Time Changer, Part II

After the unfortunate hot dog episode, Carlisle heads to the place we all go when we’ve just had an existential crisis.

The mall.

Now knowing that 1890 is way better than 20?? in every way, Carlisle accosts an employee and informs him—

HEY BRAD HELLER’S IN THIS!!!

Brad Heller is that rarest of things: an actor in Christian films who can ACT.  He was the lead (or rather, “the antagonist, an atheist” in Late One Night, which is AWESOME  and COMING SOON.

He is totally gonna class up this joint.

“I am sure this manner of dress arouses sinful passions in the customers as they walk by.” [says Carlisle, referring to a dress that is off-the-shoulder (I’d tell you more, but the one sleeve is all we see)]

“Sinful passions?” [answers Heller, with a nice “WTF, dude?” look]

“Yes, sinful passions of promiscuity, especially in the younger males.”

And perhaps the younger females, Carlisle.  Let’s not be excluding people.

“We must be careful of the example we portray to our young people for the goodness of all society.”

“Sir, I appreciate you voicing your opinion, and I’ll be sure to let my father [the store owner] know, and I want to thank you.  But to be honest, this is the first complaint we’ve had like this.  Our customers, most of them don’t seem to mind this sort of thing.  Okay?”  [he wanders off, leaving Carlisle looking gobsmacked and morally offended as usual]

WAIT, THAT’S IT???

SHAMEFUL UNDERUSE OF BRAD HELLER, MOVIE!  SHAAAAAAAAME

Oh, also: wouldn’t an even funnier response from the salesman be, “Sinful passions of promiscuity?  Great, that’s what we’re aiming for!”

Bah.  Anyway, back to the laundromat and Eddie.  Carlisle has decided that it’s important to interrupt Eddie in the middle of the workday to impress upon him the importance of attending church.  Turns out Eddie is a Christmas-and-Easter attendee, but that is NOT ENOUGH, as we all know.  He also gives Carlisle the standard sinner response of “I’m a good person because I don’t lie or cheat or hurt people.”

Ha!  Dumb sinner!  He shall soon learn the error of his good ways!

Carlisle then spontaneously remembers the librarian who was recommended to him as a source of help by Captain Stubing.  He’s able to chat with her only for a minute BECAUSE IT’S THE MIDDLE OF THE WORKDAY FOR HER, TOO, but it’s long enough to find out that she’s a good Christian and understands Carlisle’s “concerns” about the state of the world today.

After a long day of pointless proselytizing, Carlisle is feeling a mite peckish, and asks for a recommendation from a random doorman.  As they chat, it comes out that the doorman is…divorced.

image

Oh, sure, he’s happy to be divorced and all, but hey, who cares about silly things like happiness when—

“The Lord hates divorce.”

“Hey, don’t be dumping no guilt trip on me.  One out of two marriages get divorced these days—it’s not like I’m the only one.  Besides, it was her fault—she was driving me crazy.”

“One out of two marriages ends in divorce…this is fifty percent.”

Wow, he is a professor!

(Carlisle’s horror at the divorce rate is a callback to his argument with Captain Stubing at the beginning of the movie, when Stubing expresses horror that the divorce rate in 1890 is five percent.  But hey, 1890 was still a much better time—the good old days when husbands could beat their wives, and divorce was almost impossible to get unless you happened to be a rich white male.)

But, you can’t argue with the math, and the doorman doesn’t try.  In fact, the scene cuts right here, and Carlisle heads to the diner down the street, even though it was recommended to him by a filthy, sinful divorced man.  There, he overhears a conversation between a couple of teenage girls who are planning to go to a party where there will be ALCOHOL.

Newly-appointed judge of moral manners Carlisle calls them on their sinful plans…

“I am shocked at what you are saying.  I cannot believe you would want to deceive your parents in this manner. … You are also speaking of consuming strong alcoholic drink which should be forbidden, especially for your age.”

…and the girls react quite how you would expect two young women to react upon finding out that a creepy middle-aged guy has been eavesdropping on them.  They tell him to mind his own business, and they leave.  (The movie doesn’t show them dialing 9-1 on their phones and holding their fingers over the last -1- until they’re sure he’s not following them, but I’m gonna assume they did.)

