Q & A    Archive
Page 103

Name: Cynthia E. Jones
E-mail: cynthiaejones@hotmail.com

Dear Josh,

"Bubba Ho-Tep" is the IPO of the Day on The Hollywood Stock Exchange: http://www.hsx.com . Just thought you'd like to know. Buy deep! Support Bruce!

Watched your man William Wyler's "The Collector" last week. I really dig Terence Stamp, and Samantha Eggar was a knockout. It was surprising coming from Wyler--it didn't seem like his 'kind' of movie, but I liked it. Stamp is one of the few actors I can think of who has mastered that whole sinister/appealing thing. You almost feel sorry for him. But you wouldn't want to be her.

Loved the interview...I kept talking to myself out loud while I was listening to it. It was like an audio version of the movie geek salon for a while there... "Adaptation?" "The Sixth Sense?" Great movies? I could feel you bristling on the other end of the phone... Great stuff.

--Cindy

Dear Cindy:

I didn't want to start a fight. I was trying to be sociable. Yes, "The Collector" is an odd picture in Wyler's ouvre, but I appreciate it for just that reason -- he hadn't made a film like it before, and to a great extent pulls it off, too. He was already 63-years old at that time. He then went on to make yet another completely different film for him, "Funny Girl," his one and only musical, and a pretty damn good one, too, not to mention that it was Barbara Streisand's first film. I remember seeing "Funny Girl" at a roadshow engagement when it first opened in 1968. The final shot before the intermission, with Streisand on the tugboat singing "Don't Rain on My Parade," as it does a giant helicopter pull-back off of her close-up, well, I was just blown away.

Josh

Name: james
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

what do you think of blade runner

Dear James:

It bores me to tears, but I like the score.

Josh

Name: PILALIDIS GEORGE
E-mail: AGAMEMMNON@MSN.COM

Hallo Josh.Ihave let you some days in piece. But i have think, hey why i ask any time from Josh to tell me abaut others directors actors musicians, and don't ask him abaut his works.Maybe i have see films made from you and not give atetion ,who was the director or writer and screenplays ,because hier in Germany are translaydet in German the tittle of films axampel the good the bad and the ugly,(Enios Moriccone best musik ,and still doday when i hear this compositions i think i´am lost in time and i´fel so emty and SOME melanholy the musik from XENA any time ihear the tittle musik i fell so strong and ,bbbrrr i'ts ,i'ts very cool ) call it like this ( zwei gloreiche halunken)and something else you have try to make cool frape with ice??FRENDLY GEORGE

Dear George:

My first film, "Thou Shalt Not Kill . . . Except" was released in Germany as "Du Sollst Nicht Toten . . . Ausser." They've put the elipses in the wrong place. My agents have just completed a deal for "Running Time" to be released in Germany, and possibly TSNKE to be re-released.

Josh

 

Name: A friend who respectfully disagrees with you:
E-mail:

Dear Mr. Becker:

I just wanted to let you know that no person of faith who truly believes in God, or Yahweh, or Allah, or whatever, believes in anything other than the idea that mankind should together strive for ultimate world peace and good will toward all men. This following sentence of yours: "And it's always been a tradition of the Serbs to hate the Croats, the Hutus to hate the Tutsis, whites to hate blacks, Christians to hate Jews, Jews to hate the Palestinians, Hindus to hate the Muslims, and Muslims to hate everybody." This is one of the most irrationally stereotypical statements I have ever read. I'll have you know that not all Serbs hate the Croats, not all whites hate the blacks, not all Christians hate the Jews, not all Jews hate the Palestinians, and so on and so on. And those who do are simply ignorant. Anyone who claims to have a belief in God and also claims to hate another person doesn't fully understand the God they claim to believe in. I've heard from people before that religion is the reason for all evil that exists in the world, and that it causes people to hate and kill each other. If that's the case then the saying "Guns don't kill people...people kill people" isn't true. Every religion, whether wrong or right, gives a person something to believe in. The religion doesn't decide what the person is going to think, the person decides what the person is going to think. People are going to fight and kill and hate over one another's religions from now until the end of time, pessemistically speaking, but that is simply because people choose to do so. A loaded gun that is sitting on the table in an empty house cannot go off by itself. A person needs to be there to decide whether or not to pull the trigger. Adolf Hitler wasn't Jewish, and he chose to make as much money as possible while killing as many Jews as he could. Oscar Schindler wasn't Jewish either, and chose to save as many Jews as he could no matter how much money he lost. While every religion does point out that there are good and bad apples in every barrel, common sense and logical reasoning will tell you the same thing. People choose to distance themselves from one another. You say that religion does nothing but separate people. Well, you don't seem to belong to any religion, and yet you persist in separating yourself from those who do belong to a religion of some sort. Religion doesn't separate people, people separate people. You contradict yourself in more ways than I can count, and I honestly am sorry that something in your life has caused you to feel this way. You have,however, inadvertantly made a good point, being that something is terribly wrong with the manner in which people often respond to one another. The reason for that, however, is not religion, but is moreover a growing sense of apathy and decreasing desire among men to work hard for something that benefits more than one person. I acknowledge the fact that you disagree with what Mel Gibson is attempting to do with his movie. And I whole-heartedly disagree with your decision to condemn him for it. But condemning someone for their beliefs does nothing to bring about world peace. You have to help people! You have to put yourself on a mission to enact necessary change in society and in human relations through the use of intellectual conversations. When you talk to someone about something, you learn. When you condemn someone for something, you refuse to believe the fact that people believe different things. And that is not the fault of religion, people will believe whatever they want to believe. You think that religion condemns you for not believing in it, so therefore you condemn religion? Who in the hell taught you how to think? Whoever it was, I'm going to say extra prayers for them....and I now know that I have done something worthwhile. Instead of condemning you with my anger, I channell it into a stream of peace. That stream now flows within your heart, whether you know it or not. Thank you for your time.
From,
A man who believes in compassion

