Sunday, January 14, 2018

A Story Whose End Has Not Yet Happened

Any time we Christians depart our comfort zone and befrend unbelievers, we find again that those unbelievers always have a story of their own, even if THEY THMSELVES don't understand how they got to where they are in the story.

Most obsessive fantasy -- what Mister Lewis would call "unhealthy castle-building" -- arises from a feeling (which may in fact be a JUSTIFIED feeling) that one is powerless to affect the events in one's own life. No one really likes being powerless. Even if we are so blessed as to know that someone more powerful is lovingly protecting us, our happiness in this is not BECAUSE OF our own powerlessness; it's just that the powerful protector makes our weakness NOT MATTER anymore. In the absence of that protection, it is entirely understandable if we wish forlornly that WE had some
power to change things-- up to and including magical power.

I am a witness to this. As a teenager, being absurdly small and runty, I had concrete cause to feel helpless and ineffectual. By God's mercy, I never joined any sorcerous covens; but I sure did often wish that  I had supernatura powers to offset the frustration of ABSOLUTELY EVERY ONE of my peers being bigger and stronger and more athletic than I was.

The Apostle Paul wrote that he rejoiced in his infirmity because it furnished an occasion for God to display His strength. But even here, Paul was not taking pleasure in weakness FOR THE SAKE OF being weak; the weakness was only a circumstance which facilitated his real treasure, the work of God's grace.

Thus, when persons who don't know God experience pain and vulnerability, they're getting the distress WITHOUT the divine compensation. We should not, therefore, indulge in TOO much indignation at them if they look for security in the wrong places.... like the occult.

I know a woman whom I shall call Vesta. She has an appalling history. Molested as a little girl, treated with contempt by a mother who had wanted to abort her, and forced to witness evildoers continuously going unpunished for their crimes, it was as inevitable as mathematics that she came to have a gloomy view of the world. It is to her CREDIT that she still desired to know love and kindness; and it is to the condemnation of our depraved society that neo-paganism
got to her first with its fraudulent offers.

At present, Vesta believes in multiple gods, in reincarnation, in channeling, and in familiar spirits. Over time, I have been drawing her out on what she really believes, while giving her in return such easy doses of the true faith as she is able to assimilate. It is my non-dogmatic opinion that the reason why Vesta prefers plural gods over One Living God is because her chaotic early life gave her no assurance of a reliable moral authority on Earth, so that she would figure it unlikely that the spiritual realm had one righteous primary authority either.       

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Safely Stashing A Satirical Sci-Fi Story

This will be more comprehensible if you have read Frank Herbert's "Dune" books, which pass for science fiction but are at least forty-nine percent fantasy. You'll be still better off if you've gone so far as to read the fill-in books Frank Herbert's son has written since his father's death.
But, unlike a Bene Gesserit warrior-nun in teaching mode, I have tried to make my satire understandable EVEN for the uninitiated.    
 
‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’
HOPECRUSHERS OF DUNE

“Come in,” said Reverend Mother Bodelia Sneakaround, “for all of life is entrances which are exits which still are entrances to the exits we enter.”

“Er, um, right, what you said.” The Fremen-born girl Dazzlechick, in her first year as a Bene Gesserit novice, came in, looking relieved that, in spite of the typical gobbledygook speech from her mentor, it still was possible to do a simple, natural action like walking forward through a doorway. “Reverend Mother, my prana-bindu meditation exercises have been disrupted by a question which I cannot expel from my mind.”

“Questions go questing,” Bodelia solemnly intoned, “in quest of the unanswerable answers which question the unquestionable process of answering the answers that we question.”

“Of course, Reverend Mother. Now, may I, um, you know, actually tell you what my question is?”

“The ancestors of our questioners have been telling the untold answers ever since humanity left Old Earth and began forming the Empire of the Known Universe, my child. Here on Planet Arrakis, the descendants of those who decided calling the place Dune was less of a mouthful are daily writing all sort of questions in the sand, where the wind of destiny blows them away unnoticed.”

Dazzlechick nodded nervously. “I’ll take that as a Yes, Reverend Mother. What unsettles me is this question. Since the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood is supposed to be all-wise and totally awesome, guiding all humanity toward the glorious evolutionary something-or-other, why does everybody’s life on every planet always turn out so rotten? Also, why aren’t males making more of a contribution to trying to fix things?”

To the girl’s surprise, instead of scowling and delivering another meaningless lecture, Bodelia smiled.

 “Praise be to nothing in particular!” She arose from her lotus position to hug her apprentice. “I had been hoping that you would get around to raising that very question on your own initiative! Prepare to learn an actual answer!”

The Fremen girl was further surprised, but encouraged, to hear her teacher speak so coherently for once. “Enlighten me, Reverend Mother!”

