Inception: the Idea trumps Character (movie review)

Help! My characters have no life. Oh wait, maybe they just need to wake up.

Inceptionis a solid movie, full of complications, a lot of thrill, and most importantly, some good ideas.  While it also has a couple of interesting characters in DiCaprio and Murphy, the rest of the cast fulfills their positions dutifully, easy to interchange and forget.   It’s a caper film–with the majority of the movie about the caper.  It uses a Matrix-like idea as a vehicle to achieve its goals.  The idea is central, the science fiction secondary; but like good science fiction–the idea is enough to carry the movie.

I liked the movie, enough to see it again if the time comes to rent it on DVD or if a friend wants to see it; but I found the inconsistencies in the premise took away from the caper.  How do they share freakin dreams!  Plug yourself in and something determines whose consciousness you’re going to share?  Doesn’t matter, the movie says— we’ll just tell you.  How do they determine who will dream and who will share?  Doesn’t matter, the movie says, watch what we can do with a special effect.

There’s enough infodump in the first twenty minutes to choke a horse, disguised as dialogue, interspersed with scenes of cities running amok and riots in the streets.  The riots are there to make sure the ideas go down easier.  “Just a spoonful of riot, makes the infodump go down…”  Take a note: this is NOT how to do an infodump.  We learn absolutely nothing about the characters in the first twenty minutes…only that a Molly means betrayal.   Nope, we need to explain the premise….

Now, once I got past that we were rushing through the “technical” issues to get to the action (I could almost hear the movie tell me–who cares about whether or not this makes sense? We’ve got a cool thing to show you), I enjoyed the movie.  But I didn’t really care about DiCaprio’s character– or empathize with his loss.  Normally Ellen Page is fantastic (LOVED JUNO!) but any actress could have pulled off that role, it required so little.  In some ways she, Michael Caine, and all the other actors are wasted to serve the idea….

Jeffery Overstreet has the same concerns in part one of his review of Inception.  And says them better.  It wasn’t so much a bad movie–as a rushed one, one that engaged your brain but not your heart–even when it was trying so desperately to do so.  And the ethics involved in changing someone’s mind so illegally made DiCaprio not a very sympathetic character.

Now, back to that idea.

The BEST thing about Inception, and why everyone should see it, is about how you put an idea into someone’s head.  The discussion about how you make someone believe that it was their original idea, as opposed to yours, is insightful–and will make everyone talk.  The whole work to get Cillian Murphy to think this is his own idea is downright fun.  And everyone in Marketing should see this.  Or maybe they shouldn’t!  (What might have been more interesting, but not as fun, would have been a philosophical film based on the premise–you know, in the same way that Sophie’s World merely used the least amount of plot to play with an idea.)

There is NO insight on dreaming in here.  Dreams, while they can be detailed, are murky and inconsistent.  They’re rarely realistic and may involve someone who looks like they are a walking shark carrying a tuba….  And as Overstreet admits too– other filmmakers have handled the surreality of dreaming SO much better.  That dreams can be invaded by someone–so casually–with no idea how to operate in someone else’s dream — is really lame.  As if the writer (and I like Christopher Nolan) just needed to get past some hurdles here…. to make a cool graphically conceived movie.  Also, the biggest clue that you’re in a dream is that you cannot read the same text twice.  It appears and changes as you’re reading it, rendering the opening premise illogical….

SPOILER:  And this is the third “dreamy” film–or film which contains reality based on your own thoughts–to include a suicidal woman.   What Dreams May Come, Solaris and this movie all have this as a premise…  that women can’t handle their own thoughts and will take their lives, causing their husbands, every one, to come rescue them.  And all three films end with that rescue leading to a kind of pseudo-paradise that the audience recognizes as delusion.  (What Dreams May Come is worthy of its own review.  A movie which ranks as one of my all time worst movies ever. But the ending delusion is supposed to be Heaven, so I can’t really argue with that.)

So, I found the movie a bit flat–even as the action was all revved up….  Caring about the characters, to me, was essential to enjoying the intensity of the film.  If I can’t care, then I can’t care about the intense situations you put the characters into.  Solaris made me care about the main two characters in their hyper-reality film; What Dreams May Come suffered from the same overblown concept with lack of character interest.   Inception forgets that narrative relies not just on amazingly cool logos, but on believable pathos too.