Dear Friend:

Go ahead, pray for me. You say, "Every religion, whether wrong or right, gives a person something to believe in. The religion doesn't decide what the person is going to think, the person decides what the person is going to think. People are going to fight and kill and hate over one another's religions from now until the end of time, pessemistically speaking, but that is simply because people choose to do so." Right, and religion is the cause. You say that religion gives people something to believe in, and I'm saying it's a bad thing to believe in. You say that religion doesn't decide what the person is going to think, but that's exactly the point of religion -- someone else decides what your beliefs will be. By choosing a religion you've chosen their code of ethics and morality. If you're a Catholic, you believe that everytime anyone has sex they should have children, and overpopulation be damned. If you don't believe that then you have no business calling yourself a Catholic. As you say, "people will fight and kill and hate over one another's religion until the end of time," and that's what's so awful about it. We're all in the religion of humanity, and anything seperates that is a bad idea.

Josh

Name: Blake Eckard
E-mail:

Josh,

If someone makes a movie almost alone, that is in addition to bankrolling it they also write it, direct, produce, edit and film it, will this person get paid for what a regular cameraman, editor, director, etc. would have been paid for simply having done all the jobs, on top of another figure?

Sounds clear as mud. Does this make sense?

Also, can once expect a distributor blow a film up from 16mm to 35mm if they're willing to buy it?

Lastly, what is a normal percentage for a producer's rep to take off the top of a film he or she sells.

Thanks. Have a good one.

Blake

Dear Blake:

If you finance a film yourself, as I've done, then you end up paying yourself nothing for everything you do because it's money out of your own pocket that you need to make the film. No, you cannot expect a distributor to blow up your picture for you. If the film isn't suitable for distribution then they probably won't be interested in it, but they want to put in as little money as possible. Most distributors I've dealt with are only looking for reasons to not handle your film, and not being in 35mm is a good reason. Meanwhile, sales reps or sales agents generally work in the 33% realm, after expenses, and they're expenses can go on forever. As soon as my agent made the sale of "Running Time" to IFC, I received a statement of expenses for twice that amount. The original sales agent on TSNKE always stayed ahead of me on expenses, so even though they ended up selling most every territory in the world, I never got any money. I sued them and beat them in three different courts and still didn't get any money, just legal bills.

Josh

Name: August
E-mail: joxerfan@hotmail.com

Dear Josh:

You might be amused by this. The other night, I noticed a listing on cable of an old 70's horror film called "Madhouse," starring Vincent Price, Peter Cushing and Robert Quarry, from right around the time of "Dr. Phibes." So I'm all excited to catch it - but what comes on? Some lame Kirstie Alley/John Laroquette comedy by the same name. Ick. The newspaper listings editor listed the wrong "Madhouse." Sheesh.

Hey good luck on the newest screenplay. Are you doing any side gigs while in Detroit? I recall in the past you've referred to helping friends out on projects, and there was your brief flirtation with "Worst Case Scenario." Any chance you might get lured into any commercial work, like car ads or whatever?

Thanks,

August

Dear August:

Not if I can help it. I was actually just offered an industrial film and I got a friend to do it. I'm also just completing the deal for TSNKE to be sold overseas again. All of it's old contracts have expired and several countries want it for re-release. Too bad about "Madhouse." Nelson pops up, "Ha-ha!"

Josh

Name: Ben
E-mail: bendab02@yahoo.com

Dear Josh and friends,

"Do no harm" is a fantastic philosophy to live by, except that if you truly believe that a friend is going the wrong way, it is harmful to let him. Sure, the truth of religion comes into play, but these days, it isn't the extent. Whether it's drugs, unsafe sexual behavior, or poor money management, people don't care much for other people. If they live and let live to the extreme, then no one is helping anyone else.

God is not us, but He is in us. His very breath gives us our soul and animates us, and without Him, we would not die or disappear -- we just wouldn't exist. He is in us, but He is only equal in the Blessed Trinity, not in every blade of grass or in every bird.

As we step further from religion, the sense of sacrifice and doing something for the greater good fades. Everyone fights to maintain their personal space, their selfishness, and their pride, and no one is happier for it. We live in an incredibly sad world. And I'm not talking about the abundance of sin -- I'm talking about how depressed people are. And when art imitates life to the point where we have movies like "Magnolia" and "Igby Goes Down," we know for sure that we are not living in a happy society. I wanted to blow my own head off after seeing those two movies, and many others today follow the pattern.

By the way, Josh, have you heard of Fatima? I'd be interested to know if your contention of the miracle would be disbelief or some other explanation.

Ben

Dear Ben:

Oh, blessed trinity my ass! And all that Our Lady of Fatima and Bernadette of Lourdes bullshit, too. It's only use is to be the basis of those old 20th century-Fox movies with Jennifer Jones. French girl sees visions of mother Mary. Oy vey! And they gave Jennifer Jones an Oscar for it, too. And I appreciate your absolute certainity. Like you really know something. Ha! As Marvin Gaye said -- and here's your blessed trinity -- the only things you can be certain of are "taxes, death, and trouble."

Josh

Name: Evan
E-mail: eandrews@volcanomail.com

Dear Josh,

Have you seen the 1940s version of The Razor's Edge? If so, what's your take on it?
thanks, evan

Dear Evan:

It's probably been 30 years since I saw the old one, and 20 years since I saw the newer one, and both of them have shot right out of my head. My only impression of both is a guy full of angst.

