The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

God's Toy Story

September29

I’ll warn you now… A certain and extremely popular movie’s story-line will be spoiled if you continue to read this post. However, along the same line-of-thinking you’ll likely need to watch the film to make sense out of this post, altogether. Oh… And, maybe have some awareness around the Bible, Dante (Inferno) and God, in general.

There is the movie Toy Story brought to you by those hearty and ferocious cinemeisters (I made that up!) Pixar. But, there are also two sequels (that did very little for Tim Allen’s acting career). But, as well-received, and, and lofty, I’ll add, as the original effort was, and remains, the third film in the Toy Story series is the most dogmatic to date. In fact, it’s the story of mankind’s relationship with God, and our collective position relative to the way beings, human, and otherwise, relate to the almighty couldn’t be more clear (to me any way). It could be argued, and I will, that the script may as well have been written by John Calvin himself.

God, cast as God (or, Andy):

God, or the God, in this movie is referred to as “Andy” to throw off the less focused. The film begins as God (heretofore: “Andy”) is preparing to move on to a new universe (rather like Babylon 5 and the “Old Ones”), leaving behind the realm he has long ruled. Andy’s current universe is populated with toys that he has loved and cherished throughout a period of his existence (consider my prior post: How Long Is Seven Days?), and before he can leave he apparently has to decide what to do with them. Although why God has to do anything, other than be satisfied with what he’s both wrought, and set into motion, is not made clear. To wit… He has four choices: he can take them with him to his new domain; he can hand them over to a different god [small caps because there is, in my current view, only the one almighty] (so okay, maybe the script isn’t as Calvinist as I laid-claim to above); he can consign them to a purgatory also known ominously as “the attic”; or he can send them to …Hell. He chooses the third option for all the toys except his favorite, Woody, with whom he is well-pleased. So, we also have Paradise Lost, in play (well past the Adam and Eve part, mind you).

Woody, the Arbiter (in form, if not name):

Woody is a sanctimonious prick who spends his entire life reminding all his colleagues of Andy’s greatness and infallibility – and, generally bossing people around like a fifth grade hall-monitor. When Andy decides to send the rest of the toys to purgatory (heretofore: “the Attic”), Woody supports Him totally – and, we can reasonably assume that had Andy decided, instead, to send them straight to Hell, Woody would be quoting Romans 3:10 /1 as justification, and telling them to suck it up because the ‘potter can do whatever he wants with his clay’ […].

All that said, and thusly, nonetheless, when, by mistake, the mother of Andy (work with me, here, because this obviously deviates from any context of the Bible) sets the toys on a path towards Hell, Woody sets-out to save them.

But why?

Is it because he’s concerned for his people (all Moses-like), or because the (or, a) law as established by his Lord has been interfered with? I think it’s probably the latter, because Woody is a dick (just like almost every power-hungry fifth grade hall monitor you ever met).

The Other Toys, cast as “the Fallen”:

When the toys realise that they’re destined for Hell they (understandably) become rebellious and elect to reject Andy and go off to find other gods (just a reminder, this would be children) to, in effect, serve. Woody remonstrates with them, telling them they should remain faithful, and that it was all a mistake; but under the leadership of the female temptress Jesse (naturally a Barbie Doll with Eve-like qualities, and who shall realize redemption), the others won’t listen to him. As far as they’re concerned whether their deity has abandoned them to Hell or Purgatory makes little difference; the issue is that they’ve been abandoned, while Woody has not. So, the rage is thusly, tinged with jealousy, as well.

The plot gets really interesting when they arrive en masse at a kind of Paradise for toys; a place where they will be played with all day long (which after all, is what they were designed for), Woody is still in the throes of righteous indignation, and insisting that they return to Andy’s house, and get themselves up into Attic-that-is-Purgatory, where they belong, while he waltzes off to whatever earned and exciting new place Andy is making for. However, the other Toys choose to ignore him, looking forward to a new life of hedonism… So, there is the Pinnochio element here, as well.

And this, of course, proves to be their downfall. The loss of grace, or the perception thereof, as it were, is so devastating, eh.

Lotso Bear

The paradise they think they have discovered, and will ultimately lose, is in fact ruled by an atheist! This dark angel is an evil, strawberry-smelling bear who has rejected all gods and has set himself up as a mortal god on earth. He’s a pink furry Joseph Stalin (I’ll need to revisit the film, but I coulda sworn he was referred to as “Uncle” at one point. How apropos.).

In any event, the message is clear: if you reject the god that owns you, you have only yourself to blame if you end up being tortured in a totalitarian gulag.

The film could have ended here, but audiences may have been left with a view of God as cold and unconcerned with his universe, so the story carries on with rescue and redemption promised and gamely [sic] afoot. All the while, Woody continues his righteous quest to be reunited with his Master, but then he gets distracted by feelings of compassion for his friends. Foolishly, it would seem, he tries to help them, not realising that by attempting to interfere with destiny he’s only going to make things worse.

Woody’s fateful efforts lead the toys to the very precipice of Hell (oh, the inferno!), which they only escape by means of a ludicrous plot device (that also serves to remind us that this is a children’s first movie). The atheist Lotso, of course, who has by now been exposed and proved his evil atheist character beyond a doubt, is not so fortunate, and is consigned to an eternal punishment direct from the mind of Dante.

And as it should be, once the atheist villain has been disposed of, the film can end nicely with the redemption of not only foolish Woody and the ungrateful toys but also Andy, who is finally shown indulging his merciful side.

And you, that collective you, can make your way from the cinema, or possibly the comfort of your home state-of-the-art theaters, comforted in the understanding that God is great after all, possibly fair – and, made relevant today by his easy interpretation on the silver screen.

