Pharyngula

Wow, I thought Cardinal George Pell was thick…but his second-in-command, Bishop Porteous, sounds like he could be even crazier. They’re hiring an exorcist for Australia, and he’s full of ominous warnings about evil things.

The appointment of a new exorcist by Sydney’s Catholic Church precedes a warning by a senior clergyman that generation Y risks a dangerous fascination with the occult fuelled by the Twilight and Harry Potter series.

Julian Porteous, the auxiliary bishop of Sydney, warns that pursuing such ”alternative” relaxation techniques as yoga, reiki massages and tai chi may encourage experimentation with ”deep and dark spiritual ideas and traditions”.

Twilight isn’t magic — it’s just badly written and mindless. Those spritiual ideas aren’t “deep and dark”, they’re just stupid. And I put exorcism in the same category, as a ridiculous, ignorant practice based on rank superstition. We gain nothing by replacing reiki massages and sparkly vampires with old geezers waving censers and chanting at demons.

And Porteous has been doing just that.

Exorcism is no fantasy according to the church, with the Sydney archdiocese last month appointing an as-yet unnamed priest, suitably ”endowed with piety, knowledge, prudence and integrity of life” to conduct exorcisms, as required by Catholic canon law.

In Rome, the Vatican is preparing its first official English translation of the rite of exorcism, which was promulgated in 1614 and reissued in 1999. Its chief exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth, claimed this month to have carried out 70,000 exorcisms. Bishop Porteous – who has stood in as exorcist for the Sydney archdiocese over the past five years – warns that yoga, reiki massages and tai chi can lead to people being in the grip of ”demonic forces”.

These people are just nuts.

Comments

  1. #1 Michelle R
    March 24, 2010

    “Do Twilight, Harry Potter open door to the Devil?”

    No but they’re an eyesore. Try having sisters who love harry potter movies or Twilight. You open the door to their bedrooms (AKA: Hell.) and BAM! There’s a picture of a sick looking greasy guy on their wall. Twilight guys need to take a bath. And stop sparkling in the sunlight.

  2. #2 Stardrake
    March 24, 2010

    Is that Tubular Bells I hear in the background?

    (Muses on the irony of part of a New Age album being the theme song for Catholic exorcism….)

  3. #3 alukonis
    March 24, 2010

    No they hate Twilight because of its huge massive mormon undertones. I know they’re down with the misogynistic crap.

    Seriously I’m not one for banning books, but I am one for asking “why has this tripe been published? what editor read this and thought it was GOOD???”

  4. #4 Michelle R
    March 24, 2010

    Oh I forgot to add:

    TWILIGHT DESTROYED THE COOLNESS OF VAMPIRES.

    Vampires are not sexy evil badasses anymore! No! they’re whiny and they SPARKLE.

    THEY SPARKLE!

    …sorry, Twilight makes me angry.

    Dracula’s dead. Sigh.

  5. #5 tawaen
    March 24, 2010

    Wait, you can get paid for performing exorcisms?

    I thought people did them for shits and giggles. Does this mean I’ve been using the Lesser Banishing of the Pentagram for free all this time when I could have had a cushy job? Well, sign me up!

  6. #6 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 24, 2010

    The appointment of a new exorcist by Sydney’s Catholic Church precedes a warning by a senior clergyman that generation Y risks a dangerous fascination with the occult fuelled by the Twilight and Harry Potter series.

    Riiiight. So it’s one form of made-up magic against another.

    In Rome, the Vatican is preparing its first official English translation of the rite of exorcism, which was promulgated in 1614 and reissued in 1999.

    Mm hmm, and there they are, happily pretending nothing has changed at all since 1614.

  7. #7 cervantes
    March 24, 2010

    Not “just” nuts. Totally fucking batshit insane.

  8. #8 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 24, 2010

    alukonis:

    what editor read this and thought it was GOOD???”

    What makes you think an editor thought it was good? I assume the editor thought “this is crap, but this crap will sell!”

  9. #9 Pete Moulton
    March 24, 2010

    I liked this part:

    “Exorcism is no fantasy according to the church…”

    And, of course, who better to know all about fantasies than the RCC?

  10. #10 mconrsullivan
    March 24, 2010

    I actually went to a university (Gardner-Webb, in NC) where the Religious Education department taught a class on the occult, which included information on how the Harry Potter books taught kids dark magic and opened the door to demonic influences. (Just look at his scar: it’s Satan falling like lightning from heaven!)

    Even then, before I walked away from Christianity, I was embarrassed by this professor (who had clearly never even bothered to read any of the books).

  11. #11 Sioux Laris
    March 24, 2010

    Some comments here challenging the Catholic holier-than-thou idiocy with atheistic snootier-than-thou bitchiness.
    Let people enjoy whatever silliness they like, so long as they are reasonable about it and realize it – yoga or Harry Potter or baseball or Marvel Comics or the (wonderful) ridiculous Hammer Horror films – is essentially silly.

    This sort of unmodified scorn for even harmless foolishness he isn’t personally a fan of is where PZed loses me. I’d offer a Co9Ts tongue-lashing to any friend who pulled this.

  12. #12 Big Boppa
    March 24, 2010

    Mock if you must but I think there might be something to this stuff.

    Just last weekend my wife burned some incense and the house smelled like some kind of demon (or perhaps Robert Pattinson) had shat on the coffee table. It took a whole day with the windows open to clear out the funk.

    Hey, does that qualify as an exorcism?

    On second thought, maybe not. Opening the window is more scientifically sound.

  13. #13 Gus Snarp
    March 24, 2010

    Oh come on, like these kids are any different? In my day it was heavy metal and Dungeons and Dragons, now it’s Twilight and Harry Potter. It’s all just harmless fun. Oh no, wait, maybe it was D&D that made me an atheist? Maybe I don’t really lack belief, but am rather a tool of Satan? Oh My God, I’ve been such a fool!

  14. #14 jerthebarbarian
    March 24, 2010

    Michelle R. @4:

    Oh I forgot to add:

    TWILIGHT DESTROYED THE COOLNESS OF VAMPIRES.

    Vampires are not sexy evil badasses anymore! No! they’re whiny and they SPARKLE.

    Oh please. Vampires have been getting whittled down from their status as cool monsters for years. They’ve been whiny weenies who go on and on about their immortal curse instead of scary monsters for almost as long as I can remember. Anne Rice especially has a lot to answer for for her butchering of the vampire myth.

    (The Twilight series actually does kind of remind me of “Anne Rice light”. And the fervor of the fans kind of reminds me of Anne Rice fans too. Except there seem to be more Twilight fans than there were Rice fans and they seem to be somewhat younger. Or maybe I’m just a lot older now….)

  15. #15 Big Boppa
    March 24, 2010

    Gus @ 13 (hmm 13….coincidence?)

    I think it was the +3 pitchfork of eternal damnation.

  16. #16 Shala
    March 24, 2010

    Oh god.

    inb4 thousands of Twilight fans descend upon this blog.

  17. #17 Hank Fox
    March 24, 2010

    Thou shalt fear yoga! Sitting with your legs folded up is an abomination unto God! You do breathing exercises at dire peril to your immortal soul! The Salute to the Sun is a slippery gateway into Hell!

    Ahem. I wonder if electroshock might help some of these people notice the real world?

    Man, I have a VERY hard time imagining someone having the actual JOB of exorcist. You either have to be bugfuck insane, or else just absolutely in it for the career security. “Sure, I’ll go out and chant over the ignorant yokels, hook them a little deeper into this mystical bullshit. I just need to hang on a few more years until retirement.”

  18. #18 theGobi
    March 24, 2010

    I smell guano.
    This is so batshit crazy that it practically reeks of a PR stunt to draw attention away from the whole kiddie-rape thing.

  19. #19 Jag
    March 24, 2010

    70,000 exorcisms ???

    Either he’s counting on a per demon basis or this priest has been living for several hundred years.

    Hmmm….

  20. #20 SnotMonster
    March 24, 2010

    chief exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth, claimed this month to have carried out 70,000 exorcisms

    Wow! The old dude certainly keeps himself busy. That works out at around 8 per day given he got the job in 1986…

  21. #21 Michelle R
    March 24, 2010

    @ jerthebarbarian: I dunno, but I think Vampires are pretty badass. Especially in Castlevania. I loooooove Castlevania.

    …Must be why I think vampires are badass. Castlevania’s my main source of vampires goodies.

  22. #22 iambilly
    March 24, 2010

    Well, obviously, the Harry Potter books are evil. They are entertaining, easy to read yet complex, involve subplots and sub-subplots, and the authoritarian asshats lose. This promotes openmindedness, a willingness to read and question, and the idea that adults do not always have all the answers. The Catholit Church is based on an adult (the Pope) having all the answers. Anything that questions that has gotta be from the devil.

  23. #23 Hank Fox
    March 24, 2010

    And in case the jesuschristians are in here reading, I’d just like to say that the Harry Potter books are about the values of trust, friendship, family, hard work, education, loyalty, persistence, sacrifice, courage and love. The wizardry is just stage-setting in which those themes play out.

    Anything else you’ve heard is just lies, told to you by manipulative sonsabitches who trust that you’ll always be stupid enough to believe them.

    Why not surprise them by reading the books yourself, and making up your own mind?

  24. #24 Moggie
    March 24, 2010

    Much as I’d like to point and laugh about exorcism, I can’t, because the supposedly “demon possessed” being chanted over are often mentally ill. They need genuine evidence-based help, not magic words from some creepy nutjob in a frock.

  25. #25 realinterrobang
    March 24, 2010

    Is it just me, or is “Porteus” the kind of name for a priest you’d see in a bad novel? (Never forget, kids, the pathetic fallacy is just a bad lie!) It seems like the perfect portmanteau of “portent” and “pretentious.” Look! It’s foreshadowing! Dunh dunh DUNNNNH!

  26. #26 Biddy
    March 24, 2010

    I have grown up with both the Catholic church and Harry Potter. Guess which one has taught me the more valuable life lessons? I?ll give you a hint: the franchise that pulls in the least money.

  27. #27 Biddy
    March 24, 2010

    One more thing. I have always seen Hermione as an atheist! ;)

  28. #28 christophe-thill.myopenid.com
    March 24, 2010

    Why do they bother translating the rite of exorcism into English ? Demons of old used to understand Latin. Not anymore ? Did they cut language teachers’ jobs in the high schools of Hell, too ?

