Friday, January 06, 2006

Desperate Episcopalians

Two thumbs up for The Book of Daniel. The script is brilliant.

By the most stark contrast, the general manager at KARK is ... well ... How can one say it without being hurtful? The statement broadcast before whatever it was that Channel 4 ran instead of Daniel was embarrassing. They folded to a bunch of religious nuts who never saw as much as one minute of the show. This might well be NBC's biggest hit.

As a practicing Anglican, I should say that I completely disagree with the main character in this ecclesiastical soap opera. The Rev. Mr. Webster must have gotten his theology degree at Wal Mart, and he was probably ordained by Oprah.

It's a story - a TV show, so everybody should lighten up.

The production has a breezy free flow, in the style of "Desperate Housewives." Jesus is way too cool and is not the moronic "stuck in the 60's type you might expect.

WB42 certainly has a colorful cast of sponsors. Maybe by next week, some smart local advertisers will sign on.

UPDATE: Marie disagrees with me. She thinks this is better suited for cable television and gives youngsters a negative view of religion and permission to do all sorts of bad things. OK, maybe so, but I just hate having every entertainment dumbed down to the lowest possible level.

This silly farce is perfectly suited to the Episcopal Church USA. The doctrine is shallow and the clergy is both fat and sassy. But I get a slight hint that the writers are pointing this out as harmful, so I give them credit for seeing something in need of correction.

The writers may be on to something and I am very willing to give it a chance. Part of the storyline involves a young couple getting pre-marital counseling. After taking Daniel's advice, they decide that marriage is too much trouble and decide to live together. Daniel and Jesus are dismayed. This is a long shot I admit, but could it be that the writers have in mind a plot to lead the young pair into Holy wedlock? It's just a thought.

I am not saying that this is wholesome entertainment, but I am saying that there are things that serious grownups might find to discuss. So, what did YOU think??

FURTHER UPDATE: Here is what a most influencial and intellivent Episcapal blogster thinks of the show. Canon Kendall Harmon is solidly "orthodox" and "reformed" in his theology. His blog is titusonenine.

Pat as a fellow Anglican, and someone who considers fast becoming someone I enjoy breaking bread with in terms of thoughts, I want to chime in. Last night I watched the Book of Daniel.

I was pleased and think it's a cross between the old Our House (with Wilford Brimley) and Desperate Housewives or Sisters.

The thing is, I saw nothing offensive. I think the reason it makes some uncomfortable is its real. Everyone struggles and everyone has something to deal with. Also, the Bishop vs. Priest is indicative of what our church is arguing and coming to terms with.

But the best thing is, its a hit for the Anglican faith, because it shows in our faith background of Christianity, we can twist, bend, and stretch like a rubber band.

This is a good, honest, and entertaining show.
... but, then again ....hmmmmm
(from my blog "Dangerously Accurate Opinions")

I'm A Victim Of Terrorism

As I grow older, I find I myself liking "Christians" less and less. Particuarly "Christians" who feel the need to force their beliefs and opinions upon the rest of the world. Particularly Conservative Fundamentalist "Christians" who, in a very real sense of the word, are what I consider to be the "American al-Qaeda".

They're terrorists. There, I said it. Conservative Fundamentalist Christians are terrorists. Flat out.

Think that's a bit harsh? I don't. The Oxford English Dictionary defines terrorism as "a policy intended to strike with terror those against whom it is adopted; the employment of methods of intimidation; the fact of terrorizing or condition of being terrorized." Keep that in mind.

NBC had a mid-season premiere of a new show called "The Book of Daniel" that debuted last night, Friday, January 6th. The local NBC affiliate, KARK here in Little Rock, was one of four NBC affiliates that didn't air the show. Why didn't they air it? Because they succumbed to terrorism.

"The Book of Daniel" stars Aidan Quinn as the Rev. Daniel Webster, a dedicated Episcopalian minister with a painkiller addiction who regularly sees and converses with Jesus Christ (played by Garret Dillahunt).

Aside from Webster's struggles to manage the politics involved with leading an austere New England congregation, the show focuses on the various stresses of his family life.

To sum up: the reverend's wife has a fondness for midday martinis; his teenage daughter is caught selling marijuana; his teenage son is on a constant quest to have sex with his girlfriend; and his older son is a gay Republican trying to forge his identity. Then, there's his own Vicodin habit and, of course, the whole chatting-with-Jesus thing.

I heard about the show before I saw a promo for it a couple of weeks ago. At first I thought it was going to be yet another schlocky, feel good, Christian undertoned piece of television like Touched By an Angel or 7th Heaven. After seeing the promo and seeing Aidan Quinn driving around with Jesus talking to him I was surprised to find myself thinking, "Holy crap. This show may actually be funny!"

But thanks to Christian terrorist organization, the American Family Association (and you know if any Christian organization has the word "Family" in it, they're terrorists) based in Tupelo, Mississippi I couldn't watch it on my NBC affiliate. These terrorists, the AFA, claimed that the show ... a SHOW, mind you ... airing on network television ... that made it past the network censors and Standards & Practices ... that, no doubt, had rewrites and who knows how many changes made to it ALREADY ... offered an offensive and disrespectful portrayal of Christianity.

It was then that these terrorists, through the employment of methods of intimidation, went into action.

[The quotes are from E! News report, filed by Sarah Hall. I didn't touch the quotes but the rest is slightly edited by me.]

"We certainly understand that Christians have difficulties in life, even ministers," Ed Vitagliano, terrorist and spokesman for the terrorist organization American Family Association, told the Los Angeles Times after watching the pilot Tuesday night at the NBC affiliate in Memphis. "But this was not a realistic portrayal of a minister's life. This was so far beyond the pale, it was almost a comic strip version."

Vitagliano said the terrorist group was offended that the show's creator, Jack Kenny, is gay, as are two of the show's characters.

"We look at that and say, 'If they wanted to try to alienate conservative Christians, they're making every effort to do so,' " the terrorist said.

As I said, only four NBC affiliates knuckled under to the terrorists' demands. One of whom was my local affiliate.[Side note: I wasn't aware that it had aired on WB until after the fact. -- Mike]

So listen up, Rick Rogala (the General Manager of KARK)! You and every single person at that station should be ashamed of yourselves for letting this piss ant, petty, narrow-minded, homophobic, redneck, bunch of "Christian" terrorists push you around and dictate station policy. And (just to cover the bases) if in fact, you count yourself as one of these people Rick Rogala, you have no business setting foot in a television station, much less running one if you can't leave your personal viewpoints at the door when making station policy. Get out of broadcasting Rick, if you can't tell these terrorists to go screw themselves. Get out now, you coward. Thanks for making me and thousands of other people here in Arkansas victims of terrorism.
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