Something to get your Friday off to a good start — and a riff about bad movies and bad education

Actually, two things to get your Friday off to a good start (or, if you’re not on the West Coast, to brighten whatever part of the day or night you’re currently enjoying).

The first riffs off of the “So God made a farmer” Super Bowl commercial:

And the second, which requires about 25 minutes of your time, is an absolutely wonderful, enjoyable, brilliant, talk that Dr. Benjamin Carson gave at the National Prayer Breakfast:

The irony is that, because he starts the talk with four Biblical quotations, and because he refers to God and prayers once during the speech, there is no way that this marvelous talk will ever see the light of day in public schools. Oh, well. It probably doesn’t matter, because the kids are spending way too much classroom time watching such “important” films as “V for Vendetta.”

Yup, you heard that right. As part of reading Orwell’s timeless attack on totalitarianism, local high school kids got to watch “V for Vendetta.” Certainly “V for Vendetta” was marketed as a movie about individuals fighting government totalitarianism, something Orwell would have appreciated.  In fact, though, that movie was pure Leftist crap or, as one reviewer said,

Instead of producing a faithful adaptation that might appeal broadly to audiences, the Wachowski Clan used the libertarian message as a bait and switch to hide a disgustingly crude anti-Christian, pro-Lenin, neo-multiculturalist, anti-Republican, pro-homosexual, anti-Bush lard train that makes up the duration of the picture.

Plundering an original story for box office cash is low enough, yet the greater Wachowski crime is their inability (formerly witnessed in Matrix Reloaded) to construct a story with present—albeit subtle–political bias that is still interesting to watch. What V for Vendetta becomes then, is simply a Democratic Party propaganda poster for the 2006 elections rather than a useful commentary on personal freedom in today’s polarized era.

Besides the film’s obvious attempts to malign Christianity by placing crosses in the Norsefire flag and including a High Priest who enjoys raping young girls with the support of the party, Vendetta manages to incorporate two rather pointless swipes against Western values to fit its role as a spin flick for the Marxist Left. For one, main character Evie’s uncle is a firm anti-conservative activist who keeps a copy of the Qu’ran in his basement for its “artistry.” At the same time, Norsefire chancellor Adam Sutler is a radical Bible-thumper who rules Britain as an unapologetic fascist assisted by frays of Dick Cheney-esque lackeys and anti-terrorist inspectors. No one is denying that Christian theocrats can exist, but should Islam be given a free pass on this one? Because Iran’s Ayatollah must surely oppress women only because it is Islamic “artistry,” correct?

Then the audience experiences the LGBT campaign’s cameo (actually more like Act III of the picture). Arrested for treason and thrown into a concentration camp, Evie discovers the correspondences of two lesbians, apparently helpless victims of Norsefire’s religious extremism. Just in case gay men or transsexuals become offended, the filmmakers also imply that anarchist V is a homosexual and/or a cross dresser.

Yeah.  I agree wholeheartedly.  I found the movie simultaneously offensive and, even worse, stupid.  But this is what they feed our children, while things such as Dr. Carson’s speech never penetrate those school walls.


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  • Mike Devx

    I agree wholeheartedly about ‘V For Vendetta’, Book.  I consider it trash.
    I have no objection to material being updated or modernized or interpreted.  But I completely object when that source material is bastardized by violating its themes.
    For example, Julie Traynor created a film version of ‘Titus Andronicus’ that I thought was absolutely splendid, though it used bizarre anachronisms and modernisms throughout that had nothing to do with the Shakespearean play.  Yet I thought it kept pure, in its heart, all the themes of the play.  It was therefore, to me, a faithful adaptation.
    V For Vendetta violates the themes of its source, and therefore to me trashes its own source.  I thought the same thing about the Jim Carrey Grinch movie – a grotesque violation of the source’s Christian themes (whereas the Christmas TV show remained true to the themes in a near- aweinspring manner).  Verhoeven’s ‘Starship Troopers’ movie is another in the list of grotesque violators, in that case of the Heinlein novel.  
    And don’t even get me started on such masturbatory “re-imaginings” of classic material such as was done in the case of ‘Wicked’, the play that ‘re-imagines’ the Wizard Of Oz from the Wicked Witch’s perspective.  It’s very, very easy to take a work of art and trash it by “re-imagining” it to have a completely different value system.  Copy-with-perversion may be personally enjoyable, especially since your intent is to trash the very meaning of a work of art that you actually despise, but I don’t consider copy-with-perversion “re-imaginings” to be artistic.

  • Bookworm

    Mike:  So I’m not the only one who hated Wicked!  I disliked the book, and then I disliked the Broadway musical just as much — and for precisely the reasons you state.  I was beginning to feel as if there was something wrong with me, since everyone has been raving for two decades about Wicked.  Yay!  I’m not alone.

  • Sgt. Mom

    It’s one of those things – that we can’t really ignore things like pop culture, especially when it comes down that people may be learning all they know about history, politics and economics from … gues what? Pop culture, although in this case V-the-book might have done a better job than V-the-movie.
    It’s why I got into writing historical fiction – because if people are gonna learn from books and movies,  what better way to teach them,  than to write ripping good yarns about historical events – and make them historically accurate?

