This is just too good to pass up. Da’ Beeb tells us that there’s going to be an ani­mated ver­sion of the life of John Paul II com­ing out soon. (Ironically, it will pos­sess more ani­ma­tion than JPII him­self did over the last decade or so of his life.)

What’s next, Jesus goes animé?*

Bear in mind that this is the same “Holy Father” whose pic­ture Sinéad O’Connor once tore in half on SNL, result­ing in an out­cry that … well, that wouldn’t have been matched had she done the same thing with a pic­ture of Jesus Christ, I’m fairly sure. I guess irrev­er­ence is rel­a­tive, huh?

The show, to be called “The Friend of All Humanity”, is said to be the first car­toon ver­sion of a Pope’s life, ignor­ing, one sup­poses, illu­mi­nated man­u­scripts. And the title … couldn’t pos­si­bly be more exclu­sion­ary, since by its very nature it auto­mat­i­cally evicts women and non­hetero­sex­u­als from the human race — as we know that JPII was absolutely no friend to either con­tra­cep­tion or the GLBT movement.

The Beeb goes on to give details, the kind of stuff you just can­not make up:

The story is nar­rated by two white doves and ani­mated ver­sions of his per­sonal diary and foun­tain pen.

A talk­ing pen! A wordy book! (Well, all right, maybe I’ll give ’em that one.) But why stop there? How about a ver­bose ring or a singing funny hat?

I guess a sto­ry­telling drool-​​wiping cloth would have been a lit­tle too declassé.

Here, though, I must pause and ask a seri­ous question.

What the hell is wrong with people?

First we had the comic book — oh, sorry, graphic novel — ver­sion of the 9/​11 Commission Report; now we have Scooby and Scrappy Obtain Ejaculations. Are peo­ple so fuck­ing stu­pid that they can’t just read an actual book with words and things, or is it just the 9/​11 con­spir­acy the­o­rists and Catholics who are so obtuse?

Furthermore, why do I keep ask­ing ques­tions with such obvi­ous answers?

There are sev­eral things that trou­ble me about this, none of which have to do with being respect­ful to JPII. He was not a par­tic­u­larly praise­wor­thy man — the only thng I think he was right about was retract­ing the bull that held Galileo to be in error regard­ing helio­cen­tric­ity — which makes me won­der why any­one out­side the Catholic church really gives a shit for JPII. He may or may not have been pro­gres­sive by Catholic stan­dards; I think not, since we don’t see altar boys being molested by female priests, and since we don’t see any shrines to Our Lady of Holy Latex**.

To me, all this noise about JPII is more like revi­sion­ism than it is biog­ra­phy, a lit­tle like what some of the weirdos in the Republican party do when they call Reagan the great­est pres­i­dent ever, and con­tin­u­ally press to get things renamed after him, such as the Ronald Wilson Reagan Memorial Rest Stop and Glory Hole.*** Well, Reagan is to those clowns as JPII is to some Catholics, I guess. Sad, really.

And what about the medium of the mes­sage? What does a car­toon about a Pope say about the minds of those who might watch it? What of the cre­ator of the car­toon him­self, who had this to say?

There are two rea­sons why this film was so impor­tant for me — it was a trib­ute to Pope John Paul, and also for my mother, who adored him,” [Jose Luis Lopez-​​Guardia] said.

So the animator’s mother was into car­toons? What was it that appealed to her, I won­der? Was it the sharp, con­trast­ing delin­eations in col­ors? Was it the sim­plis­tic mes­sages? Was it the clear and unam­bigu­ous divi­sions between right and wrong? Or was it the one-​​syllable words? Any of these refine­ments could have influ­enced a young Lopez-​​Guardia; one sus­pects they all played a part.

What does it say of the audi­ence that a car­toon would be judged an accept­able way to trans­mit infor­ma­tion? And just how much of this infor­ma­tion is likely to be fac­tual? (Hint: It’s a num­ber some­where between no and zero percent.)

The final graf in the Beeb’s story answers the ques­tion. (Warning: Creepy sen­tence ahead.)

[The film] is intended to appeal par­tic­u­larly to children.

The hor­ri­ble image this con­jures in my mind (Grooming! Recruitment! Priests fondling chil­dren at the mat­inée!) is enough to make my head spin around clock­wise like Linda Blair’s; the idea of this Papist pro­pa­ganda infect­ing the minds of mil­lions of oth­er­wise stain­less chil­dren is enough to make my head spin counter-​​clockwise. Somewhere in there is bal­ance — and that is some­thing I’m sure this ’toon will lack utterly.

And the worst part of it all is that no mat­ter how much I dis­agree with this kind of memetic assault, I believe those who per­pe­trate it do have a right to their opin­ions, and they have a right to dis­sem­i­nate them.

And I am cer­tain to my mar­row that many of them would not extend me the same courtesy.

====

* Actually, that could be pretty cool. God in the Shell: Baptism Complex. You bet your ass I’d see that.

** Which is prob­a­bly a good thing; it’d only be a mat­ter of time before we saw head­lines such as Woman Sees Face of Jesus in Bubble of Goo.

*** Take I-​​15 to Yuma, turn off at the Flying J, and look for the … oh, never mind.

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