Monday, March 30, 2009

Michael Farris on Courtship

Gotta love Michael Farris. :-)

From 2-part Home School Hearbeat email newsletter:

Casual Dating is Out; Friendship is in

Volume 88, Program 29
3/26/2009

Many homeschooling families have adopted courtship for their children, rather than the practice of dating. Host Mike Farris talks about the second principle of courtship, today on Home School Heartbeat.

Mike Farris:
Many young people begin romantic relationships when they’re just too young. Courtship first of all requires young people to wait until they’re old enough to emotionally and practically consider marriage, before entering into any kind of relationship.

The second major operating principle of courtship is that there’s no such thing as casual dating. Any date is undertaken with the mutual understanding between both the young people and both sets of parents that these young people are engaged in checking each other out with a serious belief that their relationship may lead to marriage.

Four of my grown daughters have gotten married to the only boyfriends they’ve ever had. They have known dozens of guys, because we encourage all kinds of group activities where there is a mixture of both sexes. But those committed to courtship have been the dominant force in their group activities, and so pairing off has been off limits unless the couple is prepared to declare themselves publicly ready for marriage and headed on that path with each other.

Every bride and groom say to each other, at least implicitly, that they love each other with all their heart. Little pieces of one’s heart are given away each time a romance of any magnitude has blossomed. When each of my daughters walked the aisle, her promise to love her husband with all her heart was literally true.

I’m Mike Farris.

...

Courtship and Parental Involvement

Volume 88, Program 30
3/27/2009

This week on Home School Heartbeat, we’ve been talking about courtship. Host Mike Farris has already explained the first two principles of courtship. Today, he shares the third and final principle.

Mike Farris:
The third principle of courtship is implicit in the first two. Parents must be involved in the courtship process. Parents, particularly fathers, should give their permission before their children enter into any kind of courtship relationship. Likewise, parents oversee the courtship and set guidelines for the relationship with the couple. Before a couple decides to get married, both sets of parents should give their consent.

This aspect of courtship is directly related with one of the main reasons families choose to educate their children at home. Both homeschooling and the courtship model allow parents to responsibly direct the lives of their children. The benefits of parental involvement in homeschooling are well-documented. I believe that there are similar benefits for children whose parents are involved in their choice of a mate.

First, young adults benefit from the experience their parents possess about marriage and relationships. Second, young adults benefit from having a close relationship between their parents and their future mate. If parents have been approving the relationship all along, the chances for family conflict between in-laws are greatly reduced. Third, God promises to bless children who honor their father and mother. Parental involvement in courtship allows young people to honor their parents and to reap the benefits that this promise brings.

I’m Mike Farris.



Spencer

Friday, March 27, 2009

Missouri Scraps MIAC Report

Scrap my last post! Whoooo!

MIAC Report Updates

Lots of good info, and the highlight is the declassified report.

Am I a terrorist for posting this? Oh wait, I'm a terrorist because I oppose killing unborn babies....

MIACgate: Third-Party Bumperstickers are Now Indicative of Militant Ideology
MIACgate II: The Documents
MIACgate III: The Ideology
Profile of a Terrorist?
Who Are the Good Guys?

Who wants to write a letter of displeasure? See my earlier post's link for the address.

Spencer

3rd award!

Stephen hath been given the Intelligent Concerned American Blogging Award for his recent post.

Awesome job, Stephen.

Spencer

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009

TBB: ApocaLEGO!

Am I the only one who loves ApocaLEGO? :-)

Battles, chaos, end-of-the-world, gritty dark stuff, guns, and Lego...what's not to love? Those red-and-black guys in Kris Kevin's "The Last Stand" make me think of New World Order soldiers or something...hmm, I gets ideas now.... I've had some ideas for ApocaLEGO for some time now, but haven't actually done anything with them yet. One, lotsa time and work, two, I lack parts, three I am skill-less at the art....

*sigh* I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I love ApocaLEGO!

Shooting: Alabama this time

From Stephen's blog:

Are You Prepared?

