Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thou Shalt Not Mock

Back in 2008 I took a Religion in Popular Media class at MTSU taught by the rascally Rabbi Rami. In that class I learned how to recognize and interpret religious and spiritual symbolism in popular media. Before taking this class I never really paid much attention whenever religion and spirituality intersected with popular media, and when I did I found myself seriously offended when my religious beliefs were "mocked". That was back in the good ole' fundie days. I never sat down to think and analyze why I found something offensive, I just did. Now I can't get enough of it, not because I enjoy mocking faith or religion but I find that the intersection of faith, spirituality, and religion with popular media does say a lot about the human condition. Take for example this latest episode of Mr. Deity (El) and Jesse (Jesus) meeting Allah in the dark matter showroom. Listen closely for the pop culture references. (Just to make things clearer, the explosion they reference towards the end is the Big Bang.)

So is this offensive? And if so which part? Is it the in the casual use of vulgarity and violence? Or could the offensiveness be found in the portrayal, lack of portrayal, or even in the passing remark that Allah and El could be twins? Maybe the offense is found in the blending of the sacred and the secular? I love Mr. Deity because the show blends the darker issues and topics in religion seamlessly with a comedic tone, topics which most people are afraid to even mention. I believe the real reason someone would find this offensive is because they're more afraid of dealing with the "skeletons in the closet" introduced in the clip than the vulgarity or even the "skewed" imagery of the divine. What do you think?


Mae said...

I LOVE Mr. Deity! I don't find it offensive at all; I don't think they're mocking God, just all our pop culture traditions and religious definitions of God. Mr. Deity demonstrates how silly our attempts at making sense of God have been.

Eruesso said...


Mr. Deity does a phenomenal job and I hope they stick around for years to come. And I absolutely love the Star Wars references in this one. Brought me to tears!

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