So the other week, I was at church and a fellow in my Sunday School class started to talk about T.V. and how it represents God. The man said that even if He is present in the shows, which most of the time is far from being the case, He is portrayed in a diminutive and condescending manner. In his opinion, television did nothing but cause us to stray from God and, though he did not outright say it, all other morality.
I have to disagree with the man on many levels. It is true that there are a lot of shows out there that have very little to do with morality. Reality T.V, although seemingly real, is completely void of all morality, but not humanity. These shows embrace the very essence of the bestiality in mankind. Most television, and this includes the big screen, does reflect a positive morality and in some cases goes so far as to encourage the belief in the existence of God. The shows may not always refer to a christian God, but God non-the-less.
One place that you find morality on television where you least expect it is in horror films. Now, I grant you that they circumvent the normal way in which to approach morality, and this is very misleading. Horror flicks are not only full of vulgar language, violence, and gore but even more so of young adults having sex. But isn't that the point? Who always dies first in those films? The very attractive, heavily breasted, easy blond who has sex in the first five to ten minutes of the film always dies first. Its the wholesome ones that survive.
A more recent television show, which just happens to star my new obsession David Duchovny, Californiacation, is another prime example of morality where you least expect it. This show is completely about the downward spiral of a lost writer who is drinking, smoking, and screwing his way into oblivion. Behind all this craziness in his life, is the pure simplicity of wanting to do the right thing and be with the family he adores. His self-destruction is only stopped through the need to do anything and everything, not only for his daughter, but for her mother, his one true love. Sappy, but moralizing if you truly watch the show for its meaning. Most other films and shows that have such provocative themes are really speaking to a much softer understanding of life.
Now I must of course return to my new (though old) favorite show, also starring David Duchovny. The X-Files is a show that most would think would fall into the category of condescension towards God. In some ways the character of Mulder has that sort of idea, but Scully always reigns him in on those cases. In fact, there are many episodes which involve religious rituals and beliefs that are always proven true and reasonable, whether it is Mulder or Scully as the skeptic. Scully, throughout the series, wears a small gold cross around her neck, which of course every time she goes missing Mulder seems to miraculously find. He even wears it in his imagination in one episode (hard to understand unless you see the episode). Throughout these many trials that their search for the truth has caused them to suffer, the knowledge has not made Dana's faith falter. In fact it only seemed to make it stronger. The episode in which her cancer goes into remission leaves the question of whether that remission was caused solely by the microchip placed back into her neck or if this miraculous cure was in conjunction with the fact that she has allowed herself to re-connect with God.
Undoubtedly the best evidence for this show supporting faith and spirituality is in its handling of a subject which should disprove the existence of God. The discovery of extra-terrestrial life is not damning enough, they also discover that the space ships that have been hidden on earth for thousands of years, not only prove that human life came from an alien life form, but also that the Word of God (no matter the religion) comes from the writings on those ships. The religions from around the world have come from ideas that the aliens provided us. Does this stop Scully or even Mulder from believing in God, even when they know that the final re-colonization of the aliens will occur Dec. 22 2012? No! The final scene to the series ends with the fact that what they both truly "want to believe in," is the existence of God and his ability to save their souls. They even make reference to her small golden cross.
So, the ultimate science embracing, sci-phi fanatic's wet dream, actually encourages the belief in God no matter what kind of evidence to the contrary appears. There is always a reason to continue in faith.
I was sitting in LabCor office awaiting my pee-test for the new job that have acquired, nervous about my results being screwed up by a diet pill that I have recently begun taking that actually allows me not to eat, when I noticed the Holy Bible lying on the coffee table amongst the random magazines like Working Mother. Suddenly I am reminded that in this country there is one thing that you can find just about anywhere, and that is the Christian Bible. It is in every hotel room, waiting room, and probably every office. Now, I am not sure if I should be comforted by this fact or appalled by it. Being christian myself, I suppose that I should be comforted by the fact that I can find the word of God where ever I go. But at the same time it is presumptuous to have only that book available and not the Quran or any other religious text that is not affiliated with Christianity.