…at least to Pixar, anyway. According to Wikipedia.org, The film is currently the highest-grossing film of 2010 in the United States and Canada. /2

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

_________________

1/ As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one“.

2/ The film is also the highest-grossing film of 2010 worldwide. In July, it surpassed Finding Nemo to become Pixar‘s highest ever grossing film at the North American box office. In early August 2010, the film became Pixar‘s highest-grossing film worldwide, and surpassed Shrek 2 as the highest-grossing animated film of all-time worldwide. In late August 2010, Toy Story 3 became the first ever Pixar film and animated film in history to make $1 billion worldwide. It is currently the 5th highest-grossing film worldwide of all time.

A story, and an epic one at that, within a story, to be sure.

roman polanski and lawless purgatory

September29

I know… I’ll take some heat for this post. Maybe a lot of heat.

However, my heart is heavy and my shoulders feel the burden from a situation where the scales of justice have been unbalanced. I’m a Prudent Gentleman. I have no choice but to bring this situation to light and seek equity in the matter.

As a father and a man, I’ll never be able to comprehend what Roman Polanski did over thirty years ago. For me, the details really don’t matter. What he did was unconscionable.

However, what a judge did in terms of abusing our judicial system leaves me speechless. And, the fact that the problem with both the judge, and prosecutors that continue to compound the problem is both unconstitutional and beyond reason.

In 1977 Polanski apparently engaged in inappropriate conduct with an underaged girl. He cut a plea agreement with prosecutors and served time.

Roman PolanskiThe world knows that part. And, they know that in 1978 Polanski fled the United States for France. We also know he has continued a stellar career as a producer of film classics. However, I’ll not make him a hero here by outlining his victories. Because it could well detract from my point.

However, what is not known in the the world, at least the world known within the continental United States, is that  the judge overseeing the Polanski case arbitrarily decided to renege on the pleas agreement after Polanski emerged from prison. Polanski was allowed to plead guilty to one of six charges, and was sent to prison for forty two days of evaluation. Lawyers agreed that would be his full sentence, but the judge tried to renege on the plea bargain. The girls family lawyer, Lawrence Silver, told the judge that his clients were not seeking a prison term for Mr. Polanski, only an admission of wrongdoing and rehabilitation. Later the girls family reached an undisclosed financial settlement with Polanski. Aware the judge would sentence him to more prison time and require his voluntary deportation, Polanski fled to France.

Samantha Geimer (now 45), his victim, said in a 2003 commentary for The Los Angeles Times:

“… he and his most recent film, “The Pianist,” should be honored on their own merits. She added, “Who wouldn’t think about running when facing a 50-year sentence from a judge who was clearly more interested in his own reputation than a fair judgment or even the well-being of the victim?”

Former opponents Douglas Dalton, Mr. Polanski’s lawyer, and Roger Gunson, the assistant district attorney who led the prosecution, together, pin the blame for Polanski’s flight directly on the presiding judge, Laurence J. Rittenband (who stepped down in 1989, and died in 1994).  The lawyers fill in the appalling details of what was effectively a second crime, one largely perpetrated by a celebrity-dazzled judge, and the equally gaga news media he courted.

This crime left two victims, Mr. Polanski, who was denied a fair trial, and Ms. Geimer, who was denied justice, and has publicly stated: “Sometimes I feel like we both got a life sentence.”

Polanski was arrested by Swiss officials late last week as he entered the country to receive a filmography award for life-time excellence. He has never hidden and always made himself available to authorities. Polanski has asked a U.S. appeals court in California to overturn a judges’ refusal to throw out his case. He claims misconduct by the now-deceased judge who had arranged a plea bargain and then reneged on it. Earlier this year, Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza in Los Angeles dismissed Polanski’s bid to throw out the case because the director failed to appear in court but said there was “substantial misconduct” in the handling of the original case. In his ruling, Espinoza said he reviewed not only legal documents, but also watched the HBO documentary, “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired,” which suggests there was behind-the-scenes manipulations by a now-retired prosecutor not assigned to the case.

Nonetheless, Polanski is currently being held in a Swiss prison awaiting extradition to the United States.

Ironically, it’s apparently being left to the French, Polish and Swiss governments to defend Polanski. In France, Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand said he was “dumbfounded” by Polanski’s arrest. He went on to add: “In the same way that there is a generous America that we like, there is also a scary America that has just shown its face.” In Paris, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said he hoped Polanski could be quickly freed by the Swiss, calling the apprehension a “bit sinister.” He also told France-Inter radio that he and his Polish counterpart Radek Sikorski wrote to U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, and said there could be a decision as early as Monday if a Swiss court accepts bail. The Justice Ministry insisted Sunday that politics played no role in its arrest order on Polanski, who lives in France but has spent much time at a chalet in the luxury Swiss resort of Gstaad. That has led to widespread speculation among his friends and even politicians in Switzerland that the neutral country was coerced by Washington into action.

For the moment I am also dumbfounded by our judicial systems lack of credibility in this matter. What Polanski did was clearly wrong. But, it was resolved, whether you agree with that resolution or not, under the scales of justice. However, those scales are upended and bent out of any shape of fair recognition by a single man acting out of his own self-interest, and willing to abuse his authority. Even though Polanski has petitioned the US courts in good faith for decades to review and resolve the problem created by a rogue judge, he will, tragically, never realize a fair trial in this matter. The media has fanned the wrong flames for years.

Meanwhile, lawyers on multiple continents are asking that Polanski be released on bail. So, the best that he can hope for is a return to France where life, liberty and justice will best if awkwardly prevail.

In other news, President Barack Obama is jetting off to Brazil with Oprah to petition the International Olympic Committee on behalf of the city of Chicago in the hopes of securing a bid for the 2016 Olympics.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

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All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell





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