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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What Dreams May Come is, for those who haven't seen, the story of a man who dies, goes to an interesting interpretation of the afterlife, and eventually tries to save his wife from the Hell she winds up in after killing herself.

This movie was one of Robin Williams' dramatic roles and I want to say that it tries. It really tries. It... aslo fails.

For another view on this movie, one that is less charitable than mine, I can advise you check out Renegade Cut*. My own falls along similar line.
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Chapter six is a, thankfully in light of the content, very short chapter. If you're reading along, gird your loins... or otherwise protect them. If you like any kind of emotion attached to your sex (love, lust, compulsive need, or even such emotional satisfaction as using masturbation as a means of wasting a few seconds), this chapter is not going to appeal to you. This will not be a pleasant experience.

That's not to say that you shouldn't read this chapter. Absolutely you should. It is a necessary discomfort for reading this book, for understanding Oceana, and for examining how a society can use sex (or something with similar emotional need for most people), against its own members. I'm just noting, ahead of time, that your reaction to this chapter will be a great deal of discomfort.
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We've recently learned about what Mike Pence seems to think is a good practice. For those who are either unaware or reading this from far enough in the future that this has been overshadowed by other things (or he's just that irrelevant, because I can dream, damnit), the practice is of never being alone in a room with a woman who is not either his wife or a blood relative. Through this he doesn't just avoid the potential appearance of an improper relationship with a woman, but also the temptation.

Mike Pence is not alone in this practice. It was called "The Billy Graham Rule" and isn't all that unusual in strict, conservative, religious Evangelical households. Neither is it all that unusual in strict, conservative, religous Muslim households. You might also have heard of the movie "Old Fashioned", about a man who makes a vow to God to obey such rules. I might tackle that movie in The Case, but it would require watching it. Until then, you can rely upon The Cinema Snob* and/or the God Awful Movies Podcast** to mock it in the links at the end of this piece.

Proponents of the Billy Graham Rule present it as, among other things, an act of humility. Opponents of the rule may argue, instead, that it presents self-hatred. I... am not a neutral observer. I am one of the opponents that argues that it presents self-hatred. And, I'm about to go farther.
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Again, not fully in order, but at least the quotes will be in chronological order and we will finish with this chapter.

And, this final theme of Chapter Five will be "Thinking Without Thinking". And, that leads us to Duckspeak. There are times when I'm surprised that "Duckspeak" isn't a more common phrase in political discussion. Doublethink certainly makes it in there, along with its example phrase "we have always been at war with East Asia". I'd expect to hear a lot more about Duckspeak.

For example of duckspeak in action, let's look at this repetition of that same conversation we've all had to freaking endure.
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The name is negotiable. Fair warning, it'll take a while for me to get to the point.

In terms of low-budget movies, there's a relative moral scale (not relative morality per se, but let's not get into that conversation). At the top of the heap, you have low budget, artsy and experimental movies. These aren't perfect and, on a moral level, they can share certain failures of the rest of the movie world, as well as their own. But, they have a charm and, sometimes they do great things.

I really enjoyed Cube, Wristcutters: A Love Story, and a whole host of movies that I remember but cannot recall their names. (Really, I've tried. I've tried asking around only to find people asking me "do you mean this vastly more well-known movie that you couldn't escape for a decade?")
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The students filed down the stairs, into the basement. "We've never had a class this far down, before," said Percival de Rolo.

"Really?" said young Dresden, who was a first year. "My uncle told me strange things about the professor."

"I'm sure it'll all be okay," opined Kiki.

"Okay?" asked Nimue. "There've been a few deaths every year. I don't think we can assume anything's-"

"That's enough chit-chat," said Professor Harris in, surprisingly, an American accent. "Class won't always be down here. But, here you are." He motioned to the room.

The room was strangely arranged, especially for a school of witchcraft and wizardry. There was a half-wall blocking the students from the majority of the room, leaving it completely blank between until the end, with a plain curtain blocking something. Even the things that weren't strange for that context were still... strange. For instance, Professor Harris pointed to a skull... without a candle dribbling over it. Instead, it was encased in a strange, transparent pinkish... something.
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I'm going a bit back-and-forth with this chapter, for reasons of theme. Last time, the theme was survival strategies for Oceana (and, in general for those of us who are just trying to get along). Now, let's talk about Newspeak, one of the rarely referenced elements of 1984. Doublethink gets referenced often... and often... and often... and, in this political climate, not without good reason.

Duckspeak gets mentioned a bit (again, not entirely without good reason). And, we all love to talk about Room 101... or room 102 (That reference will be funny when we get to that part of the book, really.)

Let's talk about the basic concepts and intent of Newspeak, as understood by Syme.

Syme notes that Winston doesn't really appreciate Newspeak. That's understandable. Winston's in his middle ages, so it'd take him some effort to adapt. Put in the High School analogy, he's not one of the cool kids and isn't able to internalize the language of the cool kids. It's also because Winston Smith, the rebel who's only cause is his own mind, resists the intention of Newspeak.

'Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten.

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Chapter 5, I've been looking forward to this one. In the previous chapters, we mainly have characterization for Winston Smith and for Oceana in general. Yes, we have Mrs. Parsons, but she's less a character and more just an example of the put-upon-ness of parents in Oceana. The narrator had far more interest in her husband than in she, herself.

In this chapter, my view of Winston Smith as something of a burnout-kid only gets more credible (at least in my mind, feel free to argue). But, here's where I get to express my view that Winston Smith isn't so much a whole person as he is a survival method in Oceana.