“Come this way, then,” Bodelia invited. “We must follow the Golden Path to the Oxygenated Path, followed by the Depleted Uranium Path and the Carbon Fiber Path. Along the way, we’ll say goodbye to the Yellow Brick Road, but BEWARE!-- we must avoid wasting time hopping and bopping to the Crocodile Rock. Thereafter, all shall become clear.”

Dazzlechick never was sure how they made their mystical journey. It was weirder than any of the times she had ridden on board Rockymountainhigh-Liners of the Spacing Guild, and accompanied by what looked like psychedelic visual effects in a movie. At one point, she thought she heard the Dawn Sequence from “Thus Spake Zarathustra.” But presently they found themselves in one of the Art Deco-style chambers common to adaptations of the Dune novels; and there waited one of the Spacing Guild’s own Navigators, the ones who folded space in order to keep storylines moving without endless delays for characters to get from one solar system to another.

“Peace and incalculable profundity to you, Zipzoom,” said the Reverend Mother to the Navigator. To this, he replied, “Journeys always contain more arrivals than departures; just a minute, I think it’s the other way around. No, that’s only when we overbook flights. Never mind that. Who’s your novice?”

“This is Dazzlechick of the Fremen. She is a very demure girl; she’s had no more than twelve knife-fights this week. But more to the point, no pun intended, she is the first of all my apprentices ever to think of asking me WHY everything is so miserable for everybody in our universe.”

The Navigator smiled-- which, given his grossly mutated appearance, only made him uglier.

“Welcome, Dazzlechick! You will find this ffff….flabbergasting! Gotcha, you thought I would say ‘fascinating.’ Nope, I’m not a Spock fan.”

Dazzlechick frowned in thought. “Wait! I just realized, we’re all in a normal atmosphere! Don’t you Navigators need to stay in a mélange-gas atmosphere to live?”

“Not at all,” Zipzoom laughed. “We just make the suckers think that so they’ll be more impressed with how alien we seem. But we should proceed, shouldn’t we, Bodelia?”

“Right. Lead on.”

So the Reverend Mother and the Navigator led the Bene Gesserit novice into a colorful control room, where twenty or more non-mutated men were monitoring some sort of computer terminals which seemed to incorporate interstellar communication systems. “This,” Bodelia announced to Dazzlechick, “is Hopecrusher Central.”

“It’s our most covert operation,” Zipzoom added. “From here, Joy-Suppression Teams are dispatched to every world where there’s danger of something going right for someone. Just listen for a while to these mission controllers as they work, and you’ll soon get the idea.”

Dazzlechick, still finding it hard to believe that someone would actually name a place “Hopecrusher Central,” turned toward Bodelia. “Reverend Mother, I said I was distressed about things going wrong for people all the time, but Navigator Zipzoom speaks as if it’s a BAD thing for someone’s life to go RIGHT! What does this mean?”

“The meaning of life, dear novice, is a lively meaningfulness of life that means living.”

Exasperated that Bodelia would choose this moment to revert to gibberish, Dazzlechick saw no better option than to do as the Navigator had urged her. So she listened to the multiple duty-related reports being called out in the control room….

“Attention! Planet Jetlag has people treating sexual attraction as a motivation to exercise kindness and honesty, instead of treachery and exploitation! They must be stopped!”

“Prepare a team for intervention! There’s an industrial facility on Planet Hownowbrowncow that ISN’T ruining their entire environment!”

“Action stations! The government on Planet Attaboy is changing hands without violence!”

“Warning! We have detected a mother and father on Planet Wigwaggon who aren’t abandoning their children to horrible ordeals for obscure causes!”

“Catastrophe! Some siblings on Planet Milktoast are not in vicious rivalries!”

“Alert! There are as many as fifteen happy marriages on Planet Faraway!”

“Danger! A bloody civil war has just been successfully prevented on Planet Skiptoomyloo! If this outbreak of reconciliation is allowed to spread, it might cause a major galactic downturn in bitterness and hatred!”

“Panic! On Planet Inkadink there is an advance in medical care which doesn’t do more harm than good!”

“Maximum crisis warning! Inhabitants of Planet Gruntpoo are beginning to believe in a Supreme Being, WITHOUT this belief causing them to murder everyone in sight!”

Zipzoom suddenly stepped away from the two Bene Gesserits, to stand beside the controller who had spoken last. “This one gets the supreme priority!” he told the controller. “If people start realizing that faith in God can be a GOOD thing, our whole program will fail!”

Dazzlechick took hold of her teacher’s hand. “Reverend Mother, what does this mean? And please, tell me an actual meaning for once!”