After dinner, it’s time for the church field trip to the movies.  Carlisle rides shotgun, looking absolutely astounded as the van pulls out, even though he has been in 20?? for two full days now, and has seen thousands of cars and trucks.  Still, he has not yet ridden in one, and arrives at the theater looking a realistic combination of terrified and carsick.

He has his Gobsmacked Face on still as he wanders through the theater lobby, even though you would think that this would be something he could easily understand.  Sure, he may never have attended any sinful stage plays or operas in 1890, but he must have known what they were and what theaters looked like.

Then comes the bit from the trailer, where Carlisle shriekingly demands that the poor teenagers working concession STOP THE MOVIE BECAUSE THE MAN ON THE SCREEN BLASPHEMED THE NAME OF THE LORD OMG OMG OMG.

But I guess nothing comes of Carlisle’s massive hissy fit, because next thing we know, the whole church group is having an afterparty at someone’s home.  Carlisle whines and whines about the movie, incurring the eye-rolling bemusement of two male parishioners.  Their wives try to diffuse things by asking Carlisle about himself, and like an idiot, he tells them almost the whole truth: he is from “another time zone” but teaches at Generic Bible Seminary.  He even gives them the address BECAUSE HE IS STUPID.

One of the wives, Ann, teaches “science and chemistry,” and invites Carlisle to come in and speak to her class, because that’s what anyone would do, right?  The guy was a perfect stranger to her until three hours ago, all she knows about him is that movies approved by their church freak him out, and he is vague and cryptic about his background.  A perfect candidate to come talk to a bunch of high-schoolers!

As the two ladies beg and beg and BEG Carlisle to come to the school, their husbands are starting to get suspicious.  (The movie treats them like villains, so it is worth pointing out the little fact that their suspicions are COMPLETELY RATIONAL AND JUSTIFIED.)  One of the guys knows that there’s no seminary at the address Carlisle gave—it’s now an industrial park.

LOL CARLISLE YOUR SCHOOL IS GONE

The other guy, a cop, agrees to look into things the next day.

Later, back at his hotel, Carlisle looks out the window and witnesses something that morally horrifies him yet again—a bunch of kids are hanging out and TALKING WITH EACH OTHER.

I KNOW, RIGHT?  Almost enough to make one give up on humanity entirely.

Check out the guy on the left, rocking the spiky mohawk.

I think I’ll make this into a three-part critique, because things start getting SUPER EXCITING from here, as the two villains investigate Carlisle’s claims, and Marian the RTC Librarian tells Carlisle all about how much the 21st century sucks.

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Posted on September 1, 2012, in Movies, Time Changer. Bookmark the permalink. 30 Comments.

  1. I’m put in mind here of something Jack Hyles wrote. Namely, that one should put as many removes between oneself and defined sins as possible, so that when one does stumble, it probably won’t be into the actual corruption. The germane example (q.v. the gathering of youths):

    If a young person wants to stay away from adultery, which is sin, then he would be wise to stay away from heavy petting. If he wants to stay away from heavy petting, he should stay away from petting. If he wants to stay away from petting, he should stay away from kissing. If he wants to stay away from kissing, he should stay away from embracing. If he wants to stay away from embracing, he should stay away from hand-holding. There is nothing in the Bible that says hand-holding is sin, but there is certainly nothing wrong with exercising care and good sense.

    I am very aware of the fact that there is a great difference between the hair standards required for our young men at Hyles-Anderson College and what would be called sin. A young man could wear his hair much longer than we at Hyles-Anderson do and not sin, but why stay right next to the edge? The same is no doubt true with standards concerning young ladies’ dress, but we believe that there is safety in staying a great distance from sin and its consequence-death. Each man must decide for himself how far that distance is, but there is certainly wisdom in safety.

    {hopes he remembered the correct flag type THIS time}

    Of course, this is also coming from someone who wrote “Authority is authority, even when it’s wrong”.

    Come to think of it…Maybe this was Anderson’s point? That just teaching righteousness, without fear of perdition alongside it, will result in people still stumbling into sin, because they forget the importance of purity for its own sake? That if they don’t fear, then they won’t take their errors as seriously as they ought to?