Is There No Wonder in Wonderland? A Review of Burton’s Alice in Wonderland

What do you want when you get down the rabbit hole?  Burton begs this question in his version of Alice in Wonderland.  Folks will probably enjoy the visuals–they are delightful to watch.  But in this age of CGI, there’s not as much fanfare left for special effects.  It’s coming down quickly to who tells a good story, and I want to examine Burton’s story here.

What I like about the story of Alice in Burton’s Wonderland is that we get a detailed look at Alice’s life before the rabbit hole–especially her cloying debutante-shuffling world, where so little was expected from women, and so much was expected from their cooperation.  I like the summer dance on the lawn, the hordes who like to watch when she’s proposed to.  I like Alice.  I liked that narrative so much that I was expecting more of it when we got to Wonderland and it wasn’t there, not immediately anyway.    When I realized that Wonderland was reflecting her own re-vision of a forced duty, then it got more interesting–but that time in Wonderland feels off.

Two things happened when she got into Wonderland.  I got confused, and Wonderland was reduced to a strip of land between two kingdoms.  The premise of this movie is that Alice has been here before.  In fact, she has recurring nightmares throughout her childhood and young adulthood, and yet nothing in Wonderland sparks her memory?  Even a memory of the dream?  I don’t buy it.  If I was haunted by something, I would start recognizing people and things.  She acts like she’s never even SEEN the place.  Why doesn’t anyone try to jar her memory when they pull out the Calendria?  (When we do see her previous journey in montages it looks vaguely like the same plot…and boring)

This plot seems very focused on the end of the movie.   It’s like one big long foreshadowing.  She has to fight the Jabberwocky–everyone tells her this.  All the beautiful weird dialogue of Lewis Carroll is gone, pared away to focus on an ending that’s so inevitable we might as well have just skipped to the end.  All the characters are focussed on Alice.  This is so unlike Carroll’s version where everyone was focussed on themselves.  Alice was merely observant.  Here she does only what we expect her to do; she goes through the motions of the Eat Me/Drink Me sequence, a moment with the Mad Hatter, a second with the Cheshire cat.  She’s not even curious anymore.  Where’s Alice–Carroll’s Alice?  

Wonderland really takes on the rivalry between Elizabeth and Mary, two queens that duked it out after Henry VIII died.  I didn’t buy the petty rivalry of sisters.  What’s there to fight over?  Two courts, fully intact.  The flashback involving the Jabberwocky smoking a White Queen party—well, there weren’t any consequences.  The White Queen had a new castle, attendants, and enough white to choke the Arctic.  I didn’t get the queens at all.  There’s no reason for them to be upset, and in fact, the White Queen seems devoid of any will to fight–she has to be saved.  Her court resembled the starchy-white English party Alice just left.  And we hated that.  

Remakes where characters revisit their original stories can be good.  Hook is an excellent version of the grown up Peter Pan visiting Never Never Land.  The script was brilliant.  Burton’s Wonderland has very little wonder left–even for the characters involved.  

Yes, Carroll’s original story is obtuse and playful–it isn’t easily figured out.  But Burton scrapped the multiplicity of places in Wonderland, the depth of odd characters, and Alice’s curiosity in favor of a plot.  If you’re going to put all your money on a plot, it better work.  This one is so muddly in the middle, I just waited for there to be a reason for Alice to do something….until we see her realize that everyone is telling her what to do–in both worlds, and then she goes and does something else.  But it’s not enough.  She hurries through the epilogue in the world’s longest/shortest “I need a moment to think.” 

I liked Burton’s rescuing of Alice’s real world experiences—though she doesn’t talk about them much in Wonderland any more.  I like the ending, I like the beginning, but her time in Wonderland plays like nobody wants to be distracted by wonder anymore–they want the big battle.  Carroll’s Wonderland was about the wandering, about the figuring things out, about the wonder— but this one had few choices for Alice, a lot of inevitably and no wonder.

The Wolfman: A Waning Version of the Original

The Wolfman,(2010) directed by Joe Johnston, starring Benicio Del Toro, is a remake of The Wolfman, (1941) directed by George Waggner, and starring Lon Chaney, Jr.  You know that.  My biggest question through the movie is WHY REMAKE IT?

The first half hour is a snoozer, merely a recap of the film you’ve already seen.  In fact, the writers so depend on you knowing the characters from the 1941 movie that hardly anyone is allowed screentime to develop as NEW characters.  Who is Lawrence Talbot in this version?  We don’t know.  He’s cast in such dark and moody lighting, such gothic teasery, that we don’t get a sense of Lawrence as a person.  They make the BIG SIN of Bad Movies–let the actors only talk about the Plot. So, every line, every snippet of dialogue is there to give us Backstory, Context, Tell Us Things We Should Know–but no one is allowed to actually talk about anything else.  No one asks anyone to pass the salt.  There’s no time.  We must talk, and talk quickly, about the plot.

