Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Satan's Island?

Jewish date:  4 Tammuz 5771 (evening) (Parashath Balaq).

Today’s holidays:  Feast Day of Anthony Zaccaria (Roman Catholicism), Feast Day of Saints Cyril and Methodius Day (Christianity), X-Day (Church of the SubGenius).


I must confess I am a bit stuck right now.  I am working on an essay on The Addams Family and managed to get writer’s block.  And thanks to Stephen, I have been looking up material in the Talmudh Bavli which might refer to Jesus, but I am not ready to publish on it yet.  I am therefore going to comment briefly on a short article Barry sent me word of recently which seems to be of the type of thing that I will never be able to get out of my head unless I write something about it.

The article is “Your Turn: Gilligan”, which deals with Gilligan’s Island, the famous sit-com from the 1960s.  Sherwood Schwartz, who created the show, reportedly claimed afterwards that the seven castaways represented the Seven Deadly Sins of Christianity.  This article claims instead:
But a closer viewing indicates that the island may well have been Hell — and the red-clad Gilligan the devil who kept them on his island.
The greatest part of the metaphor, though, is that if the others ever wanted to get off the island, what they needed to do was kill Gilligan — and that each of us has our own inner Gilligan, that sweet-natured, well-meaning part of us that always sabotages us from getting what we really want.
Maybe if we truly want to succeed in life, we need to kill our own inner Gilligan.

I can see the business of the Seven Deadly Sins.  Each of the castaways has weaknesses in their character which they must strive to overcome (like the rest of the human race).  But Gilligan as Satan is more of a stretch than the basic premise of the show that the castaways can never get off the island.  Satan, in Christianity, is a rebel against God, the very personification of evil.  Being deliberately evil for a being who knows full well that God exists and will ultimately prevail is arguably supremely stupid, but Gilligan is merely stupid.  He is not evil.  The only reason his screw-ups keep the other castaways on the island is that if they ever did get off, the show would end.  Satan is also not known for being “sweet-natured” or “well-meaning”; his main interest is getting humans to sin, which often involves getting them to do what they want, as opposed to what is right.  

Likewise, the castaways’ time on the island can hardly be considered Hell.  They may sometimes miss things available back in Hawaii but not on the island, but they quickly grow into a family.  This is despite them getting angry with each other from time to time, but such is completely normal for families.  In the first movie after the series, Rescue from Gilligan’s Island, the castaways, after being separated following their rescue, are stressed over reintegrating into society and are ultimately glad to see each other at their Christmas reunion; if anything, civilization is Hell for them.  In the second movie, The Castaways on Gilligan’s Island, upon being rescued again, the castaways decide not to leave and set up a resort on the island instead.  In the third movie, The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island, the plot centers around saving the island.  None of this is consistent with Hell; it is fully consistent with home.

Conclusion:  Whoever wrote this article was probably being at least as silly as the writers for Gilligan’s Island.



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