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Dominionists and Doomsday and "League of grateful sons"


MamaJunebug

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I'm not ready to post my thoughts on "League" yet but I have noticed a fascinating employment of end-times nervousness on the part of our favorite dominionists.

1. Doug Phillips attempted to create a sense of urgency in his appeal for $50,000 in donations by noting that the D-Day veterans are dying off, there are only a few left, this will be their last trip back to Normandy, etc.

2. In making/promoting "League" (2005), Doug used the same words and tactics having to do with the Iwo Jima veteran survivors. I'll try to get links posted here.

3. Yesterday I saw - and did not bookmark, fie! - an essay by Scott Brown of NCFIC (National Council of Family Integrated Churches, aka churches where women only open their mouths to sing hymns) about how his daughter (Claudia?).

The essay began with the daughter wanting to interview a WWII vet ... and how the meeting was running into delays.... I wasn't able to read the whole thing, but intuition told me that there was gonna be an object lesson. And that it would have to do with not waiting too long, because WWII vets are dying off.

They aren't selling the end of the world - they're too smart for that - but they are creating urgency any way they can. They could give a couple of marketing tips to Gene Simmons.

Though I think Gene has too many scruples to stay in the same room with those guys for very long. And when you think about Gene's scruples ... yeah, that's the point I'm trying to make. :roll:

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Oh goodness. Just checking into this now, I see on their page that they actually WENT all the way to Iwo Jima, and the little map shows that (naturally) they went through Tokyo to get there.

Ah to be a fly on THAT particular series of walls...!

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I'm afraid I haven't seen The League of Grateful Sons (though it was around when they had completed the film and were doing promotion for it that I first discovered Dougie). I'm curious, though, as to how they've recruited these Veterans, both for that and the D-Day trip. Were/are these vets acquainted and in agreement with what Vision Forum and Doug espouse? Or was it simply "hey, you're gonna die soon, wanna trip?"

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Good points, MJB. (And it's nice to see you on the new board! :P

I agree, there seems to be a lot of "now or never" drama queening going on in fundie-land -- the next most obvious example being the Maxwell blog's latest "you never know how much longer you'll get to see us, so invite us now" post. Do we detect a smidge of desperation??

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I agree, there seems to be a lot of "now or never" drama queening going on in fundie-land -- the next most obvious example being the Maxwell blog's latest "you never know how much longer you'll get to see us, so invite us now" post. Do we detect a smidge of desperation??

Nothing like that sense of urgency to grab those on the fence and, of course, rake in the little dollars (oh you know why)...

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Incredible. Apparently a dog ate my homework. I actually paid attention to "League" and made notes and can't find 'em. Well, the important bits remain somehwere in my brain.

My first thought and my overall impressions, to begin with.

First thought:

People have observed that FLDS "prophet" Warren Jeffs speaks in a singsong voice as a means of some kind of hypnotism, or at least with the intent to lull the listeners into a certain mindset. Vision Forum films use slow-motion film footage, slow pans over still photographs, and (synthesized?) cello music to do something very similar.

I saw this in "Return of the Daughters," where save for the few on-camera interviews, every bit of film footage is played in slow-mo, the better to give an ethereal, dreamy, romantic quality. Things must really *be* this perfect, and look how *pretty* it all is! There are no raised voices, there are only smiles, people waft into and out of rooms and into each others' arms in generous, gentle hugs.

My copy of "League" began not at the beginning but during the paean to Old Mr. Brown, father of Scott and grandfather of incredibly blonde Kelly and the homely, but only son, David. The darker daughters Blair and Claudia are not included in the film and not mentioned, which makes some sense, as it isn't about them.

Doug Phillips, Scott Brown and Kelly Brown (now Bradrick) speak on-camera. Each of them repeats their points three or four times, in a practice that will be seen again and again during the film with other interviewees.

In very brief, the points they make are:

Doug: It's in the Bible: If we don't get the stories out of the WW2 generation, USA will go to heck because we didn't get their stories.

Scott: My dad was a hero, but a hero who didn't say much, but we got him to talk about it now.

Kelly: Same thing, only substitute the word "my grandpa." She's well spoken and direct; if I didn't know she was being groomed to submit to the Gargoyle most impressing Dad, I would never have guessed it.

