Today’s holidays: Ḥanukkah and Ro’sh Ḥodhesh (Judaism), Saturnalia (Paganism), Feast of St. Sacco/St. Vanzetti (Church of the SubGenius).
It has been way too long since I posted on this blog. During this time I have been reading through the Dune series, and this will take more time to result in a review, due mostly to the efforts of Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson to extend the series and make money off of it. In the meantime, I would like to point out some other people’s efforts to explore religion-related issues in popular culture. (I should do this more often.)
1. “The Complicated Morality of The Good Place” and “What The Good Place Can Teach You About Morality”. Background: The Good Place is a comedy show which presents a version of the afterlife in which some characters seem to have gone to a variation on Heaven by accident. Said characters then have to do sneaky things to avoid getting caught, including quietly working on morally improving themselves to keep their world from destabilizing. As such, moral concepts and philosophy are dealt with rather more explicitly than in most TV shows. (Bonus: The Good Place is fun to watch.)
2. Your humble blogger does not plan on releasing another Star Wars review until after the release of Episode IX two years from now, but in the meantime please note “‘Star Wars’ Nazi Influence Is Complicated In A Bad Way”. This article correctly notes something I missed when I wrote my own Star Wars review three years ago. The Galactic Empire draws a lot on the Nazis, but Lucas and company have missed something critical about Nazis: Nazis were not simply a bunch of horrible people. They were principled evil, oppressing and murdering people because they believed something. As noted in my review of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf rationalizes his moral perversion in the name of preserving the purity of the (purported) superior race. Hitler also tapped into widespread Christian anti-Semitism viewing Jews as diabolical, an evil for society to fight against. The Galacic Empire, on the other hand, does not seem to have any moral ideology (perverse or otherwise). For that matter, the Rebels do not seem to have a moral ideology either. (Maybe we should not be surprised. Lucas is concerned more with “the hero’s journey” than with the nature of morality.) Enjoy the movies, but do keep in mind that no movie, no matter how good, is good at everything.