Earth Crisis: Part three

Now to finally tackle the League themselves in this series.

I want to take a look at their motivation in this story because I think it’s the main thing that sets them apart.

The League is actually a little hesitant to help Luthor when he first applies to them. They bring up points like not being sure they can trust him, or an alternate universe being beyond their jurisdiction, and not even having enough manpower to protect their earth properly. All good points. I mean, it’s a highly unusual situation. But at last Wonder Woman says “I can’t believe we’re even having this discussion, of course we’re going to help.” (Favorite superhero anyone?) “She’s right” says Superman “That’s what we do.” He says later on that with millions of people, they can’t just turn their backs. After all, we as the viewer can conclude, Luthor did say they were his world’s last hope, and if he crossed dimensions to get them, he at least must believe that.

But the League has to face more dilemmas like this when they get to the alternate earth. First there’s the matter of how to fight the Syndicate. They go about it differently than Luthor anticipated. But with moderate success. They attack in teams of two. I should here explain that in addition to the five main Syndicate members, each member runs a “family” of made men who are more trusted people who work under them, and they give these people superpowers scientifically. So the League had to deal with these made men as well as the family heads. They are outnumbered, but they use strategy and the element of surprise and win several small victories. But the President is not happy, as I said in the last posts, and tells them to stop. Now Superman is very patriotic, but he refuses, he also refuses to kill the Syndicate members. They offer to keep them alive until they can stand trial. But the President does not go for this idea. The League however, does not listen to him and goes on with their plans “Now that they have a chance of winning.” I guess the question here is whether that was the right thing to do. They have the right reason, they want to deliver these people from their oppressors. But should they disobey the president?

Well, if I may be pardoned for saying so, the president is doing none of the things he should be. His own family isn’t even safe from Ultraman and his cronies. The country certainly isn’t. And he is ungrateful to Luthor for his while league perishing trying to stop these criminals. Who is the real irresponsible person here?

I guess it also raises the question, do you need anyone’s permission to do the right thing? And does it matter whether it’s under your authority or not? Most of the League are aliens, how is one earth more their jurisdiction than another? The bottom line is, they want to save lives, and freedom, and would themselves rather die than submit to evil people like the syndicate. Often the heroes of history are people who dared to try to do for their country what the ordinary people dared not try to do for themselves. Like Joan of Arc, or Martin Luther King Jr. Even our founding fathers in America, who did not have the majority on their side. America has given millions of people a new life, and rights they would not have had otherwise. Or rather the opportunity to use those rights.

It would seem that someone can be so sure of what is right, that they will not care what the majority chooses. If they let the majority decide, then I doubt anything would ever get better.

It’s funny, at the end of the movie, Superman asks Ultraman “What’s wrong with you? We almost lost everything!”(More on that later, sorry that I keep saying that.) What is wrong with Ultraman? To Superman, the good of the people comes first. To Ultraman only his good comes first. Somewhere along the line he made a different choice. Which is the point of the story in a way: That the Syndicate all made the opposite choice, and so became what they are. Every best thing about the Justice League became the worst thing about the Syndicate. I don’t think it had to be that way, In fact, I know it didn’t, for as I’ll show in  part, there was another option. For now I’ll leave you with the thought of being motivated by the right thing. Superman won’t kill Ultraman, so he uses less power, but he still wins. He wins in a different way then by just conquering. Superman wins by saving. That’s my final thought.

But my next post will cover the climax, and part of the story that I’ve most thought about and digested because it’s difficult to ferret out. Until then–Natasha.


Earth Crisis: Part two

My previous post was about Rose, in this one I want to talk a little more about Lex Luthor, the good.

