More on “Princess Mononoke”

Writing a post on each Miyazaki film is surely already starting to tire people out, so I’ll put my further thoughts here, where people won’t get bored reading about the same topic all over again on the Superversive site.

Okay. When I first watched “Mononoke”, I loved it. But – I thought “Spirited Away” was probably still better.

With a few hours to think about it – and, after realizing that I couldn’t stop thinking about it for hours – I think I was wrong. I think “Mononoke” is the best film of Miyazaki’s I’ve watched so far. I think it might be the best animated film period I’ve watched so far. I think it might be the best animated film – and one of the best movies, animated or otherwise – ever.

There are so many remarkable layers of depth to “Princess Mononoke”. It’s a movie that demands multiple viewings. The complexity and ingenuity of the film, from the stunning visuals to the brilliantly complex characters, practically overwhelms you.

After reading reviews, I think people miss what makes “Princess Mononoke” so brilliant – the aspect of the film that brings it to a whole other level, from great to transcendent. It’s not the moral complexity of the film, it’s not the stunning visuals, and it’s not the wildly imaginative creatures or complex and compelling characters.

It’s that the movie is superversive.

But it’s more than that. Let’s look at this from a more detached perspective. Imagine I’m telling you about this great book I read, but it’s no ordinary book. There are no real good guys, and no real bad guys. Everybody is fighting with everyone else for various, competing reasons, none of which are necessarily “wrong” in the traditional sense. Oh, and it’s super pro-environmentalist*

Think of that, detached from Miyazaki or the superversive movement. What are you actually thinking of?

You think of “Game of Thrones”. You think of ultra left-wing morally relativist claptrap, ridiculous environmentalist propaganda. No heroes? No villains? Ludicrous. Evil, even. Oh yeah, and the most obviously villainous person of the whole thing survives to the end and remains leader of her town.

Okay. Now imagine I told you all of that and then said “Oh yeah, by the way, it’s one of the most superversive books I’ve ever read in my entire life. It lifts up the human spirit and restores your faith in humanity. The environmentalist message? It’s remarkably intelligent and nuanced. The lack of heroes and villains? It just means that every man has the capacity to better themselves, and that there’s hope for the future.

The villain? Not only does she survive, but she sees the error of her ways and leads her people to a better future in harmony with her enemies. All of those people, all of those men and women with their terrible, glorious moral complexity – they all come to realize that there are opportunities for peace, to create a better world, and they strive to make that world come about.

And that’s REALLY why the movie is so brilliant It would have been so easy to make this brilliantly written, nihilistic garbage, or even to make it an epic tragedy (which also could have been brilliant)…but that would have been the easy way out. And Miyazaki NEVER takes the easy way out. The result is an experience that does more than amaze and dazzle you – it lifts up your soul. It’s superversive in the most powerful sense imaginable.

And THAT is why it’s one of the greatest movies ever made.

(Also, it doesn’t hurt that some of the dialogue, even in the dub, is SUPER AWESOME – “Now watch closely, everyone. I’m going to show you how to kill a god.” Lady Eboshi, let no one ever doubt how much of a badass you are.)

*It’s actually not at all environmentalist in the western sense of the word, but more accurately Shintoist, which doesn’t stop ignorant leftists from claiming the movie – incorrectly – as their own. 

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St. Augustine is Totally Unreal

Over at the Two-Cent woman the hostess makes some comments about St. Maria Goretti, quoting St. Augustine.

It struck me in the thread that Augustine’s quotes were rather odd. I actually think the Saint was incorrect.

The Two-Cent Woman quotes him here:

St. Augustine taught this very clearly in The City of God, Chapter 18.  He wrote, “…purity is a virtue of the soul…what sane man can suppose that, if his body be seized and forcibly made use of to satisfy the lust of another, he thereby loses his purity? For if purity can be thus destroyed, then assuredly purity is no virtue of the soul; nor can it be numbered among those good things by which the life is made good.”  He goes on “I suppose no one is so foolish as to believe that, by this destruction of the integrity of one organ, the virgin has lost anything even of her bodily sanctity. And thus, so long as the soul keeps this firmness of purpose which sanctifies even the body, the violence done by another’s lust makes no impression on this bodily sanctity, which is preserved intact by one’s own persistent continence. ”

But the Saint is totally contradicted by Pope Pius XII:

Without warning a vicious stranger burst upon her, bent on raping her and destroying her childlike purity. In that moment of crisis she could have spoken to her Redeemer in the words of that classic, The Imitation of Christ: “Though tested and plagued by a host of misfortunes, I have no fear so long as your grace is with me. It is my strength, stronger than any adversary; it helps me and gives me guidance.” With splendid courage she surrendered herself to God and his grace and so gave her life to protect her virginity

The Pope is clear: St. Maria Goretti could have lost her virginity and her purity to a rapist. St. Augustine is wrong; virginity is a physical state that can be taken by force.

