Thursday, May 6, 2010

On conscience in V

Greetings.

Jewish date:  22 ’Iyyar 5770 (Parashath BeHar-BeḤuqqothay).

Today’s holidays:  Day 37 of the ‘Omer (Judaism), Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter (Roman Catholicism), Feast Day of St. Guiness (The Stout) (Church of the SubGenius), National Day Of Reason (Humanism), National Day of Prayer (USA).


Topic 1:  The latest episode of V, “Hearts and Minds”.  This episode puts Father Jack through a wringer.  Our heroes shoot down what is supposed to be a V craft without any humans aboard, and in the wreckage they find what are apparently bones—human bones.  While no one is particularly happy about this, Father Jack, being a priest, is distraught.  He is very explicit that preservation of human life is paramount, and he cannot bring himself to deliberately endanger humans.  He even tipped off Chad (who is turning into a double agent) not to be aboard any V crafts the day our heroes planned to shoot one down.  At the end of the episode Father Jack insists that even though they are at war, they must not let the Vs compromise their principles.

Also:  In his distress, Father Jack talks to his bishop without actually specifying what he feels guilty about.  The bishop, while all for confession (they are Catholics, after all) tells him that if what Father Jack feels guilty over having done is a matter of (state) law, he should make a “different kind of confession”, that is, go to the police.  Intuition suggests this is a reflection of how the real-life Roman Catholic Church should have handled cases of suspected sexual abuse by priests.  We can only hope that real Catholic clergy will act this way in the future.

Also:  Lisa seems to be developing a conscience.  She looks disturbed at a human being subjected to the V version of abduction and probing.  (Think of cliché alien abduction scenarios which make more sense in terms of paranoid fantasies rather than ways to gain knowledge of humans.)  Furthermore, her feelings for Tyler appear to be genuine, and in an effort to apparently spare him being tortured or whatever Anna have in mind for him, she breaks up with him and then tells Anna that she has failed to convince him to live aboard the V mothership.  Anna, however, climbs to the next level of being a psychopath.  Her response is to punch Lisa in the face so hard as to leave a bruise, and then she orders one of her guards to break Lisa’s legs.  The point of this is to claim that Lisa was attacked by the Fifth Column and to lure Tyler into trying to help her.  I have to admit:  the writers are definitely doing a good job of making Anna scary.

Topic 2:  The daily dose of anti-Semitism:  “BBC's Non-Response to HR Report”.  Essentially the BBC tried to bluff their way around a serious bias problem.

Topic 3:  “Shanghai Is Trying to Untangle the Mangled English of Chinglish” and “A Sampling of Chinglish”.  This article and slide show are about translation gone horribly wrong due to people relying too much on dictionaries and not enough on people who know English well.  This should be a warning to anyone underestimating the importance of good translation.  Try to envision the level of disaster when stuff like this happens to religious texts.

Topic 4:  For today’s religious humor: “Crossin’ bridge to holy grail, BRB”:
Crossin bridge to holy grail, BRB!
I think there may be something of Monty Python and the Holy Grail in this one.

Peace.

Aaron
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