  29. #29 thrawn369
    March 24, 2010

    “Some victims have spoken to Bishop Porteous of feeling an evil presence around them or of feeling an oppressive force bearing down on their chest.”
    As someone who’s suffered from sleep paralysis I’m pretty disgusted that the Sydney Morning Herald didn’t think to talk with a scientist or doctor about this. I know sleep paralysis is a pretty minor condition, but given how traumatic it can be you make people’s lives a lot worse if you tell them that what they’re feeling is Satan trying to drag their soul to hell instead of just your brain waking up slowly so you should relax and let it pass. I’d hate to think of all the damage he’s done to actually mentally ill people by reinforcing their delusions.

    theGobi, I have to say I have no idea if you’re right. These are people who can’t tell if covering for a repeat child rapist is good or evil, they’re not functioning on the same level as normal humans.

  30. #30 Ginchy Von Slappytrousers
    March 24, 2010

    Watch Twilight?

    Not without my Rifftrax.

  31. #31 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    March 24, 2010

    Dracula’s dead. Sigh.

    You are mistaken. Bela Lugosi’s dead.

  32. #32 Bostonian
    March 24, 2010

    I agree with PZ. I read the first page of the first Twilight book and it was terrible. As much as I enjoy vampire novels, it was one of the cheesiest things I’ve recently read. I can see younger readers liking it, however.

    (Also, I’m writing this post to celebrate that the MovebaleType password recovery on Scienceblogs finally worked for me.)

  33. #33 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    March 24, 2010

    Ah, nothing like the spectacle of a religious leader whining about his concern that people won’t be able to distinguish fantasy from reality.

    @Michelle R #4:

    Werewolves are way awesomer than vampires. Awesomer, I say!

  34. #34 G.D.
    March 24, 2010

    Well, on one level they actually have a point. Clearly, engaging in the reading of fantasy literature containing descriptions of magic, demons and spells, as well as practicing strange, wooey kinds of rites with magical overtones, can screw up your mind if you’re unable to distinguish fantasy from reality. After all they provide pretty solid evidence that some people are unable to do just that.

  35. #35 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnFLeNC2BxVK8rO_xI4C-zbeKyZK-HWxxI
    March 24, 2010

    Twilight isn’t magic ? it’s just badly written and mindless.

    But only an un-downhome un-folksy pointy headed innylectual ‘leetist would ever say something was “badly written”.

    Much better to say that Satan created it.

  36. #36 Jeffrey Kramer
    March 24, 2010

    Bishop Porteous – who has stood in as exorcist for the Sydney archdiocese over the past five years…

    A pinch-hexer? What’s his casting average?

  37. #37 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnFLeNC2BxVK8rO_xI4C-zbeKyZK-HWxxI
    March 24, 2010

    The sign-in is borked again.

  38. #38 https://me.yahoo.com/a/2Cpr09BisvAGE8xTLScKqHa9oE8qMtok#e64de
    March 24, 2010
  39. #39 Celtic_Evolution
    March 24, 2010

    Well… I think they are using “the Devil” as a euphemism for “godlessness”. They think these books turn people away from belief.

    What might interest them to know is that the book that actually turns more people away from god than just about any other is the Bible.

    Was for me, anyhow, and lots of other atheists I know.

    Guess it’s time to ban that book as well.

  40. #40 DesertHedgehog
    March 24, 2010

    A full-on Latin-rite exorcism is just…well…seriously cool. It may not be Laurie Anderson in her heyday, but it’s top-class performance art. All the more so if done (as it should be) by a real Jesuit.

    And Harry Potter can’t be evil. It gave us English public-school uniform/scarf fetish material (yes, that’s a six-foot Ravenclaw scarf in my wardrobe) and…ummm….Hermione. Plaid uniform mini-kilts and…ummm…Hermione. Well, wicked, but not evil.

  41. #41 Shala
    March 24, 2010

    What might interest them to know is that the book that actually turns more people away from god than just about any other is the Bible.

    Twilight should be a running contender. Of course, that’s only because after reading it one feels a sense of disbelief in humanity.

  42. #42 Shala
    March 24, 2010

    Also I find it amusing that they say Rowling writes about satanic things since she’s a member of the Church of Scotland. I guess she just wasn’t a TRUE Christian?

  43. #43 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnFLeNC2BxVK8rO_xI4C-zbeKyZK-HWxxI
    March 24, 2010

    Does anyone else think that Twilight is basically InuYasha with the wit, intelligence, and self-deprecating cheek gorily ripped out of its thoracic cavity?

  44. #44 Shala
    March 24, 2010

    Does anyone else think that Twilight is basically InuYasha with the wit, intelligence, and self-deprecating cheek gorily ripped out of its thoracic cavity?

    Inuyasha had wit and intelligence?

  45. #45 theGobi
    March 24, 2010

    I take exorcism this seriously.

    But I think Moggie has a very good point about the people who are subjected to this nonsense.

  46. #46 Matt Penfold
    March 24, 2010

    It is not only Catholic clergy who are morons.

    Here in the UK there was a story last week about an Anhlican vicar who banned a Tai Chi class from the church hall. He claimed it was Tai Chi was against what the Church of England stood for.

    Never mind the class in question was for retired people and left out all the mysticism. It was just a very gentle form of exercise intend to help the elderly stay supple.

  47. #47 CalGeorge
    March 24, 2010

    “A person can move from the use of a simple practice to de-stress to embracing the underlining theory and religious beliefs because these all come out of religious traditions of the East and people can then find themselves in the grip of demonic forces,” he said. “People can be naive in that regard.”

    In other words, if you meet the Buddha, kill him in favor of your anxiety-ridden Catholicism?

    The Catholics oppose yoga now? How uptight can you get?

  48. #48 Holytape
    March 24, 2010

    Well, those series would loses fans and supporters if the Church would offer some competition. How about a sparkle pope, or nuns on broom sticks? Will, maybe not a sparkle pope, but the right nuns on the right broom sticks and you can forget about Harry Potter.
    Pac-Devil

  49. #49 Q.E.D
    March 24, 2010

    Sioux Larris @11

    Your statement about exorcism is just plain, flat out, factually wrong. It isn’t “harmless foolishness”, it is abusive and sometimes deadly.

    Excorcism kills people. Often children and the mentally disabled. In London, christian evangelicals with African roots are “excorcising demons” from children, abusing and sometimes killing them in the process. The Catlick killed a couple girls in Germany through exorcism. In Uganda the government has had to step in to try to stop the selling of “exorcism” services (i.e bring me your bad kid and I’ll exorcise his demons; bring me your cursed kid and I will exorcise him so you will be rich etc etc)

    Don’t have time to do the research for you right now but I will try to post more later. You can start here:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2005/feb/25/childprotection.childrensservices

    Q.E.D

  50. #50 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    March 24, 2010

    Let people enjoy whatever silliness they like, so long as they are reasonable about it and realize it … is essentially silly.

    I assume your comment was directed at Bishop Porteous because I sure don’t see anyone here issuing dire warnings about people’s hobbies and reading habits. Certainly nobody who represents a rich and powerful religious nation-state that has direct influence over lawmakers.

  51. #51 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnFLeNC2BxVK8rO_xI4C-zbeKyZK-HWxxI
    March 24, 2010

    Inuyasha had wit and intelligence?

    Compared to the surface of Pluto, is central Antarctica in winter warm or cold?

  52. #52 Snoof
    March 24, 2010

    The Catholics oppose yoga now? How uptight can you get?

    Ironically, if they’d actually try some yoga, they’d probably be more relaxed.

  53. #53 Shala
    March 24, 2010

    Compared to the surface of Pluto, is central Antarctica in winter warm or cold?

    Point taken.

  54. #54 Bill Dauphin, OM
    March 24, 2010

    Without even reading the comments, I have to say…

    …his second-in-command, Bishop Porteous…

    “Porteus”?? SRSLY?? If a fiction writer made up a name like that, the editor would change it! Jus’ sayin’….

    [Now off to actually read the comments….]

  55. #55 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 24, 2010

    Moggie:

    Much as I’d like to point and laugh about exorcism, I can’t, because the supposedly “demon possessed” being chanted over are often mentally ill. They need genuine evidence-based help, not magic words from some creepy nutjob in a frock.

    Too true. A lot of times, people with mental illnesses glom onto the whole “it’s a demon!” thing with ferocity. A few years ago, I came across

    Ministering Deliverance

    which provides some interesting insight in that regard.

  56. #56 Brian
    March 24, 2010

    Reminds of of this snopes piece:

  57. #57 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 24, 2010

    Aaargh, screwed that one up, apparently tea does not help me function this early in the morning. That should be Ministering Deliverance.

  58. #58 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnFLeNC2BxVK8rO_xI4C-zbeKyZK-HWxxI
    March 24, 2010

    And honestly, Myoga the Flea was a rather clever subversion of Jiminy Cricket, and as good a take-off of the consulting profession as Scott Adams ever managed.

  59. #59 TrineBM
    March 24, 2010

    My son (eight-years old) looked up the old redbrick-beginning of the 20. century school building he enters every day, and sighed ‘I sssoooo wish this was Hogwarts!’ And I almost replied: ‘And I sssooooo wish I was Professor McGonagall’. (Cause she’s cool.)
    Watched the first Twilight movie with a colleague (and PLENTY of red wine) and I frankly think it was better than all the ‘Little house on the prairies’-junk they showed when I was a kid in the 70’ies. But read the book??? nahhh… I think I’ll leave that to the teenagers.
    Imagination makes life worth living… and only (religious)people with less-flexible minds seem to not be able to see the difference between the world we live in and all the worlds in our heads.

  60. #60 Gus Snarp
    March 24, 2010

    @realinterrobang #25 – Yeah, that’s what I thought. In fact, I thought Porteous sounded like a great name for someone in the Ministry of Magic in the Potter books.

  61. #61 Ing
    March 24, 2010

    I might add that Porteus is a one leter switch from being PROTEUS the Greek shapeshifter trickster demi-god.

  62. #62 Michelle R
    March 24, 2010

    @Naked Bunny with a Whip:”@Michelle R #4:
    Werewolves are way awesomer than vampires. Awesomer, I say!”

    …Well Twilight raped THAT too now, isn’t it.

  63. #63 daveau
    March 24, 2010

    I think people would (and many do) consider those books harmless fantasy. Except of course those purveyors of prevarication, the catholic church, have to go around saying that demons and the occult are real and ruin everyone else’s good time. So this is all really their own fault and self perpetuating.

  64. #64 Harry Tuttle
    March 24, 2010

    Well… I think they are using “the Devil” as a euphemism for “godlessness”. They think these books turn people away from belief.

    That doesn’t explain the Tai Chi and Yoga part though. That’s, what, a billion or more believers – Taoists and Hindus?

    Those belief systems certainly are not “godless” (except in their more esoteric forms). They have tons of gods. They gots a god for everything… except premature ejaculation. But I hear that’s coming quickly!

