Bleeding Fool

Father's Day in a gender-fluid world

Nowhere is the demonic influence on secular society more clear than in the attempt to abolish or pervert all traditional relationships.  The radical trans movement seeks to annihilate motherhood as well as fatherhood as we have known them, and replaced them with arbitrary, pseudo-technical terms that obscure more than they describe.

Yet despite all this, the hard-wiring in our brains remains, and we still default to the norms of human history.

This came to mind while watching The Acolyte reviews.  During the third episode, there was a dispute between the "two mommies" and while they are supposed to be this superior, radically feminist relationship, it was basically a same-sex simulcrum of husband and wife.  The taller, more powerful woman loomed over the shorter one, using her presence to coerce compliance.  When the smaller woman asserted that she ought to take presence because "she carried them" (the children), the other retorted "I created them."  

That's a pretty masculine way of putting things, no?  It's also very strange to have motherhood - which lies at the very heart of the female experience - be denigrated in favor of an ersatz paternity.   Because the big chick held the Force turkey-baster, this made her the superior to the woman who spent nine months carrying twins, went through the painful process of birth, and trials of post-partum depression, and of course nursing them at her breast - which is no mean feat with twins.

The Youtuber Disparu (whose excellent videos I have been following), noted that this seems to be a reference to surrogate pregnancy, and how gays think nothing of the birth mothers because they've done their thing and got paid for it.

Indeed, one of the interesting developments has been a growing awareness that "surrogate mothers" are actually a form of human trafficking.  Women are paid to be impregnated, expected to carry the baby to term (perhaps gender-selected via IVF), and the child is taken from her at birth and bestowed on the purchasers.  I've seen triumphant videos posted on social media, which go viral among religious folks in particular.

It's fascinating how we have this massive health care industrial complex built around teaching best practices in pregnancy and child-rearing and yet none of that applies to preferred groups like homosexuals.

Consider how many red flags are involved in this process.  

First, we have the inherent immorality of the contract.  A woman is being paid to give birth and hand over a human being.  How this is not "involuntary servitude" I do not know.  The entire transaction is fraught with moral problems. Why is this woman doing this?  Is she compelled by circumstance?  Is she a lawful resident?  One can easily imagine trafficked women being forced into this role.

Now consider her mental state.  Instead of treasuring the movements of her growing child, she is instead painfully aware that she will not enjoy the tender moments after birth, holding, feeding, nurturing the child of her flesh.

Post-partum depression is practically guaranteed.  How can it not happen?  She has no solace of holding the child, just money.

Meanwhile the child will not form a proper maternal bond.  A key part of development (and comfort for both mother and child) is the closeness after birth.  The beating of the mother's heart is uniquely relaxing.  That is now gone.

Volumes of research show that breast-feeding is best for both mother and child, yet here it is categorically off the table.

I could go on.

In a consistent, rational world, the people who style themselves "women's advocates" would be up in arms over this, but of course they're celebrating the commodification of babies, just as the celebrate killing them in the womb.

As I said, it's demonic.

The truth is that fathers and mothers are complimentary, each bringing different gifts and fulfilling different needs.  A huge part of the societal strife and breakdown we are seeing comes from the unwillingness of elites to sustain these vital institutions.

On the plus side, the market failure of The Acolyte is encouraging.  Perhaps the tide is starting to turn.


Debating the 1990s

There's a bit of a back-and-forth going on at Bleeding Fool over the worth of the 1990s.

I think the perception of any period is heavily colored by one's personal experience of it - either having lived through it, or its art, politics, and entertainment.

It's hard to separate a time of personal misery from the larger zeitgeist.  Still, I think my take is an objective one.  The pre-9/11 world was a better one, and while I found myself frustrated and depressed during that period, I still had a lot of fun.  Indeed, I recognize that with better judgement, I'd have had a better decade.

The other issue with sitting in judgement is that culture and life don't simply flip with the page of a calendar.  The decades bleed into each other, and what one thinks of as the epitome of a particular era may have happened before or after the actual dates in question.

For example, the decay of Protestantism didn't start in the 1990s, it was merely revealed then.

One can't look at the cultural tides in music, art, entertainment and politics in isolation.

At the same time, it is easy to fall into the trap of overdeterminism - the notion that the out come of a recent event was inexorably set in motion by a distant one.  I see a lot of otherwise reasonable people insist that the Union victory in the Civil War is the direct, inevitable cause of all our contemporary problems.  Apparently the people living and ruling in intervening decades were denied any form of agency.  It's very much a Calvinist approach to history.

It is true that historical writers often were able to predict the future by examining contemporary trends.  C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton and even J.R.R. Tolkien did this.  But as Tolkien in particular might admit, nothing was fixed - no one was forced to follow that path.  It's also true that many dangers fail to materialize, or that their impact is mitigated.

