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When Your Dog Dies, You Can Bring Him Back to Life

I recommend the innocent fantasy of Frankenweenie on this sad post-election day.

by
Dave Swindle

Bio

November 7, 2012 - 3:30 pm

Last Sunday, after publishing my article on President Barack Obama’s ideological influences, my wife April and I caught a matinee of Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, a traditional family film you shouldn’t miss. Today, having swallowed last night’s bitter pill, I really want to go back and watch it again. The film’s fantasy — to bring your best friend back to life — speaks to a need many of us feel today as we recognize the America of years past no longer exists. We are not a “center-right” nation any more.

The black and white, stop-motion film remakes an early Burton short of Frankenstein reinvented into ’50s suburbia. Clever references to classic horror abound from the visual style to the characters’ names and designs. Victor, Burton’s adolescent alter ego, spends his days shooting amateur monster movies in his back yard with his dog Sparky. He’s an oddball amongst the picket fences and perfect lawns but he has his loving dog and a drive to create.

Then Sparky dies and Victor’s life collapses.

He goes to school, bored and depressed until his science teacher, a Vincent Price-inspired, Martin Landau-voiced Mr. Rzykruski, shows what happens to a dead frog with a few zaps of electricity. This moves Victor to attempt the dog-version of the classic 1931 Frankenstein sequence:


When the hunchbacked Edgar “E.” Gore discovers Victor’s secret of his reanimated dog, he insists they try to replicate the experiment. Soon the method of bringing back dead pets gets out and it’s not long before other monster movie favorites emerge to threaten the town, forcing Victor, Sparky, and the cute Bride of Frankenstein poodle to save the day in typical kids-movie fashion.

 

If only the real life bad guys could be so quickly and easily dispatched. If only the monsters off the screen looked like freaks of nature instead of smooth-talkers trying to seduce women for their “first time.”

With these election results, it’s time to acknowledge, as many on the Right already have, that last night the myth of unified America approximating the 1950s officially died. Sparky lies in the middle of the road, run over by a new Democratic majority unified in pursuit of the four horsemen of sex, race, class, and hate.

If we’re to revive the America that nurtured us all, we must understand what we’ve really lost. From the Huffington Post today:

Initial exit polls — which are expected to change through Wednesday as more results come in — showed a mix bag of support for Obama and Romney among religious voters. Among people who said they attend religious services weekly, for example, exit polls indicated Romney took a significant lead. But among voters who said they attend services “occasionally” or “never,” Obama had large leads.

Remember this story about the rise of the non-religious that came out in October?

For the first time in its history, the United States does not have a Protestant majority, according to a new study. One reason: The number of Americans with no religious affiliation is on the rise.

The percentage of Protestant adults in the U.S. has reached a low of 48 per cent, the first time that Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has reported with certainty that the number has fallen below 50 per cent. The drop has long been anticipated and comes at a time when no Protestants are on the U.S. Supreme Court and the Republicans have their first presidential ticket with no Protestant nominees.

Among the reasons for the change is a spike in the number of American adults who say they have no religion. The Pew study, released Tuesday, found that about 20 per cent of Americans say they have no religious affiliation, an increase from 15 per cent in the last five years.

What lightning strike will resurrect this country? We need to start talking about God in America again.

And I don’t mean my God. I have no interest in converting anyone to my faith. All I want is that others embrace a religion instead of this narcissistic, “spiritual but not religious” garbage that’s so popular in the age of Obama. I’m talking about ethical monotheism in the traditional definition as Dennis Prager explains it on pages 328-335 of Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph.

James Wasserman, in his essay “Goddesses, Guns and Guts” from The Slaves Shall Serve, also argues the point:

Without a belief in a Higher Power to whom one is directly and personally responsible, it is impossible to live as a free man or woman.

The human race requires discipline for its survival. At the most basic and personal level, without the discipline provided by our bone structure, we would collapse into shapeless blobs. On a more complex level, without the right ordering of human desires, society will collapse into a morass of anarchy and violence so often observed in times of crisis.

If God does not exist, then we are responsible to no one but ourselves. Thus we have made ourselves our own god. And simultaneously the slaves of our passions. That’s Obama’s America.

*****

I’ve never put much stock in Tarot cards as a reliable divinatory tool. But sometimes it does seem to deliver prescient messages. I drew this card yesterday. Here’s the meaning courtesy of Acletic Tarot: The Tower. It certainly signals a powerful shake-up that will bring down structures that the querent thought were stable…but really weren’t. And there in lies the trick of the Tower. With that flash of lightning – the insight that illuminates a dark landscape – the truth is revealed. What seemed to be stable is not, and comes crashing down. All that is left is the bare, harsh truth on which something more stable and real can now be built. But the devastation remains. However, what about Reversed? …. The easiest opposite is that there is no shake-up. No flash of lightning, no destruction. The Tower remains standing, the lies remain in place, the truth remains hidden. The querent may breathe out a sigh of relief – he’s gotten off easy. But that’s not necessarily a good thing. The message of the Tower is “The Emperor has no clothes!” but the reversed Tower, in this case, indicates that the querent doesn’t want to hear that, refuses to hear it, refuses to believe it. And lucky for him, no one is going to say it. So everyone maintains the lies, and the status quo goes on. …. The reversed Tower is the card a querent might get if they were trying to reveal the truth about a terrible scam or scandal, but the liars are too powerful and the lightning that should reveal all about them, that should bring them down, will be thrown at the querent instead. The truthful querent will be seen as the liar and, for the moment, they will suffer. They will not be believed and the Tower will remain standing.

***

Related at PJ Lifestyle:

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David Swindle is the associate editor of PJ Media. He writes and edits articles and blog posts on politics, news, culture, religion, and entertainment. He edits the PJ Lifestyle section and the PJ columnists. Contact him at DaveSwindlePJM @ Gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @DaveSwindle. He has worked full-time as a writer, editor, blogger, and New Media troublemaker since 2009, at PJ Media since 2011. He graduated with a degree in English (creative writing emphasis) and political science from Ball State University in 2006. Previously he's also worked as a freelance writer for The Indianapolis Star and the film critic for WTHR.com. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their Siberian Husky puppy Maura.
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