Funny…The One True God
August 11, 2020 by

I guess what I am asking, in this justifiably sensitive world, is that people consider the source when deciding whether it’s ok to laugh at something. It really does matter who’s making the joke. Yes, there’s a lot of shit that needs correcting in this country, and we shouldn’t let up for a moment in working toward a better world. But not everyone who tries to make a joke is a bad person, and no one is funny every time. That’s just a fact.

‘Extra Ordinary’: Fantastic Phantasm Fun
June 5, 2020 by

Extra Ordinary, a gloriously amusing Irish romantic comedy about the supernatural, begins with the obligatory, winking tagline “Based on a true story.” The ghost hunting genre is both ripe for satire and difficult to satirize effectively because it’s so self-evidently silly. From Ghostbusters to the Wayans brothers’ A Haunted House (2013) to the Scary Movie …

El Cine Chupacabra! The Hispanic Vampire in Film
May 6, 2020 by

Of all the world’s cryptozoological curiosities I like the chupacabra the most. I’ve researched Bigfoot, Champ (the lake monster in Lake Champlain), along with Mothman, Lizard Man, the Kraken, and myriad monsters over my career. But the chupacabra is my favorite; I spent five years investigating and writing a book on the beast (Tracking the …

‘Birds of Prey’ Misogyny: When Clickbait Harms Women
March 9, 2020 by

Recently a headline widely shared on social media decried poor reviews of the new film Birds of Prey and blamed it on male film critics hating the film for real or perceived feminist messages (and/or skewed expectations; it’s not clear). The article, by Sergio Pereira, was headlined “Birds of Prey: Most of the Negative Reviews …

Neil Peart, Skeptic
January 17, 2020 by

Last week Neil Peart, the drummer and main lyricist for the rock band Rush, died. He’d been living in California and privately battled brain cancer for several years. The Canadian trio (Alex Lifeson on guitar, Geddy Lee on vocals, bass, and keyboards, and Neil Peart on drums) announced they’d stopped touring in 2015, after 40 …

The Lighthouse: A Fog of Madness and Superstition
November 12, 2019 by

The new genre-bending film The Lighthouse is hard to describe. I’ve seen it mentioned as everything from a horror film to a dark comedy to a psychological thriller. I can’t really tell you what it is, but I can tell you what it’s about, and why you should see it. The basics are pretty straightforward: …

Good Omens, Bad Dogma
June 25, 2019 by

The effort to quash this series was great for TV, great for atheism, and great for America for the following reasons:

1. Uhh… Nexflix did not produce or air Good Omens. Amazon Prime did. So their original petition with 20,000 names on it was, at least initially, an embarrassing waste of time.

2. Christians still haven’t learned from past boycotts. The best way to heap tons of publicity on a creative endeavor is to protest it and boycott it! Martin Scorcese’s The Last Temptation of Christ, Robert Maplethorpe’s photography, and countless authors have benefitted from church prohibitions of their work. People instinctively flock to see what all the hubbub is about – which is a great boost in this age of media oversaturation.

C. If overzealous Christians are spending their time on TV shows, maybe they’ll have less time to try to tell a woman what to do with her body, fight environmental progress, or any number of harms they do to civilized society.

The Prodigy: A Skeptical Film Review
February 18, 2019 by

The new horror film The Prodigy is about an evil child, and therefore follows a fairly predictable formula. The kid starts as a bundle of joy, then bad things happen but no one wants to believe the child did them, then the terror escalates as a parent or caregiver discovers a horrifying secret that leads …

9 Circles of Atheist Hell
January 29, 2019 by

Circle #5

A perpetually non-air-conditioned Catholic church in August in Chicago. You are sentenced to an eternal wedding mass which includes taking communion, doing all the Stations of the Cross, and an interminable homily about the sanctity of marriage from a man who’s never been married and never will. You had to go to confession beforehand, during which the priest recognized your voice and knew you were bullshitting him with venial sins to try to get the confession over with quickly.

The groom’s bachelor party was the night before where you were timed to see how fast you could drink juice glasses full of warm Southern Comfort. In church you notice grass stains on your suit, and 4 of your fingers are swollen. You don’t know whether to puke or pass out.

Circle #6

The L. Ron Hubbard Life Exhibit on Hollywood Blvd. Because you gave the church all your money and can no longer afford housing, you are sentenced to an eternity of talking tourists from Des Moines into forsaking the religion they grew up with by trying to convince them that aliens landed on earth 75 million years ago on modified DC 8 airplanes.

When Tom Cruise arrives (yes, he’s there too) to inspire the workers, you are punished for laughing at his height. They hook you up to an e-meter with a short in the circuitry and shock you until you salute an animatronic L. Ron Hubbard in his navy costume for stints of 10,000 years.

Jesus as fiction, Geraldo vs Bigfoot, Science vs Religion
September 12, 2018 by

How do you shoot 100 episodes of a no-chance search and keep people interested? Remember in 1986 when Geraldo aired The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults. It was a colossal bust, and people were pissed they wasted time watching. Watching 100 episodes of Finding Bigfoot would be like watching Geraldo another 99 times after getting burned the first time.
Is this memory lapse? Masochism?
Why, people? Why?