Believe it or not, as I begin to get ready for the Papal Conclave–yep, Super Bowl-like preparation except with less beer–I’ve been thinking about fanaticism in the name of God.
I love the trajectory of the Church under JP2 and B16 but I wonder if the dark forces, using fanatics as proxies, will be successful in derailing their work. Am I suggesting that the Conclave will be infiltrated by evil? Not at all. But can evil disguise and exercise its influence in some other way? To an unsuspecting but powerful dupe? Always a possibility. Let’s see how events unfold.
I’ve talked before about my foray into screenwriting. Creative process – good. Earning no money – bad. Most recently, an acquaintance volunteered to send my latest spec screenplay to someone who might be helpful. It deals with fanaticism. So far, I haven’t heard anything in reply. Not surprising. I’ve reached out before without results. Add to that, I just read an article in Vanity Fair that talked about the state of affairs for spec scripts (a speculative script is not owned or commissioned by a studio). Not good.
So, I’m reminded of a time, not so long ago …
My beautiful, perfect dog made me smile today; as she does every day. I lay on the couch reading about Mao. There’s a piece of work. One man, a classic megalomaniac, responsible for seventy million dead Chinese. I wonder what his tombstone reads.
Lani came over and put her paw on my chest. Can I ask you a favor?
“Hey kid, of course you can.”
How many teats do I have?
“What? How should I know?”
Make a guess.
Dogs have anywhere from six to ten. I have eight.
So I only want you to check for ticks in daylight hours.
“What’s wrong with midnight and a 4,000 watt searchlight?”
Because sometimes you have a beer or two in the evening.
I don’t think you know the difference between a tick and a teat. Three nights ago, you had me on my back, legs splayed, tweezers in one hand, a needle in the other, and you were convinced you found a tick. Somewhat bewildering since you didn’t have your glasses on.
“Sure felt like one.”
And you would have found others just like it neatly arranged on my tummy like the cylinder heads of a V8.
“But I figured it out.”
Because you saw the panic in my eyes. So, do we have a deal?
“Whatever. I wasn’t happy with the needle anyway. Damn near brought out the electric carving knife.”
Lani may be the best dog in the universe. Difficult to prove, I agree, but without exception, everyone who meets her falls in love. I don’t think I would be exaggerating to say that my friends like her more than me. She has a peaceful demeanor, emanates total sweetness and has never had an aggressive moment in her life. To boot, she’s polite. She’s like a little canine Gandhi.
The great depression-era champion stallion Seabiscuit was famous for his love of running and competitive spirit. Lani has similar characteristics. When we go for a walk, she’s always running and bouncing along with her favorite rope toy in her mouth. I walk my somewhat linear route while Lani does her ellipses and after a few of these she stops in front of me and drops her toy.
Throw it Pop, c’mon, a hundred times, a thousand. I don’t care. Just hurry! I’m gonna explode! (Talk about fanaticism.)
She absolutely cracks me up and when I watch her run, my heart skips along with her. What a blessing.
It just so happens that I wrote a priest this morning asking for his help. I don’t expect a reply because he’s nationally known and probably has someone else read his emails. I wanted Father’s help in finding an advocate for my screenplay The End of Man. Hollywood and screenwriting still has appeal even though I wasn’t able to make a living after the last go-round. Which makes me a masochist. The exercise of writing and marketing a script remains disheartening yet star-crossed scribes will never be in short supply.
Did you have any Hollywood moments?
“A few. I was dating a movie star and we went to a premiere. An Arnold Schwarzenegger movie if I recall correctly. The whole red carpet thing. None of the reporters and paparazzi knew who I was. And I didn’t tell them. The next morning it was reported in the national news that the movie star’s mystery date was some hotshot Beverly Hills guy named Herb Goldfarb.”
Did he exist?
“Not that I’m aware. But for fifteen minutes, I was a famous Jew.”
I wrote a big picture, broad audience film that deals with important issues of our time. The main issue is religious fanaticism, as the villain is terribly misguided due to her warped perspective of Scripture and her understanding of God. We see this fanaticism in today’s world in all faiths and I’m not afraid to show an alleged Christian in a bad light.
The hero, as a balance to this fanaticism, is spiritually bankrupt in the beginning, but develops a spiritual awareness as the plot progresses. He encounters the genius of God, and ultimately sees the value in religious faith. The important point is that in the end, he believes. By the way, I was dropping Catholic hints all over the place.
The story deals with the discovery of life in the cosmos, which has religious ramifications. Fundamentalists might have a difficult time accepting this because it would turn their world upside down. As for oil, murder and geopolitical intrigue, I incorporated these plot elements due to their relevance in today’s world.
Contemporary events such as sky-high gas prices, the search for life on Mars, wars (a lot of people have died for the bedfellows of national security and oil), Middle East dependence, economic turmoil, political doublespeak and the like greatly influenced my screenplay. As a fan of smart, sophisticated movies that are rarely produced, and someone who wants to see much more of God in our culture, this is the kind of movie I would want to see.
So what do you want to do? I could probably play if you’re up for it.
“That’s big of you. So I guess de-worming is out.”
Until the end of time. And then I’ll fetch for Jesus.