  65. #65 Shala
    March 24, 2010

    And honestly, Myoga the Flea was a rather clever subversion of Jiminy Cricket, and as good a take-off of the consulting profession as Scott Adams ever managed.

    In general I don’t mind the first season or so, but after that…ugh.

    I think people would (and many do) consider those books harmless fantasy.

    Ironically, the Christians don’t treat their own book as a harmless fantasy, and look where that gets them.

  66. #66 Tulse
    March 24, 2010

    Is it just me, or is “Porteus” the kind of name for a priest you’d see in a bad novel?

    Sounds like a third rate Sith Lord to me — “As Darth Porteus said, the Jedi dabble in deep and dark spiritual ideas and traditions.”

  67. #67 Shala
    March 24, 2010

    If he’s a Sith Lord, and Benedict is Palpatine, then does that mean God is the Force? What are the Christian equivalents of midi-chlorians supposed to be?

    This could become very amusing.

  68. #68 iambilly
    March 24, 2010

    What are the Christian equivalents of midi-chlorians supposed to be?

    Altar boys?

  69. #69 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnFLeNC2BxVK8rO_xI4C-zbeKyZK-HWxxI
    March 24, 2010

    In general I don’t mind the first season or so, but after that…ugh

    Yeah, that’s about where I bailed.

  70. #70 Armand K.
    March 24, 2010

    So… it’s just the movies that are a problem? Good, I was starting to fear I endangered the welfare of my immaterial and problematical soul* by reading the books and liking Rowlings’s style.

    * All hail Rev. Limmar Ponyets, holy Tender of the Galactic Spirit and his prophet Seldon!

  71. #71 iambilly
    March 24, 2010

    Yet another blockquote fail. Again. Sorry on #68.

  72. #72 Techskeptic
    March 24, 2010

    claimed this month to have carried out 70,000 exorcisms

    Sad, what a missed opportunity to do some actually science on the effectiveness of exorcisms. What a dreamy population size to work with!

  73. #73 Alverant
    March 24, 2010

    Has there ever been any examples of someone converting to Wicca, Paganism, or Satanism solely because of the HP books? If not, then why all the claims that it will? It’s like those people who say gay marriage will destroy straight marriages. There’s been no real life examples, just a lot of hot air.

  74. #74 ButchKitties
    March 24, 2010

    Twilight? Bah! Låt den rätte komma in, now there’s a vampire book/movie.

  75. #75 somewhereingreece
    March 24, 2010

    Oh man, that reminds me of the time I was reading The Name Of The Rose and my grandmother picked it up and she had to randomly read the page describing the bloodiest murder (don’t worry, no spoilers). She had freaked out, believing I had taken to satanism.

    Then again, she had also freaked out when I told her I was reading Shakespeare, believing I was reading porn.

    Why do all these old people ruin everyone’s good time, passing judgement on books they haven’t even read?

  76. #76 Michelle R
    March 24, 2010

    “In general I don’t mind the first season or so, but after that…ugh.”

    I’ve read the InuYasha manga. Whole. Till the end.

    Gimme a medal. Now.

    I LOVE Rumiko Takahashi. I really do. Urusei Yatsura and Ranma were pure awesome. And while I did enjoy Inuyasha at the start… I mean, anyone after 30 books sorta goes “Uh, you’re pretty much getting repetitive and stale here.” (Someone please slip that note to Gosho Aoyama.)

    And what do I get for sticking faithfully to the end? A boring as hell final battle and a stupid ending… Siiiigh…

    *Eyes Rinne with a suspicious stare*

  77. #77 raven
    March 24, 2010

    Catholics aren’t the only ones to perform exorcisms.

    The fundie xians are big into it too. And their standards of who can be an exorcist are….nonexistent. They are always babbling on about demons and demonic possession. According to some of them, the number of demons in the USA is several times the number of citizens, a billion or so. Good thing that demons can’t vote or we might elect a Democrat as president or something.

    Oh well. The RCC hasn’t gotten the memo that the Dark Ages are over. The fundies want to start their own.

  78. #78 Shala
    March 24, 2010

    I’ve read the InuYasha manga. Whole. Till the end.

    I watched the entire anime, but only so me and my friends could laugh at it. It’s even WORSE than the manga!

    You do deserve a medal, however.

  79. #79 raven
    March 24, 2010

    Do Twilight, Harry Potter open door to the Devil?

    According to Catholics and fundie xians sure. No big deal though, just about everything seems to “open the door to the devil.”

    One of the fundies more charming rituals is the Burning of the Books. There were Harry Potter book burnings a few years ago.

    Unfortunately, they have been slacking off. There haven’t been any Twilight book burnings yet and the last death cultist book burning was some minister in NC who was burning bibles, on the basis that they weren’t the KJ translation.

  80. #80 Evomonkey
    March 24, 2010

    Oh! Now I know why my back aches after that yoga class yesterday. I thought I was out shape. But now I see it’s the grip of ”demonic forces”.

    Does the vatican offer fitness classes? I checked; they are only offered to preteen altar boys.

  81. #81 Shala
    March 24, 2010

    There haven’t been any Twilight book burnings yet

    God, can’t fundies do anything right!?

  82. #82 lunchboxsw.wordpress.com
    March 24, 2010

    A Lutheran who converted from being a witch told me that Harry Potter leading kids to explore the dark arts is a bunch of nonsense.

  83. #83 Shplane
    March 24, 2010

    I tried to read Twilight once. I got to chapter six. My brain… guhhhhhhh. Holy shit woman, get a THESAURUS.

    I liked Harry Potter when I was younger, and it still holds some nostalgic value. It’s certainly written better than Twilight. Then again, that’s kind of like saying that something is drier than water or warmer than a bose-einstein motherfucking condensate (YAY BIG WORDS).

  84. #84 Shala
    March 24, 2010

    I tried to read Twilight once. I got to chapter six. My brain… guhhhhhhh. Holy shit woman, get a THESAURUS.

    You may be interested (read: horrified) to know that the series only gets worse from there.

    Even Twilight fans hate the 4th book.

  85. #85 llewelly
    March 24, 2010

    christophe-thill.myopenid.com | March 24, 2010 9:34 AM:

    Why do they bother translating the rite of exorcism into English ? Demons of old used to understand Latin. Not anymore? Did they cut language teachers’ jobs in the high schools of Hell, too ?

    Their school board was taken over by reactionary nutcases who voted out all sorts of good things and voted in all sorts of revisionist nonsense. A lot like Texas, in that respect.

  86. #86 https://me.yahoo.com/a/2Cpr09BisvAGE8xTLScKqHa9oE8qMtok#e64de
    March 24, 2010

    I wish people would quit ripping on Twilight for the sparkly vampires. The sparkly argument is overdone. It doesn’t sound like you ever bothered to read the books, so it’s rather like the “I hate liver” argument before you’ve ever tasted liver. The twlight fans think the same thing your parents did: “How do you know you hate it if you’ve never tried it?” You have to taste it to truely appreciate how bad it really is.

    I mean, I did actually read the things so I could figure out wtf my fiance was talking about with my sister and that part of the story really doesn’t play much except as a reason why they have to stay out of the sun in public.

    Use these arguments instead:

    – Overall very poor quality: static characters, predictable events, bad writing in general, 80% fluff that doesn’t move the story along, generally boring plot.

    – The annoying character traits would be a good one as well. I swear Beatrix Kiddo has less trouble walking when she wakes up from the coma than Bella does walking down the street. The self-loathing of Edward and Jacob over some girl is annoying as hell. Edward’s loathing is even more annoying because it is for stupid, religious reasons. It makes you think he’s just a pathetic prat the whole time, and makes you wonder why Bella even likes him (not particularly good thing in a love story).

    – There’s an utter redundancy of the entire series because the entire time all of their problems would be solved if they would have just let her be turned in the first book when she was bit anyways, especially since Alice (one of the two characters worth liking), who can see the future, says she’s going to end up turned anyways. It’s kind of like if you knew about the Eagles that could have just flown Frodo to Mount Doom, but if you knew about them at the beginning of the series rather than only right when they show up to save him. (And you pretend the LotR story not worth the time to read it).

    – There’s also the intangible bullocks that’s never explained like Bella having hallucinations when she puts herself in danger and suddenly having the ability to go cliff-diving without injuring/killing herself when she can barely walk without tripping.

    Just saying that if you’re going to call Twlight bad, don’t just use “the vampires are sparkly” argument. That’s the least of the story’s problems.

    I would add though that the movies are better, but only by a little. Mainly it’s better because you don’t have to deal with Bella’s annoying internal dialog, but they add a “twinkling” noise when the vampires sparkle. Why a prism effect of light produces noise, I don’t know, but it’s like they went “we know that people already joke on the sparkling. How can we make that worse?”

    Now you’re equipped with better arguments. Go forth and make Twilight fans cry.

  87. #87 Michelle R
    March 24, 2010

    @Shala #78 “I watched the entire anime, but only so me and my friends could laugh at it. It’s even WORSE than the manga!”

    I bet… I caught a couple episodes on TV and I could only groan. I mean, they added fillers. How the hell can you add fillers to something that is already one gigantic filler?!

    It did make me crack up though. I mean, it’s just painfully cheesy.

  88. #88 ereador
    March 24, 2010

    @Jag #19: Is per demon the same as per diem?

    Also,

    priest, suitably ”endowed with piety, knowledge, prudence and integrity of life”

    Protect your children.

  89. #89 Shala
    March 24, 2010

    I bet… I caught a couple episodes on TV and I could only groan. I mean, they added fillers. How the hell can you add fillers to something that is already one gigantic filler?!

    You think that’s bad?

    Watch the ending.

  90. #90 https://me.yahoo.com/a/2Cpr09BisvAGE8xTLScKqHa9oE8qMtok#e64de
    March 24, 2010

    Even Twilight fans hate the 4th book.

    Funny… That’s when I finally thought it got at least a little better because Bella becomes much less annoying after she finally gets turned into a vampire and a good chunk of the book is from Jacob’s view so you don’t have to deal with Bella’s annoying internal dialog.

    Needs to remember to sign his posts because Yahoo ID is shit,

    -Kemanorel

  91. #91 Andreas Johansson
    March 24, 2010

    Has there ever been any examples of someone converting to Wicca, Paganism, or Satanism solely because of the HP books? If not, then why all the claims that it will?

    Hm. I did once see a TV interview with a woman who claimed to have converted to Wicca because of The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. While not HP, it ought lend a little credence to the notion of people basing religious choices on fiction.

    (Yeah, yeah, someone is going pop in here and say the Bible is fiction too. It is not, however, widely considered fiction by those who base their religion on it.)