Old Mr. Brown: I didn't talk much about my WW2 experiences. I should have.

Doug (voice over): Kelly made it her life's work [those exact words] to interview her grandpa and write his story, which she has.

Slow-mo footage of Old Brown, Scott Brown and David Brown on several promontories on Iwo Jima. They are dressed in identical, pale-green shirts, brand-new or pressed like it. The disingenuousness of this bit of art direction is almost pathetic. "We are family. We are of one mind. We are manly men in the uniform of a pale green shirt."

At one point, Old Brown is reading from his battlefield Bible to the younger males (Kelly is absent) and I am irritated that either Doug or Scott's voice-over interrupts the Scripture passage with yet another paean to the old folks.

THE FATHER WHO DIDN'T COME HOME

In brief: a man named Mr. Isacks had three young children at the beginning of WW2, but he felt, and so did his own father, that he should enlist. So he did, and he died on a ship during a battle at Iwo Jima. His eldest son became a Marine and wanted to re-visit Iwo Jima but died before the VF expedition took place. So his grandsons went along.

To get it out of the way now: Doug eventually calls these 30-something fellows "strapping" young men. [beavis & Butthead giggle here]

This portion begins with patriotic music and shots of colorful WW2-era recruiting posters. A professional narrator, IIRC, tells sthe story of the Isacks family. The 30-something Isacks describe on-camera how their dad was a great father and how in the last 10 years, they have studied their grandfather's 1,200 letters.

Between their dad's great parenting and the letters, they have come to feel a great kinship and connection with their grandpa and it's as if they know him, though they never knew him.

Suddenly I realized that the cello synthesizer is back (I imagine Ben Botkin crouched behind the sound board, having pushed Elizabeth out of the chair). And IIRC, there was Matt Chancey? Yes, Matt Chancey. On video, folks, he is even more doughy and soft-looking than in his ridiculous White Massa With They Black Gun-Toting Goons portrait.

Matt rattles on about how great his dad was/is, how we must learn from the old ones.

We see the Isacks 30-somethings looking over the Iwo Jima landscape and turning to hug each other in what was probably a very genuine, heartfelt hug of orphaned brothers, but we dont' really think about that because of the slo-mo and the cello synthesis.

THE LEAGUE OF GRATEFUL SONS

(It's interesting how the mind willfully rejects something odious. Without my notes, I remember only bullet points about this last part of the "League" film/docu/whatever.)

1. Per Doug, with the passing of the WW2 generation, we are losing the last vestige of men who took care of women and children, the last generation to have been taught about honor and courage and duty.

2. Per Doug, the point of a man's life is to honor his father and make his father's name great, just the way Jesus made God's name glorified.

That is the one mention of Jesus Christ and God the Father that I remember in this entire, long docu/film/whatever by a nominally Christian media "ministries" company.

3. Those sons who honor their fathers and their fathers' stories are to be called the League of Grateful Sons.

4. Per Doug, the only thing the WW2 fathers did wrong was not to talk about their experiences, as Old Mr. Brown hadn't until Kelly came along.

5. Thus, also per Doug, it is up to the sons to quiz their WW2-vet fathers while they can, making them tell about their experiences, asking, "What were your emotions?" and not resting until the old gents have spilled their memories and their emotional vaults.

Guys: Big Daddy Junebug was a WW2 vet. You wanna guess how often he talked to anybody about his emotions? He was in the medical corps support group. You wanna know how keen any of us were to have him relive the carnage he saw day in and out for the better part of 3 years?

But I digress. It's my job to report, here; I can make my observations later.

6. Matt Chancey sobs. Kid you not. He sobs, his chubby little chin wiggles and waggles up and down like ... I don't know what. He speaks from a studio of some kind, don't recall if we actually see him on Iwo Jima... Even so, he speaks of how emotional and how fulfilling and how right it will be when he takes his son to stand on that black sand.

And Matt will tell his son, Matt sniffles, that "you are standing here, you owe your life here, to men who didn't come home." If my imprecise calculations are correct, the son Matt will so burden is about 9 years old, tops.