Followup

Spencer

Amazon store updates

I've added a whole new category, Warrior Culture, to my Amazon Store. It will contain books along the lines of martial arts, firearms, military strategy, survivalism, etc. I've also added other products.

Check it out.

Spencer

Saturday, March 21, 2009

God Bless NotMyOwn!

Reader and fellow blogger NotMyOwn gets my Intelligent Concerned American Blogging Award for contacting her representative about becoming a co-signer wit Rep. Hoekstra about the Parental Rights Amendment (see "I continue to nag" comments).

That's the second time I've given this award out. I want to give it out a few more times. Any takers? :-)

Spencer

Personal life

Just when I thought I was already near rock bottom, everything goes down farther. I feel very low right now and have for several days; besides a few events that have been...well, very, very bad, my mind has also come to an understanding of sorts, and it isn't a pretty one nor is it at all comforting.

When all this began, over seven months ago, something told me it'd be a long haul. My instinctive plan-ahead, think-for-future, prepare-for-worst traits went into overdrive as I prepared for some nasty business. Something in my head fixed on perhaps six months, maximum I had hoped. Well now it's already past seven, and things have not gotten better, they have gotten worse.

The "understanding" I have come to is more an acceptance of what I see. My little solutions haven't cut it. They have proved futile; my hopeful waiting for the big solution to come along has not come through. Perhaps it might, and I still have hope that it will of course, but my mind is beginning to think dire, or should I say more dire. I have little time, and I'm even on an imposed schedule.

1) I have around three months for this to be fixed.
2) After this time passes things may be temporarily alleviated if something else occurs.
3) But both timeframes will eventually run out, and then....

I am beginning to examine options more extreme. I'm at a loss for a solution, and on top of all this another issue, which is technically the cause of all this but is still somewhat separate (if that makes any sense) has come to a head after many years and is now causing me more trouble than I can ever remember.

I can't do this alone...which is why I'm thanful to be able to be a believer. Out of all of this, if anything I have pulled strength. I may feel weak right now but when I heal (btw, did I ever mention that I'm a selfish jerk, to put it lightly?--as well as all the rest of my flaws have not made me happy lately either) I believe I will be much, much stronger. I have faith in God above all things, and in everything; I have seen every single other thing fail and nothing is more certain to me than the Providence of God. I am firm in this.

And on the other hand...I need more prayers. I am not ashamed to ask for help when I need it, and that's what I need from all of you. I don't need pity, I don't need some grand party devoted to it, I need your prayers.

As my personal life has basically crashed, I also need a little more help. My time and energy is being drained and, as to my current work with Parentalrights.org, yes I have obtained signatures but have utterly failed in getting two other people to become signature and donation collecting volunteers such as myself.

I ask at least two of you now to please help me and do this same thing. If you wish to help me on this, you can even leave a comment, with your email, or without, and if you ask I will not publish it. Also please know that it is me asking for this now and this has nothing to do with PRO. This is a fight for everything that we believe in and I need someone to help shoulder the banner for me.

I would like to make clear that I do not recommend the music of Evanescence (for reasons I hope to discuss in an upcoming music review), but this week I have been reminded of their song Going Under. Not that anyone cares too much, but if you really want to see how bad it is, at least how bad I feel, check it out, and remember, I am Amy Lee.

As I see everything falling apart around me, I see myself changing as well, reacting....


Prayers to all, please remember to send some, and remember, keep strong in the faith.

Spencer

"You And I Are Terrorists"

Missouri State Police Think You And I Are Terrorists
by Chuck Baldwin

Excerpt:
...a review of the report reveals that opposition to any of the following risks someone being classified as a potential "domestic terrorist":

The New World Order
The United Nations
Gun Control
The violation of Posse Comitatus
The Federal Reserve
The Income Tax
The Ammunition Accountability Act
A possible Constitutional Convention (Con Con)
The North American Union
Universal Service Program
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
Abortion on demand
Illegal Immigration...



Spencer

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Saint Patrick's Day

Top o' the mornin' to ya, and have a happy St. Patty's!

Spencer

Monday, March 16, 2009

I continue to nag....