There are many currents in the stream of history, and some of them are hard to see.  It's also the case that there are other powers at work, the Unseen who most analysts completely ignore.

Combine a purely secular materialist frame with overdeterminism and the result will likely be devoid of any useful analysis.


Road House revisited

The news that Amazon has a new version of Road House has caused me to re-watch the film and I'm working on an article for Bleeding Fool.  It should run next week or perhaps the week after.

I don't want to tip my hand too much, but I think this kind of thing is becoming ubiquitous in Hollywood - and also embarrassing.

Time was, films only got remade if there was a clear upgrade to them - say the addition of sound or color.  Some stories were presented in a different cultural sensitivity - see the various movies centering on the mutiny on the Bounty.

Nowadays, though, it seems like nothing more than nostalgia bait.  "Hey middle-aged Gen X-er, check out this awesome new take on that movie you liked!"  The problem is it usually sucks.

The current generation of writers has no concept of joy or any willingness to take risks.  Original ideas are dangerous, so it's better to trash an existing property than create anything bold and new.  It's funny that Dune is getting a lot of attention because this is the third adaptation of it.

I guess the verdict of Sunset Boulevard is finally true - the movies are getting small.


Looking back on 2023: The Year of Tidying Up

Yesterday we hosted a modest gathering by historical standards, but it was a welcome change from the lingering isolation of the pandemic.

In addition to the benefit of companionship, I like having people over because it acts as a spur to clean up the place.  It's easy to get complacent about the state of one's home.  So long as the kitchen sink is clear and the toilets aren't covered in grime, it's all good, right?

No.  I think the accumulation of dust and disorderliness can be felt, even if it isn't consciously seen.  So much stuff get set down here or there and then forgotten and finally buried.  It's nice to clear all that out and replace year-old papers with a plate of snacks.

That's somewhat my feeling about 2023 - it wasn't so much about starting new things as much as clearing out old ones.  While my retirement date was set at the end of 2022, it was not until mid-April that the wrangling with the Air Force was completed.  Only then did I receive my packet, certificates and formal notification.

Similarly, June saw the end of two decades of having kids in school.  I'm finally off the district email list.

Of course, Walls of Men published earlier this year, and due to the current domestic situation, I haven't been able to start anything new.  Walls of Men was something of a commercial disappointment to me.  I figured China's military history was a much more compelling topic than the Spanish Civil War, but I was wrong.

With books being out of reach, I've cranked out quite a few columns for Bleeding Fool, and these are getting more engagement, no doubt a function of their frequency and topics.

While I try to be hopeful and optimistic, I look forward to the coming year with a certain sense of dread.  Politics hold no interest for me, and our electoral system is breaking down.  I've little confidence that it will hold up to the strain.

That being said, God is the prime mover in all of this, and I will continue to work in deepening my prayer life and giving all of my trust over to Him.


Godzilla: Minus One is an amazing movie

My resolve not to pay the big bucks to see Godzilla: Minus One in the theater could not withstand the combined power of my family.  So the bunch of us trooped off Saturday to catch the matinee.

I've got a review underway for Bleeding Fool, some I'm not going to repeat myself.  It should post this week.

Suffice to say that it's a superb film, the kind one rarely sees this days.  Everything just worked, and the rawness of the emotion reminded me of Akira Kurosawa's Ran, particularly the part where a character wondered if he was already dead, living in a personal hell.  That was very reminiscent of Lord Hidetori losing his mind.

In short, solid. 

Something that I didn't mention in my review was how the subtitles seemed an afterthought, and other than lead roles, the rest of the credits were in Japanese characters.  I'm assuming the DVD release will have a revised version, but it felt very much like the American audience was an afterthought. 

It has pulled in a descent amount of money, and the number of screens continue to expand.  There are about 4,000 screens in the US, and this has appeared on about half of them.   In fact, 300 more were added last week.  The American box office to date is $34 million, and there does not seem to be much of a falloff. 

To put that in perspective, last week it beat Disney's latest clunker, Wish, as well as Ridley Scott's bloated and ahistorical Napoleon.

Not bad for a foreign film with a $15 million budget.


Turning over a new leaf: Toxic Masculinity Tuesday

For a while I would note when various items posted over at bleedingfool.com, but I got out of the habit because they were becoming fairly common.

However, I'm making an exception because I've been invited to participate in a new features called Toxic Masculinity Tuesday.  The tongue-in-cheek title is a reference to the unabashed macho character of the films under discussion, and through a series of remarkable coincidences, I ended up penning this week's offering.

For those unwilling to take the click bait, I chose the 1991 Disney Beauty and the Beast, because it features multiple men who demonstrate strongly masculine traits, and these are taken as a matter of course.  Gaston is of course a bit over the top, but of all the Disney villains, he's probably the most liked by other people in the film.  He's actually a popular guy, he just takes things too far.