  92. #92 somewhereingreece
    March 24, 2010

    @#86: Actually, the “sparkling vampires’ is a valid argument, considering the vampire legends were used as a symbol for danger when out alone in the night and seeking refuge in castles whose lords are of questionable morality and a deterrant for virgins to keep their windows open, otherwise someone would fly in and make them bleed *hint-hint*.

    And now this dark side of the world that threatens the moral and social fibre of remote villages with buxom ladies turns into something sparkly. Who is going to buy alarms for the windows after that?

    Even if Bella wasn’t a perfect example of a “Mary Sue”, even if this was Brahm Stoker’s original idea, sparkling vampires would still make this whole thing laughable.

  93. #93 Michelle R
    March 24, 2010

    @Shala #89:
    …The final episode you mean? Well I know the anime ended before the manga did (cuz it was going on FOREVER)… So I can’t imagine what kind of ending they pulled there. I don’t even know at what book they ended.

    …Mind you they are um… Finishing Inuyasha. There’s a new anime series out called “InuYasha: The Final Act”. Same director (well one ditched), same writer. It must be awful.

  94. #94 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    March 24, 2010

    …Well Twilight raped THAT too now, isn’t it.

    So werewolves are lame, too, now?

    I guess that puts wererabbits on top, then. Yay!

  95. #95 Shala
    March 24, 2010

    …The final episode you mean? Well I know the anime ended before the manga did (cuz it was going on FOREVER)… So I can’t imagine what kind of ending they pulled there. I don’t even know at what book they ended.

    Would you feel enraged or just sad if I told you that the ending resolved nothing and was just another filler?

    I did hear about the sequel. I suppose I’ll have to check it out; I’ve been sorely lacking in comedy recently.

  96. #96 Bill Dauphin, OM
    March 24, 2010

    Alverant (@73):

    Has there ever been any examples of someone converting to Wicca, Paganism, or Satanism solely because of the HP books?

    Why would there have been? One of the odd things about this criticism of the HP oeuvre is that the books never present “magic” as being in any way religious (the terms “wizardry” and “witchcraft” notwithstanding). In fact, one of the literary criticisms of the books I’ve seen is that they take such a technique-centered approach to magic that they risk taking all the magic out of it. I recall one take-off on Clarke’s Law: Any sufficiently well described magic is indistiguishable from technology. While the magic of the HP universe is clearly supernatural in the strict sense, there are no gods or devils (Voldemort is the personification of evil, of course, but he’s never presented in any sort of theological framework). And even though there are suggestions of metaphysical souls and an afterlife, the books present no overarching theological or doctrinal structure into which they fit.

    In short, the HP books (and by extension, movies) present no theological alternative to Christianity. In fact, the kids at Hogwarts celebrate Christian holidays — Christmas, Easter, Halloween — albeit in the mostly secular manner that I gather is characteristic of modern Britain. If any segment of the pro-religion community has a beef with HP, it really should be the War on Christmas crowd, not the people who’re worried about satanism.

    And, BTW, anything that has preteens lining up outside bookstores — bookstores! — at midnight is aces in my book. If that’s the devil’s work, then good on y’, devil!

  97. #97 Snitzels
    March 24, 2010

    I have to wonder how much they’re paying the exorcist guy… that would be one awesome job if you were a good actor and looking to self-entertain. Do they get paid by salary or per exorcism?

    I mean, if it’s per exorcism, that might explain why they’re scraping for signs of kids getting involved in the occult… like being paid on commission.

  98. #98 Victor
    March 24, 2010

    In high school, I was pulled out into the hallway by an English teacher and warned than the “satanism” I was experimenting with would someday catch up with me. I had no idea where she got the idea I was a satanist. I did have a black shirt on at the time. Is that enough to worship the dark one?

  99. #99 Alverant
    March 24, 2010

    #86 FYI I did try liver and it does taste awful.
    #91 Were The Mists of Avalon directed at children? Sorry silly question. It shouldn’t matter. I do find it interesting that a work of fiction could get someone to convert religions. But I can see it. It’s like people converting to being Jedi. They know it’s fictional, but they like what that religion stands for. Is that why she converted? If so, all the book did was educate.

    On the other hand, 1 person out of thousands who read the books converted. That’s not a whole lot. Now if the same thing happened to 5% of readers who went from “Wicca is evil” to “I’m proud to be Wicca”, then I’d have to wonder.

  100. #100 Shala
    March 24, 2010

    And, BTW, anything that has preteens lining up outside bookstores ? bookstores! ? at midnight is aces in my book. If that’s the devil’s work, then good on y’, devil!

    That could be the devil’s work for an entirely different reason. >_>

  101. #101 Louis
    March 24, 2010

    I am very, very CONCERNED about this. I hope any of the more christian readers of Pharyngula can help me, for I feel my soul is imperillederizated.

    I was trying to yogic fly in the lotus position whilst playing naked D and D. I leapt up, cracked my head on my Edward from Twilight lampshade and landed on my Harry Potter figurine. Of course the figurine promptly slipped up my bum repeatedly. Dear christians, does this make me gay and/or a satanist?

    If so I have several other offences I’d like to be taken into account. Not least the one involving a bottle of Matey Bubble Bath, some chocolate mice, a ouija board (post 1970s), a dreamcatcher and a broadminded women’s netball team from Bolivia.

    Yours concernedly,

    Louis

  102. #102 Shala
    March 24, 2010

    naked D and D

    Are you implying there’s some other way we should play D&D?

  103. #103 aratina cage
    March 24, 2010

    Inuyasha had wit and intelligence?

    Not sure if I would go that far, but it did have excellent opening and ending theme music, it was funny, and it did dig out some really neat Japanese mythologies, and it mastered the cliffhanger (grrrrr).

  104. #104 IanM
    March 24, 2010

    It puts the Church’s nonsense in perspective when you see what it considers its rivals in spiritual matters. Harry Potter, vampire romances, D&D. Seriously.

  105. #105 Shala
    March 24, 2010

    Not sure if I would go that far, but it did have excellent opening and ending theme music, it was funny, and it did dig out some really neat Japanese mythologies, and it mastered the cliffhanger (grrrrr).

    Agreed. Shippo’s drawings had me laughing all night!

  106. #106 abb3w
    March 24, 2010

    These people are all nuts, but they are not all just nuts. For example, some are also ignorant.

  107. #107 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    March 24, 2010

    it mastered the cliffhanger (grrrrr).

    No. A big part of learning the use of the cliffhanger is to EVENTUALLY allow a resolution. Mastery implies that this critical step was learned at some point before 500 episodes in. Also, are they still on Namek?

    Also, I object to Harry Potter being treated on the same level as Twilight. It’s a children’s book series (Then eventually not), but it’s not nearly as poorly written as Twilight. Also, Harry Potter isn’t written by a mormon girl who can’t forget her mormon-ness for 10 seconds. Oh, and the blank pages when Edward leaves Bella. That’s a healthy and reasonable thing to tell girls; You’re nothing without a guy.

  108. #108 Louis
    March 24, 2010

    Shala #102,

    No not at all. Although, that said, some of the people I have played D and D with were definitely better clothed.

    Better in a preventing “MY EYES MY EYES!!! I CANNOT UNSEE WHAT I HAVE SEEN!!!” kinda way.

    Not that I’m a supermodel myself or anything, I’m not, anyone can be ugly but some people abuse the privilege.

    Sorry, sorry, I couldn’t resist. They are old jokes I know, but they burst forth uncontrollably. I’m getting help. Not very good help you understand, but my local pub keep serving me, so it’s all good.

    ;-)

    Louis

  109. #109 Shala
    March 24, 2010

    Also, are they still on Namek?

    I was trying to think to how to reply to this, but I suppose *insert rage here* or awj;of3q49pujfp9;wah will do.

    And then there’s stuff like Bleach…

  110. #110 Andreas Johansson
    March 24, 2010

    @Alverant #99

    I do not recall if she explained precisely why the book caused her to convert.

  111. #111 aratina cage
    March 24, 2010

    No. A big part of learning the use of the cliffhanger is to EVENTUALLY allow a resolution. Mastery implies that this critical step was learned at some point before 500 episodes in. Also, are they still on Namek?

    LOL, I was being facetious with that last one; what you’ve said is so true. I think it got extremely bad in the fourth season or somewhere around there. Anyway, another thing is that the relationships in that show were so fucked up that it would be hard for me not to love it.

  112. #112 SteveM
    March 24, 2010

    Anyone remember when The Exorcist first came out? Exorcism was portrayed as a nearly forgotten and abandoned practice of the RCC. IRL the RCC did say that it was no longer practiced nor condoned by the church. It is wonderful to see how far they have regressed back into medieval magical practices and superstitions.

  113. #113 SteveM
    March 24, 2010

    re 94:

    I guess that puts wererabbits on top, then. Yay!

    The Vorpal bunny can take your wererabbits anyday.

  114. #114 Shala
    March 24, 2010

    Anyway, another thing is that the relationships in that show were so fucked up that it would be hard for me not to love it.

    Kikyo/Inuyasha/Kagome was just…beyond fucked up. When you (as a zombie) and your reincarnation are both fighting over the same half-demonic man, you know you’re in for some shit.

    Anyone remember when The Exorcist first came out? Exorcism was portrayed as a nearly forgotten and abandoned practice of the RCC. IRL the RCC did say that it was no longer practiced nor condoned by the church. It is wonderful to see how far they have regressed back into medieval magical practices and superstitions.

    Perhaps an example of life imitating art?

    Excellent movie btw.

  115. #115 https://me.yahoo.com/a/2Cpr09BisvAGE8xTLScKqHa9oE8qMtok#e64de
    March 24, 2010

    Actually, the “sparkling vampires’ is a valid argument

    I didn’t mean to imply that it wasn’t a valid argument, just that there are better ones to use because Twilight fans are undetered by it.

    I see where you’re coming from, I don’t think Bella really becomes a Mary Sue until after she becomes a vampire, because that’s when she loses any notable flaws (clumsiness, timidness), and not only gains use of supernatural powers, but also gains a superior use of it over vampires who have been vampires for centuries. She is to some extent Mary Sue before, but it becomes blaringly obvious after… but she’s still whiney and annoying.

    …considering the vampire legends were used as a symbol for danger when out alone in the night and seeking refuge in castles whose lords are of questionable morality and a deterrant for virgins to keep their windows open, otherwise someone would fly in and make them bleed *hint-hint*.

    Interesting. I did not know that was the original intent of the stories. Good to know.