I don’t know if this is boring anybody, (judging from how many likes I got on the last post, II have reason to hope not,) but I love digging deep into this material. Lex loses his last friend in the beginning of the movie. his whole League is gone. It looks as though he doesn’t stand a chance against the syndicate Instead of giving up, he goes for outside help. to a  planet where he knows he’ll be suspected by everyone because of his “evil twin.” That takes guts. Lex puts up with a lot of suspicion and keeps his cool.(Not that he does it all perfectly. He does violate their privacy and do some edgy things to get their attention. but I suppose he feels he has no choice and I still think he’s pretty cool on the whole.)

Even more remarkably, once back home, Lex tells Superman to let him take on Ultraman. “If it’s going to mean anything after you leave, it has to be me.” Which is true. There’s no quick fix for the problem, and people need to know they can trust the guardians of their world, not just philanthropic aliens. Lex does take him on, and tells him “When you do wrong there are more and more of us who aren’t afraid to set it right.”

I hope that is true. For as Superman tells the president, when the president is telling them not to keep fighting the syndicate; “We have a saying on my earth. ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.'” (Quoting Edmund Burke by the way.) Like I quoted in my previous post “The wicked flee when no one pursues.” Really, If good people were always doing good, evil men would never get away with anything, would hardly dare try.

I remember what the wrong mother in Madeline L’Engle’s  A Swiftly Tilting Planet tells little Madog (only in Madoc’s vision,) “It is an evil world, little Madog.” And Madog is the one who will bring WWIII, in the story. Ultraman wants to be the government. He says the bomb will leave them with only one choice “Bow down to us, or die.” Why is it that evil men always seem to believe the world is cruel and evil as well? Jesus called the Pharisees blind. God said of Israel when they were wicked that they had eyes that never saw, ears that never hear, and hearts that do not understand. When someone is corrupt, it corrupts even their perception of other people. We all tend to diagnose the problems we see in ourselves. Which can be funny when it is only with our health and no one takes it seriously. It’s not so funny when someone has come to power and in their mind it does not matter how evil they are, for everyone else is just as bad. I’ll get in to more of that later. For not I want to address the question of why they view the world as evil. All of it is not is it?

My epiphany of yesterday was that good is not the absence of evil.

Think about it. Good is not the absence of evil. Well, health is not merely the absence of disease is it? Food is not the absence of hunger. Actually in L’Engle’s philosophy, emptiness itself is an evil, there must be a filling of goodness.

Intelligence is not the absence of stupid thoughts, but the production of smart ones. Hello, everyone has thoughts, the difference between smart people and stupid people is how useful their thoughts are. (I say this because I’m sick of stupid being portrayed as someone who just doesn’t ever think, not about anything. They focus their thinking on pointless stuff. That is not the same.)

You may wonder what my point is. It is simply that Good Men are good because they do good, not because they do not do evil. I would not call the president in the movie I’m talking about a good man, for he does nothing. I would call Luthor good, even though he makes mistakes, because he is trying to do something, and he has the guts to try.

Maybe a scene from the movie would best make this point. The League is speaking with the President for the first time, and Lex has just defeated Ultraman, much to the delight of several of the citizens of the city. The President chews them out for doing this. He then tells them that they work hard to “maintain a delicate balance with the Syndicate. It’s the only way the American people can live in relative safety.”

Very political.

Well Luthor tells him “That’s a load of crap.” And it is. Though I might go even farther and call it delusional and misleading the people. Compromise is not an option with villains who will not be satisfied with anything but it all. As Luthor knows, Owlman has invented a bomb (they call it the Q.E.D.) that is capable of blowing up an entire planet. (I might point out that they can’t use it, they live on the moon, without the earth the moon would be pretty useless to them.  But I guess aliens don’t feel bound to one planet, at any rate the good guys believe they’ll use it. Which is really all they need isn’t it?)

I think the real change in this movie is that the Justice League’s arrival wakes people up to how desperate things are, and gives them hope that things can still be reversed. There’s no corny speech about how if the people will do their job the League can do theirs. that’s not necessary. Lex Luthor is determined to see The Syndicate go down, whether the President or the people help him or not. And the League backs him up. As does Rose.