To the movie’s credit there are three new twists thrown in:

* * *SPOILERS * * *

1.  Lawrence Talbot is an American Actor, starring in Hamlet in London. This is cool. I don’t mind there being some Shakespearian allusions in the movie!  Yay!  And Lawrence Talbot and Hamlet have some similarities— they’ve seen the truth about their fathers; they have seen their mothers ravaged by other men; they were gone for most of their adult life and are brought back for a funeral; they are in a quandary about what to do; their girlfriends think they are insane; they must kill their “fathers”.  Brilliant idea to show these similarities.  But where Shakespeare’s play develops characters, Johnston’s movie superimposes limp characters onto established patterns.  Not only is Del Toro’s Talbot hoping you think of Chaney’s Talbot, but he’s hoping you think of Hamlet–except Hamlet was clever, Hamlet PLAYED insane, Hamlet had a plan…  Talbot in this film has no plan.  He’s a victim of the werewolf, a victim of his Father, and ultimately a victim of the town.  The Comparison to Hamlet is an attempt to ride on Shakespeare’s coattails and give this film some depth it doesn’t earn.

IF they had started the movie on stage with Benicio Del Toro, playing Hamlet, going backstage to hear that his sister-in-law had written to him to come to the Family Manse, there’s been a murder–and he had to go back onstage—that would have been interesting.  It would have been SCENE.  We could have seen Talbot as an actor, as a person….  BEFORE he goes home to Goth House.

2.  Anthony Hopkins is HIMSELF a Werewolf. Cool.  In fact, I think both men are sexy as werewolves and the battle scene is beautifully done and fun to watch.  In fact, I’m sure that battle scene is worth the whole movie to some.  By making the dad a werewolf too, you add a great deal to the idea that Fathers make their Sons into monsters when they are monsters.  And I kind of liked this aspect of the movie.  It should add a depth to becoming a monster–abusive parents create abusive children, etc.  But that’s not really explored.  The Dad is completely heartless in that he’s finally decided to embrace his inner Werewolf and just kill at random.  He has no reason and no regret.  And so, we don’t care about him.  He’s one-dimensional and speaks from the script. And neither man can stop himself from killing once he’s a werewolf….  so why bother with morality at all?

3.  Lawrence Talbot was sent to a mental institution. VERY cool.  I like this.  It’s logical.  He sees his father kill his mother and goes a little bonkers.  And then they send him to America where those who are a little bonkers will fit in.  One scene.  That’s all the movie gives this beautiful, but underdeveloped, idea… so Talbot is dunked in icy water and given injections, and we get a flashback.  That’s it.  And, the second major transformation happens here…which is fun to watch.  But the addition of this backstory is sewn on with big thread and doesn’t really match the rest of the movie.  It isn’t utilized.

Some inconsistencies in this movie made this remake more confusing and tiresome.

A.  Why wasn’t Lawrence killed when he saw his father eating his mother? None of the other werewolves have stopped to save a child…. Lawrence should be dead, or he should have never seen that incident.

B.  Sometimes the moon comes through a cloud and changes you AT ONCE, and sometimes, you get to walk around outside or inside as a human being until you’ve finished your dialogue, and then you get to transform into the werewolf.  There’s no clear rule about transformation. Bad.

C.  What is the purpose of the Inspector or Gwen now? They are Wasted characters because they’re not given any screen time to really develop.  In 1941, Lawrence Talbot was a normal man, flirting with a beautiful girl, come back to run the estate of his family.  When he is bitten, that first “normal” life is taken from him.

Watch this here and see the development of character in a 1940’s way (and, wow, is Lon Chaney Jr. a hunk of a guy)

In 2010, Lawrence Talbot is already doom and gloom, and his bite is just further nightmare.  Nothing is normal in this new Talbot’s life.  The girl he’s flirting with now–that’s his dead brother’s fiance.  His father?  A werewolf who killed his own wife.  There ain’t a happy moment in this film–and therefore, without that happier beginning, there is no tragedy.

This was the HEART of the 1941 film. That a good man could be destroyed by a bite from a werewolf.  It has been ripped out of the chest of this story to make way for a kind of pre-ordained House of Usher doom….