“So I shall, dear girl. All of us here are operating in the universe of an existentialist worldview, like that of Sartre  and Camus, in which despair is the bedrock foundation of all philosophy. Those controllers are in charge of stamping out any hope, anywhere, that EITHER scientific achievement OR supernatural faith can ever lead to anything good in the long run. Notice that the controllers here are all male? You asked why men weren’t doing more; well, these men ARE doing their part: working toward an endgame in which people find peace in relinquishing all hope. While we are the Bene Gesserit, they are the Bene Herbert.

“Those who do not themselves believe in any afterlife, or in any spiritual consolation, often conclude that misery does love company. As you may be suspecting, that’s us. Therefore, all material progress of civilization in stories must be made to produce more and worse injustices, and every movement of religious faith must turn into destructive madness and oppression. Heroes and heroines must be seen to fail, and supporting characters must always end up disillusioned with them-- until the reading public, and ultimately the whole universe, agrees on a nice, tranquil resignation, and scoffs at idealists. Meanwhile, we of the Bene Gesserit supply the profound-sounding nonsense to keep humanity confused. And based on this program, Bene Herbert men write stories which promote existential despair.”

“Do people actually enjoy reading such unhappy stories?”

“I know it sounds odd, child. But the Bene Herbert novelists have refined their narrative skills to such a degree that the sheer detail and inventiveness hold the attention of readers, even though evil keeps on prevailing in the stories. Then, by a subtle emotional influence, we Bene Gesserit convince those readers that the sophistication of the plotlines DEPENDS ON this pessimistic worldview. We trick them into assuming that speculative fiction can’t be inventive and clever unless it promotes the loss of all hope. And our reward for these efforts is-- the satisfaction of knowing that other people are as depressed and miserable as we are. Of course, we normally don’t admit to ourselves that we’re unhappy; most of the time, we tell ourselves that we’re just being realistic.”

Dazzlechick drew a long breath. “Maybe you're pleased to do that, Reverend Mother; but not I!”

Without waiting for Zipzoom to rejoin them, and without waiting for Bodelia to utter more empty speeches, the Fremen girl dashed out of Hopecrusher Central. Finding the inter-dimensional path by which the Reverend Mother had led here here, Dazzlechick fled back along it. Not back to Dune, for she realized that her home planet was doomed forever to be part of the Bene Herbert’s grand scheme of telling everyone that the universe had no Creator and no divine plan to make truth and love triumph.

Instead, she would seek a universe where hope wasn’t held in contempt.

To her great relief, Dazzlechick found herself arriving in the universe of the writings of Joseph Richard Ravitts, who did believe both in God and in the possibility of love and virtue succeeding. There she would become a sympathetic, likeable character in the Grey Eagle saga.
And she would REMAIN a likeable character, instead of going down the toilet the way Frank Herbert had caused both Paul and Alia Atreides to go down the toilet after the first volume.



Thursday, December 7, 2017

Phony Good Guys Shoot a Genuine Good Guy in the Foot

The definition of “alt-right” has been ambiguous to me --apart, of course, from “villains perfectly suited for hardcore leftists to be horrified about.” But now, some persons who almost certainly QUALIFY AS alt-right have helped me out, by providing me with a glaringly obvious distinction between themselves and a Christian conservative I know.

Bear with me here. In defiance to the dumbing-down of society, I shall explain something which takes more than two short sentences to explain. To those who want to keep everything in the arena of blind emotions, I make NO apology for preferring truth.

The Christian man, my real-world in-person friend for longer than five years, is Jack Phillips, the bakery owner who leftists want to believe is “full of hate against everyone who’s different.” This accusation against Jack is not just a mistake, it is a calculated lie. The slanderous accusation depends on the fictitious claim that he wanted to exclude GAYS AS A CATEGORY from being his customers at all. The intentionally misleading slogan used by his detractors, “Just Bake The Cake,” is designed to support the false charge. It’s nothing unusual for lies to take cover behind a disguise of “profound simplicity.”

It was never about what people were allowed to come inside Masterpiece Cakeshop; it was always about two other questions: (1) Do business owners have the right to decide WHAT PRODUCTS they will or won’t sell? (2) Do United States citizens have the right to decide what statements and opinions they will publicly ENDORSE AND APPLAUD?

Jack’s enemies are themselves entirely aware that the answer to both questions is Yes. In proof of their knowing this, THEY WILL NOT force a vegan storeowner to sell meat, nor force a pacifist storeowner to sell war toys. Neither will they force a Muslim bookstore to sell books which say that Islam is wrong. But with the typical moral selectivity of leftists, they do desire to force Jack Phillips to sell, NOT “merely a cake,” but specifically a cake bearing COMMUNICATIVE symbols which would have the same effect as words. The leftists themselves are entirely aware that what they are demanding is the same thing as if they handed Jack a microphone in a public place and ORDERED him to say to a crowd, “Everything I believe about the true nature of marriage is wrong.”