    -Kemanorel

  116. #116 Paul
    March 24, 2010

    I don’t think Bella really becomes a Mary Sue until after she becomes a vampire, because that’s when she loses any notable flaws (clumsiness, timidness),

    We’re talking about a Mormon Mary Sue here. I don’t see why the clumsy, timid stages don’t qualify. The only important part is that despite her flaws, she’s still “chosen” by the higher power. What more would a good Mormon girl want? Not being timid would be a character flaw, at least until she goes on to be one of the gods (well, vampires) and is thus worthy.

    Note: I haven’t read the movies or watched the books, I’ve only heard my wife describe plot points and such. I have a thing for vampire stories, but I don’t think I could get past the sparkling.

  117. #117 https://me.yahoo.com/a/2Cpr09BisvAGE8xTLScKqHa9oE8qMtok#e64de
    March 24, 2010

    Oh, and the blank pages when Edward leaves Bella. That’s a healthy and reasonable thing to tell girls; You’re nothing without a guy.

    Let me see if I understand this right… when Edward left Bella, there was a chunk of blank pages in the book?

    I know the books, but only because I listened to them on my iPod at work. I figured I could at least be doing something useful while “reading” them.

    (Hey, I only said you should try the liver first before saying you hate it. I didn’t say you couldn’t be ready for it to be bad as you’re putting it into your mouth.)

    -Kemanorel

  118. #118 freemage.geo#b98e9
    March 24, 2010

    Actually, the Vampire has been a fairly multifunctional metaphor for long time:

    1: In the original folk-tales, they were pretty much a lot like zombies–a metaphor for disease and “the Other”, serving as a justification for xenophobia.

    2: Then you get to the Victorians–Byron, followed by Stoker–using the vampire as a metaphor for rape. This held, with a slow slide into including “seduction” for a long time. (Oddly, A Vampire in Brooklyn, starring none other than Eddie Murphy, is a very cool re-imagining of the seduction angle of vampirism. I’ve always felt the movie was seriously underrated.)

    3: Of course, then we got Anne Rice–the vampire as a symbol of the dysfunctional family (the original “Interview with the Vampire” is fairly blatant in this aspect).

    4: Shortly thereafter, White Wolf Games came out with Vampire: the Masquerade, with vampirism as a metaphor for societal dysfunction and stagnation–the Peter Principle writ gothic.

    5: The real problem with Meyers’ opus is that it completely loses the metaphor–vampirism doesn’t stand for anything at all, it’s just a neat collection of superpowers that comes with an odd taste-set (note, though, that Edward’s ‘family’ proves that there’s no real reason for Vampires to drink blood other than taste). Since it has no deeper significance (save, perhaps, Vampirism as Mormonism), it’s left solely on the strength of its characters… which leaves it lacking.

    For those who find this state of affairs appalling, I recommend Guillermo del Toro’s Strain, which goes back to the roots–Vampirism as disease. The opening scene of the book, alone (a jet airliner lands at JFK, and within a few minutes of hitting the tarmac, goes completely dark and silent) is everything that a vampire story SHOULD be.

  119. #119 Michelle R
    March 24, 2010

    @Shala: “Kikyo/Inuyasha/Kagome was just…beyond fucked up. When you (as a zombie) and your reincarnation are both fighting over the same half-demonic man, you know you’re in for some shit.”

    …Some bloody endless shit. I mean I actually CHEERED when that dirty bitch (Literally. She’s made out of DIRT.) died for good.

  120. #120 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    March 24, 2010

    …Some bloody endless shit. I mean I actually CHEERED when that dirty bitch (Literally. She’s made out of DIRT.) died for good.

    The status quo changed? Really? I got to like, just after the BAnd of Seven or whatever it’s called in moonrunes before saying “hokay, I give up”, so I’m pretty sure I’m allowed surprise at that sort of thing.

    Let me see if I understand this right… when Edward left Bella, there was a chunk of blank pages in the book?

    Representing a span of months, yep! Without Edward, NOTHING OF SIGNIFICANCE HAPPENS TO HER. Oh my various metaphoric gods, I could stab that traitor for this sort of message to impressionable teens. Frickin’ Mormons.

  121. #121 Shala
    March 24, 2010

    Excellent post freemage!

    (save, perhaps, Vampirism as Mormonism)

    Wouldn’t that actually be surprisingly truthful?

  122. #122 Colin
    March 24, 2010

    Twilight is a more-or-less blatant ripoff of the much better paranormal romance True Blood. Of course in True Blood the vampires are allowed to bite, and there’s only the one werewolf, and the heroine, Sookie, can read minds instead of the hero vampire, which gives her at least one interesting trait, unlike Bella.

    Twilight is basically porn without the sex.

  123. #123 Shala
    March 24, 2010

    The status quo changed? Really? I got to like, just after the BAnd of Seven or whatever it’s called in moonrunes before saying “hokay, I give up”, so I’m pretty sure I’m allowed surprise at that sort of thing.

    Would you be willing to believe she died, came back, then died AGAIN?

  124. #124 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 24, 2010

    A twilight discussion?

    Is that a Shark I see swimming between those two ramps Pharyngula has it’s virtual motorcycle pointed at?

  125. #125 Michelle R
    March 24, 2010

    @Rutee
    “The status quo changed? Really? I got to like, just after the BAnd of Seven or whatever it’s called in moonrunes before saying “hokay, I give up”, so I’m pretty sure I’m allowed surprise at that sort of thing.”

    Yeeppp. Allow me.

    http://s35.photobucket.com/albums/d199/LLStarks/IY465_scanlated/

    That’s the chapter where she KICKS THE BUCKET FOR REAL. Finally.

  126. #126 https://me.yahoo.com/a/2Cpr09BisvAGE8xTLScKqHa9oE8qMtok#e64de
    March 24, 2010

    @116

    Maybe I understood what the general concept of a Mary Sue was. I understood a “Mary Sue” to be someone that generally has no flaws at all and has the answers to everything.

    Being clumsy to a point of annoyance I would consider a flaw. Being overly shy and unsure of oneself I would consider a flaw, not in the “he was an alcoholic” sense of a flaw, but it’s still something. She has bigger flaws of wallowing in self-pity for months after Edward leaves. The biggest thing though is she’s not the one to come up with the way to solve the problems… the other characters are, so she’s not the superior kind of person yet.

    She’s more just along for the ride for the first 3 books, so not really what I consider to be a Mary Sue… she’s a puppet. She only becomes superior person to solve problems after she’s changed, hence my earlier argument.

  127. #127 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    March 24, 2010

    @SteveM #113: As long as the rabbits win. Though the vorpal bunny seems to have eaten Wikipedia.

  128. #128 IanM
    March 24, 2010

    It puts the Church’s nonsense in perspective when you see what it considers its rivals in spiritual matters. Harry Potter, vampire romances, D&D. Seriously.

    My bad. D&D wasn’t mentioned… this time. I’m guessing it’s too highbrow for the Church.

  129. #129 Paul
    March 24, 2010

    Would you be willing to believe she died, came back, then died AGAIN?

    That irritated the hell out of me. Well, the coming back part anyway.

    Now just waiting for Kubo Tite to actually kill off a good guy. It’s seriously sad. A character had their torso separated from their legs a dozen or so chapters ago, and the fandom still has no doubt that the character is still alive.

  130. #130 timrowledge
    March 24, 2010

    naked D and D
    Are you implying there’s some other way we should play D&D?

    Never tried strip/forfeits D&D?

  131. #131 https://me.yahoo.com/a/2Cpr09BisvAGE8xTLScKqHa9oE8qMtok#e64de
    March 24, 2010

    The real problem with Meyers’ opus is that it completely loses the metaphor–vampirism doesn’t stand for anything at all, it’s just a neat collection of superpowers that comes with an odd taste-set (note, though, that Edward’s ‘family’ proves that there’s no real reason for Vampires to drink blood other than taste).

    Not true. A vampire who drinks human blood is supposed to be physically stronger than one that drinks animal blood.

    Still lacking though, I agree.

    Representing a span of months, yep! Without Edward, NOTHING OF SIGNIFICANCE HAPPENS TO HER. Oh my various metaphoric gods, I could stab that traitor for this sort of message to impressionable teens. Frickin’ Mormons.

    I understand the representation, I was just unaware of it. The narrator didn’t go “wtf, there’s a bunch of blank pages here in the middle of the book.”

    That is sadly pathetic. Gives me one more thing to dislike about that series.

    A twilight discussion?

    I consider it more literary discussion, even if the source of the discussion is sadly very lacking, it’s still better than what most people do… not read anything at all.

    We could switch to the biological impossibilities of the story which includes saying that the humans, shapeshifters (it is pointed out that they are not werewolves, just shapeshifters, because there are still the true werewolves which are the change in the moonlight variety… the wolves thing is just a coinscidence of circumstance) and vampires are cross-fertile despite having different numbers of chromosomes which is specifically stated in teh book they have different numbers. Why and how a human could generate two new chromosomes just by being bit, and how the shapeshifters gain a chromosome if one of them happens to go through a change that lets them become a wolf bothered me much, much more than anything else in those stories.

    -Kemanorel

  132. #132 TimKO,,.,,
    March 24, 2010

    Didn’t we already go through this Harry-Potter-was-written-by-dark-supernatural-forces thing a decade ago?

    Actually, the funny thing is, it’s bound to backfire because they think they’re being original but the public remembers all this from before. Once you claim the Smurfs are evil-gay-agenda, you’re supposed to move on – pick a new target to gain yourself publicity and membership!

    Though I know little about her works, I do know that JK Rowling is a major humanitarian funder. Perhaps unusual for somebody who is a tool of…SATAN!

  133. #133 https://me.yahoo.com/a/2Cpr09BisvAGE8xTLScKqHa9oE8qMtok#e64de
    March 24, 2010

    Twilight is basically porn without the sex.

    The Jonas Brothers/purity ring episode of South Park comes to mind…

    Twilight does have the before and after though that says something about him biting off pieces of the headboard and ripping up pillows in the process. Which has lead to some really creepy “flair” on facebook that causes me to fear for the male counterparts to the twilight obsesives…

    I’m still watching for the first kid to die of hypothermia in an ice bath because some twi-hard wanted her boyfriend to be ice cold before sex.

    -Kemanorel

  134. #134 Paul
    March 24, 2010

    Maybe I understood what the general concept of a Mary Sue was. I understood a “Mary Sue” to be someone that generally has no flaws at all and has the answers to everything.

    This is how it’s normally written. But at the base, Mary Sue is all about the author writing their character to be their avatar as a method of wish fulfillment.

    The prototypical Mary Sue is an original female character in a fanfic who obviously serves as an idealized version of the author mainly for the purpose of Wish Fulfillment.

    She also lacks any realistic, or at least story-relevant, character flaws ? either that or her “flaws” are obviously meant to be endearing.

    You’re describing a subset, the God Mode Sue.