So I come back to my first response:  WHY remake such a classic film?  To get neat special effects in and to get more gory.   There are some scary moments in the film, but twice we are blatantly tricked, making us feel like fools:  Samson the dog scare us at quiet moments.  (Oops!  Not a werewolf…shucks.  Gotcha anyway!)

There’s lots of killing, lots of killing, and it’s so random, that after awhile, it all becomes white noise.  Six people, ten people, there’s no challenge to the werewolf.  THEY ALL have silver bullets, but not one of them can shoot straight?  Yeah, right.

Bottom Line: Beautifully filmed and with stellar special effects, the Wolf Man gives us nothing else new and tarnishes what was good about the original. If you’re interested in seeing the classic, follow the Youtube connection above to see the whole film.

A Biologist’s Ecstasy: ‘Avatar’ Awakens Joy of Seeing the World Again

This essay over at the New York Times explains ‘Avatar‘ from a Biologist’s point of view.  Carol Kaesuk Yoon  is encouraging everyone who ever loved biology to go see Avatar purely for the wonder of seeing Life.  

Please excuse me if I seem a bit breathless, but the experience I had when I first saw the film (in 2-D, no less) shocked me. I felt as if someone had filmed my favorite dreams from those best nights of sleep where I wander and play through a landscape of familiar yet strange creatures, taking a swim and noticing dinosaurs paddling by, going out for a walk and spying several entirely new species of penguins, going sledding with giant tortoises. Less than the details of the movie, it was, I realized, the same feeling of elation, of wonder at life.

Perhaps that kind of potent joy is now the only way to fire up a vision of order in life. Many biologists of my generation (I will be 47 this month) were inspired to careers in science by the now quaint Time-Life series of illustrated books on animals or by the television program “Wild Kingdom,” rugged on-screen stuff for its time (“Now my assistant Jim will attempt to sedate the cheetah”). But maybe that isn’t enough anymore.

Maybe it takes a dreamlike ecstasy to break through to a world so jaded, to reach people who have seen David Attenborough here, there and everywhere, who have clicked — bored — past the Animal Planet channel hundreds of times without ever really seeing the animals. Maybe it takes a lizard that can glow like fire and hover like a helicopter and a staring troop of iridescent blue lemurs to wake us up. Maybe “Avatar” is what we need to bring our inner taxonomist back to life, to get us to really see.

Read the whole essay here.

If you are a science fiction/Fantasy writer, you’ll want to pay attention to the world-building done here.  Rarely have I seen world building done so well at the biological level, in a movie.  The plant and animal life here make sense together.  It’s not an anything goes style—if you check out the movie purely from that biological angle, you see a world that fits together well.  

And that’s something to take notes from.  

 

Avatar: A Second Chance to Get It Right

In my last post, I reacted to critics who were convinced there was a racist motif in play in Avatar.  But I’d like to talk about what Avatar is all about: Second Chances.

The movie is riddled with “seconds”— a twin who takes over for his brother when his brother is killed, a man who has his legs taken away from him getting a second chance at walking, Sully who has a second chance at being useful to the Na’vi, humankind getting a second chance to be at peace with a Planet.  

Cameron in his acceptance speech for the Golden Globes says as much:

“‘Avatar’ asks us to see that everything is connected, all human beings to each other, and us to the Earth. And if you have to go four and a half light years to another, made-up planet to appreciate this miracle of the world that we have right here, well, you know what, that’s the wonder of cinema right there, that’s the magic,” Cameron said.

I was moved by the essay on Sully that I read over at the Respectable Negro Tribe blog

Jake Sully is emasculated in a literal sense because of a combination of physical injury, financial inadequacy and family tragedy. Not only is Jake Sully a Marine who cannot walk or fight, but more tragically he knows that there is a cure for his injury, but cannot afford it. Further, Jake’s closest relative, his twin brother, has been killed in a meaningless act of violence that Jake could not prevent, and now Jake is now forced to step forward into a position that he does not feel he is smart enough to handle.

He gets that second shot, for his brother, for himself, and in a representative way, for humans.  When he is at the tree with the glowing strands, he asks the ancients to link up with him, look into his past.  He’s trying to warn Erya that his kind are bloodthirsty, and that they would destroy the planet if given the chance.  “We killed our Mother,” he tells the planet.  And the planet steps up to save itself.  

One wonders what our story would have been like if we would have had a more respectful way of listening to our planet.  Is Climate Change the consequences of not listening?  

This is the stronger message of Avatar.  Not who saves who, but of having a second chance to save things at all….