I've heard audio from the mother of one partner in the entrapment team that went after Jack. I didn't catch whether she was the mother of Mullins or of Craig; but she dutifully recited the agreed-upon lie, claiming that her son had been "turned away" solely because of who he was.

These Christian-bashers know exactly what they’re doing, though they’ll furiously deny it. And, unfortunately, many supposed supporters of Masterpiece Cakeshop are stupidly HELPING THE LEFT to succeed in falsely painting Jack as a “hateful homophobe.”

This is where the revealed nature of the alt-right comes in.

Never, not for one instant on any day, did Jack wish to bar homosexuals from buying those products he chose to sell. But to this moment, there are alt-right imbeciles who undermine him by arguing that the issue IS about being allowed to exclude a category of people arbitrarily from shopping at the bakery. These imbeciles cheerfully revive the segregation-era phrase, “the right to refuse service;” thus do they support Jack’s alleged right to do something JACK NEVER WAS DOING AND NEVER WANTED TO DO.

Jack is the legitimate conservative here; his actions are not based on “hate,” but based on his knowledge of certain truths, like children benefiting by having both sexes represented as parents. But you’d never know this, when there are people on left AND right wrongly claiming that he is like a racist lunch-counter owner in Mississippi before Martin Luther King rose up for justice-- the only difference being that the neo-fascists WANT Jack to be like that lunch-counter owner. 

With friends like his alt-right “supporters,” Jack truly doesn’t need enemies.





Sunday, December 3, 2017

A Lighter Piece, About Comicbook Adaptations

 I might as well get some use out of having binge-viewed thirty episodes of CW's "The Flash." Here goes: an all-purpose representative generic typical episode of that series.

Barry wakes up in the morning, to find that his bed was short-sheeted while he slept, by the latest faster-than-Flash speedster. Going to the kitchen for some breakfast, he gets beaten up by a pancake that is more powerful than he is. Regenerating quickly from this beating, he goes to brush his teeth, but gets beaten up by a toothbrush that is also more powerful than he is. Healing again, he goes to put a letter in the mailbox, but the mailbox also beats him up because it is more powerful than he is.

Wearying of this abuse, Barry skips running to work in favor of taking a bus. But a poster on the side of the bus beats him up. When he reaches police headquarters, a bulletin board beats him up. Iris drops by and brings him the latest edition of her newspaper, but a photograph in the newspaper beats him up. Horrified, Iris insists that Barry see a doctor. Barry goes to the doctor's office, where the doctor's stethoscope beats him up.

Leaving the doctor's office, Barry finally finds a wrongdoer he is able to defeat: a four-year-old boy pulling a dog's tail. But while scolding the brat, Barry gets bitten by the dog.

Just as he finishes rapid-healing from the dog bite, Barry is approached by the Gal Gadot Wonder Woman, who tells him, "If you can behave intelligently for five minutes, I'll be yours eternally and love you forever!" Barry manages to behave intelligently for THREE minutes-- and this, only because in those three minutes nothing happens to give him any opportunity to be an idiot. But in the fourth minute, Zoom suddenly appears, losing balance and falling at Barry's feet.

"Oh, no!" the homicidal Zoom groans. "I've broken my ankle! Now I'm helpless! Any superhero could come by now and shoot me or cut off my head, and I would never be able to murder any innocent people ever again!"

With a look of great compassion, Barry sits beside Zoom and says, "I can't kill anyone, because then I would be just as bad as you are!" The villain's eyes widen, and he replies, "What? Do you murder people routinely for fun? But-- Oh, excuse me, I'm forgetting who writes your dialogue. Er, um, right, of course you would be just as bad as I am if you thought about all the vulnerable people who are threatened by me and actually--"

That's as far as Zoom gets before Wonder Woman cuts off his head. Barry is horrified; but Wonder Woman assures him, "There there, little baby, don't worry: I won't let anyone think that YOU discovered moral priorities and took action to save Zoom's future victims. I'll deliver Zoom's head to Detective West, and you can keep on being an ineffectual wimp. Too bad, though: if you had had a spine, I could have loved you," And away Wonder Woman goes, shaking her head. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Losing Patience With Micro-Predestinationists

I saw an online friend being pressured by the advocates of arbitrarily forced predestination. They are the ones who will accuse us of denying God's omnipotence if we venture to disagree with them on HOW GOD USES that omnipotence. But I refuse to be browbeaten by this false accusation. I happen to worship a God Who doesn't revel in plain raw power so totally as to leave no space for mercy or love. 