So has anyone contacted their Representative and asked them to become a co-signer with Rep. Pete Hoekstra on the proposed Parental Rights Amendment?

It's really easy! You can use the little legislative toolbox right here to figure out who to contact and the information you need to do so.

There are currently 33 co-signers. We need 50.

Are you ready and willing?

Spencer

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Song of the Homeschooled

Hilarity. Absolute Hilarity!

Credit to Mike.

Spencer

Friday, March 13, 2009

Using Paramore to Decode America

My dear readers,

Please allow me to be a little...what shall we call it, foreboding, poetic, dark?

I really like this video here:




It's much better than anything having to do with Twilight (which is what Paramore's Decode was made for) and it's excellently done. But, on listening to it last night, something occurred to me. I've adapted the song to help fit the "meaning" that I "impressed" upon it, so-to-speak. Here are the original lyrics:


Decode, by Paramore
How can I decide what's right?
When you're clouding up my mind
I can't win you're losing fight
All the time
Now can I ever own what's mine?
When you're always taking sides
But you won't take away my pride
No, not this time
Not this time

How did we get here?
I used to know you so well
How did we get here?
I think I know

The truth is hiding in your eyes
And it's hanging on your tongue
Just boiling in my blood
But you think that I can't see
What kind of man that you are
If you're a man at all
Well, I will figure this one out
On my own
(I'm screaming I love you so)
On my own
(But my thoughts you can't decode)

How did we get here?
I used to know you so well
How did we get here?
I think I know

Do you see
What we've done?
We've gone and made such fools
Of ourselves

Do you see
What we've done?
We've gone and made such fools
Of ourselves

How did we get here?
I used to know you so well
How did we get here?
I used to know you so well
I think I know
I think I know

Oh there is something
I see in you
It might kill me
But I want it to be true



Here is "my version." This has nothing to do with Paramore at all, it is merely my adapation of the lyrics. I found them to be compelling in one way, and I've changed them up a bit to convey a message, or perhaps a question. Read, listen, and think.


How can I fight for what's right?
When they're destroying morality
I can't win this losing fight
All alone
Now can we ever keep our land?
When they're taking away our nation
But you won't take away my rights
No, not this time
Not this time

How did we get here?
I used to know you so well
How did we get here?
I think I know

The truth is hiding in their eyes
And it's hanging on their tongues
Just boiling in my blood
But you think that I can't see
What kind of country we've become
Are we free at all?
Well, I will fight this one out
On my own
On my own

How did we get here?
I used to know you so well
How did we get here?
I think I know

Do you see
What we've done?
We've gone and made such demons
Of ourselves

Do you see
What we've done?
We've gone and made such demons
Of ourselves

How did we get here?
I used to know you so well
How did we get here?
I used to know you so well
I think I know
I think I know

There is something
I see coming
It might kill us
I don't want it to come true



Spencer

*All song and lyric rights are not mine, and belong to Paramore or whomever. The adaptation of the lyrics is merely hypothetical/illustrative, and not meant to be factual, as well as it is in no way a copyright infringement.*

Front Sight Urges Yes Vote on CA CCW AB 357

From Front Sight's email newsletter.

I'm excited. This would be beautiful.

Spencer


A bill which would change California law on CCW, effectively making the state "Shall Issue" and removing the arbitrary discretion of Sheriffs to withhold permits for political reasons, AB 357, has been referred to the Public Safety Committee. Please call and tell these people to VOTE YES for AB 357.

California - AB 357 - Call Now and urge to vote YES

BILL NUMBER: AB 357 INTRODUCED

BILL TEXT

INTRODUCED BY Assembly Member Knight

FEBRUARY 19, 2009

An act to amend Section 12050 of the Penal Code,
relating to firearms.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST

AB 357, as introduced, Knight. Firearms: license to
carry concealed firearm.

Existing law authorizes the sheriff of a county, upon
proof that the person applying is of good moral
character, that good cause exists, and that the person
applying satisfies any one of certain conditions, as
specified, to issue a license for the person to carry a
concealed handgun, as specified.

This bill would delete the good cause requirement, and
require the sheriff to issue the license if the other
criteria described above are met.

