>Easter night we watched Gojira, the original Japanese version of Godzilla. Say what you want, but it is a great movie, particularly when taken in the context of when it was made (1954). Watching it, it seems so crazy to me that we actually dropped an atomic bomb on not one, but two friggin’ cities. Even now, 60 years removed, how is it possible that the Japanese don’t just totally hate us? What really blows my mind is I remember when Bushco first invaded Iraq, there were people in my office who seriously suggested that “we ought to just nuke those fuckers.” And these were all good church-going folk. Guys who would either go to the local mega-church, or good Catholic boys whose wives would call them during Lent to remind them what they could or couldn’t eat for lunch (I remember asking them what Lent was all about just out of curiosity over their answer, and not one of the 2 or 3 even know. So why bother if you don’t even know what it means, I asked, to an answer of shrugs and “‘cuz we’re supposed to”s).
So anyway, there is a part in Gojira where these Japanese islanders are doing a ritual to keep the monster away, complete with masks and stuff. It got me thinking how much cooler a culture is that is not monotheistic. I love all the different gods, goddesses, demons, etc. that other cultures recognize. All we have in the West (I’m speaking generally, of course) is this big monotheistic culture that doesn’t really even seem to match up. We have the Old Testament god who is really a total pissy, egotistical prick willing to mess you up for just about anything that isn’t totally about him, measured against the peace and love that Jesus (supposedly) preached, and it makes a guy like me wonder what exactly is a Christian anyway? The original or the sequel? I’m glad I’m not Christian, for crissakes, though sometimes it seems it would be nice if I had a manual like the bible telling me what I’m supposed to do. I’m just kidding, actually. I’m pleased with the manual I already have.
I told Julia that I thought it would be so awesome, just to mess with people, to memorize the DM’s Guide if only to throw out quotes just like bible types do that occasionally bust out the “well, the bible says” or “well, like Jesus said” when something comes up. I think that would be cooler than The Cramps. She wasn’t convinced, but I am. Imagine a group of you wondering if you should go home early, or follow the pack of sorority girls/fraternity boys (pick your gender accordingly) that are headed over to Stockman’s. While others hem and haw in doubt, you could wisely intone, “Well, as the DM’s Guide says, Chapter 5, Paragraph 1: ‘Encounters are to adventures what adventures are to campaigns. Good adventures make up good campaigns. Creating a campaign of your own is the most difficult, but most rewarding, task a DM faces.'”
Now tell that would not rule!
I’m reading an awesome book right now (well, one of several I have in play currently) called The Terror, my first fiction read of the year. The night of the Gojira viewing I read a section where the devout (and soon to have his legs ripped off and be stuffed under ice, i.e. killed) commander was giving a sermon and relating the story of Jonah and the Leviathan. Closing the book for the night, I reflected on, once again, how much of an asshole the Old Testament god is.
To wrap up my monotheistic bashing, I’ll relay the story of how Monday night the goddamn dogs woke me up at 3:30 AM and I couldn’t go back to sleep, so I got up and watched Beowulf. This is a movie I was certain would suck when I saw the trailers for it. The reviews were favorable, though, so Sid and I went to see it and loved it. The 3D was great, the story was very well captured in the screenplay (thank you, Neil Gaiman), the hero was properly flawed, and the animated Angelina Jolie lived up to the hype that the real world version utterly fails to. I wasn’t convinced it would hold up so well on DVD sans 3D, though. Watching it the other morning I think I liked it even better the second time around. The performances by all the actors are top notch (Crispin Glover is fantastic as Grendel), the animation is cool, and I’m sure it couldn’t have been better if it were live action. The clash between Christianity and the Norse religions has some play; not overt, but it’s there. I was reminded once again how much richer multiple deities are over a single one. The idea of recognizing old deities as an element of modern paganism is one that has always been weird to me, but I might need to give it another look. There are worse ways to go out than being floated out onto the ocean in a burning longship.