Just a couple weeks ago, a new commenter over on the Slacktivist comments section offered up forgiveness as the cure-all for social ills. The response was quick and... not to the commenter's expectation. Even backing their claims with the words of Jesus, in the comments of a Christian blog, didn't garner the positive response they had expected. The immediate response involved accusations of oppression and evil.

A while back, in Tip #46, I noted the commenter who, throughout the comments section of an atheist blog responding to my not finding their website convincing on the matter of the Shroud of Turin, repeatedly said "Your (insert something here) is, at best, flawed."
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I... think I can forego my usual explanation for those who aren't aware. I won't. Remember how I'm in love with the sound of my own text. But, I could.

"I Dream of Jeannie" is the classic sitcom about Major Tony Nelson, an astronaut, and the Djin he meets after splashdown from a mission has him long off his expected target. By accident he releases her from a bottle. He immediately recognizes that she is what we call, in modern days, a genie and says, to himself, that he has read about them, and immediately sets to making wishes in the hopes of getting back home and/or back to NASA.

If you have read of the Djin, including the powerful ones that need to be bound inside vessels, you should know that wishes aren't something to rush into. Part of what you should have read involves stories of wicked tricksters. Or, spirits resentfully bound into service. Neither of these bodes well for how they will choose to go about granting your wish.

Of course, you should also know that they're not certain to have great magical powers. They can be spirits of fire or air. That's why the popular image of a genie is that of a person from the waist up and a dust-devil from the waist down.

None of all of that applies to "I Dream of Jeannie", of course. It's just a silly situation comedy about an everyman, his wacky neighbor, and the nigh-omnipotent deity which the everyman controls and eventually marries.
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It's not until now that we're going to get a sense of the character of the woman for whom Winston has, when he's thought of her at all, had a series of strong emotions. That has unfortunate elements.

I've taken opposition to the notion that Winston is the closest to whole of all the characters in 1984, but there is a way of looking at that as true. Winston, after a fashion, is the only character in this book. Everybody else is the roles they play. And, I can't tell the extent to which that is intended.

Is this an unfortunate trope of simplistic storytelling or is this an examination of the ways we become, to each other, mere roles dictated by the society around us?

I don't know. And my readiness to give Orwell the benefit of the doubt is tested by some of what we've seen so far.

For now, we see Winston and this woman, still only known as the dark-haired girl, can only manage to have a hidden conversation by, eventually, finding a way to manage to having, just by coincidence, sat down near each other and not looking at each other.
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This one's going to have to start with a bit of linguistic setup. "Ruined my childhood" has become a phrase used for various reasons. Some of them are obviously... wrong. The adaptation of a beloved cartoon into a bad movie, for instance, doesn't ruin the time you spent, as a child, enjoying said cartoon. You still did enjoy that and you can still look back, fondly, upon the time you spent enjoying said cartoon.

There is a better use of the phrase, one that does describe a legitimate bad thing to do to a person that is, nonetheless, not as bad as the issues surrounding not doing that to a person.

I have memories of enjoying a particular performance of a particular kind of media with my sister, while we were both children. This was, by the good judgment of our parents, child-friendly. It didn't have bad messages. It didn't use bad words. It was a good way for us to be entertained safely. And, until a revelation a couple years ago, I could look upon those memories with fondness. The memory was comforting to me, a place of safe nostalgia.

Then, I learned something. This wasn't a new version of the old thing I enjoyed. This was new information and/or new perspective on the thing that I enjoyed. In light of this new information and/or new perspective, looking back on this thing that I enjoyed is no longer a comforting memory. Now, it is a discomforting memory.

This was not a nice thing to happen to me, personally. But, because other individuals matter just as much as I do, it would have been the greater injustice for my memory to remain unharmed by the new information. Even if the rest of the world found this out and I didn't, I would still be acting in a way that perpetuates that injustice.

This was my effort to state the concept without going into any specifics that might lead the conversation down the road of those specifics.

That said, let's talk about A Spell for Chameleon.
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Earlier in this deconstruction, I likened Winston Smith to a High School burnout. I've read 1984 before and I knew that this lady with the dark hair would make contact with Winston. But, I'd forgotten how. And, I get the importance of why this has to be the way but... having had that thought... I can't think it.

Chapter one of Part 2 eases into the High School sense of things but it fits right from the start.