So, to sum it up, acting upon our conviction is the only way to preserve what we believe in and stand for. I can’t wait to get further into this, but at over 1,ooo words I’d better end this part. Until next time–Natasha.

Earth Crisis: Part one.

I’m not a huge superhero fan now, but a few years ago I was obsessed with the Justice League. I no longer indulge my taste, but one of their movies I still watch occasionally. And I’m not sorry, because among superhero movies I think it’s a rare find. (Yes, I’m geeking out).

JUSTICE LEAGUE: Crisis on Two Earths.

It’s not a movie simply about the Justice League. In fact, they are not even the prime characters any more than the villains or non J-leaguers are. The set up is of a parallel universe (in Sci-Fi  this is not uncommon) where each earth–and there are thousands– has its parallel, and that parallel has a parallel, and the original earth has another parallel, which has its own parallels–like a Fibonacci sequence. The story centers on two earths. On one, all the villains we DC comic fans are familiar with are actually the heroes, the Justice League, led by Lex Luthor. The superheroes likewise are actually the villains, forming a crime syndicate. Which is really nothing like the Justice League; the only similarity being the characters’ parallel selves. Ultraman heads up this syndicate and is known as “the boss of bosses.” Anyone who ever got in his way is dead (his words).

Then we have the DC world we’re used to. Or if you aren’t, you’ll get enough idea to keep up with me. The Justice League, at the moment consisting of Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Green Lantern, The Martian J’onn J’ozz, and the Flash, are hard at work constructing a new watchtower that will orbit the earth like the moon, of course being much smaller.

Lex Luthor is in the opening scene reduced to being the last survivor of his Justice League. The Crime Syndicate; Ultraman, Superwoman, Owlman, Evil Green Lantern (for lack of a given name), and Johnny–the evil Flash (the evil Martian is killed early on and is of little importance) are all set to finish him off. But in a brilliant scientific last resort he vanishes to a parallel earth, clearly having planned this in advance. After getting the Justice League’s attention, he makes his appeal: “You people are my world’s last hope.” So it begins.

The unique factor of this story is its ability to make everything on the human level. Superheroes usually are so unevenly matched with villains that the villains have to have terrifying, horrible machines and unbelievable stunts to be a problem. Nothing feels real. In this imaginary world, the playing field is leveled. The villains have exactly the same powers as the heroes, and the regular government is not completely helpless. It has one small power over the Crime syndicate: nuclear weapons. Not much of an advantage, but enough to hold Ultraman at bay for a while. The syndicate bribes the Government (America’s in the story, though it could have been every government) to keep them off their case. Literally. Enter Rose.

Rose is my personal favorite character in the story. She is the daughter of the president, in the parallel earth of course. Rose hates how her country has surrendered completely to “vicious criminals.” To justify her case, the syndicate is shown with (probably stealing) chemicals, ship’s cargo, and looting Lex Luthor’s former hide-out. Not to mention Ultraman killed the first Lady to scare the president into complying with him. Oh, yeah, Superwoman is also a self-confessed murdering psychopath, and all the villains do damage every now and then to keep up their rule through fear. (Luthor tells us this.) So, Rose is very reasonably disgusted with the system. She’s begun making speeches against the syndicate and against her father’s policy. Respectfully of course. Rose has no powers, no protection save her required bodyguards, and no money to bribe the press or the people. She has no promise of safety. Her plea is simple: “Might doesn’t make right. It may seem that way sometimes, but in the long run it’s the other way around. We’re always stronger when we’re doing the right thing.”

Proverbs 28:1 says “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous is bold as a lion.” Rose makes me think of this verse.