    You seem to have missed my point. I don’t doubt I was simply too vague. The main thrust of my comment was a poke at Mormonism, and what is expected of women. I can’t argue whether the clumsiness is excessive or not, but in my opinion it serves to infantilize the character (a Mormon infantilizing women? say it ain’t so). It also serves as the “endearing character trait” that just makes you want to hug her.

    Being overly shy and unsure of oneself I would consider a flaw, not in the “he was an alcoholic” sense of a flaw, but it’s still something.

    I was under the impression shyness and being reserved were virtues as regards Mormon women. It seems like an odd “flaw”. It could easily be taken as a virtue.

    She’s more just along for the ride for the first 3 books, so not really what I consider to be a Mary Sue… she’s a puppet.

    Did you miss “Mormon Mary Sue”?

    She only becomes superior person to solve problems after she’s changed, hence my earlier argument.

    Yes, she starts out submissive, subservient, and shy, just like a good Mormon girl. Fine Mary Sue material for a woman belonging to an overbearing patriarchal religion. She doesn’t actually become a full-fledged person until she joins the “church” and gets married.

    But then, like I said I have only heard about the book second-hand. But it’s trivial to imagine Bella being the author’s wish fulfillment vehicle from the beginning. Mary Sue isn’t all about being perfect, although that does tend to be a symptom.

  135. #135 MrFire
    March 24, 2010

    Is that a Shark I see swimming between those two ramps Pharyngula has it’s virtual motorcycle pointed at?

    motorcycle? you mean motorboat?

  136. #136 somewhereingreece
    March 24, 2010

    @Kenamorel

    I understand Mary Sue to be a generic name for characters the writers see themselves to be (or would be, but for a cruel, indifferent world), who are loved by everyone, envied by the villains and nothing happens if they don’t have a part of it.

    Bella has no personality. If she was timid and clumsy as part of her character, it would be fine. The Marx Brothers made a career out of it. But she is a complete milquetoast. No likes or dislikes (except for pale hunks). No ambitions for the future (except for getting Edward). She makes the most passive women in Mills and Boone novels look like Vin Diesel in “Pitch Black”.

    And who is destined for this waste of space and human resources? A vampire that is a total pushover when it comes to making out with his girlfriend, has not grown and matured as a character at all for all the centuries he has been alive and freakin’sparkles.

    It’s a wonder Bella doesn’t buy a pair of ipod sleeves to help her carry his balls around while he’s hanging from the ceiling being a discoball for the prom.

    Terry Pratchett has already knocked the ball out of the park when it comes to “adaptive” vampires with his Discworld novel “Carpe Jugulum”. And if you want to see a vampire with a real inner turmoil, trying to suppress his urges, read “The Truth” by the same author.

    Whew, that was nice. Haven’t had this much fun since me and my friends were cheering T. rex on in “Jurassic Park 2″

  137. #137 Walton
    March 24, 2010

    Twilight is basically porn without the sex.

    Sounds like a useful innovation on a par with “dinner without the food” and “driving without the car”.

  138. #138 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 24, 2010

    motorcycle? you mean motorboat?

    Yeah I know, but motorcycle seemed more appropriate here

  139. #139 somewhereingreece
    March 24, 2010

    @Paul

    Sorry for the cross-post. I agree with everything you said

  140. #140 https://me.yahoo.com/a/2Cpr09BisvAGE8xTLScKqHa9oE8qMtok#e64de
    March 24, 2010

    @134

    Got’cha. I’m not really familiar with Mormon society as a whole. I just know that the religion itself is batshit insane with the magic underwear and some other strange shit like god physically had sex with Mary, something to do with magic golden plates and glasses, and a place called Kolab or something. I never bothered to learn more than that.

    Makes a lot more sense in context as you explained it, and I would agree she fits the description for a Mormon Mary Sue, but I still wouldn’t agree that she meets the regular use of the phrase because, outside the Mormon view, she’s not anything special.

  141. #141 ritchie.annand
    March 24, 2010

    With vampires and young adult fiction about, I’m surpised that nobody’s mentioned The Vampire’s Assistant based on The Saga Of Darren Shan. In there, you have the vampires and the vampaneze, who differ on whether you should kill your food, in an uneasy truce.

    Albeit as goofy as you might figure, the movie rendition was surprisingly fun to watch, especially for the ‘drink this vial and it will simulate death’ scene :)

  142. #142 Michelle R
    March 24, 2010

    Walton @134: Well you know, the porns where they try to have a story? Remove the part where they get to the dirty and keep the “plot” and you got Twilight.

  143. #143 MrFire
    March 24, 2010

    Yeah I know, but motorcycle seemed more appropriate here

    My sad confession is, I just learned the meaning of the phrase last week.

  144. #144 iambilly
    March 24, 2010

    TimKO @ 132:

    . . . I do know that JK Rowling is a major humanitarian funder. Perhaps unusual for somebody who is a tool of…SATAN!

    Not unusual at all. Good works is Popism and the Catholic Church (according to some of the fundies I grew up near/around/with, the RCC is run by Satan in order to rob souls from god(s)). Real salvation is through faith. Obviously, if Rowling is doing good with her money, she must be under the influence of the Whore of Babylon. If she were not a tool of Satan, she would give it all to Liberty University and Focus on the Family. After all, they certainly couldn’t be accused of doing ‘good works.’

  145. #145 semiprometheus
    March 24, 2010

    Re: vampires — I recommend Paul Barber’s Vampires, Burial, and Death for the original vampire legends. The author’s argument is that vampire tales arose from misinterpreted but accurate observations of decaying bodies, and a justified fear of disease.

    Re: RCC — Ugh. Glad I left. Next Pope Palpatine will rescind Gallileo’s “pardon” and declare heliocentrism a heresy. Or, more likely, demand all nuns take a permanent vow of silence and cloister themselves away in the remotest places possible — can’t have wimmenfolk mucking up the patriarchy, after all.

  146. #146 https://me.yahoo.com/a/2Cpr09BisvAGE8xTLScKqHa9oE8qMtok#e64de
    March 24, 2010

    Well, literary views aside, at least we still all agree that Twilight sucks.

  147. #147 somewhereingreece
    March 24, 2010

    @#146 Dunno, can you guarantee that we don’t have and girls in the beginning of their puberty who are newly aware of men and would very much like them to be perfect and non-threatening?

  148. #148 Shala
    March 24, 2010

    I’m frankly still surprised the Twilight fans haven’t descended upon the blog.

    I mean, there are creationist morons here all the time, what’s stopping Twilight fans?

  149. #149 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 24, 2010

    I mean, there are creationist morons here all the time, what’s stopping Twilight fans?

    hopefully an overly concerned mother that has taken their internet away

  150. #150 jcmartz.myopenid.com
    March 24, 2010

    Julian Porteous, the auxiliary bishop of Sydney, warns that pursuing such ”alternative” relaxation techniques as yoga, reiki massages and tai chi may encourage experimentation with ”deep and dark spiritual ideas and traditions”.

    The same can be said about Catholicism and religion in general.

  151. #151 GravityIsJustATheory
    March 24, 2010

    Re #86

    but they add a “twinkling” noise when the vampires sparkle. Why a prism effect of light produces noise, I don’t know,

    Explanation courtesy of TV Tropes:
    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AudibleGleam

  152. #152 Tulse
    March 24, 2010

    Explanation courtesy of TV Tropes:

    No you don’t, you fucking bastard! Don’t you dare put a link to TV Tropes when I’m at work! Don’t you dare reference that time sink, that attention black hole, that…hey, I wonder what Power Glows is?….

  153. #153 https://me.yahoo.com/a/2Cpr09BisvAGE8xTLScKqHa9oE8qMtok#e64de
    March 24, 2010

    @#146 Dunno, can you guarantee that we don’t have and girls in the beginning of their puberty who are newly aware of men and would very much like them to be perfect and non-threatening?

    I would love for them to speak up so I can point out that their “perfect” man is a 109-year-old who stalks women, creeps into their rooms, and watches them sleep… and does so without their knowledge and permission. And their heroine, who apparently they want to be, is submissive enough TO BE OKAY WITH THAT.

    People focus too much on the fact he looks 17, but he’s really an old man who fancies under-aged women.

    … and the whole wanting to kill and suck their blood thing.

  154. #154 jcmartz.myopenid.com
    March 24, 2010

    By the way look what the RCC (Roman Catholic Church) is doing to reach young people:
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100324/ap_on_re/us_rel3d_catholic_tv

  155. #155 https://me.yahoo.com/a/w8Mj0jtzotkbyJ6TvFqGsjb0sixkHg--#1474b
    March 24, 2010

    Here is, I think, the best review of twilight I have seen to date.

    Why Twilight sucks

  156. #156 GravityIsJustATheory
    March 24, 2010

    I wonder what would happen if Edward encountered a more assertive woman…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZwM3GvaTRM

  157. #157 Brian Paget
    March 24, 2010

    The godlish don’t much like zombies either. Twilight marks a significant style change for vampires, from effete goths to a Gap advert ridden with teen angst, a kind of Dawson’s Creek for vampires.

  158. #158 https://me.yahoo.com/a/2Cpr09BisvAGE8xTLScKqHa9oE8qMtok#e64de
    March 24, 2010

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AudibleGleam

    Was it just coinscidence that the NetFlix add banner on this link was for Twilight?

  159. #159 MrFire
    March 24, 2010

    No you don’t, you fucking bastard! Don’t you dare put a link to TV Tropes when I’m at work! Don’t you dare reference that time sink, that attention black hole,

    I think we need a TV Tropes Exorcist. That demon is real and has destroyed many.

    Fridge Logic is one of my faves.

  160. #160 monado
    March 24, 2010

    How old is the RCC’s chief exorcist? at one exorcism a day, 70,000 would take him about 200 years. I smell a deal with the devil!

  161. #161 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    March 24, 2010

    One of the advantages of being uncomfortably middle aged; I do not need to know shit about Twilight.

  162. #162 shonny
    March 24, 2010

    Well, they maybe want attention away from paedophile RCC clergy, and somehow start new excesses?
    Who knows what forms THE REAL exorcism takes, – does it involve sexual practices as well, maybe a bit of necrophilia?
    The poking dick of jesus might raise the dead.

    We have a priest here in Norway at the moment who claims he can revive the dead. At a price of course, – almost $200 per hour.
    http://www.vg.no/nyheter/innenriks/artikkel.php?artid=587405

  163. #163 Moggie
    March 24, 2010

    #109:

    And then there’s stuff like Bleach…

    Augh. 263 episodes so far! Why do I stick with it? Sheer bloody-minded stubbornness, I guess.

