You thought you had seen the last of me? Fuck no. Sit back down and stop clapping, this show ain’t over yet.
Real talk, the fate of this blog was up in the air for a second. Those who know me are aware of my habits, and when I get into something, I want to dive in all the way. Until I realize that I’m in over my head.
This was the case of the short lived thought of running my own podcast. I listen to a lot of Internet radio and figured that was the next logical step from this platform, but after recording two episodes and attempting to edit them for consumption, I realized that if I’m going to say anything on my own, it’s going to be better written than said in the moment. It was an experience that didn’t meet my expectations for what I wanted, but I’m at least glad that I tried it out. If it had worked, I wasn’t sure if I could keep this blog up and running. With that experiment out of my system, however, we’re coming back to write some more shit only I care about and (hopefully) get some other people to laugh at my sense of humor.
So that’s a little update. I’m still hopefully making a podcast, but it’s with some help and won’t necessarily be related to this blog. So we’re back in black and we have some things to talk about, specifically the topics I failed to bring to life on a podcast.
So let’s get to it.
What better way to ease back into the swing of things than with a little movie review, and some extrapolation to boot? Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight is a little heavy on the emotional side, but I’ve been really trying to watch more movies lately.
As an aside, movie watching is a bit of sacred thing for me. I love stories, and I tend to think of movies like theater, like being taken to another world. In short, I take it really seriously, so it’s hard to devote time to sit down and really indulge in the experience. If I go see a movie at the theater, I have to be sure that it’s going to be good or something I can tolerate, I don’t have the time or money to waste on bullshit. Watching shows on TV is nice, but a lot of TV shows have just been disappointing me lately (besides Stranger Things, which is slowly changing my opinion).
So I want to fill in the blanks of the movies that I haven’t been able to see, with whatever travels down to Amazon or Netflix. Thus, I watched Spotlight mostly at work. But rather than just saying what I thought about the movie, since we’re a blog about daydreaming, I think we needs to extrapolate a little more from the things we consume, eh?
So what did we think? It was pretty good, but could have been made better perhaps. The first act is a fucking snore, there can be no denying. It’s just characters meeting one another and introducing us to the players and the hint of a scandal, and it takes a full 33 minutes before things start to pick up and get interesting.
For those who may not be aware, Spotlight is based on the true article that was printed back in 2002 concerning the sexual abuse of children through the Catholic Church out of Boston, and the players involved. As to portraying what happened, I think they did a good job. I suspect they got the facts straight and McCarthy said, “I want to portray this exactly as it happened,” which is why the whole first act is so slow. They wanted authenticity, so it starts with them welcoming a new editor into their newspaper, who’s a bit of an outsider and kind of hard ass. Slowly they work up to uncovering the cover up by the Church, moving around priests to different parishes when they begin to become suspects and the victims begin piling up. It’s pretty riveting stuff when it finally picks up.
There’s not a lot to say for the production of the movie, it’s shot well and directed well and once it gets going, the cover up becomes really interesting and satisfying when they make the huge reveal. So what can a story like this tell us now?
Frankly, the Boston scandal is old news at this point, 2002 is a long time ago. So what is it doing being made in the year 2015?
Well, these kinds of scandals continue, and I suppose that would be the larger point, wouldn’t it? The kind of abuse that was so rampant in Boston and in many US cities has not only continued, it’s thrived. 2015 was an especially eventful year for this kinds of scandals with the previous Pope’s resignation, setting a historical precedent in the Church for a Pope to step down after only a few years and before his own death. The Church was then able to sweep a lot of the things that were happening at the time under the rug of news following Ratzinger’s resignation, and thus, I think it was a bridge that allowed abuse to continue unsupervised in many parishes around the world.
Now I’m no conspiracy theorist, but I did have a solemn thought while watching the film. While examining what I knew would come in the decade after the time the movie was set, it occurred to me that perhaps the scandal ran even deeper than we’re willing to admit. We’ve all given the Catholic Church a bit of a pass, since in the wake of Ratzinger’s retirement, the Vatican elected a new, younger Pope more inline with modern thinking.
Pope Francis is a hip Pope, right? He accepts LGBT ways of thought and respects women. He kisses the feet of the poor and really brings back memories of John Paul from before Ratzinger.
Now all of that is really excellent, yet despite this positive change, there hasn’t seemed too be the kind of crackdown on child abuse on the Church as many of was would like. In fact, the system hasn’t really changed much, telling me that abuser continues even under new leadership. Pope Francis may not be endorsing this kind of abuse, he may not even be aware of it.
But perhaps his sudden appearance on the scene was more of planned maneuver than a saving grace. I speculate that it might have been possible that his election was intentional, knowing full well that Francis would be well received by modern society than perhaps someone more in line with their older ways of thinking. Francis and the Church get into the occasional tiff, right? They should let LGBT into the church and let women hold service, and the Church shakes it’s fist and frowns about “that dang new kid, we should have never let him in here”. But wouldn’t it be interesting if they allowed these kinds of disagreements to happen since it takes the proverbial spotlight off of what’s still going on behind closed doors, allowing more priests to continue sexually abusing children with less scrutiny?
Spotlight was a really excellent film with some great characters, but I think the things it helps us take into account or more important than the movie itself. It’s pretty heavy-handed with the message, but that might be because it has to be. We’re so willing to look the other way when it comes to Catholicism and the serious problems that it poses. There’s no way to prove the speculations above, but it might be something to think about as we look toward the future.
Because like it or not, we are all aware of the truth, which is that this kind of abuse continues even to this day, and our negligence on the issue allows it to continue. Peoples’ lives are forever ruined and the perpetuators continue to get away with it since they can site God. Not all Catholics are this way, and many are excellent and accepting people. But the system is designed around a network of secrecy, it has been for centuries.
Why do we expect that to suddenly change without any intervention, divine or otherwise?