  • shirleyelizabeth

    I have not seen the Wicked musical (though I do enjoy the music itself), but I could not get through the book. It was smutty. I was physically nauseated.
    I never understood why the teachers in school had us sit and watch movie adaptations of books we had just read. Is it because you think we didn’t get it? Is it a “reward” for being so good and reading? From my experience, the teachers always chose an R rated version, if available. I never bothered to even take the permission slips home. For spanish class we read Como Agua Para Chocolate (I think I was the only one in the class to actually read it, even though half the class were native speakers) and had a subsequent movie day. Why are they so invested in exposing the students to sex?

  • JKB

    I feel bad for President Obama.  Having to sit there while Dr. Carson rebuts everything he stands for?  It must have been infuriating.  
    That’s the way to do it folks, politely agree there is a problem and then offer solutions that promote freedom and individuality without even touching on the Leftist solutions, good or bad.

  • Mike Devx

    I enjoyed Dr. Carson’s speech!  Mostly I was listening, not watching, which may be why I failed to notice that President Obama was in attendance at the table.  Dr. Carson’s speech was notably free of obvious political content, yet it contained many strong conservative values within its message.

  • shirleyelizabeth

    After listening to the speech…
    “If you don’t accept excuses pretty soon people stop giving them and they start to look for solutions.”
    That woman had a 3rd grade education but was a genius. Other takeaways: there’s a difference between knowing things and being informed; I do not like the idea of having to put kids “on a pedestal” to show that learning is important; I love his tax blurb, wasn’t too into his HSA from birth idea. Was he referring to the HSA money coming from the gov/state? or from people saving their own? Because I’m all for the latter.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Dr. Benjamin Carson – what a totally awesome man! I will now go and buy his book.
    I had fun watching Obama’s features evolve as the speech unfolded. Every 4-minutes, there was a major change (at about 20-min., I think he began checking his Blackberry).  

  • Mike Devx

    shirleyelizabeth, you wrote: wasn’t too into his HSA from birth idea. Was he referring to the HSA money coming from the gov/state? or from people saving their own? Because I’m all for the latter.
    I’m reasonably sure Dr. Carson meant an HSA that you could voluntarily contribute into each year, tax free.  In essence “people saving on their own”, which you do favor.  I’m sure something similar to current law would apply, where there would be yearly limits restricting how much you could put into the HSA per year.  A key to current HSA law is that what you do not lose is not lost; it simply accumulates to be used in subsequent years.  I’m fortunate enough to be allowed an HSA by my employer (and by the state of Texas) and I’m making use of it.

  • Ron19

    Because I have ADD-Inatentive I prefer reading a speech to listening to the same speech.  I can stop, pause, backup, look around when I notice my attention wandering.  I don’t listen to Rush, but I do read his radio show transcripts on his web site most every day, sometimes a few days late.
    For instance, I’m halfway into this speech at this moment, and was playing my favorite computer games for a bit, and I’m still getting more out of the speech than if I just had to sit there watching the good Doctor Carson with the rest of the people.  Because of this I get very little from the sermon on Sunday, unless the priest is talking about something that is just totally fascinating to me.  It took me a few years to learn how to look interested in weekly staff meetings at work.  Eventually I got good enough at it that when I was getting glassy-eyed about a topic that didn’t concern me, I started watching other attendees that didn’t have an interest, either, in the topic of the moment.  Like me, most had perfected the look straight ahead without the thousand-yard stare rigid stare.  One of the indications is that they would look straight ahead at empty space in front of them with the one- or two-yard rigid stare.  I have also ordered the Kindle sample of the book he wrote, without missing anything Dr. Ben said.  This meeting technique helped me and others to be alert enough to respond promptly to things like questions from my boss when he thought I wasn’t listening attentively enough.
    So for the most recent eight minutes of this speech, which only took me about twenty minutes to listen to, I have been watching one of the attendees at the speech demonstrate his rather poor ability to hide his lack of interest in the speech, while sitting between two people who look like they are interested in the speech.  For instance, they applaud and he doesn’t.  They watch the speaker, and he is looking somewhere else, like examining the tablecloth.  They laugh at the jokes, and he laughs after he has enough time to notice that people are laughing, and he gives a slight smile.  Bill Clinton could look interested in a speaker even when he was having a whispered conversation with the person sitting next to him.  Maybe that comes with more experience in executive situations.  Or maybe being able to look like you’re interested happens by caring about the other people.
    Just noticing.

  • Ron19

    Having seen Verhoeven’s ‘Starship Troopers’ movie in a theater, I was astounded a few years later to find out that ithad several sequels.

  • Book

    Oh wow, President Obama doesn’t have a good poker face, now does he? That was a stellar speech. I like the good doctor’s suggestions. Also his parables. “enough said” indeed. Heh.
    (BTW- in case people missed my earlier comment, I comment as Book on a lot of sites- including Ace of Spades, Patterico’s and Neocons, but I’m not associated with Bookworm. Sorry if this is confusing. I tried to think of another nickname when signing up, but wasn’t feeling too creative at the time.)

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