7. Scott Brown says that this trip to Iwo Jima, and the preparations for it, have educated his children about WW2, the events leading up to it, the Great Depression, the Japanese expansionist phase, Hitler and so forth.

8. The cellos haven't stopped since halfway through the Isacks portion.

I wonder about the families who ordered this medium, and how they watched it. In three parts? With discussion after each? It's dated 2005. Did VF'ers my age scramble to the retirement home in hopes of some late-in-life revelations from Papa and Mama? Did VF'ers my children's ages despair because their grandparents were never interviewed by their parents while there was time? Did any young men think Kelly was pretty, or did they feel ashamed for finding her improbably shiny, blonde hair amazing?

Similar question for young women wondering if Kelly's hair was natural.

Did they come away with any feeling other than smug self-satisfaction if, like the Isacks and the Browns, they possess information about their WW2 veterans?

Did they come away feeling lesser because they ....

... missed the chance to try to pull the details out of their ancestors

or

... had ancestors who didn't necesssarily look like the "men who knew to take care of women and children and believed in honesty and duty"?

In summary: "League" is a self-congratulatory, self-satisfied retelling of two families who have a lot of wholesome information from wholesome ancestors. It is also yet another raising-of-the-bar by Doug Phillips, in the grand tradition of "evangelists" like him: their purpose is less to spread the news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ than to create unrest among those who would worship Jesus. Their purpose is to exhort their listeners to more holiness, and more accomplishment, and more achievement, and more effort, and more donations.

Finally, I felt sorry for the viewers who had really been searching. Perhaps they found some incentive in the film, but more likely, in my opinion they found more reasons to feel dissatisfied with their own life, and nothing at all of the truth of Jesus Christ.

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Guys: Big Daddy Junebug was a WW2 vet. You wanna guess how often he talked to anybody about his emotions? He was in the medical corps support group. You wanna know how keen any of us were to have him relive the carnage he saw day in and out for the better part of 3 years?

This. My uncle was in the Navy in World War II. I had a great uncle who was in the army - was at Buchenwald when it was liberated. They would occasionally talk about it, but my uncle always said that if you were there you didn't need to talk about it and if you weren't, there was no way he could explain what it was like.

Dougie, Scott Brown and crew strike me as being so disrepectfull to those who serve in the armed forces.

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The last generation of men to get it right?

My grandpa is a WWII vet. He is a GREAT man--he really is. He's given lots and lots of real charity (i.e., giving money to people who need it without saying anything or tooting his own horn), and he was an extremely hard worker. When girl scouts would ask him to buy a box of cookies, he'd buy (at least) a case. Although he didn't go to church, he was/is active within his church community. He has been more than generous to me on many many occasions: the reason I have no student loan debt from undergrad? Yeah, him. He has given money to my parents when they needed it, paid for car repairs, and was/is a wonderful grandfather. He still gives me $2 bills on my birthday. He's very social, and has always had lots of friends. He can be really funny and charming.

THAT SAID.

He is NOT perfect. Not at all. He provided for his family, but he was emotionally closed off. He wasn't always nice to my mom. He got so absorbed in work that he wasn't as involved with his family as he could/should have been. Although he's a great, affectionate grandfather, I've come to realize that he wasn't like that as a dad. And I think this hurts my mom very much.

The men who fought in WWII WERE great. So are the men and women in the armed forces today (I mean, what a slap in the face to those serving currently or those who served in Korea/Vietnam, like my other grandpa. Way to go Dougie). However, great/good that doesn't mean they are perfect, it doesn't mean they don't have problems or even severe issues. I asked my mom once (when I was much younger) why WWII vets didn't suffer PTSD, etc--and she said, they did, they just didn't talk about it. To imply that the WWII-era men are the last of the good ones? No. Just No.

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Thanks for the recap, MamaJuneBug. It's saddening to think that these war veterans are mere pawns to parade around for the sake Doug & Co.'s self-serving vomit, but it looks like that's very much the case.

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This. My uncle was in the Navy in World War II. I had a great uncle who was in the army - was at Buchenwald when it was liberated. They would occasionally talk about it, but my uncle always said that if you were there you didn't need to talk about it and if you weren't, there was no way he could explain what it was like.

Dougie, Scott Brown and crew strike me as being so disrepectfull to those who serve in the armed forces.

