Gainesville Ramblings

This is a blog, and thus it barely qualifies as writing, let alone formal writing, so I'd not let it bother you.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Pornographers and Born-Again Christians

Two articles I found today point to an interesting contrast in the modern American society.

The first is from the LA Times. It chronicles the life and business of Joe Francis, the founder of Girls Gone Wild!. It’s really quite good, I recommend you read it. You especially have to love an article that begins with:

Joe Francis, the founder of the "Girls Gone Wild" empire, is humiliating me. He has my face pressed against the hood of a car, my arms twisted hard behind my back. He's pushing himself against me, shouting: "This is what they did to me in Panama City!"

Mind you, the author of the article is female, making Joe a stand up guy. She then goes on to describe the business of Girls Gone Wild, and more importantly, the life of a professional soft-core pornographer. It isn't pretty.

A few items of interest about Mr. Francis:

  • He pays his cameramen a $1000 bonus if they find a girl who is turning 18 that night.
  • It seems likely that he raped a girl the night the profile was taking place
  • When the reporter later brought up her rough treatment at Francis' hands, he spread rumors that she had a crush on him, and was spreading these lies to get back at him.
Something else interesting from the article, brought to my attention in the comments section of Francis continuously uses the First Amendment to shield himself from lawsuits, while at the same time threatening to sue anyone who says anything uncomplimentary to him. I find that ironically hilarious, but I doubt Francis has any problems with his positions on free speech.

But luckily, karma catches up with all of us. This is another quote from the article:
In January 2004, as news reports recounted, he was forced at gunpoint to simulate sodomizing himself with a vibrator as an intruder videotaped him in his Bel-Air mansion.

However, the main thing I wanted to point out with this article is that this is a culture where women have no problem pulling up their shirts and taking down their pants so that they can get on camera (and maybe get a free pair of Girls Gone Wild Panties). One girl, when asked if she planned on flashing the camera, said "'If you do it, you do it,' she says confidently.’You can't complain later. It's almost like your 15 minutes of fame.'" Apparently, the end goal of everyone today is to be famous, even if it’s only for the brief portion of the next Girls Gone Wild video.

We now move from BARELY LEGAL TEENS, SHOWING IT ALL FOR YOU!!! to Christians who are complete assholes.

Apparently, in southern Delaware, there are communities that are almost all Christian, and almost all assholes. This article from the New York Times documents the struggles of the lone Orthodox Jew family in Georgetown, DE. When preaching became especially obnoxious in the school system, the mother asked the school board to come up with some guidelines that everyone could live with, this was the response:

A homemaker active in her children’s schools, Mrs. Dobrich said she had asked the board to develop policies that would leave no one feeling excluded because of faith. People booed and rattled signs that read “Jesus Saves,” she recalled. Her son had written a short statement, but he felt so intimidated that his sister read it for him. In his statement, Alex, who was 11 then, said: “I feel bad when kids in my class call me ‘Jew boy.’ I do not want to move away from the house I have lived in forever.”
Later, another speaker turned to Mrs. Dobrich and said, according to several witnesses, “If you want people to stop calling him ‘Jew boy,’ you tell him to give his heart to Jesus.”

Oh, that's not all.

Mrs. Dobrich, who is Orthodox, said that when she was a girl, Christians here had treated her faith with respectful interest. Now, she said, her son was ridiculed in school for wearing his yarmulke. She described a classmate of his drawing a picture of a pathway to heaven for everyone except “Alex the Jew.”

Yeah, this is fun. So is this the state of religion in this country? Are Christians really so full of themselves that they demand that all others of all religions do what they do, otherwise they face being ostracized and receiving threats?

Recently in Gainesville, there have been a bunch of commercials for 'The Rock School.'* They have testimonials of parents talking about how great the school is. The most telling comment in the commercial was one mother saying, "My kids can pray in school. That's invaluable." This perplexes me, for as far as I know, people pray in school all the time. They just can't do it during class. During lunch, in between classes, before and after school, that's fine. Just not when the teacher is teaching and just not in a school-organized system. I fail to see the problem.

So this is the modern America. On one side, you have a millionaire pornographer and the tens of thousands girls who are willing to get naked in exchange for a trucker hat. On the other side, religious fanatics unable to accommodate others who may be different from them. Yeah, I would say that there’s a culture war on.

* I find these commercials (sadly) hilarious for two reasons. The first is that if both parents are on screen giving testimonials, only the husband talks. Only if the woman is by herself does she get a chance to speak. The other reason is that the school mascot is the Lions.


At 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the mother means is that the children are allowed to pray with others who share the same beliefs. It is the same as a parochial school. The parent wants to provide the child with a comfortable school where he or she can pray in a non-judgemental environment. I know, you'll say that the Christians are all judging each other, but I mean non-judgemental in a way of, "Look at the weirdo praying before he eats his Hamburger Helper, let's go kick his ass." It is invaluable for parents who want to instill religious beliefs in their children. :) And the lion...not really sure about that, I'd bet it is because of a Bible story.

At 4:09 PM, Blogger Matt said...

Nothing is stopping students in public school from praying with those who share beliefs. An example from my life:

The high school I went to, Nease High, drew students from a very wealthy, conservative, and religious background. The largest school group was the Fellowship of Christian Atheletes (I think a third of the school attended those meetings). There were at least 15 other Christian extra curricular activities. At least twice a year, right before school started, half the campus gathered around the flag pole to pray in one massive prayer-fest. And while I never really noticed it, I'm sure that there were many people who prayed before lunch.

What I'm saying is Jesus was huge in my school, but I never, never, felt out of place because I didn't go to church (true, I really didn't hang out with alot of people either). This was because there was school time and Jesus time, this was very well seperated, while being able to co-exist in a reasonable manner. Prayer was everywhere. I just don't think alot of people understand that this can happen and it can work.

As for the lions, I was hoping I wouldn't have to spell that out, but basically, I find it funny because in the Roman Empire, Christians were fed to lions in the Coliseiums.

By the way, who are you? I allow anonymous posting, but since so few people read this blog, I don't really think its neccesary to hide your name.


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