Thursday, October 16, 2008

Religion + Ridiculous

Forgot to mention that Michael and I saw Bill Maher's "Religulous" over the weekend. We both got a kick out of it, although I must say that having grown up completely devoid of any sort of religion, it was undoubtedly a very different experience for me than it was for Mikey, who was an altar boy and even attended a Catholic high school for a year. While Michael watched Maher pick apart and poke fun at things he held sacred, I was actually shocked by some of the things people "believe" and learning all kinds of stuff (I know, god help me if I ever draw Religion as a category on Jeopardy!). Let me back up a bit. My mom witnessed the hypocrisy of the church at a very young age, so other than having her boys baptized ("just in case"), she dropped the subject completely. (In fact, when my sister was born seven years after me, my parents didn't even bother with a christening.) It's probably not that surprisingly then that a couple of us kids ended up exploring (albeit briefly) our own curiosity about religion on own, usually via friends from school. (I think I may have been a Southern Baptist for a while in the early '70s what with all those Hillbilly neighbors we had!) 

Even more hilarious, when my sister starting attending services every weekend with a friend my parents actually grounded her from going to church as punishment for something she'd done to piss them off. (I know.) But back to "Religulous." Maher -- who grew up in church-going Catholic family despite the fact that his mother was Jewish -- has always said that he doesn't need to make fun of religion "because it makes fun of itself." But luckily he he more than willing to break that edict, and the results are often hilarious As I prepared to write this I was going to mention the film's numerous similarities to "Borat," then while looking for a photo to post here I came to realize it actually was directed by the man behind "Borat," Larry Charles, so now I know why. (Warning: Those who cannot handle embarrassment humor should definitely steer clear. Do these people not realize how ridiculous they look?) But I will say, as pompous as Maher can be, he doesn't ever cross a line of telling people they're flat-out wrong about their beliefs. He just tries to drill home the point that it's impossible for anyone to really know if God exists and what religion is "the real deal," but it's very possible for people to destroy one another -- and the world -- fighting about it in the meantime. BTW: This one is definitely one that could wait for home viewing. The big screen adds nothing and, if anything, it's a distraction having watch Maher's weird eye-lid lift on the big screen. Talk about an abomination! 

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