Yet, I get the impression that many US Wal-Mart workers are dissatisfied, and I don’t understand why. I feel that the dissatisfaction of Wal-mart workers is symbolic of what is wrong with the working class in general. That’s why we need to completely eliminate social welfare programs, eliminate taxes on the rich, and bring back poor-houses as a means of punishing those who will not work at Wal-mart type jobs. If we had poor-houses (see previous post on bringing back the 19th century-style poor-house) the Wal-mart workers would be truly grateful for their jobs because they would see that the only alternative would be the poor-house - where they would learn the true definition of misery and suffering. Only then would Wal-Mart workers finally realize that they had better eagerly perform their jobs with bright cheerful attitudes, lest they be fired and consigned to the dark gloomy halls of the poorhouse!