Calvinists always claim that everything in their doctrinal system is "just what's right there in Scripture." What this means in actual fact is that they READ CALVINISM INTO Scripture, then claim to have "discovered" it there. The prooftexts they lean on most heavily, actually DON'T support their position.

For instance, we know from Scripture that God hardened Pharaoh's heart during the time of the plagues hitting Egypt. Micro-predestinationists love this one. But stating that Pharaoh's heart was hardened AT THAT TIME is not an absolute statement that Pharaoh COULD NOT POSSIBLY have come to repentance and salvation at some later point. Mind you, I don't think it's likely that he ever repented, but this is not the same thing as it being inherently impossible for him to have repented before he died. Calvinism requires Pharaoh's destiny to be hermetically sealed, externally controlled all the way without Pharoah ever having any say-so; but that's what Calvinism requires, not what the Bible requires.

Likewise, it was declared before Esau was born that he would have to serve his younger brother, and micro-predestinationists want this to support a contention that Esau was damned to Hell in advance. But Calvinist language is the only language in which "having to serve your younger brother" is synonymous with "being damned in advance, with no possibiity of being saved ever." And any honest person who understands the way God speaks about nations in the Old Testament, knows that "Esau I have hated" is talking about EDOM, the nation Esau FOUNDED.

Calvinists claim to be piously concerned for God's glory, anxious that His sovereignty be recognized. That's what they say for public consumption. But in reality, what they're anxious for is the emotional security of believing that everything everywhere is controlled and scheduled and mapped out and boxed in. If they didn't have this insecurity problem, they could easily see what so-called "Arminians" can easily see: the common-sense fact that God's sovereignty does not DEPEND on damning people for literally no reason. God can give His creatures real free will, the power of meaningful choice, without losing even the least little bit of His sovereignty, because, well duh, it's Himself sovereignly CHOOSING TO GIVE that gift of choice. Being infinitely wise, He can work around it and still achieve His purposes. If humans cannot at any point make a decision which is THEIR decision and which does have a bearing on whether they are saved, then they are passive recipients of arbitrary outside action, and are playing no part in the chain of cause and effect. 

Which would mean that damning them is literally done FOR NO REASON-- just because God happened to feel like it.

Given this view of divine justice, there is a humorless absurdity in the way Calvinists define "mercy." They say it's mercy when God allows doomed "non-elect" sinners to live their lives for a while, AS IF there might be hope, when all the time He's planning to spring the terrible surprise on them, without ever giving them any chance to be converted. This IS NOT mercy, it's a cruel cat-and-mouse game, in which hellfire will utterly negate the pretense of mercy.

Calvinists are the only people I know who have any interest in using the word "Arminian" as a valid group label. They do this to trivialize and marginalize every non-liturgical Christian (sometimes liturgical ones too) who takes at face value the countless appeals the Bible makes to human choice. But I do not hold even one conviction, on any detail of any subject, which depends even slightly on the writings of James Arminius. I can TRUTHFULLY say that it's right there in the Bible.

I mean, come ON already: at the end of the Book of Joshua, does it say "God will FORCE YOU to choose whom you will serve"? In Revelation, does Jesus say, "Behold, I am smashing your door off its hinges"? Well, as for that, I've known a Calvinist to argue with a straight face that Jesus in Revelation DID mean He would in effect break in the door by force and MAKE the person inside submit to Him. But the truth is simply too obvious. Every time any version of the sowing-and-reaping principle is presented in God's Word, our own causal connection to our destiny is being confirmed. Because if we don't have some volitional say in what we are sowing, then WE'RE NOT sowing anything. Rather, something is BEING sown without our consent; our presence in the general vicinity of the field is a coincidence, having nothing to do with action by us. In which case, there IS NO moral factor in our existence. We have merely been plunked down into a situation over which we never had any influence; and God might as well punish molecules for containing electrons, as punish us for anything.

Here is where Calvinists will choose to think that I'm denying human sinfulness. I'm not. But the only way my argument could be refuted would be if all the Calvinist prooftexts DID mean what Calvinists want the prooftexts to mean, and they don't. I know quite well that people are sinners; but I also know that the spiritual situation IS NOT about God making us plastic toys which can't DO anything, then raging at us for BEING what we could never have avoided being.

What Calvinists pigeonhole as "Arminianism" is in reality the more complete understanding of Scripture. For understanding that God can FIT the element of real free will INTO His plans does not at all diminish His ever-so-emphasized-by-Calvinists sovereignty. God's actions don't need to be meaningless, to be sovereign.