Josh

Name: Jim
E-mail: JEaganfilm@aol.com

John, I think you're confusing the ideals of religion with the reality of it. There are any number of philosophies in this world that, on paper, make alot of sense. But when these ideas are taken into the world that we live in they become irrelevant because mankind is not as simple-minded or single-minded as the idealists would like for it to be. When I look at religion, I look at the devoted followers that I meet in my every day life, I look at what is done in the name of religion all over the world and over the course of history. I honestly believe that the world would be a happier place without organized religion. I'm not saying that every religious person is evil, but rather that religion as an organized practice is a bad thing. I personally find the whole idea of it to be a mindless in its very nature. Like an idiots disease, it is designed to be spread to the naive and weak-minded, to those that are too dumb or simple to question it.

I'd be much more comfortable living in a culture that promotes a sort of "do no harm" morality. I find that the rule of law (not under the influence of religion) is a very good way of keeping people honest. Once you get caught up in the idea that your philosophy of life is beyond rebuke, you've become the sort of righteous asshole that lives to create problems in the world. I personally find the idea of defending organized religion to be extremely repugnant, especially considering the current state of affairs in the middle east. Would those in the middle east be any better off if Christianity was their belief system? I really doubt it. They'd just run off and create the "I hate you" sect and then find the texts that support their hate then start the killing in the name of their God. More often than not, religion is simply a tool to kill, conquer, or divide. I truly believe that mankind will only achieve harmony when religion becomes outmoded. Once we have stopped looking into the sky for answers, we'll finally be able to look into ourselves for peace.

Dear Jim:

Well said. As Joseph Campbell said (and I paraphrase in my essay), all of the "holy" books are books of mythology, imperfect users manuals on how to face life and death. He then went on to say that in his opinion the least helpful of the present religions were the Judeo-Christian religions (which includes Islam) because they purport that God is outside of us, seperate from us, and that's not only of no use, it's harmful. God is us. God, if you will, is what makes anything alive -- a human, a bird, or a blade of grass. To purport that God is outside of us, and worse still, judging us, is painfully unhelpful to the extent of being harmful. And, as Jim said, and I was trying to say last night when my computer got a virus and crashed (it's fixed now), it's not that everyone that participates in religion is evil, since most humans do accept some form of religion, but the organized religions themselves are really evil. I think the person that had it the clearest of recent days was John Lennon: "Imagine there's no heaven/It's easy if you try/No hell below us/Above us only sky/Imagine all the people/Living for today . . ./Imagine there's no countries/It isn't hard to do/Nothing to kill or die for/And no religion too/Imagine all the people/Living life in peace . . ." Until there's no religion there can be no peace.

Josh

Name: John Hunt
E-mail: Chowkidar@aol.com

Josh,

Abolition in America in the eighteenth century is inseperable from abolition in Britain during the same period. Thomas' book focuses primarily on slavery in North America and his section on Abolition which I cited deals primarily with the Abolition movement in New England.

If the question is, "Are there Charlatans in religion?" the answer is obviously "yes", but this is not a property of religion, it is a property of people. There are charlatans in business, philosophy and, as you point out so many times, in the arts. That doesn't mean there are not true believers.

The true believers that I have known don't believe that they know the truth, they believe that there is a truth and live their lives in pursuit of it. Such people tend to be quiet and far removed from televangelists and rabble-rousers. It is also worth pointing out that they all admit to having doubts. That's where their faith enters in.

As for sectarianism, the exclusivity of a sect or denomination is irrelevant to your essay. Your statement was that "Religion is Evil". Therefor, all religion must be evil; there must be some unique and universal sense in which it is evil. That some sects are evil doesn't prove your point. I would take less issue with you had you said that religion is counter-productive or even harmful. But "evil", in the same sense as "lie" requires intent to do harm.

Thanks as always,

John

Dear John:

You make very intelligent, cogent arguments, which I appreciate, but I honestly do believe that all religion is out to do harm in one way or another. Since there are so many humans duped by it, obviously there are many good ones that don't realize they believe in and are pushing evil doctrines.

Regarding sect, I was only pointing out that the fact you pulled out, about anybody can be a Jew, was only regarding a single sect, Reform Jews. I'm not differentiating. All religion, all sects, all cults are evil. Is that broad enough for you. I believe you've got yourself stuck in a contradiction with the true believers who have their doubts -- if you have doubts then you are necessarily not a true believer. As you said, that's where "faith" comes in, and I'll quote good old Mark Twain again, "Faith is believing what know ain't so."

Josh

Name: dustin
E-mail: dustglas@hotmail.com

hey josh, i really enjoyed the internet radio interview and show you did, nice job containing yourself! was it impossible to add a few clips of dialogue from one of your films in at the break points? they sure had enough poetry and music.

Dear Dustin:

They didn't ask me for them and it's their show. Yes, I did a lot of holding my tongue.

Josh

Name: Calvin Gray
E-mail: ytinNO@SPAMtwu.net

Hey Josh,

As I'm sure many people will respond to your announcement, let me say that I'm glad to hear you're bearing down and writing another screenplay. Even if you fail to produce it, (and I mean no discouragement, I truly wish to see more of your work) at least you can take solace that your screenplays offer a lot of important examples of good writing for all us hopefuls out there.

As for the right routes to send your script through, I'd say IFC Films would be your best shot. They're financing all sorts of flicks these days, like it's going out of style (which, for all the other studios, it is). I have a chum who just recently co-starred in IFC's big new release, "Camp," by Todd Graff. Graff doesn't exactly have the label of "integrity" so easily associated with him, seeing as how his biggest screenwriting credits ("Camp" is his directorial debut) include "Used People," the remake of "Angie," and "The Beautician and the Beast." However, the flick got some big hype at Sundance, a considerable feat for a movie headed by unknown teenage actors with a plot that doesn't involve pastry molestation.

