Dogma-tic Discussions

I just finished running through the reviews of Dogma on Amazon. Interesting to read why people didn’t like it. It seems that most of them thought it wasn’t funny enough (there weren’t enough dick-sucking jokes ala Clerks and too much attention to discussing… religious dogma).

It disappopints me when I read things like “as a PhD.” and then the reviewer explains how he didn’t get it. One, the reviewer needs to grow up and stop touting his doctorate and, two, needs to stop looking at things through the academic lens. Yes, some movies and films are designed to be looked at in that critical light. Others, like Dogma, wear their message on their sleeves and are very open about it. Still others (like Snatch) even tell you, a couple of times, not “to think about it.”

Dogma is a strong movie. Don’t compare it to Life of Brian (that was a political movie, not a religious one). One has to pay attention to what is being talked about (especially to what Rufus and the Metatron say) and then you’ll understand what Smith is saying. The movie isn’t great art (it’s good), but it also isn’t some sort of Satanist, heathen movie designed to drag your kids to Hell. This is a movie designed to make you think about your spirituality (not your religion, as those two things are typically two separate things) and your faith. it comes down to: critcally questioning things handed down to you by authority means you’re taking an interest, but it doesn’t mean that you are buying everything said.

I would have to imagine She approves.

How does one deal with a problem like my father?

I should explain the problem is the relationship with my father, not that my father himself is a problem.

Liza and I went to my aunt and uncle last night (my aunt is my father’s older sister and only sibling). It was the first time in years that I’ve seen them (the stress of the relationship, or lack thereof, with my father has caused my sister and me to drift from his side of the family). I learned a few things about my father — my stepmother’s name, and I suspect she’s not too much older than me (within ten years, I’m sure), and my baby brother is about to become a big brother himself (making me a big brother three times over; and, according to my aunt and uncle, my father is happy).

Now, I could rail against the injustice of it all, explode in a fit of anger exceeding all of my outbursts from the past. I could attack my father for not being a father and a parent to my sister and me, yet he has decided to have a second family and give my brother and possible brother or sister the attention he did not give my sister and me.

I could very easily fall into that frame of mind.

But I won’t.

It’s for one simple reason — I have to accept my father for who and what he is. I know very well he loves us, and that he has had a hard time coming to grips about how to deal with the relationship we had when I was a teenager and my sister was a preteen. The relationship was contentious and competative. I felt I had to constantly prove myself to Dad in order to gain his approval or, adversely, completely not live up to my potential (high school) in order to just gain his attention. I suspect my relationship with him was similar to the relationship he had with his parents — only he had constant contact with them.

So what am I to do?

I have to accept Dad and I will always have differences (which I had to accept about Mom, too — but I had more exposure to her to work those out), and that I may not approve of things he does (and that isn’t to say I disapprove of his marriage of my half-siblings), but he is my father and I’m willing to work with that. I hope he’s willing to work with the fact he’s dealing with an adult (two adults when you add my sister to the equation) and our relationship is going to be intrinsically different than it was when when I was a teenager.

Dad, if you’re reading this: I do love you. We have a lot to work out, but I’m willing to do it if you are. I think we have a lot to offer to one another, and to our respective families considering you will probably be a grandfather in the next five years or so and I have sibilings who’re young enough to be my kids (and, to be fair, you’ve never been the hippest person… maybe I can help with that). We have a chance to repair this. It won’t be easy for any of us, but I think it would be worth the trouble.