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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