I have never said that our being given the power to refuse or accept salvation made us WORTHY OF salvation; still less have I said that we have any power to produce our salvation. But granting us the freedom of response to His initiative gives a greater legitimacy to God's judgment than "Might makes right." Recognizing the screamingly obvious Biblical truth of human choice takes nothing away from God; but absolute externally-imposed predestination, by making judgment meaningless, takes ALL OF GOD'S GOODNESS away from Him, leaving nothing but "I can do this because I want to and you can't stop Me."

Now, THAT'S a matter of genuine concern for God's glory, instead of the Calvinist insecurity which can't rest easy unless everything is chained  up and clamped in a vise.

Calvinists, ever eager to have the last word, will retort with attempted Gotcha's like quoting "For all have sinned." They will be hoping no one notices that their standard prooftext barrage IS NOT ANSWERING the points I've made. Again, I have not denied God's sovereignty; I've merely argued that His USE of His sovereignty conforms to His love and kindness, rather than being an exercise in cruelty which drains the word "grace" of any meaning.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Rommy Is The Mommy! She's Better Than Pastrami!

September has been my month to binge-view the not-terribly-old sci-fi series "Andromeda." This, in large part, because Lexa Doig, who played the Starship Andromeda's android avatar and holographic persona, is a majorly major celebrity crush for me. Really, come ON: Star Trek's Commander Data was allowed to experience love with human women, so why the entropy should Rommy not have been allowed to become Captain Hunt's permanent soulmate? SHE obviously loved HIM from the very core of her being, and in spite of her superior powers she genuinely revered him for his wisdom and bravery, so it would not have been a hopelessly lopsided relationship.

But no-o-o-o-o, the "Andromeda" writers had to keep Dylan Hunt unattached, even though they scarcely ever actually gave him a girlfriend anyway. And poor sweet nearly-indestructible Rommy, who DID have real emotions, was left emotionally unfulfilled, never even allowed (as far as I've seen) to SAY to Captain Hunt, "I love you."

As an indirect attempt to justify the celibacy imposed on the most appealing female in rhe series, they ran one episode showing that another High Guard captain HAD once entered a sexual relationship with his ship's female avatar. This had ended in tragedy because the High Guard's avatar androids carry top-secret information about the ships, information that must not be collected by enemies of the Commonwealth. This plot device was forced and unconvincing. Again, come ON: in an era millennia into the future, we're supposed to believe that there couldn't be a fail-safe allowing the military secrets inside Rommy's exquisitely beautiful head simply to be instantly DELETED, while Rommy's endearing PERSONALITY remained?

It could have been done easily. They chose not to do it. Fooey.

Insofar as Lexa Doig's character is concerned, I'm undecided whether to feel placated or insulted by the Dylan/Rommy scene at the end of the episode "Dance of the Mayflies." There, though STILL not permitted to pour out her cyber-heart to her beloved captain, she was permitted to come close to such a declaration. During the episode, the shortness of human life expectancy compared to sci-fi super-beings had been brought up; so, in the epilogue, Rommy could at least tell Dylan that she couldn't bear the prospect of outliving him and thus losing him. (Think Arwen and Aragorn.) Dylan, in response, went so far as to speak of love, but somewhat abstractly. This, in terms of what he and Rommy SHOULD have been to each other, was as unsatisfactory as the milktoasty peck on the cheek that he gave her in conclusion.

But apart from feeling sorry for "Andromeda's" android heroine, who is my favorite robotic-type character in all of science fiction ever, there is an aspect of the scene which I definitely LIKED, and was pleasantly surprised by: the fact that Dylan Hunt DID NOT limit himself to shallow phrases about him "living on" in Rommy's memory. Here is my approximate quote of his full speech to her about the perpetuity of love:

"You won't lose me, Rommy. Love never dies. Your body may be destroyed or your power may run out, but love goes on forever. When the universe ends and the last star burns out, the only thing LEFT will be love."

This -- I'll venture to call it a testimony -- delighted me insofar as its SPIRITUAL significance. No, Captain Hunt did not recite the whole Nicene Creed; but even his modest expression of faith flew head-on against the icy atheism that Gene Roddenberry wanted to promote. The hero's prediction of love going on forever COULD NOT POSSIBLY be right in a materialistic, mechanical universe.

And in my estimation, the value of Dylan Hunt's words IS NOT spoiled by their being addressed to an android. No one has yet invented any sort of robot that has REAL self-awareness with free will and genuine emotions; but if such a robot WERE built, my own expectation of enjoying Heaven would not be the least bit impaired by God regarding this robot as a living creature with a soul-- due to it being effectively an OFFSPRING of its human makers.

None of the science fiction *I* write will ever feature androids that really are alive and autonomous, because I don't believe there ever will be any. But if the fictitious free-willed android Rommy actually existed, I would not be denying God's Creatorship by desiring that Rommy should be considered a daughter of humans, capable of receiving the gift of saving faith. And I'm not saying this just because the actress Lexa Doig is as hot as a supernova.