I intend to do deep dives in my entry, focusing on film noir and Golden Age movies.

Anyhow, it keeps me engaged in the absence of a new book project.


A few more words about lightsabers

Earlier this week I posted an article about the decline and fall of lightsabers in Star Wars over at bleedingfool.com.

Right on cue, one of the new Disney Star Wars shows has a character take would should have been a moral wound and essentially walk it off.  Fans are not amused.

As I point out in my piece, the increasing overuse of lightsabers is illustrative of poor writing and increasingly feeble efforts to produce dramatic tension by substituting action for plot and character development.

People who don't know how to write a loaded conversation or create a compelling story will simply resort to extended fight scenes, but the more they resort to this, the less any of them matter.

Having characters survive mortal wounds completely unscathed is part and parcel of this.  Once that happens, the reader (or viewer) ceases to take the story seriously.  This is why in all of my fiction, not a single character has returned from the dead.  I have had characters who people assumed were dead come back, but that's different device which leaves the consequence of death intact.

I have to say that seeing how awful entertainment is these days is really shocking.  I know that the political scene is a disaster area, which is why I avoid it, but entertainment seems to be even worse.  Who approves this stuff?  Is there any concept of quality control? 

This is the consequence of three generations of nepotistic promotion, I suppose.  The current generation of studio heads have no real knowledge of life, art, or their audience - and it shows.

 


The gage is thrown down on Underworld

A new author at Bleedingfool.com has thrown shade at Underworld, which is one of my favorite films. 

Naturally, I shall respond forcefully.  Strong column to follow.

This was the bit that really set me off:

Selene’s inexplicable, unearned combat prowess reveals her as a Mary Sue: a character whose flawless abilities leave so few genuine challenges as to make everyone else irrelevant.

What utter nonsense.  Selene is an interesting character precisely because of her vulnerabilities.  She's handy with a pistol, but while she does well in the initial encounter, she has to flee for her life, leaving her partner behind.  That's hardly "flawless."

Similarly, her attempt to secure Michael doesn't succeed because she thumps all the werewolves effortlessly, she barely manages to drag him into her car and even then Lucien gives her a vicious wound that causes her to lose consciousness and wreck her car.  Michael, who she treated like baggage, ends up saving her life.

Selene wins, but she takes damage and is clearly not invincible.

There is also the emotional aspect of her character.  She has grown up with a set of assumptions that she slowly realizes simply are not true.  She must therefore struggle to make sense of the lies she has been fed, and make her own way.  This includes recognizing the humanity in werewolves and even teaming up with Michael against her mentor.

A Mary Sue character, by contrast, has no real struggle other than to fully appreciate her own awesomeness. 

Naturally, I will have to link on my Geek Guns article on the film as well.

The larger point is that this fellow is striving for a hot take without apparently understanding the lingo or the genre.  Underworld is not a taught psychodrama, it is an action film set in the vampire genre, and it is very good at what it is trying to do.  The mood, the look, the music, it's all superb.

It's one thing to say "I don't like vampire films," or that the aesthetic didn't work.  But it is another to claim a certain flaw - in this case Mary Sue - where there is none.

 


A second look at the faith in Desperado

Over the weekend I decided to re-watch Desperado as something of a time-waster.  I have to say this is one of my favorite movies - it's not profound or anything, but it is great at what it strives to be: a fun, witty, sexy, Mexican shoot-'em-up film with a superlative soundtrack.

Everything just clicks and it's the kind of movie where you can just drop in and enjoy what's coming next.

However, as is my wont, I noticed that there's also a subtext of faith in the story.  This was there from the beginning, but given Hollywood's implacable hatred of Christianity, and stands out much more now than it did in 1995.  I'm planning on doing a writeup on this for Bleedingfool.com because it would also dovetail nicely with my Geek Guns column about it and my recent article on Robert Rodriguez's Spy Kids.

 


Many ratings, no reviews

Over the last couple of weeks I've notice that a bunch of my books are getting more ratings on Amazon.  Some are good, others not so much.  Indeed, I've been surprised to see the Man of Destiny series pick up a bunch of ratings, but some are the lowest they've ever gotten.

Conversely, both Long Live Death and Walls of Men seem to be improving in their reception.

Perhaps this is the result of me taking on a higher profile at Dakka as well as Bleedingfool.com.  The more people who read my stuff, the more there are who may not appreciate it.  It comes with the territory.

The curious part is the lack of reviews.  The early versions of Long Live Death got punished because of the typos and editing errors.  I think Walls of Men has been spared this because the much more exacting editing process.

I'm aware that the Man of Destiny books are not as clean as they could be.  One of my goals it to release a second edition (perhaps an all-in-one with new cover art and some extra content). 

However, I don't think people are throwing out two- or three-star ratings because of that.  And since there are no reviews, I'm not sure what they could be objecting to.