Rose naturally supports the Justice League when they decide to take action against the crime syndicate. She’s not blind to the fact that the people need help, especially since her father won’t advocate standing up to the syndicate. The president tells her that having a chance is “a fantasy.” They can’t do it without risking the lives of millions. Which is true, truer than they know. Rose is unmoved and wonders at his cowardice. The Martian, J’onn, reads her mind and gently tells her, “He isn’t a coward. Men who have seen battle are often among those who hold life most dear.” (Her father was a war hero.) She is surprised, but it doesn’t change her mind. She’s still angry and refuses to stop her speechmaking. Later we see her making another speech and almost being shot by Archer (evil Green Arrow for you fans). J’onn saves her and keeps watch over her because she’s a target.

What is amazing to me is that Ultraman himself views Rose as a threat. Why? She inspires the police to take action (against Archer as it turns out), and the people to believe in the power of Good. The Justice League’s actions only confirm what Rose was already telling everyone. Ultraman may not be afraid of what Rose herself alone can do to him, but he is afraid of what she can do by believing in the power of Right and inspiring the others to believe in it. So he threatens her father by suggesting they’ll take her out if he doesn’t get her under control. The same way they killed her mother. Of course the president is angry, but Ultraman isn’t worried; see, his crew has invented a bomb. (More on that later.) So, he’s got firepower now. I guess his philosophy is he who has the biggest toys wins. (He ought to watch Big Hero 6.)

Returning to Rose, she isn’t much daunted by the attempt on her life thanks to her new friend J’onn. He was watching over her for some time without her even knowing it. Now he stays by her in case there is another attempt. Eventually as they discuss the problem, Rose ends up getting him the crucial information, the location of the syndicate’s base (on the moon), of which her father has known for years. The assault on her prompts her father to finally come through for the League. So Rose tipped the scale. One young woman who had the courage to speak out against evil. Rose is not what I’d call charismatic; she’s not skilled. She doesn’t shoot any villains. She doesn’t have to. Her firm stance on what she believed in was enough.

As a Christian, I know that doing the right thing does have power. But never human power, and it can never be completely controlled by a human being. I know that I too have a protector whom I can’t see, but He is there. Rose’s power lay in stepping outside herself, while sticking to her own values. She didn’t care about getting the glory, and she didn’t get any. But she is in my book of heroines in the fiction world.

I have lots more to get into in this plot, so if this was interesting, watch for my next post.–Natasha.

Inside out

No, this is not about the Disney/Pixar movie.

What I’m thinking about this post is primarily how people are hoping to fix things by putting them under new leadership.

Of course we all immediately think of elections and politics, but, for a moment, let’s ask ourselves how often we turn to other people to solve problems.

But I’m not suggesting we try to solve every problem ourselves; I’m not suggesting we even try to solve any until we’ve asked ourselves some tough questions. Like:

How do I live in a way that is not adding to my problems?

Am I one of the people who does the things I accuse others of doing?

Do I handle pressure well?

Do I myself know what the solution is?

Am I a good person?

Really? I notice that people are far less likely to deal with problems that are awkward, problems not quite socially safe to tackle.

In these elections I hear next to nothing about abortion or other moral issues. I hear very little at churches, or on the news. There is no doubt in my mind that it is a terrible thing to allow the practice, and many other practices such as sex trafficking, to continue with little resistance anywhere.

The hard truth is, until we can turn from our inward sins, we cannot help our outward failings. This go for individual people also.

We can’t even agree about the problems that do exist. It’s all based on opinion, when clearly that’s not working. Have people ever been more confused than they are now? In America have we ever been less knowledgeable about real solutions?

Why are we so afraid of it? Is it because we’re comfortable? We’ve been brainwashed by media sources to think the end of the world will come soon, and it’s every man for himself. Yet, instead of turning our attention to what really matters, we escape from it. I’m not about living in fear; I’m not even saying not to try to enjoy life, but to enjoy it the right way.

Enjoyment is not a waste of time. But to spend a single hour without having one productive thought is. To not do a single unselfish thing in a day. To shirk every responsibility. To turn off the news but not turn on our brain. To read a post but not read a book. To emoticon a test, but not smile at our family. To send hugs and kisses but to never give them. This is called living in an unreality. If you can write an essay about something you’ll forget about in a month, can you write a letter to someone whom you’ll still be aware of in a decade? Because when we take the time to know what’s around us we just might see an opportunity to improve something. But it will have to be all of us. Or in the end, it will be none of us who are better off.

