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A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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Holy Holes

"Notice it has a point at the top for ease of entry. It's just the right shape for the human mouth.... And it's even curved toward the face to make the whole process so much easier."

That's Ray. He's from Down Under. He's talking about a banana. Or, as he calls it, "The Atheist's Nightmare" -- because a banana (or, at least, a "well-made banana") proves that god exists, because it is so much like a soda can. One day after the deaths of Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni, the invaluable House Next Door featured this as the vuddeo Clip of the Day, perhaps to gently remind us of the world we actually live in:

To paraphrase Max von Sydow in "Hannah and Her Sisters," if Bergman and Antonioni could come back and view this YouTube clip, they would never stop throwing up. Me, I can't stop laughing in wonderment: What a piece of work is Man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculties! Anyway, this obscene bit is almost as funny as the Flash intro at Ray and Kirk (Cameron)'s evangelical web site, "The Way of the Master," where they claim they make some big claims:

"Did you know that every day 150,000 people die? People just like you and me.... Do you ever think about that? Isn't there something within you that says, "I don't wanna die!" That's your god-given will to live, and we hope you'll listen to it, because we make some big claims on this site..."

1) "We can all know what happens after we die. Absolutely, positively, without a doubt. Don't believe us? Then take a very simple test that will show you what's going to happen to you when you die..."

2) "We can finish the age-old debate about Intelligent Design versus evolution. Did we evolve -- or were we created? Is there a god who made everything, or are we just a cosmic accident? Our claim is that we can prove there is a god and do it in three minutes, without reference to faith or even to the bible...."

3) "If you're a Christian, ask yourself: Who do I know who isn't saved? My mother, my father, my brother, a friend, a co-worker. Where are they going to spend eternity if they die without Christ? We can show you how to reach them through the gospel, using a wonderful yet forgotten biblical key."

"It's the powerful principle of bypassing the intellect, the place of argument, and speaking directly to the conscience, the place of the knowledge of right and wrong. It makes the gospel make sense to the Unsaved. It's simple, it's effective, it's what Jesus did."

"We call it Hell's Best-Kept Secret...."

You can't write that stuff. It can only be Divinely Inspired. And, I must admit, it makes me weep with joy and delight at the splendor of creation. I love how Kirk ("Left Behind: World at War") and Ray hope we'll listen to our will to live because they make big claims on their site. And how absolute knowledge of life after death can be obtained by taking a test. And that whole bothersome Intelligent Design vs. evolution thing -- solved in three minutes without faith or the bible! Simply by using reason. Best of all, perhaps, is the concept of separation between intellect and conscience -- in order to make the gospel "make sense to the Unsaved." (Can you re-connect them again afterwards, or is it like a lobotomy?) Sense is now available without intellect -- so as to prove Intelligent Design. No arguments! Because surely god did not endow us with reason to help us distinguish between right and wrong. Intellect? It's what Ray and Kirk might call "God's Mistake." What a truly miraculous world we inhabit.

As for the Parable of the Tropical Fruit, which unquestionably bypasses the intellect and speaks directly to the place of knowledge of right and wrong, I will simply quote myself in the comments at The House Next Door:

I'll take the banana argument one step further: Not only are bananas divinely designed to fit our hands, but pineapples and coconuts are... oh, no, wait. What I mean to say is that god designed blood-sucking mosquitos as a marvelous vector for disease!

To quote Monty Python:

All things dull and ugly, All creatures short and squat, All things rude and nasty, The Lord God made the lot.

Each little snake that poisons, Each little wasp that stings, He made their brutish venom, He made their horrid wings.

All things sick and cancerous, All evil great and small, All things foul and dangerous, The Lord God made them all.

You know what's really amazing? How glasses fit right on our heads, with the clear parts over the eyes so we can see through them and the bridge right over our noses so they can rest there, and the curvy parts behind the ears to help hold them on! The world is truly made in our image.

Thanks to Keith Uhlich for finding and posting the miraculous video.

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