The woman, still known to us as "the dark haired girl from the fiction department", has had some kind of injury that is common to the fiction department, due to the size of the machinery. And, as a side note, I am curious as to how big and unwieldy a machine you might need or even find valuable in crafting fiction... I think the point is that we don't know how that would work? Perhaps even that it's completely unnecessary to whatever function of a machine? If you have thoughts, please have comments too.
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I thought about making this one of my Evangelizing Advice from an Atheist tips. Then, I searched my memory and found that, while this is a problem in general, it's not, to my experience, so much of a problem in the Evangelizing and Apologetics fields. It needs to be stated (though, I won't be the first), but it gets nebulous in terms of category.

I don't know where the problem with our attitude regarding forgiveness starts. But, I do know one place that typifies the problem, best, and that's in the words of Jesus in the Bible. It's the Parable of the Unforgiving Debtor.

Here's the text, copied from Biblegateway.com, from the New Living Translation.
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I couldn't come up with a Case for Groundhog Day because, while no movie is perfect, I don't see a lot wrong with it. Technically, if I wanted to, I could see a treatment of the love of a woman as the prize for winning and doing the right thing, which is problematic. There are going to be other opportunities for addressing that particular issue.

Instead, I'm going to argue for a different way of viewing Groundhog Day. The title of this post gives it away. Oh, and Spoilers ahead for Groundhog Day and other fictions.
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Last week, I made the case that Winston is his own Party. His conflict with the Party of Oceana isn't one of truth versus lies, but one preferred reality versus another. This week, I'm going to make the case that, in Winston's Party of One, the past is his version of Big Brother.

In the last interaction with the unnamed old man, who's name Winston never asks, the old man has this to say on the topic of the past.
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At the end of the Nye/Ham debate, a few years ago, when the moderator was presenting audience questions, one telling question came up. What would it take to convince you that the other side was correct? In this debate, the question wasn't God versus not, but evolution versus Young Earth Creationism.

Nye, the proponent of evolution, gave a quick list of potential evidences that would contradict the evolutionary model of Earth's history. Ham, the proponent of Creationism, insisted that, being a Christian, nothing could sway him.
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Note: For evidence of just how suggestable I am, here's the review that spurred this for me. https://youtu.be/rD3AcYi3CAc

Maven of the Eventide points out the primary issues, but let me go over them in order to, you know, justify the fact that I'm writing something.

Once Bitten, for those who were blissfully unaware of the 80's, was comedy about the eighteen year old male virgin (allegedly a rarity in the 1980's), Mark Kendall. He is eager to have sex for the first time, with his girlfriend, Robin Pierce. At the same time, he is the target of a lady-vampire, The Countess, who needs to seduce and take the blood of a virgin once a century.
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Before I go on to spew more venom upon Winston, I do have some praise for George Orwell.

Firstly, it's briefly noted that a walk by himself, instead of going to the Community Center for communal recreation is a risk. The fact that Winston's doing this for the second time in three weeks is, according to the book, a rash act. (If there isn't a carefully checked attendance, you can bet that the members are encouraged to take note of conspicuous absences... and all absences are conspicuous.)

... to do anything that suggested a taste for solitude, even to go for a walk by yourself, was always slightly dangerous. There was a word for it in Newspeak: ownlife, it was called, meaning individualism and eccentricity.


This part really scares me. I am, very much, an ownlife kind of guy.
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A frequent conversation I've had with Christians in that subset of Christianity that comprise my target reader in this series...

Christian: You/they have to know that X*.
Me: I/they am/are already quite aware that there are people who believe X*. So, telling them won't change anything.
Christian: But, you/they have to know that X*.

"X", in this case, is a stand-in for any number of claims. This can refer to the claim that Hell awaits one who hasn't been saved from their sins via faith, to the claim that God hates homosexuality, to the claim that believing that the theory of evolution accurately describes the history of life on Earth, etc.
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When I made my first Case for remaking What Dreams May Come, Antigone10, a commenter over on the Slacktivist Blog where I shamelessly promote my blog, commented that she and her husband both thought that the premise deserved a remake. Her husband had thought for a more spiritual take with a better message (which I think I addressed in my first and continuing Case), but she had her own idea that merits its own Case. She thought about a story in which the main character, Chris Nielsen, is dreaming and/or hallucinating.

Normally, I'm fairly against "It was all a dream" stories. As a fan-theory it can be slightly amusing. Perhaps I need to watch more David Lynch, who's filmography tends to take from dreams and dream logic and put it to good use.