By imposing additional duties on local law enforcement
agencies, this bill would impose a state-mandated local
program.

The California Constitution requires the state to
reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain
costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions
establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that, if the Commission on
State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs
mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs
shall be made pursuant to these statutory provisions.

The Shall Issue bill, AB 357, has been referred to the Public Safety Committee. Please call and tell these people to VOTE YES for AB 357.

Jose Solorio - Chair, Anaheim CA

Capitol Office:
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0069
Tel: (916) 319-2069
Fax: (916) 319-2169

Curt Hagman - Vice Chair, Diamond Bar CA

CAPITOL OFFICE
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814
916-319-2060, 916-319-2160 fax

Warren T. Furutani, Long Beach CA

Capitol Office:
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0055
(916) 319-2055
(916) 319-2155 Fax

Danny D. Gilmore, Hanford CA

CAPITOL OFFICE
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814
916-319-2030, 916-319-2130 fax

Jerry Hill, San Mateo CA

Capitol Office:
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0019
Tel: (916) 319-2019
Fax: (916) 319-2119

Fiona Ma, San Francisco CA

Capitol Office:
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0012
Tel: (916) 319-2012
Fax: (916) 319-2112

Nancy Skinner, Oakland CA

Capitol Office:
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0014
Tel: (916) 319-2014
Fax: (916) 319-2114

Call early and often! We need this to pass!

Sincerely,

Dr. Ignatius Piazza
Founder and Director
Front Sight Firearms Training Institute
P. O. Box 2619
Aptos, CA 95001
http://www.frontsight.com/free-gun.asp
info@frontsight.com
1.800.987.7719


From a Front Sight email newsletter.

I'd like you to read this

Taken from a recent comment of mine:


If you lived in America, you too would see that the question you raise is raised constantly, over and over again by the leftist elite and the confused masses. It is a simple fact that, when you have a responsible, armed populace, the irresponsible of society will hesitate to commit their atrocities.

Banning guns will not solve the problem. No sir, it will only make it a whole lot worse. The straight fact is that criminals can get guns illegally. So, you ban all the guns, the loyal, good citizens will have the ability to defend their families removed from them entirely. The criminals? They will have free reign. The police cannot be everywhere at once (I've called them before and been very, very dissatisfied--one time the promised unit was never even sent!), nor should this be necessary. The only thing that will help curb this kind of crime is more people with more guns. Think about it...if I was going to go shoot up a mall or someplace like that, I'd feel pretty confidant that I would be able to kill many before any harm coming to me. Change the equation and add men (and even ladies!) with guns, and I would very likely chicken out. Wouldn't you?

And if we ban guns, and even the criminals don't have guns, they'll use knives, clubs, whatever. A weapons sometimes used by gang members is a sock (yes, a literal sock) with a hard, heavy object inside such as a rock or pool ball that is swung and beaten into the skull of their victims. People can fight without weapons as well. There is no end to violence amongst the violent. Guns do not cause violence; they merely are the tool. You take that tool away, and they will instantly find another. Plain and simple. The resilient criminal class should not be so underestimated!

The second issue, one that is even more important here in America is the 2nd Amendment. Our 1st Amendment protects our rights to free speech, and it is one of the most cherished of all of our rights. But the founding fathers were smart guys; the very 2nd Amendment was our right to "keep and bear arms." (Anyone who assumes that they picked the order of the amendments out of a hat is being ridiculous.) Keep: that means we can own any gun we want, as many as we want. Bear: that means we can carry them around with us where we want. May I also mention that the Bill of Rights (first 10 amendments) were NOT rights granted by the government! No sir, they were rights that were deemed so fundamental that they could only be recognized by the government and could never be infringed upon.

Our 2nd Amendment rights are one of the most attacked and abused, and I am perpetually disgusted enough to spit. It is insane, immoral, and unpatriotic to deny us our right to keep and bear arms.

I remember when Charlton Heston died last year. I saw a clip from one of his NRA rallies. I was never fond of his movies too much really and I also disagree with the NRA one some issues (though we are fellow Americans and "marksmen"), but this was his best "performance" ever.