IFC has been putting out a lot of independent films these days, picking up the slack where Miramax left off in the mid-90's. Stories that would otherwise never see the lens of a camera are now being met with greenlights, with B-list actors lined up to work for peanuts. IFC already knows you from Running Time, and I think there may be a chance that they'll give you a chance to make something big for them.

Of course, I could be talking out of my ass. Something tells me you've tried that avenue, and chances are you've already been shot down by those folks. I find it ridiculous that no one would want to pick up your film.

But on the lighter side, care to divulge any information about this script of yours? Perhaps some actors you're eyeing for the lead roles?

- C. Gray

Dear Calvin:

Thanks for the encouragement and the suggestion, which I will take seriously. I did send "Hammer" to IFC (and never heard a word back, nor could I get through to them), but I'm not dealing with them directly now, it's all going through an agent who won't rep "Hammer" (although they just picked up TSNKE. That's what I get for leaving the exploitation field). Meanwhile, when I write a script I don't think about actors. These aren't actors, they're characters in my head that I'm creating. I didn't start off writing "Lunatics" thinking of Ted Raimi, nor did I start writing "Running Time" thinking of Bruce Campbell. They both occured to me several drafts in. And though I can't stand the idea of superstion, I simply can't help it in regard to works-in-progress. They die so quickly and so inexplicably that I just can't bring myself to discuss them anymore.

Josh

Name: John Hunt
E-mail: Chowkidar@aol.com

Josh,

Thanks for your response. On the subject of Christianity and abolition I might refer you to Hugh Thomas' recent book, "The Slave Trade", book five on "Abolition". All of the early pronouncements against slavery cited come from religious speakers, in a religious capacity, including the Papacy as early as the mid-sixteenth century. The Papacy made continual, if ineffectual, pronouncements against slavery throughout the slavery period.

As far as I know, the Dark Ages were brought about by the decline of the Western Roman Empire and no historian I have read would attribute its decline to Christianity. Indeed, the acceptance of Christianity under Constantine marked a rennaisance in the West. Justinian certainly relied upon the Church to rebuild the Eastern Empire. Someone would have to show me a serious historian who disputes that before I would accept it. Remember, too, that there was no "Catholic" Church until the Eastern Schism in 1054. Until that point there were only "Christians" or heretics (from the Church's perspective).

When you say that Islam turned against knowledge you must remember that this "turn" was the result of the invasion of the Islamic empire by the Seljuk Turks who were as illiterate as a people can be. The "Turn" from knowledge, therefor, was independent of the religion and the result of political change.

According to the Catholic Catechism it is not true that one must take communion to avoid damnation. The Catholic position is that the one sacrifice of Christ is sufficient. The Catholic Church feels that their adherents have the advantage of better information for achieving salvation, but that no one else under any circumstances is barred from it. According to Rabbi M. Steinberg ("Basic Judaism", 1975) the Jews take essentially the same position. "Anyone may become a Jew; but no one has to do so in order to be saved, whether in this world or the next." (pg. 99)

As for Holy Men lying about their "revealed truths", a "lie" requires intent to decieve and truly "Holy Men" believe completely what they say.

I'm not sure what edict you're refering to with Catholic choirs. My Grandmother was in the choir going back to the 1920's at least. I would place the date further back because of monasticism which was the primary religious life for men until the nineteenth century. I've read one book about homosexuality in monasteries and one about homosexuality in nunneries. Most of these relationships were consensual (to the degree a ten-year old uneducated peasant can consent given the existing power structure), but not all by a long shot. These rapes often involved the monastic school which was attended by local boys. Of course, naval vessels and garrisons had long histories of homosexual rape of young boys, though I admit they haven't the great moral hypocracy for which to answer, and they did have recourse to prostitution.

I would like to add that, while I don't believe in the necessity of celibacy, I don't mind if a person chooses it. Requiring celibacy, originally imposed to prevent Church appointments from becoming hereditary titles, means you're going to get a population with more than its share of sexual hangups. That having been said, most priests I have known, (probably hundreds) are decent guys trying to pursue what they believe to be a holy mission. I have known several who were molesters, though even most of them joined the priesthood because they thought it would "cure" them. That is an institutional change which needs to be made.

A last small note, while there is no rationale for a blue-eyed Jesus beyond making him culturally identifiable (Jesus is also portrayed as Black, Hispanic and Asian), there is also no specific reason why, outside of a documentary, he need be semitic, though it would be a nice change. The genetic mix Jesus was a part of no longer exists, and hasn't for a long time. Part of the discussion of racism which disturbs me is the disregard for inter-mingling which has taken place in all but the most isolated (read;
inbred) of societies.

Thanks as always for a good discussion. I'll comment later on your interview, which I enjoyed. I'll give you a break for now, though.

John

Dear John:

Abolition is America is what I was referring to. And though the Catholic church may have taken a negative view early on, it did very little about it. And the turn away from knowledge was more than the invasion of the Turks, it was a conscious effort by the "holy" men to keep the masses illiterate and "faithful." And this edict of the 14th century is what has kept Islam in a state of barbarism ever since. It's the perfect religion for people 1200 AD, but has nothing to do with the hopefully civilized modern world. And your quote from Rabbi Steinberg is just flatly untrue for most sects of Judaism. Other than Reform Judaism, you cannot join. If your mother wasn't Jewish, you cannot be a Jew under any circumstances. Making it the mother instead of the father was a sociological breakthrough, in that it accepted that if a woman was raped it wasn't her fault, but nevertheless, the Rabbi's point does not apply to most Jews. And to say that "truly "Holy Men" believe completely what they say" is a generalization and, I would say, an overstatement. If anyone alive knows that the "truth" is not that clear, it's the "holy men." Every time a "holy" man states he "knows" the truth, he's lying, and deep down he knows he's lying.

