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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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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