A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Of God and Xanadu

I firmly believe that the most obnoxious sub-group among conservatives has got to be evangelical Christians. Of course, being a slightly left of center liberal, I will admit to being slightly biased. My point is that this group has been very vocal about blaming every evil to befall our country on some subject or another that violates their sense of decency.

In recent years, every bad event is blamed on American society’s growing tolerance of gay marriage/lifestyle/agenda. The gay marriage movement is being blamed for our soldiers dying in Afghanistan; for the 9/11 attacks; for any number of hurricanes that has landed on our coasts for the last 10 years, and for the drought our country’s midwestern section is experiencing this year. All of these are based on the belief that all these events happen at the hands of a vengeful God. 

Which reminds me, evangelicals, does a vengeful God rain too much water on our coasts, or not enough water on our farmlands? Is God really that indecisive when it comes to revenge? Come on, evangelicals, make up your freakin’ minds! He either wants us to drown or starve, but you can’t have it both ways!

As for me, I don’t believe God is vengeful. I believe that God is benevolent, and I will explain my beliefs with just two words: Gene Kelly.

Kelly, who was born 100 years ago in Pittsburgh this past Thursday, entertained millions of movie goers over the years. Even those of us who would not name the musical as their favorite genre can appreciate his incredible moves, his limitless energy, and the unyielding drive for perfection in his performances. There is no doubt he had an incredible career that stretched from the early 40s all the way to the mid 80s. He was not only a consummate performer, but he was also a force behind the camera as well in roles as a director and choreographer.

So okay, God gave Gene Kelly this wonderful talent, and many times we were rewarded with wonderful memories of his films: Singing In the Rain, An American in Paris, On the Town immediately come to mind. Ah, but no film career is perfect, for even in Kelly’s career there was the occasional clunker. One of those clunkers was released in 1980, Xanadu.

Xanadu - a hopeless mish-mosh of WTF elements - was not well received by the critics when it was originally released, and I see no reason to be forgiving 32 years later. The film couldn’t make up its mind what it wanted to be. Yes, it was a musical with garish costumes, with one schizophrenic musical interlude that swayed back and forth between big band jazz and late 70s punk rock. It had an animated dance sequence, which I suppose was a nod to an earlier Kelly performance in Anchors Aweigh when he danced with Jerry the Mouse. And…and…and so much else that didn’t fit together at all. Film critic Gene Shalit probably summed it up best when he ended his review with the words, “Xana-don’t!"

Of course at the time, I only knew that some of the music was composed and performed by one of my favorite groups, Electric Light Orchestra. That’s all I cared about, and that’s why I paid money to see Xanadu…the first time.

Yes, I saw Xanadu more than once, but no more than twice! The reason I paid to see it a second time was that I took a young lady to the movies, and I had hopes that the evening would end in romance. Long story short, the end of the date did not turn out like I had hoped. Naturally, I blame my not getting laid on the evening’s choice of entertainment (namely Xanadu) and not my lack of social graces, which according to my beloved spouse I still don’t possess. In any event, this should explain why I suddenly get grumpy when the subject of Xanadu comes up.

It also explains why I believe God is not the vengeful deity that so many of our narrow-minded, intolerant, superstitious true believing brethren would have us believe. A truly vengeful God would have arranged it so that Xanadu would be the last screen credit listed on Gene Kelly’s IMDB resume. God could have had Kelly retire after this, never perform again, or just strike him dead as soon as the film wrapped production. However, none of these events happened.

Clearly, God forgave Gene Kelly for Xanadu. True, Kelly would not make any more major motion pictures, but he would appear on television: The Love Boat; and two mini-series: North and South and Sins (for those of you keeping score at home). This, I believe, proves that God is a kind, benevolent spiritual being. Otherwise, Xanadu would  have been his last work, and when Kelly appeared at the Pearly Gates hoping to gain admittance solely on the reputation of his heavenly feet, he may very well have had the clouds pulled out from under him so that he fell long and hard to a deep, deep, hot place that is extremely south of Pittsburgh.

On the other hand, Olivia Newton-John’s experiences with Xanadu may punch holes in my thesis. She passed up a role in Can’t Stop The Music (featuring the Village People) to star in Xanadu, and reportedly fractured her coccyx  while filming one dance sequence. Xanadu was suppose to be her big break into movie musical superstardom; its failure sent her back to toiling on the music charts. Okay, so maybe occasionally God is not as forgiving as I like to believe.

So, to sum up these concepts, let’s agree on these three things:  God, good; Gene Kelly, heavenly; Xanadu…don’t go there. Sorry, Janey!

(Thank you for reading. Happy Belated Birthday Mr. Kelly, wherever you are!)


Blogger Bob said...

Makes perfect sense to me.
I'm gonna add it to my arsenal of arguments.

August 25, 2012 at 9:24 AM  
Anonymous Janey Newton-John said...

RTG, who was the young lady you took to see Xanadu? Do I know her? This must have been during our college days. If you were trying to get laid, why didn't you bring her to one of my many parties at The Moonglow?

And to be honest, I never thought much of the movie, but acknowledged the attempt... Olivia Newton-John's only movie musical success was Grease. Oh, to do a love scene with John Travolta!!!

Janey xo

August 26, 2012 at 7:41 PM  
Anonymous arteejee said...

Thank you, Bob. Please use my points to your hearts content!

September 1, 2012 at 6:55 AM  

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