Josh

Name: james
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

what did you think of the movies good fellows, taxi driver, the brekfest club, and batman

Dear James:

"Taxi Driver" is one of my favorite films, "Goodfellas" is an excellent film, "The Breakfast Club" was highly forgettable, and "Batman" is an excremental piece of garbage, painfully miscast, and with Jack Nicholson giving the single worst performance of his long career.

Josh

Name: Blake Eckard
E-mail:

Josh,

Wondering if you've ever seen the movie "Out of the Blue," which was directed by Dennis Hopper in the early 80's? Linda Manz stared in it, and for my money, was spectactular. The film really haunted me, and I was reminded of the discussion here several months ago about distrurbing movies...This is really one of them. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.

My attempted film project with free Panivision cameras is still rolling along. I'm spending all my time trying turn a one-page idea into a good, structured story. It's very hard to do, but is something I've done ever since reading your structure essays several years ago. As for yourself, you've gotta make another film. Couldn't you get free access to cameras owned by some college near you? There are cameras (and all kinds of editing
facilities) all over the place. You could shoot something piece-meal and have a feature in the can within a year, and probably not spend a dime on anything other than film stock. That's a very optimistic scenario, I understand, but there's always a way. You need to continue to build up a slate of movies. Sooner or later...Robert Altman was in his 40's before he directed "M*A*S*H."

Have a good one.

Blake

Dear Blake:

I hope that your film comes to fruition. And I thank you for the inspiration. I've got a few irons in the fire right now, and I'm barreling through the writing of a new script. I've actually written the whole thing and am just basically typing it now. This is the first script I've written in four years, and it feels good. Sadly, I have no idea who to show it to regarding getting it made, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Josh

Name: Pilalidis George
E-mail: AGAMEMMNON@MSN.COM

Dear Josh:

-Pella is the city where born ALEXANDER and i'ts a litle city between Thessaloniki and Edessa,and on the legs of neu pella ar the ruins of ALEXANDERS PALLAST AND ONE MUSEUM. there is only one Macedonia on the Balkania and this is in Greece.And abaut Wuppertal the Germans they think they ar in Greece when they come in Wuppertal because only in this city are so many cafeterias in Greek stile. my favorite rock albums was and are PINK FLOYT ALL-YES- EMERSON LIKE AND PALMER -A GERMAN BAND NECKTAR -GENESIS WITH PETER GABRIEL-LED ZEPELIN- BLACK SABBATH -URIAH HEEP- RAINBOW -SWEET-ALLAN PARSONS THE FIRST 3-QUEN- FROM THE NEU WEVE OF BRITISCH HEAVY METAL IRON MAIDEN -HEELOWWEN-GARY MOORE- VIRGIN STEEL(DAVID DEFEIS IS FOR ME THE MONDERN HOMER)AND MANY MANY OTHER BANDS ELVIS WAS AND GOING TO BE FOR EVER THE KING OF ROCK AND ROOOLLLLL.long live rock and rol; i hope sam give to Spinderman 2 some more mysterium long live Stan the man Lee HE IS THE MASTER OF FANTASY I REMEMBER THIS WORTS:FROM THE FANTASTIC FOUR Nr 338( I DON'T REMEMBER EXACTLY)(AN OLD LEGEND GOING TO BY TRUH FAR UWAY BYOND THE STARS WILL COME THE UNI MINDE TO CONQWERE THE UNIVERS:I THINK THAT AVI ARAD KNOW THE REST. HE MAKE A GOOD WORK.GEORGE

Dear George:

I see. Near Giannitsa and the Vardar River. And I understand there being a Greek area of town, here in Detroit it is uniquely called Greektown, one of the few spots in downtown Detroit that has remained lively. They now have a casino there, too, imaginatively called The Greektown Casino. And I agree, long live rock & roll!

Josh

Name: John Hunt
E-mail: Chowkidar@aol.com

Josh,

My experience with you through this site suggests that you prefer two-sided conversations so long as both sides are well thought out. On that assumption I thought I'd respond to your "Religion is Evil" essay.

I should mention that I was raised Catholic and, while I have studied other religions my perspective is deepest from the Catholic perspective. I should also say that I share many of your rejections of Catholic teachings. I feel that, given the influence the Catholic Church has in sub-saharan Africa, to preach against the use of condoms is criminal. If you fail to warn someone that the glass contains poison you are culpable in that person's death. It might actually be the best idea for everyone to live in stable, monogamous relationships but that is clearly not the reality, not in the West and certainly not in the developing world. "Every sperm is sacred" because, in theory, every sperm represents half of a potential life. Science has demonstrated that every skin cell represent a potential human life but the Church hasn't taken a stand against dandruff. I think the Church exceeds its competence in these and many other areas.

"Religion is evil", though; in fact "...the basis of nearly all that's evil on our lovely planet," with that I have to take exception. If religion were in fact no more than the opiate of the masses that would be enough to justify its existence. I know you are aware, as few enough of us are, how horrid life has been for the vast majority of people who have ever lived. Until a few hundred years ago the average person lived perhaps thirty-five years before dying of a hideous disease, one which likely wiped out his or her family and community as well. Not only did the individual die, he or she died knowing that much of what they had known was lost as well. And the thirty-five years they had were horrid. People today tend to forget that slavery has been the norm in history for almost all peoples, not the exception. My Eastern European ancestors were "emancipated" after Blacks in America, in some instances thirty years after. That doesn't invalidate the suffering of black slaves, but their suffering was neither unique nor unusual, even if it was characterised. My wife is a doctor who deals with people who are dying. She gives people opiates knowing the drugs will not save or even extend the person's life. If religion had performed only that role it would have a tremendous humanitarian value.