He was in his later years, and was speaking from a podium. He raised a rifle above his head, and in one of the most gloriously epic tones I've ever heard a man speak in, he cried the creed every man like me lives by:

"You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands!"

The crowd erupted with cheering.

So do I.

Spencer

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I need your help

Okay.

Continuing in the strain of "activism" I again implore your aid, each and every dear reader of mine. These are all causes important to me, and I intend to "act" on each of them, though I am insanely busy.

First up:

From the HSLDA e-lert service
Support Parental Rights and Help Make History
Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Today we invite you to make history.


Representative Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) is as passionate as we are about the Parental Rights Amendment, and he has committed to introducing the bill in the House again this year. Unlike last year, though, we are introducing it this year with the intent to get it passed. (Rep. Hoekstra introduced the bill last year with the intention of beginning discussion on parental rights issues.) Therefore, Rep. Hoekstra wants to have 50 co-sponsors by the time he presents the amendment bill in the House. Fifty is not a requirement, nor a magic number. But it is a significant number. Enough, we hope, to communicate to the committee and to the entire House that we are serious about this bill.

As of today, we have 31 co-sponsors committed to joining Rep. Hoekstra. We need 19 more to reach our goal and introduce this bill in the House of Representatives.

Today, we need your help to reach that goal. Please check our list of sponsors and take the appropriate action:

1) If you live in the district of a representative who is already on our list of co-sponsors, consider sending them a brief note expressing appreciation to them for standing for this vital cause.

2) If your representative is not already on our list, we need you to call your congressman’s Washington office and urge your representative to contact Pete Hoekstra’s office (it’s pronounced “HOKE-struh”) and become a co-sponsor of the Parental Rights Amendment.

In either event, you can find your representative’s (Washington office) contact information by typing your ZIP code into the box at Congress.org.

Thank you so much for participating in this vital push to get the Parental Rights Amendment introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. When we have succeeded with every step, and the Parental Rights Amendment is added to the Constitution, the day of its introduction in the House, with 50 or more co-sponsors, will be a significant day in American history. Today is your chance to bring that day about!

Gratefully yours,

Michael P. Farris
HSLDA Chairman



And secondly:

Full U.S. Senate to Vote on Ogden Nomination—Calls Needed

Victory In The House!


The only way we can win is to work together. Are you prepared to do your part? And just in case some of you thought I was kidding, I again say I am serious about endlessly harping on this issue.

Today we decide our future. Yes, the Lord has preordained all, but that is no excuse for us to sit back and do nothing, discouraged with the overwhelming evil that is apparent in our nation and world.

I doubt that, fifty years from now, your grandchild will sit in your lap and say, "What did you do during the fight for Parental Rights?"* But if your grandchild were indeed to ask this, you had better have a good answer.

Please help. Please help us, please help yourselves. Please help me.

Spencer

*Or the 2nd Amendment, etc.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

STOP SCHOOL SHOOTINGS BY BANNING SCHOOLS!

We got Matt Chancey elected as Man of the Year...shall we go *ahem* further?

Spencer

Monday, March 09, 2009

News ALERT + other news

Ladies and gentleman,

I have admittedly been sidetracked of late, mostly concerned with domestic issues. Now my thoughts (again) turn international. North Korea is up to its games again, and this time it isn't looking very pretty. They would at least appear to mean business.

N. Korea warns against intercepting 'satellite' launch

(CNN) -- North Korea says it will retaliate if its "satellite" launch from its northeastern coast is intercepted, with the communist nation saying interference would "mean a war." The statement came as the North cut off communications with neighboring South Korea.

"Shooting our satellite for peaceful purposes will precisely mean a war," a spokesman for the North Korean army said in a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

U.S. and South Korean officials have said that North Korea appears to be preparing to test-fire its long-range missile, the Taepodong-2, under the guise of launching a satellite into space. The missile is thought to have an intended range of about 4,200 miles (6,700 kilometers), which -- if true -- could give it the capability of striking Alaska or Hawaii....