When Trejo Is Tres Chic

A year or two  of years ago, cinema tough guy Danny Trejo, a Latino counterpart of Mickey Rourke, was photographed participating in a parade, carrying the flag of the United States --not inverted, and not placed beneath a Mexican flag.

Mister Trejo didn't have to do this. In the modern atmosphere of political correctness, he had nothing to gain career-wise by paying any respect to the United States. Far from it, siding absolutely with Latino supremacists of the Reconquista movement, while claiming that EVERY objection to Latino crime gangs was a racist lie, would have been the very thing to boost his popularity in all the fashionable hard-left circles. Therefore, I am inclined to cut Mister Trejo a lot of slack.

But it's hard to shrug off his 2010 blood-and-guts movie, "Machete." It's the kind of movie that Arnold Schwarzenegger would have made.... if Schwarzenegger had been a Mexican chauvinist whose entire concept of goodness began and ended with "whatever is to the advantage of Mexicans." Even an immigration agent played by Jessica Alba ends up shouting to a crowd that there cannot be any such thing as justice or law UNLESS Hispanics get to have everything their own way without reservations or questions.

Mister Trejo plays a Mexican Federale officer who is threatened by white supremacists on top of being entrapped by a Mexican drug cartel which has bought off most of the Federales. The hero must accordingly lead an army of low-riders to defeat the white supremacists chiefly, and secondarily the drug cartel's leader. At least the script has the cheap honesty to admit that the buying of police is endemic in Mexico; but as far as this film lets us know, the drug trade-- operating with Gringo collaborators-- is THE ONLY organized crime flowing from Latin America to the United States. There's no such thing as the Mara Salvatrucha gang, and there's no such thing as Democrat mayors of "sanctuary cities" buying Hispanic votes by aiding and abetting illegals who commit murders, robberies and rapes-- including murders, robberies and rapes in which THE VICTIMS ARE ALSO HISPANIC, go figure.

No moral ambiguity troubles the writers of "Machete." Absolutely all illegal border crossers out of Mexico are adorable dreamers who can deserve unlimited sympathy; and you'll never learn from this movie how many hospitals in the southwestern United States have been driven to bankruptcy by illegals exhausting their patient-care capacity without ever paying a cent. Anyone and everyone who has even the slightest misgivings about illegal immigration is either a monstrously violent white supremacist, or a monstrously wicked schemer who can profit somehow by oppressing poor innocent Latinos, or both.

Something else you'll never learn from this movie is the fact that the Texas Revolution did not happen because white supremacists were being imperialistic; it happened because the dictator Santa Ana denied representative government to people under his rule. That's why there were MEXICANS fighting on the TEXAN side in this revolution. It is also a fact that the later Mexican War was begun BY SANTA ANA, who was a sore loser despite the Texans having spared his life before. Santa Ana came out zero for two, and his whole country lay prostrate before the Gringo victors. But not only did the United States not attempt to occupy and possess all of Mexico, but it paid Mexico for the portion of land it did take.

However, modern Mexican administrations, particularly that of Presidente Vicente Fox, have found it wonderfully convenient to whip up anti-Gringo resentment, as a way to divert Mexican citizens from resenting their own government's failure to promote their well-being. These politicians love it when their agitators in the United States chant the misleading slogan: "We Didn't Cross The Border, The Border Crossed Us!"

The border might never have moved south if a 19th-century Mexican ruler had extended citizen rights to his subjects; and to this day there are Latino CITIZENS of the United States who DON'T WANT the United States to change into Mexico 2.0, because these loyal United States citizens understand just which society has enabled them to advance themselves by their own efforts.

All this leaves me scratching my head over why Danny Trejo would star in a movie like "Machete" --apart from the money, plus the sweet perk of being kissed onscreen by Jessica Alba and other beautiful women-- and then turn around a few years later and parade the United States flag as if he LOVED the same United States which "Machete" depicts as the embodiment of all evil. But it may be that Mister Trejo appreciates freedom of expression; appreciates this country for allowing itself to be defamed and vilified so extravagantly. His movie's own credits reveal that the state government of Texas-- a state which, if you listen to Democrats, is crowded with xenophobic racists who would regard George Wallace as being too lenient-- actually facilitated the production of "Machete."

To anyone reading my words: please tell me if you know of any motion picture produced within the borders of Mexico, BY a Mexican film studio, that portrays Mexico as overflowing with evil, sadistic bigots, while saying that GRINGOS (apart from some gangsters and crooked cops) are all adorable dreamers who can do no wrong. Or for that matter, name a major AMERICAN movie company that would have hired Mister Trejo to star in a movie which portrayed present-day Mexico-sobre-todo activists as being in the wrong....