But has that been religion's sole contribution? Again, even if one assumes that religion is false, the answer is "no". Slavery is one area where the contribution of religion is crucial. The insistence of the non-conformist sects on the equality of the soul gave direct rise to the abolitionist movement. Consider that nowhere before the seventeenth century had anyone ever concluded that slavery per se was wrong. Slavery for me or my family might be wrong, but no one had ever said that slavery as an institution should end. The justification for ending slavery was a religious justification, one that is even now only partially secularised. "All men are created equal" and other such sentiments clearly reflect a belief in an external standard which requires faith. There is no philoshophy, even today, which does not derive or answer religion. The emancipation of women derives its validity through the same provenance.

You posit that religions are, in their essence, divisive. "We're the chosen people and you're not," is how you put it. I would call your attention to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, sections 839 through 843, as these are statements about the position of the Church and not dogmatic pronouncements as such. The sections state quite clearly the Catholic Church's position that those outside of the Catholic Church are not outside the grace and salvation (I don't know a good non-religious term to
substitute) of God. While people may be external to the Catholic Church, no one in any walk of life is external to God's love, plans, salvation. I know how sappy that sounds but I'm trying to summarize and I think these terms are familiar enough to convey the gist of the sections. It is not true in the Catholic Church that "...someone's always got to be wrong." At least not in theory. Only God is right and everyone else depends upon him (the pronoun being a convention, not a statement of gender).

You talk about religious killing. According to the Catechism, there are two circumstances where killing is justified. One is where your life is in danger and the other (self-defense) the other when the lives of those dependent upon you are in danger (defense of family, etc.). All defense must involve the minimum necessary force. That may mean mortal force. Under no other circumstances is killing condoned; not for conversion, not for comfort and not for emotional satisfaction of any sort. Again, this may not always have been adhered to but it is the official position of the Church. Can you name the last Holy War of the Catholic Church? That I can think of it was the Jacobine insurrection of 1745, though I could be mistaken. The Catholic Church has been involved in other wars since, but they were not wars of conversion.

You attack tradition. Certainly tradition which cannot stand up to scrutiny needs to be discontinued. I assume you are familiar with Will and Ariel Durant. Life-long historians, socialists and atheists, they nonetheless expounded the value of tradition. That which stands up under scrutiny, they said, becomes tradition and remains so until it can no longer stand. One of the traditions of the Catholic Church is scientific method, dating from the thirteenth century and the writing of Thomas Aquinas. He asserted that no religious truth would ever be countered by scientific discovery and that is the Church's official position today. Where science contradicts the Church's understanding of revealed truth, the Church must give way because there is only one truth. The Catholic Church says that one need never have heard of Christianity to figure this truth out. God's entire plan for the world can be figured out by observing the universe and applying reason. This is true, says the Church, because man's reason is in the image of the reason of God.

Something I think many people forget is that all of the major religions of the world developed in an agrarian, illiterate time and their structures reflect that, Islam being the closest thing to an exception. Industrialization, even in the went, is still in most areas less than two-hundred years old. Vatican II was an attempt to deal with modernity but the impetus of two-thousand years multiplied by one-billion people takes a lot to shift.

Finally you mention priests raping children for over a hundred years. I imagine it has been going on for over a two-thousand years and will continue as long as priests are drawn from the pool of humans. It is difficult for many to understand, but the misdeeds of the Church have nothing to do with its mission. Police officers have been convicted of crimes ranging from racketeering to murder, but no one seriously suggests abandoning the rule of law. The idea of the rule of law is greater than those who fail to uphold that idea. In the same way the ideals of the Church are greater than those who fail to live up to them. That is not to say that there is no culpability for the institution of the Church. But your article did not address institutions, it addressed religion in its essence, as an concept. The Catholic Church is easily as flawed as any other human institution, worse than quite a few. I think it fosters an atmosphere which makes the priesthood attractive to men with severe sexual dysfunctions. I think its rejection of homosexuality is based on a false premise; that homosexuality is a choice. As far as I'm concerned telling a homosexual person not to experience a loving relationship is like telling a tall person not to reach for things on the top shelf. homosexuality is in most cases like height; a fact of birth rather than some arbitrary choice. But these are institutional problems with the people of the Church and not the Church itself. The majority of the people I know in the Church are good, decent people (priests included) more prone than those not involved to help people in need. They are far more truly "The Church" and therefor "religion" in the abstract sense than any official no matter how highly placed.

Before I finish I do want to mention that I AM AN AGNOSTIC. I would completely abandon the notion of God were it not for quantum mechanics. I am not the person to defend the BELIEFS of religion; I am no apologist. I did want to be fair to those who do believe, however, because I think most of them deserve more than the condemnation they recieve in your article.

Thanks as always,

John

Dear John:

Abolitionism and women's rights did not come out of the church, nor did the constitution, nor did the Bill of Rights. We conveniently like to foget that most of the founding fathers, as well as Abraham Lincoln, were Athiests. This country was started by people running away from the church, as well as Dutch traders. religion may very well have been a factor in civilizing humanity, and may very well have been one step better than pure barbarism, but that's about it. Catholisism brought us the Dark Ages, and Islam turned against knowledge in the 1300s. I say that none of these religions have any use in the 21st century for anything other than making the world a worse place to live in. That you believe that religion being an "opiate of the masses" is a good thing I must take exception with. People need to think, to figure out why we're here, and what we mean in regard to other people, and religion not only doesn't help, it hurts. Everybody in every religion feels that they are superior to all the other religions. The Catholics are saying that if you haven't taken communion, you're not going to heaven. Baptists say you must be baptized or you're screwed. Jews say you have to be born a Jew or you're boned. Muslims say you must accept Allah or you're an infidel. Everything else in religion is rationale, tradition, and lies. Priests, Rabbis, Mullahs, Ministers and all of the other "holy" men haven't got one shred more knowledge about why we humans are here or what the point of life is than anybody else, or any bird, or any ant. And pretending that they do is a lie. And lying is evil. The reason I chose one hundred years for how long Catholic priests have been raping young boys is not arbitrary. It was just about a hundred years ago that the Vatican banned women from the Catholic choirs because the priests kept having affairs with them. So, in the Vatican's infinite wisdom, they replaced the grown women with underage boys. This not only didn't stop priests from having sex with the choir members, it increased it. Because, as you pointed out, men that are drawn to the priesthood are generally those with sexual dysfunction and confusion. They'd really like to go to the nearest gay bar and have fun, but their religious upbringing makes them feel so guilty and like such sinners that they instead go into the church. I think all priests would be better off getting down and funky at the Cock Ring.

Josh

Name: Pilalidis George
E-mail: AGAMEMMNON@MSN.COM

Dear Josh:

Sory Josh.I born in Exaplatanos PELLAS 50 km from sity Pella where born ALEXANDER THE GREAT. I cam 1968 to Germany with my mother after the deth of my father, and i stay 10 years in Mainz. abaout 35 km from Frankfurt am main when i was 18 years old i go to Greece(with 5 big kartons ful of marvel comics and 300 Rock albums ,ha ha ha) to the army and when i was 21 years i start to work with a truck. and so one day, after 15 years i go in ARAD??? Romania i stay 7 years there(my wive is from there) i have try to do something there. i have open one company with Fruht import from Greece, but this country have very bad economi. so then i cam in 42275 Wuppertal(this is the only City in the world where have a kind of train, hanging in the air) not far away from KÖLN. Here live 12.000 Hellenen and in one plase are 10 cafeterie the Germans say if wie don't go in Greece for holidays then we go in Wuppertal,if you send mi one adress i sand you a postkarte.you don't need to answere mi in this pagine with you adress, and i promise to not give you adress to any one.George

Dear George:

I know that Alexander the Great was Macedonian, but I can't find Pella or Pellas in Macedonia, Greece, Albania, Yugoslavia or Bulgaria. Where is it? I did find Wuppertal, though, north of Koln and east of Dusseldorf (sorry, I can't make umlauts). I'm having a little bit of trouble understanding you -- although your English is much better than my German or Greek -- are you saying the Germans won't let the Greeks into certain restaurants? And just out of curiosity, what were your favorites of those 300 rock albums?

Josh

Name: Ben
E-mail: bendab02

Josh,

The 1969 Vatican council wasn't primarily (I'm not even sure if it was at all) an issue of exonerating the Jews. It was more about making Catholicism just like every other religion, and that's where Catholic Traditionalists find their qualms. In any case, every movie I've ever seen clearly depict the Romans as the judges and executioners of Christ, and as it turned out, the Jews didn't believe He was God. So why do I keep hearing about the issue of "blaming Jews for the Crucifixion"? It seems like everyone's panties are in a bunch (including yours) because they think that any story portraying the death of Christ is anti-semitic. Well, that's what happened, right? The Jews were up in arms and the Romans crucified Him to keep peace? Tell me if I'm wrong. In any case, it's not a matter of blame, it's a matter of who did what. I know it sounds silly, but so do people who are offended by these types of movies for these reasons.

In Africa, AIDS may be on the rise, or whatever you said about it, but the Catholic church doesn't, in essence, approve of the spread of AIDS. It can't say, Well if you're going to fornicate, then use condoms. The point is to employ some SHRED of morality when dealing with sexuality. Not just in Africa, but in the entire world, humankind has devolved into a bunch of selfish animals, and the God they all worship is sexuality. The world is ruled by it, and it's crumbling because of it. I don't know where you find your Traditionalist facts, but not a single Traditional Catholic I know is worse off for it. They are mostly happy and selfless people, who raise their children dutifully, and without any of them starving to death. A happy family is bred under Catholicism.

It's sad that celibacy of priests is attacked because of the problem with pedophilia. Who should be attacked are the sickos who molest children, and who don't know enough to get a hooker in private than to take advantage of kids. They're sick people, no doubt, but it isn't the celibacy that drives them to it. There are other ways to get your rocks off.

In addition, I'm sure that many of the cases involve kids that are much older than the opposition lets on. But the attackers of the Catholic faith are very careful not to attack homosexuality, but rather to make every case sound more like pedophilia.

The Catholic faith seems outdated. People mock the sacrament of confession, but more and more, people are blowing their heads off because they can't deal with the world, or more often, a sin they have committed and can't forgive themself for.

Modesty is looked down upon, but we live in a world where women invite disrespect, which leads to more impurity and more crime. All over the world men and women are splitting up because they are so ruled by their animal insticts, that they can't stop looking at other women or men, and they can't stop their selfishness. Children are fucked up, and it's all because parents don't raise their children anymore. More accurately, there are no parents anymore.

While I'm at it, you might want to apply your rules of structure to your essays as well. They're no so much essays as they are unorganized rants. And there's very little fact. Me, my parents, all my Catholic friends, the sisters in the convents, and all the priests, know and fully accept that Christ was a Jew. I'm not sure where you come off saying otherwise. But He began the Catholic church. If He was alive today, for argument's sake, He would not go to a synagogue.

What just popped into my head is this question: Why are people always bitching that we blame the Jews for killing Christ, when people, especially the Jews, should complain that they supported the execution of a blasphemer, or simply a man who wanted to rule earth and heaven?