Then the obvious hits me, and I am brought back to my insane obsession with X-Files. There was an episode which described the government, as part of its conspiracy to cover-up the cooperation with alien life-forms who plan to take over the planet, as having kept track of every person in an attempt at cataloguing the human race. One way in which this was done was through implanting survey materials inside these Bibles that are found throughout our society. It is the perfectly hidden, assumed innocent, item in which to hide such Constitution-breaking procedures.
This brings me back to why the X-Files are so great. They have touched to the great paranoid vein of America. Most people are skeptical of the government and the actions it takes against people's Constitutional rights. Just think of all the people who are skeptical of whether or not we landed on the moon, the conspiracy that killed President Kennedy, or most of all that George Orwell's "Big Brother" really exists and is watching. There are hundreds of stories out there that outline the assumption that the U.S. government has far more advanced technologies than one would ever imagine and that it uses these technologies secretly against its own citizens. The X-Files just takes it two steps forward to include not only an international cover-up, but one that includes extra-terrestrials as well. The question is, why are those Bibles there? Are they for the comfort of a seemingly decreasing population of christian Americans? Or are they part of some other, more seedy operation?
So first I need to apologize to those of you who actually read my blog, since I have not posted in a couple weeks. This situation is mostly due to my recluse nature here recently brought on somewhat by depression and self-pity, but mostly from a new obsession. This new obsession has caused me to basically put my life on hold (where possible) in order to watch the entirety of X- Files starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. What started out as just a side-track T.V. show until I focus on my next book club book, turned into an actual addiction. Not only have I deprived myself from sleep, but I also basically went over 36 hours without food while watching all of the episodes of this show. For those of you who know me personally, you know that this proves my insane addiction to this show, because food is my number one priority in life.
The biggest discussion here needs to be not just the amount of my fascination but the cause behind that fascination. Judging by the huge audience and the numerous awards that this show received during its running, there is no question to the quality of the work. The actors and writing were excellent. My obsessions (and yes I have a history of them) almost always stem from focusing on certain people and characters. And like the numerous so-called X-File cults, I am sure that I am not alone in my new found stalking appetite for both David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. The character relationship which they created was excellent. Their on-screen chemistry is the best and most real I have ever experienced.
In addition to the actors attributions to the show, its creator has done a wonderful job in combining real-life mysteries, stories, and even actual events with new legends into a series that really envelopes you into its world. There are really three types of X-File episodes. One is kind of a backgrounder. It has a plot of some paranormal phenomenon which Mulder and Scully (or later Dogget and Reyes) have to solve, in the process revealing information about the characters lives and building up this wonderful chemistry that I keep mentioning. In these episodes (and all of them really) it usually includes the part where Mulder splits off to follow a lead in the field and Scully goes to the county morgue or Quantico to perform the latest autopsy and chemical analysis of data. The second type of episode is one that involves the overall connecting plot of government cover-up of extra-terrestrial life. As an avid watcher, these episodes are what you live for. I could not imagine having to wait week after week to see the next installment that continues this story (although I am sure that I would). These episodes detail the struggle and suffering of Mulder and Scully's life that is sacrificed to find the truth, whatever that may be. The final type of episode is one that I feel sets this show apart from others. Chris Carter has used several different forms and spoof outlines for these episodes. One example is the use of the show COPS. Many of these episodes allow for the actors to show a different side of themselves, and believe it or not smile a little more. One of my favorite of these was an episode where the same story was basically presented three times: how it actually happened, Mulder's view of the events, and Scully's view of the events. The way in which the characters view each other's actions was brilliant!
Due to my current obsession, I am sure that this will not be my last post about neither the X-Files nor actors David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. My goal is to pursue more information and connections that the show may reveal. After-all "the truth is out there."
Photos from: sword.borderline-angel.com/.../aliens.html and Gillian Anderson Official Website