Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Talladega Nights, Stereotypes and Religion, Part 2

What bothers me so much about Dr. B and his kind is that they seem to be pushing for a country of like-thinkers and like-believers. This comes closer to the ideas espoused by the very groups we are fighting against, the Islamic fundamentalists and Al Qaeda. I, for one, don’t want to live in a country run by fundamental extremists of any kind. I don’t see the urgency and threat that these pundits seem to feel any more than I feel the urgency and fear generated by all the dire warnings of Bird Flu. I could be wrong, but when I wake up in the morning, over 80 per cent by most accounts of Americans will still be Christian. ABC poll

My big-deal-o-meter went off when I saw the scene in “Talladega Nights” where Ricky Bobby prays to the “little baby Jesus” before the family’s fast-food meal. I knew some would get their feathers ruffled, and there’s a lot in this movie to ruffle feathers. You know about religion in the South, though. Dr. B, I don’t think this is a stereotype. There’s praying before meals, praying before meetings, praying at church Sundays and Wednesdays, praying for the sick and unsaved. I’d say Southerners pray at least 10 percent of the time, more during football season, and they don’t care who cares or not. I’m fine with prayer and appreciate the ladies’ Sunday school classes all across the country that prayed for me when I was sick. I just care when it becomes official. Look to the Middle East. Do you really want official religion?

I grew up with my mother dragging me to the Baptist church every Sunday. She, however, taught me that the two things you didn’t talk about with strangers were politics and religion. And now, we can’t stop talking about politics and religion, and I don’t think it’s improved one blasted thing. Quite the opposite. We have become so focused on our differences that we can’t see how much we are alike. As Rodney King asked, “People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?” who he is for those who slept through the early '90s

Lighten up Dr. B. This was a comedy, and I think Christianity will suffer no damage in the long run. And all of the white Southern men I know are big enough to take a little ribbing. For the life of me, I can’t see this movie as an assault on American masculinity. If anything, I’m surprised the fop stereotype of the homosexual character doesn’t have the gay community up in arms. Real men will be okay. Now, ask me if I have a problem with the stereotypes and the way old people are treated, and I’ll be right there.


quakerdave said...

My problem is that I'm not sure that American Christianity can survive the likes of "Dr." Baehr and his fundamentalist/Talibanesque ilk...

Sheila said...

Well, thanks quakerdave for your comments.

I got tired of these pundits like Ted Baehr and decided I could spout off too. I can even call myself "Dr." too since I have a Juris Doctor (JD '79, the University of Alabama School of Law). I may be assuming too much, but I thought his degree was from law school and we law school grads don't typically refer to ourselves as "Doctor." If it gives me more credibility, you may call me "Dr." Sheila.

As I said, fundamentalism and moral absolutism is scaring
me. But I hold hope that people will see the light.