I honestly don't want to stir up panic or worry, but I think we should pray....

And a big pile of articles for you today:

Kim secures seat after winning all the votes
Report: U.S. eyes talks with N. Korea
Workers stranded as North Korea closes border
Pentagon says Chinese vessels harassed U.S. ship
Terror Returns to Northern Ireland
Police officer killed in Northern Ireland shooting
Churches need security plans, experts say
America becoming less Christian, survey finds
The Feds Grab Power - The States Resist (Sort Of)
Virus-free Embryonic-like Stem Cells Made From Skin Of Parkinson's Disease Patients

Spencer

Sunday, March 08, 2009

If you like my last post...an offer

If you liked the article on books in my last post, I have an offer for you. It's an excerpt from Doug Phillip's book The Little Boy Down the Road. And because I'm a Vision Forum affiliate, I can give you the special offer of 70% off the audio CD Victories! Moments, Large and Small, Which Define Christian Parenthood if you purchase Litte Boy Down the Road. And if you're interested but not sold on the book just yet, I can provide you with some pdf chapters for your perusal.

Don't hesitate to take a look at their other products, especially this nice science DVD set.

God bless!

Spencer

Be a man!

Two great manly articles are up today. The first one is very much akin to my lifestyle (That got me thinking, would you all like to see pictures of my library or no?) and is also by the honorable Douglas Phillips, and the second is from the Art of Manliness, and was written by a woman. Besides the short segment on the Evolutionistic view of sex and reproduction, this was a great article.

Please enjoy!

A Man’s Library

The Writing on the Door

Raises glass to the warrior class,

Spencer

Thank God for firearm malfunctions

I never thought I'd say that....

Church pastor killed during service, police say

My heart and prayers to all involved. May we learn the lessons we are being taught, one of them being that good men should carry guns.

Spencer

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Spencer's Plan for Economic Recovery and National Reform

Due to the state of our nation's economy, I have decided to become active in the political arena, thus I have written up a proposed 15-point plan for economic recovery. My plan involves spending cutbacks as well as job creation. This will be the plan to fix our nation!


1) Illegal aliens are an enormous drain on the American taxpayer. Beginning a massive deportation plan will create new jobs (as the round-up begins) and, in the end, save all the money that goes down the illegal drain.

2) Desperate times call for desperate measures! Close nearly all animal shelters and only keep open a small number of pounds. If a lost dog or cat is not claimed within 7 days, this animal will be humanely euthanized. And as America is a nation that believes strongly in trade, the bodies of the animals will be sold to Vietnam, where they are a delicacy. This will save money and earn it at the same time. Hey, when the going gets rough....

3) Repeal all gun bans and unnecessary restriction laws. Abolish the need for CCW (concealed carry) permits. This will create a boom in the firearms market. More people will begin carrying, more will begin buying, we will see new owners and existing owners will spend more. That means more money for America!

4) Begin charging the United Nations Headquarters for their use of American soil. Also charge them a sum of 1 billion dollars for every troublesome act they commit. This way, the national debt will very speedily be decreased.

5) Begin drastic cutbacks on public school funding. While America is a nation with foundations in education, it is time to move to the private sector (New private schools = job creation!), the public schools are part of the problem. In a hurting economy only what can prove its worth can be kept. This would also apply to social workers and truant officers.

6) With the new spirit of change and bipartisanship in our nation, I propose that our trustworthy leaders lead the way by taking large pay cuts. We will expect our good friends such as President Obama and Nancy Pelosi to lead the way.

7) Begin handing out the death penalty more. Pedophiles and rapists are first; after dealing with Michael Jackson and such, then we move on to other offenders. This will save lots of money on prison food, not to mention everything else!

8) As long as we are in the Middle East, let's take over all the oil fields and start getting all that gas money back into the American economy. Oh, and more drilling at home.

9) This should have been listed earlier: cut taxes!

10) Strenuously cut down on the lawsuits against citizens who acted in self-defense. Encouraging self-defense means more dead bad guys, and discouraging unwarranted criminal lawsuits means less work for the government. Both mean more money saved!