I have a post planned in which I’ll dive into a story that  will cover just such an idea. Until next time–Natasha.

A post about unpopular thinking.

Have you ever notice that what we think about constantly we end up talking about.

If you’ve gone through life never noticing that, that seems incredible, yet would I have noticed it if some good books and teachers hadn’t pointed out the fact?

Amazing what goes over our heads when we’re not trying to think. It’s also amazing what we pick up on when we do try.

I think standards are one thing we absorb without knowing it. I frankly hold views that are widely unpopular even among other Christians sad to say. Which is not to say I get to complain. I don’t. The truth is, it’s better to know what’s right and wholesome than to get a gold star for pretending it’s impossible to know for sure. I do make mistakes. I don’t rely on my own judgment alone in deciding what’s good because I haven’t a clue where I would even start if I did. That being said I have an example I’m half afraid to bring up and half afraid not to, because it’s hot, and it burns. It’s popping up everywhere I look and growing hard to ignore.

Now for the bombshell: homosexuality.

Before someone blows their top, I’m not saying I believe it’s wrong to have homosexual feelings. It’s not something I know much about, but a man did write a book on the subject called A Strong Delusion.

I do want to say that there is a difference between feeling something and acting on it. I actually think your feelings can lie to you. But I know already that thousands of people would be angry with me for suggesting homosexuality is a lie, and not natural. I also know that if someone does not wish to be unconvinced you will not change their mind in a blog post.

But let me say this, there is scientific and sociological evidence that it is not natural. There is also a biblical mandate that it is forbidden and an abomination to practice it.

I ask the readers, why is it wrong for someone to consider the evidence? Whether it points to a favorable conclusion or not. Also, I believe in the Bible, do I get to pick and choose what parts of it are true for the culture?

Actually, this post isn’t really about the issue I brought up, but it effectively makes my point. Like it or not the culture will always give one set of beliefs power over another, and people conditioned by the culture will go with the flow, and be quite shocked and angered if anyone questions it.

You can’t love truth and goodness and also love to be liked by the world. That is so. Some of my followers on this blog probably have strong views of right and wrong and maybe don’t disagree with me. Some may say it should be people’s choice how they live. And I agree, to a point. Everyone had the right to choose whether they will live rightly or not, and what their standard of right will be set by, I won’t argue that; but when their choice takes away someone else’s by forcing that person to accept it, that is wrong. It is hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is so common nowadays that it goes without saying. In our entertainment, in our politics, in our beliefs.

To be different is not about your gender, it is not about your background. It is about your heart, not whom you love, but how you love them. Not what you will do but why you will do it. If your motives are correct then there are some things that you will never do. If your motives are shaky you may be persuaded to do anything. But motives aren’t enough, you have to have the guts to stick by your morals, or your motives will change.

We can’t all be right. Someone who believes they are right scares me less than someone who doesn’t believe in anything.

I too absorb the culture, but when I absorb I also drain, because it exhausts me. I can release it when it’s not good, and fill up on what is, but only when I stay aware of the effects it could have on me. When I cease to be aware, the effects are nearly complete. ( As in C.S. Lewis’s The Silver Chair.)

So I guess I’m hoping this post might inspire people to ask themselves how much of what they think is their own conclusions. And what shocks them and angers them? If this post did either of those things, then that’s scary, because I said very little directly about any separate belief system. If I offended you, it was because you took something out of my words that I did not actually say.

I realize it’s laughable for a teenager to think she has any new wisdom to offer the world. Or to think she can make a good point. So I hope this is all taken with that in mind, and that furthermore very few opinions are based on experience when you’re young. Since I’m hoping young people are reading this, that goes for all of us.

Until next post–Natasha