The Bishop’s Wife and the Inclusive God

One of my three favorite Christmas Movies and the last one I’ll blog about this season (I did the other two–It’s A Wonderful Life and The Snowman last year) is The Bishop’s Wife.  Don’t mistake this for the inferior remake entitled The Deacon’s Wife with Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston.  Nope, ask for the original with Cary Grant, David Niven, and Loretta Young.

Grant plays an angel named Dudley who has come down to help out David Niven, the Bishop of the title.  The Bishop is seeking funding for a great cathedral he is building for God.  He’s run into a bit of a roadblock in the name of Mrs. Hamilton, a rich woman who won’t pony up her million unless her late husband is prominent in all the plans–making this more of a memorial than a cathedral.

What I like about this film–even though it is obvious that this film came after It’s a Wonderful Life and borrows a few tricks (and actors) from it–is that Cary Grant plays the angel as a very inclusive, open minded angel.  In fact, he seems to want to show us a God that is less condemning and more loving.

Dudley becomes good friends with an atheist professor–who finally, yes, does darken the church door, but it’s not because Dudley has prompted him.  In fact, Dudley seems to have fun turning the professor’s sherry into an endless bottle of sherry (recalling Christ’s miracle of the water into wine….”and good sherry at that!”).  Dudley also sees a palm reader, and instead of condemning her, he tries a little palm reading on the Bishop’s Wife.  Dudley knows Santa Claus and tells people.  In fact, Dudley seems to embrace all people where they are in belief, without sacrificing his angelic qualities.  And he’s not embarrassed by them.  He certainly doesn’t shun them.

Dudley even plays a bit devilish with the Bishop, by purposely dating the Bishop’s Wife to anger the Bishop into realizing what he’s got.  He basically gives the Bishop a choice–he can either represent the Bishop in these “important” funding meetings, or represent him with his wife.  Since the Bishop refuses to let the angel represent him at the meetings, naturally Dudley takes up with Loretta Young.  And they go out to the restaurants, and skate on the pond, and shop together…and the Bishop’s Wife loves it.  She blossoms.  She does not fall in love with Dudley.  In fact, Dudley almost plays the gay best friend here—almost a non-sexual male counterpart, who is nonetheless, doing all the romantic things that the Bishop should be doing, but isn’t.  The Bishop doesn’t see him as a threat, at first.  Until Dudley makes a pass….

Some great lines:  “No one expects him to be normal!  He’s a bishop,” says the maid.

“The only people who grow old are the ones who were old to begin with,” Dudley to the Bishop’s Wife.

And Dudley’s quote about mankind is really interesting and makes my point about his inclusiveness:  “We all come from our own little planets.  We’re all different.  That’s what makes life interesting.”  He loves the atheist professor, Santa, the palmist, the Bishop, the maid, everyone he meets–equally.  He thinks no more highly of the Bishop for being a bishop than he does the professor or the maid.  He has no judgment, no arrogance, no religiosity.  He is an angel outside of our religion.  And that may speak to a host of borders, boundaries, and restrictions that we put on our version of God.  And yet, Dudley’s fully believable as an angel of the God I know of.

It’s just unusual to see on screen–a lovable Christian man without all the harumph, all the damnation, all the trying-to-be-good.  He just is.  And that’s a bigger point than what David Niven learns.

If you get a chance, rent and watch The Bishop’s Wife.  It’s an under-appreciated Christmas Classic.

The Resonance of Flashforward for People of Faith

graph on the sidewalkThe ABC series, Flashforward, arguably one of the best written series in a long time, and the best using a science fiction concept, wrestles with a very old idea:  what if you knew the future?  The show expands it to ask: what if everyone knew the future? And by Episode 3:  What if everyone THOUGHT they knew the future?  This is not a new concept when you are dealing with people of faith.  Christians, specifically, have a vision of the future they hold on to.  Actually, they have two.

The first one is a concept of Heaven/Hell–that after they die, they will forever be installed in one of two polar extremes: a place of happiness vs. a place of sorrow–both eternal (also known as With God and Without God).  After that moment, there will only be a seamless future–one that never changes.  

This vision of the future does guide their/our actions to certain degree.  Some believe, still, that you have to hedge your bets.  Do a lot of good things to move your path towards Heaven, or ask forgiveness–quickly–and move yourself away from Hell.  This can also guide people’s actions towards you as they try to drag you to one path or the other–most often to Heaven by use of guilt, judgment or restriction.  Ah well, the path to Heaven, I guess is paved with good intentions too.