11) So long as they continue in the quest for finding Marvin the Martian, drop NASA's funding. While we're at it, cut some, if not all the funding to anti-Creationist groups. We must show the world that we are a nation of diversity and welcome differences!

12) Use scratchy toilet paper in all government buildings, as well as cheap, stinky soap.

13) We must begin working with pharmaceutical and insurance companies to save the American consumer their hard-earned dollars!

14) A simple and cost-effective way to go green in the nation would be to paint all public buildings bright green. It is time to turn the White House into the Green House! (Aren't we out to symbolize in Washington change anyway?)

15) And while we are on the subject, halt the popularization of Communism. Red is an expensive color to print.


I am Spencer and I approve this message!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Movie Review: The Matrix



You might say this this philosophical sci-fi film is one of the most famous movies of all time. I assume that most of my readers have seen it, but will also assume that some haven't. I should also say that I will not be reviewing the two other sequels as I am aware of some sexual content in them. Perhaps this limits my understanding of the philosophical implications of this first installment, but sorry peeps, I'm not going for it.

Note: if you are at all interested in this film and have not yet seen it, then you might not want to read my review, as it is filled with spoilers.

And now to begin....

Basic premise: Humans vs. machines. Simple, right? Well....

I'm going to have to spoil the whole plot like I warned, right off the bat. Okay. We are told that humanity created artificial intelligence in a race of robotic machines. In a reference that reminds one of the Tower of Babel, apparently it was then that humanity reveled despicably in its own marvelousness, and around this time the machines apparently further evolved of their own ability. War commenced, and the humans lost the war. During that war we somehow blocked the sun's rays from coming to earth (something atmospheric?) as the machines' were solar powered. Apparently extremely resourceful, they soon found another power source: us. Humanity soon became nothing less than batteries, grown and kept in large "crops", and to occupy our minds, the machines create a computer program, called the Matrix. Fashioning it after the world circa 1999, they plugged each and every human in to it. That is all that the humans know--they see it as real, but it is not.

Evntually, one man somehow became free, frees more humans, and starts a civilization. This man prophesied his return. This returning savior, "The One" that the characters of the film are looking for, particularly the mentor Morpheus, may be the one they call Neo (Keanu Reeves). As the freed humans possess the ability to re-enter the Matrix, they do so to rescue Neo. And the rest is movie history....

First of all, the film is well-made. The good production quality even extends to the fact that an entirely new method of studio filming was created for this picture (one that creates really "cool" scenes in slow-mo). I have no objections on this score. And as the whole story line is nothing short of humans vs. robots, we get plenty of action as well. It is possible to appropriately categorize The Matrix as a martial arts film, and it was in this that I was most pleased. A traditional Kung Fu scene, another fight with Neo vs. Agent Smith (an AI program inside the Matrix that basically keeps any and all potential resistance under control), and the famous shoot 'em-up scene in the lobby are all extremely pleasing.

The lobby shoot-out is one of the best in any movie I've ever seen, and I can't really tell you much about it other than it is awesome. The final fight is also very impressive, with some amazing moves. Yes, many of the moves are a little far-fetched, but at least the film explains it in the way of it only being possible inside the Matrix program. (And for someone who's seen downright unbelievable martial arts techniques first-hand, it instantly becomes more plausible.) If you watch movies for the combat sequences, as I do (so long as I have no other major content to object to that I am aware of beforehand), then you should at least see this film once.

Another minor little thing I found nice (is "nice" too weak of a word?) was the style. A guy like me can't go wrong with Neo's style of apparel (must...have...trenchcoat), and this as well as much of the rest of the film was "cool."

So, you might think I liked this film. Well...not...really.

It does not contain gratuitous violence, however it does contain some harsh language. There is no blatant sexual content other than when one techie character, named Mouse, offers to plug Neo in for a some time spent with a computer-generated women in a red dress. He declares, "To deny our own impulses is to deny the very thing that makes us human."

Another issue is that the freed humans, citizens of the (underground?) city of Zion, kill other humans still trapped inside the Matrix, coldly and without remorse. Morpheus tells Neo, "The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you're inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it."