Later, Two-Cent Woman quotes the Catholic Encyclopedia:

Another question comes to mind as well, “Is a virgin still a virgin, if she is raped against her will?”  Yes, she is, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia entry on Virginity.  The entry explains in the very first two sentences, “Morally, virginity signifies the reverence for bodily integrity which is suggested by a virtuous motive. Thus understood, it is common to both sexes, and may exist in a women even after bodily violation committed upon her against her will. ”

The Catholic Encyclopedia is contradicted, again, by Pope Pius XII (and it’s talk of being a virgin “morally” is just nonsense):

Never has there been a time when the palm of martyrdom was missing from the shining robes of the Spouse of Christ [the Church]. Even today in our very degraded and unclean world there are brief examples of unearthly beauty. The greatest of all triumphs is surely the one which is gained by the sacrifice of one’s life, a victory made holy by the blood-red garments of martyrdom. When, however, the martyr is a child of tender age with the natural timidity of the weaker sex such a martyrdom rises to the sublime heights of glory.

This is what happened in the case of Maria Goretti, a poor little girl and yet very wonderful. She was a Roman country maid who did not hesitate to struggle and to suffer, to shed her life’s blood and to die with heroic courage in order to keep herself pure and to preserve the lily-white flowers of her virginity.

Once again, Pius XII is clear: St. Maria Goretti was at risk of losing her purity and Virginity. It is not just a state dependent on one’s will.

I think the problem is that people are conflating pure and impure, virgin and non-virgin, and moral and immoral. To be pure, to be a virgin, is to be in a holy state.

To be raped is not a sin, but it DOES mean – horrible as it is – that one is no longer pure and no longer a virgin.

Think about how absurd this is. If Virginity and Purity are actually dependent on the Will, it is also the case that anybody who intends to have sex but is interrupted and then regains self-control is no longer a virgin and no longer pure. But that’s not true. The state is physical.

This is very difficult stuff, but we were never told it wouldn’t be. After all, Aslan is not a tame lion.

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Quick Recommendation: “Tales From the Borderlands”

I did not like “Borderlands 2”, which I found somewhat dull (ooh, hey, a slightly bigger gun, that’ll make a difference) and after that had no desire to try the original. When Telltale announced a Borderlands game, I was very meh about it.

But I tried it out, and let me tell you, it was OUTSTANDING.

I don’t think I need to talk much about gameplay. It’s a Telltale game, meaning it’s basically a playable television show. They’ve really perfected their unique choice mechanic since episode 1 of “The Walking Dead”, and the cel-shaded graphics are as gorgeous as always. The voice acting is uniformly exceptional, especially from the always sensational Troy Baker as Rhys. The guy playing the villain (I’m not going to say who that is since it’s actually a REALLY big spoiler) is also fantastic.

But the real appeal of any Telltale game is the story, so that’s what I’ll talk about.

I’m writing this here and not on Superversive SF because “Tales” isn’t even CLOSE to superversive, which is part of the charm. Oh, there’s a moral order; it’s not nihilistic or depressing. In fact, it’s comedic, and very funny indeed. It’s just that all of the characters are terrible people.

There’s actually something oddly charming about this…I mean, the game isn’t even trying to hide it. Outside of the two robots – and even Loader Bot kills QUITE A LOT OF PEOPLE – you’re all varying degrees of terrible.

Is there any redemption for you guys? Yes, but not as much as you’d think. Is there a REAL villain to fight, someone who is obviously the bad guy here even more clearly than you are? Yes, there definitely is, which helps a lot. Even so, you can really only be called the good guys because the people you happen to be up against are either worse or ACTIVELY trying to kill you.

I mean, Rhys idolized HANDSOME JACK. That’s…not the sign of a noble person.

There’s also something charmingly low key about it all. There’s no big hero’s journey or save the world stuff going on here. You’re doing all of this because you want whatever is in the vault you’re hunting. That’s it. No other reason. At the very end you get another, stronger motivation to complete the quest, but this doesn’t come until the game is almost over – and even it isn’t something that’s going to affect anyone outside of your immediate circle of friends.