Winston Smith tries to maintain something of himself, his own mind, some means of retaining some measure of control over his own existence. It's only in these small ways, at least so far. He's no rebel. He's just like a lot of us become in our teens, becoming cynical about things we can only barely comprehend. That cynicism is... not always wrong.

But, let's meat Syme, who represents another survival method in Oceana.
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While considering my thoughts on Pornosec, I realized that Comrade Ogilvy, Winston's fictional hero in place of praise for the FFCC, is ripe for analysis as well.

So, let's look at the dead person that Winston conjured out of thin air, faked photographs, and Oceana's core values.
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I self-published this little thing through Amazon.com. It's 2.99 and I'm actually rather proud of it.

The story is set in a version of Hell that takes an alternate view of certain philosophies and biblical stories. Here's the link https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XN6H17L and here's a small sample.

Day 1
If you asked an ancient Roman about what a lake of fire meant to them, chances are you’d hear them say that it meant the place where a society throws its refuse. At the time, the vast majority of trash was safely, if not pleasantly, burned away. Those with the job of tending that fire might mention danger, but not malice. The entire purpose of their lake of fire was for something to be thrown away and forgotten as it turned to ash to be scattered on the wind.

Now, imagine someone took that idea, but threw conscious people into the fire. Next, imagine that someone then bid that the burning should last forever, such that those who were tossed into the flame would never stop suffering from the flames. What would you say about the kind of person who would come up with such an idea? What I felt, at the time, was betrayed.
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There was even a whole subsection-Pornosec, it was called in newspeak-engaged in producing the lowest kind of pornography, which was sent out in sealed packets and which no Party member, other than those who worked on it, was permitted to look at.


I regret not having read this earlier. As I stated before, I thought that 1984 was something that people read in order to reference. It is certainly valuable for that. It's also an engaging read. Right here, with the notions of Pornosec, I regret, even more, not having read 1984 earlier. Had I read this a couple decades ago and caught this one line... I might have done my Senior College Thesis on the question of just what is Pornosec and what constitutes "the lowest kind of pornography."
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Chapter four, all in one go. So far, it seems like the reason I can get through these chapters so fast is that, technically speaking, not much is happening. There are bits of memory and bits of every-day life that is so every day that it could, literally, be any prior day in Winston Smith's life. That first chapter had specific things happening, things that made that day unique. It's pretty engaging for a chapter in which nothing much happens.

And, it's an amazing advertisement for Winston's job. Seriously, I want this job. I don't want the society in which this is an actual job that one could have, but I want this job.

Before that, I want to talk about the additions Orwell has made to the English Lexicon. So far we've seen phrases that somebody who hasn't read 1984 has still heard and probably understands the meaning, if not the reference. Two Mintues of Hate and Doublethink both apply under the the umbrella-term "Orwellian". The concepts are too pervasive, such that they might be as invisible as water to a fish... that suddenly learns the word "wet".

Let's add to that the Memory Hole.
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Chapter Three will go in one post. Part of the reason is that this entire chapter is all focused on Winston Smith. Nobody else really does anything. I'm not even complaining. This is a well done chapter, a compelling read where the only thing that happens is Winston Smith dreams, wakes up, exercises, and remembers things. Replace "exercise" with any kind of regular ritual and everybody does that until they don't wake up anymore.

Make that a compelling read and I, as someone who likes to imagine himself a writer and someone who likes to read, am impressed. I'm impressed.

We start with a dream that might be indicated by memory or might not be. Winston Smith, by his memory, was ten or eleven when his mother disappeared. That's the word used, "disappeared". Considering the context, it's entirely likely that he doesn't know why his mother or his sister disappeared, only that nobody spoke of either after that point.

In the dream..
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Last night we had what was, technically, not the State of the Union Address only because it was Trump's first address after having been elected. There's been some commentary, in the media, about how he went the entire address, 108 minutes, without referencing the size of his electoral victory or the size of his crowds and without attacking the media. That was even referred to as the moment he pivots and becomes Presidential.

The depth of how low a standard that is for a President should be acknowledged, but is of lesser importance. Also of lesser importance is Trump's advocating for infrastructure spending after Obama tried to get that done and was blocked by Republicans who now give the basic concept a standing ovation. At least that's of less immediate importance. Doublethink in the highest levels of government is alarming. But, there's the terrifying aspect of the address.

There are three points, each frightening on their own, that I want to talk about. In combination, they're an indicator of a horrible direction for this administration and for my nation.

1. Terrorism as completely owned by foreigners and Islam. Hear that, white nationalists and Christian dominionists? Dylan Roof and Robert Deer don't count!

2. A complete refusal to even acknowledge wrongdoing on the part of police. Unity with law-enforcement cannot happen without law-enforcement acknowledging that it has done wrong.

3. VOICE: Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement. VOICE is about victims of illegal immigrants, despite the fact that, statistically, your neighbor who was born and raised here is more of a threat than an undocumented immigrant.

Individually, each of this should frightening. The denial of home-grown terrorism marks that law enforcement will take the eye off of that and focus on stoking fear of the different. Denial of police brutality and police shootings of unarmed black men will, at best, ignore legitimate fears. VOICE is, in no uncertain terms, a propaganda wing of the Department of Homeland Security.

I don't know where this *can* go in a country with checks and balances. I do know where it's trying to go and that place isn't America. It was Germany.
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