It is true, they do not know "the truth" and are blinded and therefore the opposition, but we see this very same thing reflected in the spirtually lost people of the world. Do we as Christians have the license to kill any or all of them if they get in our way? This, in my opinion, seems to be nothing less than a license to kill.

The problems I had with this film are it's reality, shall we say. (Ironic, isn't it?) We are expected to believe in little besides infinite possibilities. For one, Neo has superhuman powers in the Matrix world. He can do what no other human can. He can move faster than any other human can, and he can dodge and even stop bullets, as well as fly, eventually. (This is all explained through the idea that computer rules can be bent or broken, and also with some spiritualistic ideas sprinkled in heavily.) And in one particularly blasphemous scene, Neo is even raised from the dead, without explanation (was Trinity's kiss really that amazing?). This "Christ allegory", much-touted by the Christian community, is, in my opinion, nothing more than cheap. Yeah, yeah, it has a paralell or two (Neo dies, rises again, there is a Judas character, etc.) but are the Wachowski brothers (who made the film) really trying to convey scriptural truths? Somehow, I doubt it.

Morpheus is Neo's mentor, and he constantly tries to "free your [Neo's] mind." He makes religious-esque statements such as "Don't think you are, know you are.", "Try not to think of it terms of right and wrong.", "You have to let it all go, Neo. Fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind.", etc. One of the most compelling questions seems to be when Morpheus Socratically inquires, "What is 'real'? How do you define 'real'?"

You want to know how I define it? What I can see, hear, taste and touch. The computer I'm using right now, the electricity it takes to power it. The body I am using and manipulating, the air I am breathing. And...reality is what can touch me, as in my dear God.

To help understand the nature of this topic, let's hear it from Neo's arch-nemesis, the creepy Agent Smith: "Have you ever stood and stared at it? Marveled at its beauty, its genius? Billions of people just living out their lives, oblivious. Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world, where none suffered? Where everyone would be happy? It was a disaster. No one would accept the program. Entire crops were lost. Some believed we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world. But I believe that, as a species, human beings define their reality through misery and suffering. The perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from. Which is why the Matrix was redesigned to this, the peak of your civilization. I say your civilization because as soon as we started thinking for you, it really became our civilization, which is, of course, what this is all about: Evolution, Morpheus, evolution. Like the dinosaur. Look out that window. You had your time. The future is our world, Morpheus. The future is our time."

What I often bring up to people is, with Evolution, anything is possible. There is no reality, there is no basis for truth, there is nothing. Can humans really create a race of robots that can evolve to surpass us? Sure! Can we really act with superhuman powers, can we manipulate objects ("There is no spoon.") and possess psychic abilities? Why not?

I would wager a guess that many atheistic Evolutionists would scoff at that idea long with me, but here's the thing, that's where their philosophy leads them. There was a time when some Evolutionists feared that computers and AI would be the next dominating species, and that they would out-evolve us (I kid you not), as we see that in The Matrix. And with Evolution, I ask, why not? What is life? A bunch of strings of amino acids? Primordial sludge? A collection of cells, and cells are a collection of conveniently oriented chemicals? Without a firm basis in truth, in the Scriptures, without a belief in the Creator and Savior of the Bible, we have nothing to go by, nothing to build upon (remember, Evolutionary science stole the foundations of Creation-centered science that began hundreds of years ago with Christendom). Anything goes. If we came from nothing, and if the universe itself came from nothing, what is there?

And with the pile of religious references (including a prophetess called the Oracle, who has the unexplained power to predict the future, amongst other things--we see her reading Neo's palms), most of which sound akin to Eastern philosophies (I am not an expert and therefore will not even attempt to pin down what exact doctrine or concept each little statement in the movie may or may not have come from) but seem to be mixed and manipulated at the will of the almighty Hollywood directors, we don't get a very compelling picture. As a born-again believer and as a logical thinker I must reject what others apparently find convincing.

Sorry, but I simply do not buy it.

Spencer

All quotes from IMDB, except Agent Smith, which was from Wikiquote.