But really it’s the other vision of the future that is more worrisome for people of faith.  

Revelation was a book written based on John’s Flashforward.  In that vision he saw lots of stuff–lots of destruction, lots of wrath…it gets ugly.  And believers think they may have an escape route–the Rapture.  That miraculously they get to escape the major drama of the Earth’s end because they believed.  This is not unsubstantiated by the Bible, but it is questionable when it will happen. Trust me, I don’t want to argue pre-post-or mid-millenial tribulation/rapture.  And please–don’t discuss it in the comments!  

What I’d rather discuss is the idea that Christians may be creating the Tribulation themselves–or creating parts of it.

In Flashforward we are slowly beginning to believe that the main character, Agent Benford, is actually creating the bulletin-board he saw in his vision not because it has answers but because it was there.  In some ways, he may be creating his future, not actually solving the mystery of why everyone blacked out for two minutes.  We’ve already seen, in Episode 3, a man get hired to the position of airport security, not based on good qualifications, but because he saw himself in that future, and so did someone else.   

Many times I’ve watched Christians start to cringe if current events start to resemble events predicted in the Bible: the Anti-christ being a big icon to watch out for, as well as the Mark of the Beast, etc.  Credit cards, health cards, any kind of number that identifies you will no doubt bring a lot of fear–and have that implanted in a chip inside your hand or your forehead, and Christians will freak out.  (Hopefully lawmakers would NEVER pass an idea like that unless they want great opposition from Christians).  

I’ve lived through three people who were thought to be the Anti-Christ:  Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II and now, Barack Obama, for various reasons.  Often each one of them had a mystical kabbalistic criteria (their names added up to three sixes as Reagan’s does, or Obama’s “name” was spoken about in the Bible as paired with Lucifer–a complete stretch of the imagination) and a few of them have been “assassinated” and come back to life (Reagan and the Pope).  Each time I hear that someone new is the anti-christ, I cringe, thinking that people are gonna start believing all us Christians are loony.  And some of them, those that seem to be magnets for the news, deserve that label, not the airtime.

But then I wonder how often I too look at events with Revelation in the back of my mind.  At what point will events start coinciding so well that there’s a tipping point in even the most casual reader of the Bible–where people start to say–Hey, I’ve seen that before?  How often do we reject good things based on a false premise that THIS moment is part of Revelation, when obviously time just keeps rolling on?  

 

In Christian circles, we often thank God we don’t know the future–because if we did, it might take away from “who holds the future” and make it Fate, not choice.  But maybe that fits more squarely in Christian mythos–that our fates, our destinies, are already written.  I don’t think so, myself.  Everyone has choices.  But if you see a glimpse of your future, you won’t know if it is meant to be, or if you are being given a warning. We ask all the time for God to guide our lives, for us to make good choices, but we fear getting on the road to the wrong destiny.  As if the roads are already there and once on them, we’ll go 90 miles an hour.  

From Cassandra’s ignored warnings to Oedipus fighting against his fate to modern day futurists who tell us what will happen based on world economic events…one of our eyes is always on the future.  But will we let our concepts of the future influence today’s actions?  Will we allow small evidence to convince us that we are living in  “the end times” and then make irrational decisions?  Or will we make good decisions based on evidence in front of us and walk knowingly into the future, brave, but watchful, not reacting to everyone who says—the anti-christ is here, the anti-christ is there, etc.

What’s probably most disturbing is the Christian concept that they will be persecuted in the End Times.  And certainly every time someone critiques a Christian we hear echoes of this “end times” fear resurface.  That the critique means that the critic must be an enemy, and that Christians are being targeted.  This most resembles “making the future happen.”  By letting ourselves be irrational, afraid of debate, sensitive to criticism, and dogmatically judgmental–I think we will create the discrimination and persecution that will probably come.  But it happens because we’re being a$holes.  I mean, spread negativity long enough, represent bigotry, discrimination and narrow-mindedness long enough and folks will be distrustful.  Eventually, yes, being a Christian will be bad publicity.  But NOT because the enemy is bad, but because Christians are unloving, paranoid judges.  We will create the future we don’t want to happen.  Just like Benford is creating in Flashforward.  

Flashforward is a great show, allowing us to be thankful we DON’T know the future.  What a burden.  Hopefully it will teach us to treasure the moments we have, without being afraid of what’s coming–and make us watch out not to create the fates we want to avoid.  Let’s be good to each other out there.  We’re in this world together.