Oops. I tried to quote this and messed up, so I'm editing it. Anyway, two of my uncles were in WW2 and neither of them wanted to talk about it either. It was hard, it was bloody, it wasn't romantic because it was real. It's a good thing to remember the sacrifice and courage of WW2 vets, but Vision Forum isn't doing anything new with this. Whey they feel good about begging for money to go on free trips, I don't understand.

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This. My uncle was in the Navy in World War II. I had a great uncle who was in the army - was at Buchenwald when it was liberated. They would occasionally talk about it, but my uncle always said that if you were there you didn't need to talk about it and if you weren't, there was no way he could explain what it was like.

Dougie, Scott Brown and crew strike me as being so disrepectfull to those who serve in the armed forces.

My grandmother was at Buchenwald when it was liberated. I have had the chance to meet many men who were there that day when it was liberated and I always thank them. Some said talking about it was cathartic and some said talking about it was painful.

I think it is cruel for family to demand the stories.

Just like I know very, very little from my grandmother.

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Thanks, all. Lewis' latest "Commandments of Men"' essay adapts an author ("When God Becomes a Drug," by Leo Booth) on spiritual abusiveness who writes that one evidence of hypocrisy is

Maintaining a religious "high", trance-like state, keeping a happy face (or the belief that one should...)

Thus, the cellos and the slo- mo!

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This "Greatest generation" bullshit drives me nuts. They were men and women - just like you and me, gasp! Its just another version of prettying up the past to create a nostalgia for a time that never was so the fundies can pretend to be people they never were. I don't know about you, but I find the Vision Forum dudes strutting around, playing pretend in their faux Army uniform repulsive. How dare they, when they would never, ever, in a million years, sign up to serve our nation now?

My grandfather didn't want to get drafted - and he always had one more child than was the amount to get called up. He was a great man, not a coward - he had a family to feed, and work to do. My other grandfather was a farmer, married later in life, and had a necessary profession. My auntie (mother's best friend) had an uncle (Scots) who spent 3 years in a German prison camp for POWs - she said he would never speak of it except to say it was horrible.

This badgering of old men (notice they aren't going to talk to any of our service women who flew planes, were nurses etc) to unload their possibly traumatic and triggering memories for Dougie's vicarious thrill is horrible. What are they going to do when some of these old gents suffer from PTSD? Pray for them?

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Ah, but the "greatest generation" is too great to actually suffer from PTSD. They are all noble heroic stiff upper lip stoic types!

...yeah. Disgusting, but I think that's part of the whole idolization of them, so I'm not TOO surprised to find Doug of all people being blind to the issue.

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@ antifundie - Exactly. They had it, we just didn't call it that or really recognize it as a problem. My grandfather was also a WW2 vet, and also emotionally closed off - which is basically how they dealt with it and honstly, how a lot of people dealing with it today deal with it. My grandfather went ice-fishing for three weeks and never talked about WW2.

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Guest Anonymous

Nothing like that sense of urgency to grab those on the fence and, of course, rake in the little dollars (oh you know why)...

Any prospect of my taking this boondoggle seriously evaporated when they called it the "League of Grateful Sons". My treacherous eyes insist on seeing it as "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen".

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Nothing like that sense of urgency to grab those on the fence and, of course, rake in the little dollars (oh you know why)...

themadapple ! -- i havent heard anyone mention The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahogonny in forever!!! :D

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themadapple ! -- i havent heard anyone mention The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahogonny in forever!!! :D

Ah, a great thing when one can employ the works of the evil heathen duo of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht! I love Weimar-Era music. Favored shower singing. Thought it particularly fitting here and amusing to envision Dougie as a desperate prostitute :twisted:

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Guest Anonymous

Ah, a great thing when one can employ the works of the evil heathen duo of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht! I love Weimar-Era music. Favored shower singing. Thought it particularly fitting here and amusing to envision Dougie as a desperate prostitute :twisted:

I would love to see one of Dougie's more egregious $49.95 DVDs remastered to the tune of either "Money" (from Cabaret) or "The Ballad of Immoral Earnings" (from The Threepenny Opera). I think I might be willing to part with a few bucks for either.

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