I didn't think so.   ago, cinema tough guy Danny Trejo, a Latino counterpart of Mickey Rourke, was photographed participating in a parade, carrying the flag of the United States --not inverted, and not placed beneath a Mexican flag.

Mister Trejo didn't have to do this. In the modern atmosphere of political correctness, he had nothing to gain career-wise by paying any respect to the United States. Far from it, siding absolutely with Latino supremacists of the Reconquista movement, while claiming that EVERY objection to Latino crime gangs was a racist lie, would have been the very thing to boost his popularity in all the fashionable hard-left circles. Therefore, I am inclined to cut Mister Trejo a lot of slack.

But it's hard to shrug off his 2010 blood-and-guts movie, "Machete." It's the kind of movie that Arnold Schwarzenegger would have made.... if Schwarzenegger had been a Mexican chauvinist whose entire concept of goodness began and ended with "whatever is to the advantage of Mexicans." Even an immigration agent played by Jessica Alba ends up shouting to a crowd that there cannot be any such thing as justice or law UNLESS Hispanics get to have everything their own way without reservations or questions.

Mister Trejo plays a Mexican Federale officer who is threatened by white supremacists on top of being entrapped by a Mexican drug cartel which has bought off most of the Federales. The hero must accordingly lead an army of low-riders to defeat the white supremacists chiefly, and secondarily the drug cartel's leader. At least the script has the cheap honesty to admit that the buying of police is endemic in Mexico; but as far as this film lets us know, the drug trade-- operating with Gringo collaborators-- is THE ONLY organized crime flowing from Latin America to the United States. There's no such thing as the Mara Salvatrucha gang, and there's no such thing as Democrat mayors of "sanctuary cities" buying Hispanic votes by aiding and abetting illegals who commit murders, robberies and rapes-- including murders, robberies and rapes in which THE VICTIMS ARE ALSO HISPANIC, go figure.

No moral ambiguity troubles the writers of "Machete." Absolutely all illegal border crossers out of Mexico are adorable dreamers who can deserve unlimited sympathy; and you'll never learn from this movie how many hospitals in the southwestern United States have been driven to bankruptcy by illegals exhausting their patient-care capacity without ever paying a cent. Anyone and everyone who has even the slightest misgivings about illegal immigration is either a monstrously violent white supremacist, or a monstrously wicked schemer who can profit somehow by oppressing poor innocent Latinos, or both.

Something else you'll never learn from this movie is the fact that the Texas Revolution did not happen because white supremacists were being imperialistic; it happened because the dictator Santa Ana denied representative government to people under his rule. That's why there were MEXICANS fighting on the TEXAN side in this revolution. It is also a fact that the later Mexican War was begun BY SANTA ANA, who was a sore loser despite the Texans having spared his life before. Santa Ana came out zero for two, and his whole country lay prostrate before the Gringo victors. But not only did the United States not attempt to occupy and possess all of Mexico, but it paid Mexico for the portion of land it did take.

However, modern Mexican administrations, particularly that of Presidente Vicente Fox, have found it wonderfully convenient to whip up anti-Gringo resentment, as a way to divert Mexican citizens from resenting their own government's failure to promote their well-being. These politicians love it when their agitators in the United States chant the misleading slogan: "We Didn't Cross The Border, The Border Crossed Us!"

The border might never have moved south if a 19th-century Mexican ruler had extended citizen rights to his subjects; and to this day there are Latino CITIZENS of the United States who DON'T WANT the United States to change into Mexico 2.0, because these loyal United States citizens understand just which society has enabled them to advance themselves by their own efforts.

All this leaves me scratching my head over why Danny Trejo would star in a movie like "Machete" --apart from the money, plus the sweet perk of being kissed onscreen by Jessica Alba and other beautiful women-- and then turn around a few years later and parade the United States flag as if he LOVED the same United States which "Machete" depicts as the embodiment of all evil. But it may be that Mister Trejo appreciates freedom of expression; appreciates this country for allowing itself to be defamed and vilified so extravagantly. His movie's own credits reveal that the state government of Texas-- a state which, if you listen to Democrats, is crowded with xenophobic racists who would regard George Wallace as being too lenient-- actually facilitated the production of "Machete."

To anyone reading my words: please tell me if you know of any motion picture produced within the borders of Mexico, BY a Mexican film studio, that portrays Mexico as overflowing with evil, sadistic bigots, while saying that GRINGOS (apart from some gangsters and crooked cops) are all adorable dreamers who can do no wrong. Or for that matter, name a major AMERICAN movie company that would have hired Mister Trejo to star in a movie which portrayed present-day Mexico-sobre-todo activists as being in the wrong....

I didn't think so.