So, hey, maybe we have a fantasy director for this project.
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Part of the reason I questioned how different the Proles had it in the book compared to before was... to be honest, because I'd started a little earlier than I expected and I just kind of ran with it. But, it became useful for this part, the discussion of the past.

Winston, for his diary that exists for the purpose of providing value to people who he will likely never see in person, copies down a large portion of another book that... he's... analyzing...

Do...

Uh...

Moving on!
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This past Easter, Ed Stetzer wrote an opinion piece for CNN. The basic premise of this opinion piece was an explanation, to non-Christians, of what motivates Christians to proselytize. He's not alone in this effort or the mistaken idea upon which its based. But, to be clear, we know why you do this.

Stetzer's piece mentions the Great Commission. Others mention the desire to save souls, to help us evade Hell, etc. And, we get that part.
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Continued from http://wingedbeast.dreamwidth.org/5131.html

Setting: The large, industrial basement of some building. The room is packed with Zion revolutionaries, all in the customarily excessive leather and sunglasses.

Morpheus (perhaps looking out at the group, it's hard to tell with those sunglasses): I have to ask. Does anybody remember why we meet, like this, in the Matrix, itself? It begins to occur to me that hanging around the Matrix in loud leather outfits that mark us as abnormal is a bad idea.

Unnamed Zion Revolutionary: That's just because you have Wot on your team. We've all had those conversations with him, he messes with your mind.

Morpheus: That doesn't mean that he's entirely wrong. From a purely functional perspective, should we not be trying to blend in, wearing suits like themselves? Or at least dressing down?

Unnamed Zion Revolutionary: Listen, once he has you questioning whether or not terrorist tactics with unimaginable body-counts are a good way of freeing people from The Matrix, he can get you to question everything.
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Last time we talked about the Proles and I got... emotional in my reaction to Winston's judgment on their priorities. I don't want to be too dismissive, however, because the masses do have power and using that power is important. Just take a look at history of when people have had to use that power before.

The Party claimed, of course, to have liberated the proles from bondage. Before the Revolution they had been hideously oppressed by capitalists, they had been starved and flogged, women had been forced to work in the coal mines (women still did work in the coal mines, as a matter of fact), children had been sold into the factories at the age of six.


Now, this is told to us as lies of The Party of Oceana. But, it should be worth noting how this isn't all that far off. The Industrial Revolution, in both the US and England, wasn't the smooth sailing into worker's rights. That took unions and Democracy and, in America, a New Deal and trust-busting. I'm not so up on UK history of the time, but I can feel safe in saying that what didn't happen was an unfettered free-market economy just, on its own, making things better.
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A couple times in this series I have accused you, the general community of conservative Christians who most find it your mission to change my mind, of hating non-believers. To an extent, that does match up to the behavioral evidence. You might claim to hold no antipathy, but a willingness and eagerness to engage in measures of cruelty in order to push someone into a desired response, particularly one born of frustration suggest hatred.

There is another interpretation. The opposite of love, so the old saying goes, is not hatred, but indifference.
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Thanks to the comments by Antigone10 over on the Slacktivist open thread where I shamelessly self-promote my blog and book, there will be an Other Case for What Dreams May Come. For now, we're continuing from the Case I made in the Case previous.

To review for those who haven't read the previous, I argued that the movie What Dreams May Come would be better off remade with the main character, Chris Nielsen, is, instead of the main character, a viewpoint character for the purposes of framing and exposition on clinical depression. The main character should, instead, be the wife, Annie Collins-Nielsen, should be the main character as she navigates an afterlife that is built by her own mind... one that suffers from clinical depression. She would eventually get help, from Chris, that would enable her to escape that Hell and/or work on making an afterlife that isn't Hellish.

There are two reasons why I don't think the concept should stop there. This should be made into a television series (or Netflix and/or Amazon Prime series) with multiple seasons. That gives us the opportunity to explore far more of the potential than even a series of movies.
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We're into Chapter Seven, now. It's a small chapter, but it's dense, so we're taking it in parts again. It starts off with as much of an announcement of theme as we can get.

If there is hope, wrote Winston, it lies in the proles


Proles are the non-Party members of Oceana. They don't work in any of the four ministries. They don't have political power. They don't make any of the big decisions. They are the bulk that any society needs in order to survive and, simultaneously, the people that history often forgets.

There's an old saying that I first encountered in the Discworld novel Thud. By approximation, it goes "It takes ten people with their feet on the ground to support one man with his head in the clouds."
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