Take care,
Ben

Dear Ben:

Yes, many of my essay are just rants, and "Religion is Evil" is certainly one of them. To say that Jesus started the Catholic church is, should I say, a big leap of faith. And I don't give a shit who killed Jesus, I was just responding to the articles coming out about Mel Gibson's "The Passion," and the "controvery" that it's engendering. It's clear that the Catholic Traditionalists have a problem with who killed Jesus, not me. Your little rationale about the Catholic church's inability to support the use of condoms in a place ravaged by AIDS is at the heart of why religion really is evil -- why shouldn't people there use condoms? Because they just shouldn't, because the church says so. To come up with a lame response like they should "employ some SHRED of morality when dealing with sexuality" answers nothing and doesn't deal with the issue. Humans and all the rest of the mammals fuck, sometimes to make babies, other times just for the heck of it. Fucking does not have to be limited to what the Catholic church says it has to be, nor will it ever be. Morality is in the mind of the beholder. Using condoms is a MUCH better idea than not using them, particularly where there is a high incidence of sexually transmitted diseases. That the Catholic church is against this is simply because it's evil, trying to make the world a worse place than it already is. Now, let's deal with your next argument:

"It's sad that celibacy of priests is attacked because of the problem with pedophilia. Who should be attacked are the sickos who molest children, and who don't know enough to get a hooker in private than to take advantage of kids. They're sick people, no doubt, but it isn't the celibacy that drives them to it. There are other ways to get your rocks off."

Are you trying to say that the Catholic priests who molest young boys are not the "sickos"? That's who we're talking about. The priests are the sickos, and there have been thousands of reported cases of child molestation by Catholic priests. Not tens, not hundreds, but thousands. And those are the reported cases. I'd say it's more like tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands if we knew the full extent of it. And how do you know that celibacy doesn't cause it? Using your own argument that the solution to child molestation is "get a hooker in private," well priests aren't allowed to do that, right? They supposed to be celibate, which Aldous Huxley termed the worst of all sexual perversions. So, since they're not allowed to go get a hooker in private, the next best thing is young boys that don't know any better. I'm asking you, if you can't fuck hookers or little boys, and masturbation is a sin, too, then how do you "get your rocks off"? Praying to the false blond-haired blue-eyed image of the Semitic Jesus? If you pray hard enough do you actually come?

Your final argument makes no sense at all:

"What just popped into my head is this question: Why are people always bitching that we blame the Jews for killing Christ, when people, especially the Jews, should complain that they supported the execution of a blasphemer, or simply a man who wanted to rule earth and heaven?"

Jews should complain that they supported the execution of a blasphemer? Why? Given the state of society 2,000 years ago, why complain about that? He was a blasphemer, so they executed him. What's the problem? The Catholics felt that all of the Muslims were blasphemers and killed as many of them as humanly possible during the crusades, have we got a problem with that now? No. If your life is commanded by the evils of religion, then if someone is a blasphemer of course you should execute them. That's what religion is all about, get with the program.

Josh

Name: Dylan S.
E-mail:

Hello Josh,

First off, I wanted to tell you that I listened to the entire Omniversica radio program that you participated in recently and found it to be a vastly entertaining conversation.

How wonderful that "The Magnificent Ambersons" is your 'desert island' film. I have a question, have you heard the 1991 re-recording of Bernard Herrmann's complete original "Ambersons" score? As I'm sure you know, more than half of his score was deleted from the final film. If you are a Herrmann fan and familiar with his Ambersons theme (for you, and myself, that that would likely be from watching the film many times), listening to the entire score is an immensely moving experiance (especially Herrmann's music for the deleted Boardinghouse ending, a cue that concludes with the main Ambersons theme somberly played on a vibraphone). The CD is out of print, but if you have heard it, I was wondering what you thought of his entire score (as I'm sure you know, the music at the end of the final film was composed by Roy Webb who didn't utilize Herrmann's theme)?

One more question, have you read the Herrmann biography "A Heart at Fire's Center" by Steven C. Smith?

Best Regards,
Dylan

Dear Dylan:

No, I haven't read the book, nor have I heard the complete "Ambersons" score, although I certainly would like to. I do have a good documentary about Herrmann on video tape. Unlike everybody else in the world, I think "The Magnificent Ambersons" is just the right length. The ending blows, but it doesn't matter to me, because I think the real ending his Georgie getting run over, and the scene before where Georgie is praying and Welles intones, "Georgie got his come-uppance, three times filled and running over, and no one was there to see it." On a narrative level I'm entirely fulfilled. Major Amberson sitting by the fire and trying one last time to figure out the meaning of life before he dies moves me every single time. ". . . It's got to be the sun. The Earth came out of the sun, and we came out of the Earth . . ." and it slowly fades out.

Josh

Name: tom via
E-mail:

Dear Josh:

"Reservoir Dogs," it's stupid, illogical and violent strictly for the sake of seeking attention

whats illogical about reservoir dogs

Dear Tom:

You pull a heist where everything goes wrong, a cop is killed, and you know you've got a rat within your group -- so everyone goes back to a warehouse and stands there for two hours waiting for the cops to arrive and arrest them. That's a completely illogical, stupid plot.

Josh


BACK TO Main Archive Page

BACK TO Current Q&A




Click Here To Submit Your Questions or Comments



BECKERFILMS SITE MENU

[ Main ]  [ Film & TV Work ]  [ Screenplays ]  [ Old Stuff ]
[
Reviews ]  [ Articles, Essays & Stories ]  [ Ask the Director ] 
[
Favorite Films ]  [ Scrapbook ]  [ Links (& Afterword) ]  [ Web Team ]

This site is the property of Josh Becker Copyright © 2003 Panoramic Pictures, All Rights Reserved.
Panoramic Pictures Logo