Still, the game has a surprisingly big heart to it. The characters are all likable even in spite of themselves, the story is entertaining as hell, it’s very funny, and it can even be surprisingly poignant at times. I was actually amazed at how much I liked it. If you like story-based games and aren’t adverse to hanging out with some real low-lives for awhile this is a game you really don’t want to miss.

I’m not a fan of star ratings, but this gets two thumbs way up. Highly recommended.

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For Nomination Season

Stuff I could be nominated for:

Short stories:

“Modified” (from “God, Robot”)

“Cover Up” (from “God, Robot”)

Best Fanzine:

Superversive SF

A great many Castalia articles for Best Related Work. I’m particularly proud of my piece on “Rick and Morty”:

Best Novel:

“God, Robot”. Yes, it is eligible as a novel. It has one coherent story with a beginning, middle, and end. It is a novel with multiple authors, but it is a novel.

Other recommendations: Obviously I am biased, but I honestly think “God, Robot” has some FANTASTIC stories. My personal favorites (Ah, they all know I like them) are – with my “least” (not the quotation marks) favorite first – “An Unimaginable Light”, by John C. Wright, “The Ring of Sounding Brass”, by L. Jagi Lamplighter, and especially “Felix Culpa”, by Josh Young.

Josh Young is, I truly believe, one of the most promising up-and-coming young writers in science fiction. He has a really unique voice and features some truly fascinating sci-fi concepts that he explores from a fascinating philosophical and theological perspective. I’ve been looking forward to his novel “Do Buddhas Dream of Enlightened Sheep?” for over a year now.

Keep an eye out for Josh Young and L. Jagi Lamplighter in the upcoming “Tales of the Once and Future King”. Their stories are two of the most mind-bending I’ve ever read. Wonderful stuff!

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Not a Tame Lion

Zippy has an excellent post up on St. Maria Goretti. I have nothing specifically to criticize it, but I want to add my thoughts.

I understand the desire to try and downplay St. Goretti’s martyrdom for purity – I truly do. When one thinks of the Elizabeth Smarts of the world, who specifically made the choice to do whatever their attacker told them to in order to get back to their family and now serves as an activist for the abused and traumatized, the mind rebels to think that she would have been better off dying as a martyr to purity.

Furthermore, it is natural for every man to tell the women in his life that if they are attacked, they are to do what the attacker tells them to in order to get back alive, as opposed to resist.

Then there’s St. Maria Goretti, who stands as a symbol of a higher, holier way. What happened to her is deeply uncomfortable and unsettling. It was a horrible, horrible situation. That she died for her purity is disturbing, and it should be, because it was a disturbing attack.

But our response to it can be summarized like this: Aslan is not a tame lion. If purity is really something to aspire to, if it really is holy state, than the logical extrapolation from there is that dying to keep your purity is a holy, heroic thing. It is an unavoidable conclusion if we start from those premises. I don’t like it. I don’t think anyone does. But there it is.

The truth doesn’t exist to make us feel better. It exists because it is true. It exists independent of us and our desires, our worries and fears.

After all, Aslan is not a tame lion.

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Greatest. Press Conference. Ever.

If you aren’t watching CNN, put it on now. Their reaction is absolutely priceless.

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The Argument Against Voting in National Elections

Let me see if I have this right:

  1. No matter how close the vote – even if it’s less than 1,000 votes – my vote is statistically insignificant in regards to a national election. If I did not vote there would literally be no difference in outcome either way
  2. Though I am supporting candidate X for reasons that I think are important and not intrinsically immoral, other people who vote for candidate X are certainly voting for him because of a certain immoral position he holds – e.g., Grandma Abortion Witch is Grandma Abortion Witch, Trump supports torture, et cetera.
  3. These people, by voting for that person, for that reason, are doing something immoral – that is, sinning. This is true as long as they are voting for candidate X because of the immoral position he holds.
  4. By going out and going to the voting booth, I am a visible symbol in support of voting, meaning, I am tempting other people to vote.
  5. The other people I tempt to vote are quite possibly – perhaps even probably – going to do so for immoral reasons
  6. This means I am tempting them to sin – thus committing the sin of scandal
  7. Since my vote is statistically insignificant anyway (meaning whatever important position I think candidate X holds is literally irrelevant to what I do or don’t do), there is no way aforementioned important position is worth the immediate risk of committing scandal
  8. Thus, one should not vote

Am I missing anything?

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