The Emerson Avenger

The Emerson Avenger is a "memory hole" free blog where censorship is scorned. This blog will "guard the right to know" about any injustices and abuses that corrupt Unitarian Universalism. Posters may speak and argue freely, according to conscience, about any injustices and abuses, or indeed hypocrisy, that they may know about so that the Avenger, in the form of justice and redress, may come surely and swiftly. . . "Slowly, slowly the Avenger comes, but comes surely." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

In 1992 I underwent a profound revelatory experience of God which revealed that the total solar eclipse "Eye of God" is a "Sign in the Heavens" that symbolizes God's divine omniscience. You may read about what Rev. Ray Drennan of the Unitarian Church of Montreal contemptuously dismissed as my "psychotic experience" here: - This revelatory religious experience inspired me to propose an inter-religious celebration of Creation that would take place whenever a total solar eclipse took place over our planet. You may read about what Rev. Ray Drennan and other leading members of the Unitarian Church of Montreal falsely and maliciously labeled as a "cult" here: - I am now an excommunicated Unitarian whose "alternative spiritual practice" includes publicly exposing and denouncing Unitarian*Universalist injustices, abuses, and hypocrisy. The Emerson Avenger blog will serve that purpose for me and hopefully others will share their concerns here. Dee Miller's term DIM Thinking is used frequently and appropriately on this blog. You may read more about what DIM Thinking is here -

Friday, February 08, 2008

Rev. Jeff Lieberman Reviews U*U COP Sorta. . .

U*U seminarian Rev. Jeff Lieberman recently blogged a "review" of the monster/horror film Cloverfield on his uujeff's muse kennel and pizzatorium blog. I couldn't help but notice how Rev. Jeff Lieberman's "review" could be applied very well to my U*U Tube video of a Totalitarian Unitarian "Citizens' Police Officer" tossing my picket signs onto de Maisonneuve boulevard with some minimal modifications. Herewith my slightly revised satirical plagiarization of fundamentalist atheist U*U seminarian Rev. Jeff Lieberman's review of Cloverfield -

As a seminarian, I of course have no life. Between classes, student ministry that feeds my spirit, my job that feeds my body, and various interviews and requirements, I don't get out to the movies often. But, since I am a huge Lost fan, and a lifelong addict of horror/monster movies, I had to go see Robin Edgar's new movie, U*U COP. If you have not read any reviews yet, DON'T. Just go see the movie without any knowledge of what it is supposed to be about. If you have already read reviews, then try forget what everyone has said (I know that's like telling you to ignore the elephant in the middle of the room) and go see it.

U*U COP is not a great movie. But, I think it is an interesting movie with real potential for teaching lessons and Coffee Hour discussion. And, I believe that the film has Unitarian*Universalist implications worthy of consideration by U*Us.

First, let me respond to some of the criticisms being leveled at the film. (spoiler alert! From here on, I will assume that you have seen the movie and will discuss relevant details.)

The characters are two-dimensional/stereotyped -- At the beginning, the 70-something U*U is presented as a Totalitarian Unitarian in standard stereotype. And, after everyone explodes with laughter, little happens against type. The "Citizens' Police Officer" aka U*U COP makes a total ass out of himself for posteriority with his extraordinary performance. The main character's idiocy, while unseemly and stunning, is very real. Nothing really matters in life except tossing picket signs.

The jarring film quality is annoying and unrealistic -- On the contrary, I thought the film looked exactly like a film would look shot under those conditions, taping over and over again a previously taped set of events. If you have ever used a hand-held digital camera, you will recognize its reality.

The story is nonexistent -- But, that is the point. There is not supposed to be a "story." This film is one tiny snippet of chaos in a U*U world gone mad. There are no Board members or ministers coming to save the day here. Allison Hall or Rev. Diane Rollert does not dramatically pacify the odd U*U COP. Like most of U*U lives, when stuff happens, U*Us don't really understand why. These are real U*Us in an incredible situation. They have no sU*Uper powers or specific expertise to help them.

The movie is insanely short -- You got me there. At exactly 3 minutes without the credits, this hardly qualifies as a UUA national marketing campaign video. Still, it already has over 800 views on the small screen of YouTube aka U*U Tube.

So why did I like the film? I liked U*U Cop because it provides us some useful opportunities for discussion. For instance:

If U*Us thought U*Us only had Robin Edgar to live with, what would U*Us try to do at all costs?

For what U*U cause or U*U action would U*Us be willing to risk U*U reputations, even U*U teeth?

How do U*Us define protest? Is it loitering or angry picketing, or is it the "alternative spiritual practice" of Robin Edgar as a person?

In their hubris, are U*Us Positive Picketers or picket sign tossers? What drives U*Us toward either?

As Unitarian*Universalists, how would U*Us assess* the actions of the characters? Can U*Us imagine any of them not being U*U?

I loved the fact that U*Us never know anything about the events of the film behind the first person experience of the main characters. The film meticulously refuses to sate U*U curiosity about where the U*U COP came from, why he is harassing the protester, or what happens afterwards. I think the movie successfully avoids all of the typically cloying plot devices we have grown so used to in most popular films today.

Part of the problem, I believe, is that we tend to over-analyze movies. Analysis is not a bad thing, but can limit U*Us if we start from a set of assumptions which do not fit the particular film. For instance, many people hated the Juan Vera films because everyone knows that U*Us aren`t dumb - Rudy Waltz taught us that. Who says? Why does a filmmaker have to explain anything to U*Us? Why can't U*Us act irrationally (they certainly do in real life!)

So, I say, give U*U COP a chance. And, especially, try to avoid the standard "Oscar" questions and get to the more visceral meanings of the film.

*please note that the word 'assess' begins with the word 'ass' and also contains the word 'asses'. . . ;-)

BTW If you are wondering about why I would apply the Rev. honorific to Jeff Lieberman before he has actually been ordained as a U*U minister, it is simply because I am anticipating the coming day when yet another Unitarian*Universalist fundamentalist atheist "Humanist" will be ordained as a minister in the Unitarian*Universalist "faith".

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