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#287: Personal Religulosity, Part One

October 6, 2008

Notes from the Manager

Related Strips: #226: Agree to Disagree?, Part One; #227: Agree to Disagree?, Part Two; #228: Agree to Disagree?, Part Three; #229: Flies, Vinegar, and Honey; #230: Life, the Universe, and Everything; #232: Blind Faith

The sequel no one demanded! This is a three-parter, so come back Wednesday and Friday — or come back next Monday if you hated the Expelled strips, because this is, in some ways, more of that.

Bill Maher's Religulous (now out in limited release) is actually very funny for the first hour or so, until it turns its attention to Islam, where Maher loses almost all of humor and levity that was so pervasive in the first hour (even to a fault, occasionally). Then he caps it off with a heavy-handed anti-religious diatribe that feels both unnecessary and poorly fit with the rest of the movie.

The funny parts and the legitimately thought-provoking parts still make it very much worth seeing, I think, but it is disappointing that he doesn't really give religion a fair chance to refute his main point: that religion is inherently ridiculous and harmful to society. He interviews no theologians and no Biblical scholars. Perhaps the layman's religious beliefs are really more relevant than those of a scholar, but it's a perspective he doesn't even consider. It's worth noting that he did contact a few real authorities at a few churches (i.e., the Pope and the head of the Mormons), but was refused interviews with them.

Of the people in the film, only a handful — of any religion — come off as particularly sane, and even one of them (a senior Vatican priest) is a bit nutty. The all-too-brief highlight of the film, for me, was the chat with the Vatican astronomer, who comments about the (so-called) "literal" interpretations of the Old Testament and decries the fundamentalist insistence on using the Bible as a scientific text. I would be eager to see a film really examine just that point alone for two hours.

Complaints from some people that Maher and director Larry Charles (Borat) edited his interviewees come off as crazier than they really are is a cop-out, however: he doesn't really bait anybody into saying or doing anything. He asks questions, and they answer. He does make fun of more than a few of them to their face, but the words coming out of some of their mouths is impossible to explain away by baiting. (Even if he did bait them, they still said it.) The nutty religious people on-screen really do believe what they're saying, and these people really do exist. In mass numbers.

Anyway.


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Multiplex is taking a short break.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Longtime readers of the strip know I don’t just stop updating. Three years of grad school, and I’ve missed maybe one update. But as some of you may know (from Twitter or the Multiplex Facebook page), a friend of mine died in a car crash on Wednesday.

Ryan Love and I went to school together from 3rd grade until graduating high school, and he was probably the one person most responsible for me getting interested in comics. When we were kids, I read all his He-Man mini-comics, because my parents never bought me any of those toys. After I got into comics, he read my DC stuff, and I read his Marvel comics. He bought my comics for me on the sly when my mother banned me from reading them for getting “bad grades.” We co-created a ton of really dumb superheroes together, plus a couple of cool ones.

We drifted a bit after high school — different colleges and just part of growing up and being interested in different things. We kept in touch (not as much as we should have), and when we got together, we mostly talked about comics, he would badger me to join our high school friends’ Fantasy Football League (never going to happen), and we’d argue about something or another. He was great at arguing.

Since I was back in my hometown (Peoria, Illinois) for the Artist and Comic Expo, we had lunch on Monday, two days before he died. I hadn’t seen him in about three years, since the last time I had visited Peoria. This time we talked about comics, Age of Ultron, Game of Thrones, and how we’ve both recently become engaged. He badgered me to join our friends for their annual get-together to watch “the draft.” I think that has something to do with football.

I also gave him a copy of Multiplex: There and Back Again. I inscribed it, “This book is all your fault.”

Even though we didn’t talk nearly as often as we did when we were little, time doesn’t change how much friends meant before, or how much of them was and continues to be a part of you.

Multiplex needs to take a short break while I head back to Peoria to go to his memorial service, and then immediately turn around and head over to Denver Comic Con. Hopefully I’ll find time to work on the strip somewhere in there, but in any event, I’ll start posting new strips in two weeks.

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