  164. #164 https://me.yahoo.com/a/2Cpr09BisvAGE8xTLScKqHa9oE8qMtok#e64de
    March 24, 2010

    How old is the RCC’s chief exorcist? at one exorcism a day, 70,000 would take him about 200 years. I smell a deal with the devil!

    He’s the real-life version of the monk from Inuyasha in which he picks out random houses and does an “exorcism” in hopes of food, bed, and, if at all possible, sex.

    But I find the monk in Inuyasha to be better than the everyday preist… he only tries to have sex with women who could bear him children. He asks permission for sex, so doesn’t rape them, though there would definitely be some sexual misconduct charges…

    I can’t help but picture a “real” exorcist as anything but the smarmy guy from Family Guy in the sense he must know he’s a fraud:

    “See, the thing that seperates us from other banks is that other banks are banks! I trust you have collateral…”

    “Well… I have three kids.”

    “I’ll take them! I’m kidding! Or maybe I’m not! Here sign this!”

  165. #165 KOPD
    March 24, 2010

    They’ve been whiny weenies who go on and on about their immortal curse instead of scary monsters for almost as long as I can remember. Anne Rice especially has a lot to answer for for her butchering of the vampire myth.

    Bah. That’s just Louis. Everybody knows what a crybaby he is.

  166. #166 blf
    March 24, 2010

    One of the advantages of being uncomfortably middle aged; I do not need to know shit about Twilight.

    Yeah, me too. I’m not even sure I’ve ever heard of it before this thread. From what I’ve readskimmed here, it sounds like Nosferatu would be spinning in his grave—if he had one, that is.

  167. #167 Cath the Canberra Cook
    March 24, 2010

    For the people joking about the name: in Australia we have a well-known actor of the same surname. The main association that people here will have is to a kindly country doctor.

  168. #168 Ichthyic
    March 24, 2010

    Is that a Shark I see swimming between those two ramps Pharyngula has it’s virtual motorcycle pointed at?

    *ding*

  169. #169 truthspeaker
    March 24, 2010

    It’s kind of like if you knew about the Eagles that could have just flown Frodo to Mount Doom, but if you knew about them at the beginning of the series rather than only right when they show up to save him.

    The eagles couldn’t have flown Frodo to Mount Doom for three reasons that I can think of:

    1. Before the Ring was destroyed, Sauron would have seen the eagles coming and sicced the Nazgul on their asses. The eagles didn’t enter Mordor until after the Ring was destroyed.

    2. Manwe wouldn’t intervene like that because Jesus Frodo would only be worthy of saving humanity the West if he went through the ordeal of traveling through Mordor ANd met Judas Gollum who was destined to do the actual destruction of the Ring.

  170. #170 Paul
    March 24, 2010

    1. Before the Ring was destroyed, Sauron would have seen the eagles coming and sicced the Nazgul on their asses. The eagles didn’t enter Mordor until after the Ring was destroyed.

    The Nazgul couldn’t fly until Gandalf drowned their horses and they got dragon mounts.

    2. Manwe wouldn’t intervene like that because Jesus Frodo would only be worthy of saving humanity the West if he went through the ordeal of traveling through Mordor ANd met Judas Gollum who was destined to do the actual destruction of the Ring.

    Why would Manwe care about Frodo in the first place? He only got to take the boat with the Elves at the end because he was the Ringbearer for a time, not because of any intrinsic goodness or worthiness on his part.

  171. #171 blf
    March 24, 2010

    The eagles showed up at least twice before the final rescue, once when one carried Gandalf away from his imprisonment at Isengard, and then again (same eagle, as I recall) after Gandalf’s fight with the Balrog (again carrying Gandalf away).

  172. #172 SpriteSuzi
    March 24, 2010

    Exactly, Bill…

    And, BTW, anything that has preteens lining up outside bookstores ? bookstores! ? at midnight is aces in my book. If that’s the devil’s work, then good on y’, devil!

    And Twilight had that same effect on teenage girls (and lots of their mothers!) I work in a library, and we still have looonnggg waiting-lists for the Twilight books. They may be rubbish, but they get the kids into the library. At least some of those kids will continue reading, and that’s always a good thing!

    GravityIsJustATheory @156, Thank you for posting that. I’d seen it before, and knew from your description exactly what it would be! We need some more of those women in pop culture – smart, strong, independent, able to kick ass on anyone or anything that needs it…

  173. #173 truthspeaker
    March 24, 2010

    Posted by: Paul | March 24, 2010 6:58 PM

    The Nazgul couldn’t fly until Gandalf drowned their horses and they got dragon mounts.

    I’m pretty sure those mounts were around the whole time. Horses just served their purposes better while they were searching for the Ring. And Sauron would have had other ways to protect Mordor.

    Why would Manwe care about Frodo in the first place? He only got to take the boat with the Elves at the end because he was the Ringbearer for a time, not because of any intrinsic goodness or worthiness on his part.

    I disagree. Frodo was meant to be the Ringbearer (as Gandalf said) because he was noble of heart but humble of stature. Being relatively powerless, he was less likely to be tempted by the power of the Ring. That’s why Gandalf, Aragorn, and Galadriel refused it, and why it would have been disastrous for Saruman or Denethor to get it.

    Only Frodo (or Sam) could take the Ring into Mount Doom, and only by stealth, and only Gollum could destroy it.

    I suspect that it was Eru, not Manwe, who chose Frodo to be the Ringbearer. But Manwe was the one in charge of eagles.

  174. #174 John Morales
    March 24, 2010

    To everyone who’s written HP: Sorry, but for me HP will always be Howard Phillips.

    Iä!

  175. #175 Krystalline Apostate
    March 24, 2010

    warns that yoga, reiki massages and tai chi can lead to people being in the grip of ”demonic forces”.

    I’ve heard this before – because
    A. It’s unusual,
    B. it’s Eastern, &
    C. seems that some of these things provide a ‘miraculous’ recovery,
    then the western religious mind assumes the xenophobic position, & cries ‘de debil! Eee!’
    While I think reiki is a lotta crap, I’ve been doing tai chi for years. No Taoist mystical crap, I’m a hardcore skeptic & teach it in that framework. A lot of people do lean heavily on the mystical crap (i.e., knocking people over from a distance, monks projecting thoughts, etc.).
    My usual response is “I don’t believe that for a second.”
    But it seems like an occultic ability, that I can send a huge guy flying via a brief touch on the body.

  176. #176 John Morales
    March 24, 2010

    Krystalline Apostate,

    But it seems like an occultic ability, that I can send a huge guy flying via a brief touch on the body.

    Really. No Taoist mystical crap there, nosiree! ;)

  177. #177 saerrock
    March 24, 2010

    #96 & #172 – Good point, anything that gets kids into book stores & libraries should be encouraged, who knows they might even graduate to Dawkins, Dennett or Hitchens or other free thinkers.
    Have always encouraged my son to read, Narnia, Beatrix Potter, HP whatever! He is now reading Orwell, RL Stephenson, Huxley etc & he is atheist, wonder if there is a connection!!

  178. #178 WowbaggerOM
    March 24, 2010

    Good point, anything that gets kids into book stores & libraries should be encouraged, who knows they might even graduate to Dawkins, Dennett or Hitchens or other free thinkers.

    I’m not sure about that. I know plenty of adults who won’t read a book unless it’s a) fiction and b) has a picture of a dragon, a wizard or a huge guy with a sword on the cover.

  179. #179 John Morales
    March 24, 2010

    saerrock, Narnia?
    Seriously?

    Ah well, while you’re at it, you might introduce him to the The Space Trilogy — just as humanistic.

    <cough>

  180. #180 Shala
    March 24, 2010

    Have always encouraged my son to read, Narnia, Beatrix Potter, HP whatever! He is now reading Orwell, RL Stephenson, Huxley etc & he is atheist, wonder if there is a connection!!

    I would say try to get him to read Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. The man is a genius, much better than Lewis. I loved Good Omens as well but that might be a bit too overboard depending on how old your son is.

    I also liked Ender’s Game despite how much I hate the author and any other book he’s written since then, perhaps he would like that if he’s into science fiction.

    Since I’m going completely off-track now, I may as well ask: what else are you folks reading right now? I’m going through House of Leaves and Small Gods at the moment. House of Leaves is just brilliant.

    I’ve considered trying Brave New World and We so I can get more insight into dystopian fiction as well.

  181. #181 Usagichan
    March 24, 2010

    Have always encouraged my son to read, Narnia, Beatrix Potter, HP whatever!

    As a child I loved the Narnia stories with no concept of their theological overtones at all – I enjoyed the adventure stories (and an appreciation of allegory later soured my memories – but that was part of growing up I guess).

    try to get him to read Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels

    I second that… Intelligent and humorous, and easy to get into. There are so many to recommend (I love ‘Pyramids’ if only for the wonderful conflicting theologies made real scene, and ‘Feet of Clay’ for the golem’s dismissal of disapproving god’s thunderbolt (“I don’t call that much of an argument”, “Well its tended to carry the audience up till now”).

    I’ve considered trying Brave New World and We so I can get more insight into dystopian fiction as well.

    Brave New World is very good – I find it far more easily accessible than ‘1984’ or ‘Fahrenheit 451′, and far more insidiously frightening for it.

    Since I’m going completely off-track now, I may as well ask: what else are you folks reading right now?

    Just finished Vonnegut’s ‘Mother Night’, reading ‘Prelude to Foundation’ (Asimov) and ‘The Lost World’ (Arthur Conan Doyle).

  182. #182 Grizzly
    March 24, 2010

    I want to see the position description and selection process for the Exorcist job – now that would make good reading

  183. #183 ginckgo
    March 24, 2010

    “Occult” – matters regarded as involving the action or influence of supernatural or supernormal powers or some secret knowledge of them.

    Sounds like any ol’ religion to me. I’m glad they reckon it’s dangerous.

  184. #184 Shala
    March 24, 2010

    There are so many to recommend

    The Colour of Magic is a nice start. :) I just love Terry Pratchett to death, I can’t get by most pages without laughing at something.

    I want to see the position description and selection process for the Exorcist job – now that would make good reading

    Can you imagine the resume, cover letter, and interview?

    I am finding the idea far too amusing.

  185. #185 pixelfish
    March 24, 2010

    I tried to read Twilight, and one day I may succeed. But Bella makes me want to spork things. SPORK! A friend was recapping the first Twilight book, and we got to a bit where Bella was maundering on about how the geeky boy was just too geeky and repulsive or some thing. I don’t quite recall–I just remember thinking that in one fell swoop I’d lost any chance of really liking this girl. She’d gone polyp-y.

    Then friends told me about some of the plot developments, and it just plain….well, regressive is the kindest word I can summon up. Not only is Edward a controlling, borderline abusive twit, Bella’s passive and moony and…blech. I really don’t think I could stand to read all the Mormon subtext about marriage and twoo luv that is larded throughout the books–I spent the last decade trying to cut that message from my brain, and trying not to tell myself that my value derived from being a wife. (I’m an old old spinster by Mormon standards.) And while I did a great job in excising most of it, I am not sure I can stand to read it for fun or escapism. If I do read it, it will be to snark and dissect.

    Kids starting on Pratchett: Try the first Tiffany Aching book or Guards! Guards! (Wyrd Sisters and Mort are my other two recommended entry points, but I think the first two will work better on kids.) That said, Pyramids was actually my first Pratchett book, and I’m still fond of it to this day because of that. (My favourites are: Jingo, Hogfather, Going Postal, The Truth, and Monstrous Regiment. But I particularly love the City Watch and anything with Vetinari and the religious dissection books.)

  186. #186 Krystalline Apostate
    March 25, 2010

    @ John, 176:

    Really. No Taoist mystical crap there, nosiree! ;)

    Nope. All it is, is refined muscle technique & sensitivity. Also, I’m more than willing to subject it to the scientific method – it’s most definitely repeatable. (& NOT magical.)
    I might add, that it looks like a brief touch. It’s more a compact explosive maneuver.

  187. #187 John Morales
    March 25, 2010

    Krystalline Apostate, to me, a huge guy is someone on the order of 120Kg or more (260 pounds for pre-metric readers).

    Now, if you’re talking of something like tripping someone who is running and thus “send him flying”, I guess, but such would hardly seem like “like an occultic ability”.

    If you’re talking about sending a stationary 120Kg person “flying”, then I say you’re bullshitting. Hell, even sending a modest-sized 80Kg person flying means you’re in effect launching an 80Kg mass into a ballistic trajectory.

    Physics is rather unforgiving; F=ma and Ke=½mv².

    You seriously contend you have the strength to impart that much force and transmit that much energy with what would seem to be but “a brief touch”?

    I disbelieve that, pending credible evidence.

    (BTW, back in the day, I did a couple of years of Uechi-Ryu*, and hung out with a guy that did old-fashioned Jiu-Jitsu, so I do have some idea of what’s involved.)

    * Two black patches.

  188. #188 somewhereingreece
    March 25, 2010

    @Shala: Here is a little something for you.

    A great Pratchett book for kids is also “The Amazing Maurice and his educated rodents”. Although I believe that Small Gods, Interesting Times, Jingo and The Truth ought to be part of the curriculum.

  189. #189 somewhereingreece
    March 25, 2010

    A friend sent me this link. It’s the Ultimate Twilight Book Review Ever, with all the Mormon under(over)tones explained as well

  190. #190 pixelfish
    March 25, 2010

    Okay, I need to add these links to some comics about Twilight:

    http://shinga.deviantart.com/art/Head-Trip-Twilight-Sucks-85504254

    http://shinga.deviantart.com/art/Head-Trip-Breaking-Dawn-98016573

    Because they are, as the kids say, MUST SEE TV!

  191. #191 Twin-Skies
    March 25, 2010

    Peter Cullen…

    Lives in a forest
    Is a vegetarian
    Sparkles.

    He’s clearly not a vampire – he’s a fairy.

  192. #192 Twin-Skies
    March 25, 2010

    If anybody wouldn’t mind a suggested fantasy series read, may I recommend Journey to the West?

  193. #193 WowbaggerOM
    March 25, 2010

    Actually, the best Twilight blog I’ve come across is this one – Mark Reads Twilight (so you don’t have to), which takes you through it one chapter at a time (and is snarkily hilarious); then there’s this one, a blog post about the first book. Written by a hack I’m vaguely acquainted with.

  194. #194 genjokoan
    March 25, 2010

    L Ron Hubbard demonstrated that works of fiction can move people to a religious conversion.

  195. #195 Krystalline Apostate
    March 25, 2010

    If you’re talking about sending a stationary 120Kg person “flying”, then I say you’re bullshitting. Hell, even sending a modest-sized 80Kg person flying means you’re in effect launching an 80Kg mass into a ballistic trajectory.

    By ‘flying’, I mean I can send them up & backwards, not horizontally.

    Physics is rather unforgiving; F=ma and Ke=½mv².

    If you’re talking about dead weight, sure. Human bodies have a lot of pivot points, so there’s a bit of leverage involved.

    You seriously contend you have the strength to impart that much force and transmit that much energy with what would seem to be but “a brief touch”?

    My whole body’s behind it, so yeah.

    I disbelieve that, pending credible evidence.

    Archimedes once said, “Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the Earth.” That of course is pure hyperbole.
    I, however, do not engage in such things. Nor do I grasp @ such scope.
    Sufficient to say, that I’ve bounced large individuals off wall before, when it looked as if I did nothing @ all.

  196. #196 Twin-Skies
    March 25, 2010

    Correction, I mean Edward Cullen!

  197. #197 Kobra
    March 25, 2010

    One of my friends is a self-proclaimed spiritualist whose belief systems incorporate something similar to reiki. Some people think I’m the Antichrist. Therefore, reiki leads to the devil. Their logic checks out.

  198. #198 tatarize
    March 25, 2010

    According to Americas Finest News Source, Harry Potter does lead to Satanism.

    http://web.archive.org/web/20000815214418/http://www.theonion.com/onion3625/harry_potter.html

  199. #199 coppertuneitee
    March 25, 2010

    Here’s what really gets me about these ridiculous claims:

    There are some fairly popular series of YA fiction books, like Faerie Wars, by Herbie Brennan, and The Bartimaeus Trilogy, by Jonathan Stroud, that incorporate acts such as summoning creatures that the characters like to call demons. The characters use funny arcane items like incense, circles, chalk, candles and whatnot to do this. In Faerie Wars, these creatures come from a hell-type place, in the Bartimaeus Trilogy, it’s a void called The Other Place. There’s a fairly moral message to both, and I happened to like the Bartimaeus Trilogy quite a lot.

    And yet, they go after Harry Potter and Twilight, books that are positively Narnia in comparison.

  200. #200 Monkey's Uncle
    March 25, 2010

    I dunno if you guys get this on BBC America, but I have been enjoying a series called Being Human.
    It follows a vampire who is trying to supress the need for drinking blood, and is just trying to live a ‘normal’ life, on his travels he meets a shy werewolf character who between changes would also like to be ‘normal’, they share a house with the ghost of a woman who has been murdered, and is trying to come to terms with her death.
    If you can get past all the woo-ey aspects of the story (and trust me I am no believer in any of this)it’s actually a very entertaining and funny, well written tale.
    Twilight, err…not so much.

  201. #201 Stephen Wells
    March 25, 2010

    Being Human is fantastic. The initial trailer implied it was going to be an odd-couple comedy, but over the course of two series it turned into something absolutely other. The tone veers wildly between pure comedy and extreme darkness, and there’s no laugh track. It’s a sort of cross between a sitcom and a philosophical meditation on the meaning of humanity and moral responsibility in the face of the pitiless bleakness of an uncaring universe. With blood everywhere. One moment George is trying to get a cage built to restrain himself when he turns into a werewolf, and finds that all the ironmongers assume he’s just part of the thriving BDSM dungeon-restraint scene. The next, Mitchell murders twenty commuters in a train carriage because the police have torched the other vampires in a faked gas explosion at the funeral parlour. Weird but brilliant stuff.

  202. #202 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    March 25, 2010

    you might introduce him to the The Space Trilogy ? just as humanistic.

    I was a believer when I read the Space Trilogy. It helped ease my transition into thinking about my religion in fictional terms.

  203. #203 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    March 25, 2010

    L Ron Hubbard demonstrated that works of fiction can move people to a religious conversion.

    Hubbard claimed that Dianetics is factual, though. He’s more Joseph Smith than J. K. Rowling.

    (Unless you’re talking about people becoming religious from reading Battlefield Earth or whatever.)

  204. #204 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    March 25, 2010

    The only thing I know about Twilight is what I learned in this Agony Booth recap of the movie, so I’ve been staying out of the discussion.

    (I’m not sure what to make of the remark, “I also know what happens in book four with the demon baby and the uterus chow-down.” And I’m not sure I want to.)

  205. #205 Shala
    March 25, 2010

    @Shala: Here is a little something for you.

    Wow that’s brilliant. I should not have looked at that in class, people are going to look at me weird now.

  206. #206 John Morales
    March 25, 2010

    Naked Bunny w/a Whip @202, I hadn’t considered that aspect. Thanks.

  207. #207 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    March 25, 2010

    @John Morales: To be more clear (now that I’m awake), it helped me realize that the religious stories I was raised with tended to have a narrative structure, i.e. a distinct beginning that leads to a number of escalating events, culminating in a big climax. A person could rewrite the stories with a modern setting, using a standard structure, and they didn’t really change in substance.

    That started me on a path of integrating aspects of fiction from other stories into the traditional Christian framework to help me patch over some of the more egregious theological difficulties (e.g. the problem of evil, the problem of free will, the problem of justice), and finally to realizing that I didn’t really believe in the whole tottering edifice anymore, it was just something I thought about at times to keep from being bored.

    (Once you’re thinking in terms of Jesus being an early superpowered comic-book mutant, it’s pretty much all over.)

  208. #208 Sili
    March 25, 2010

    (Someone please slip that note to Gosho Aoyama.)

    Heh.

    I just bought the entire series in Danish. (It’s been out of print for a coupla years, and I only discovered after that happened, so I had trouble getting a complete set. ‘Only’ needed 12 of the 28 volumes that was printed in Danish, but I takes what I finds. I’ll just have to try to resell the dulicates.) I guess I shouldn’t feel bad about reading the new chapters on OneManga.

    Pity that they feel the need to keep milking a success to the point that there’s never any resolution. (The latest Naruto surprised me, since it appeared to hint at what I’d decided was the only reasonably acceptable resolution – from what I had heard of Kishimoto not being a terribly good storyteller, I hadn’t expected that. But of course, there’s no telling what he’ll go through with in the end.)

    /geek

  209. #209 Tulse
    March 25, 2010

    for me HP will always be Howard Phillips.

    Ditto.

    (For those who are unaware, there is an excellent podcast that is going through each of his stories: The HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast.)

  210. #210 efrique
    March 25, 2010

    I’d be tempted to be bothered, but actually I think this sort of idiotic nonsense will serve to hasten the stampede away from organized religion here.

    So Pell and Porteous: keep going lads, good stuff! Say something misogynistic next! Mutter something racist while you’re at it!

    If you say it loud enough maybe we won’t notice you’re all a bunch of apologists for child-rapists…

    The ship is already sinking, and they still can’t see the iceberg.

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