    • I love how dude adds epicycles to the orbit of sin until he’s practically lost track of where he started. *sigh*

      It’s not even as fun as the six degrees from Kevin Bacon thing either.

    • How long can hair on men be before it’s sinful? And is that longer or shorter than Samson’s hair got?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      Since A is sin, It Is Forbidden.
      Since B could possibly lead to A (sin), It Must Be Forbidden, too.
      Since C could possibly lead to B which could possibly lead to A…
      Since D could possibly lead to C which could possibly lead to B which could possibly lead to A…
      Since E could possibly lead to D which could possibly lead to C…
      (See where this is going?)

      Until you’re like Kirk Cameron on the set of Left Behind, hiding in his greenroom trailer so just being around Those Heathens(TM) couldn’t contaminate him and cause him to miss the Rapture. (There’s a technical term for this: “Excessive Scrupulosity”, a type of OCD.)

      And the Pharisees of Jesus time — after hundreds of years of commentary on Torah and commentary on the commentary — were also into that sort of thing. And this certain itinerant Rabbi from Nazareth constantly called them on it.

  2. Does this time-travel story use a single ‘changing the past changes the future’ timeline, or the parallel timelines where changing the past opens a new timeline in which the changes propagate and the old timeline that goes like it did before the time traveling? In the latter case, I see a possible ending to this movie that is happy both from our and an RTC perspective: Carlisle takes Marian and all other RTCs back to his time. The RTCs are rid of the horrible 21st century, and the 21st century is rid of them. It’s win-win really. Well, except probably for the alternate timeline 21st century people. While the influx of RTCs with at least some relevant technical skills might give them an initial boost, I think we’re looking at a stagnated wasteland ruled from a paranoid theocratic US government for the alternate earth.

    Oh, BTW Carlisle, don’t you know bearing false witness is a sin too? I see you’re going with the relativist interpretation of “If I can word my statements such that I could think of a way to read them that they are sorta true, it doesn’t matter that I know everyone else will think I’m saying something completely different”.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      Ivan, this is a Christploitation flick.

      Your “possible ending” variant doesn’t Win Souls to Christ for the Altar Call Ending.

      • Well, a glance at some of Rapture Ready’s more colorful forum posts shows that quite a number of RTCs have officially given up on humanity and, if they could imagine Jesus being slightly imperfect in any way, feel that Jesus is being a little too tardy to take them away from the horror that is life on earth and start smiting already. And an even larger number won’t officially admit it but do feel like that.

        But you’re right, in a movie for everyone to see, they’ll probably stick with the official story that they’re all very kind people who just want to help the poor sinners get out of their horrible evil ways.

  3. Dooooooooooom!

    Building a wall around the Torah, as in Skyknight’s example, can be a useful concept if analysed the other way too – “that low fence is to stop you from going into the Bad Place, but that doesn’t mean that the Bad Place starts immediately on the other side of the fence. Just that you should be aware when you’re stepping over it”.

    Ivan, it’s… well, I won’t spoil.

    Really, what I get out of this whole section is “historical dude is offended”. OK, you’re offended. Go back home and die of a cut finger, be crippled for life because of a broken arm, lose fifteen – FIFTEEN – percent of your children before their first birthday[http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/haines.demography]. Better standards of living come from science, which comes from asking awkward questions that authority doesn’t have the answers for. Churches don’t invent antibiotics.

    • Ah, but those fifteen percent would go straight to heaven since they couldn’t have sinned yet, so in fact it was very kind of God to have all those children die. And this applies to all instances where children die, except of course for abortions.

      As a side note, years ago I saw a list of quotes, one of which was from some philosopher of a century or two back who said that it’s a natural law that 1/4th of all children die before their 8th birthday, and there was no point in trying to change that. I would like that quote to be shown to all sci-fi writers who are planning to write a story about some technological development which will try to fix something the writer thinks we should just accept and will inevitably backfire because it messes with the natural order.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        As a side note, years ago I saw a list of quotes, one of which was from some philosopher of a century or two back who said that it’s a natural law that 1/4th of all children die before their 8th birthday, and there was no point in trying to change that.

        i.e. “A Fish Doesn’t Know It’s Wet.”

        Seems to me most Utopian political/social movements (starting with the French Revolution and it’s “Republique of Perfect Virtue”) figure on achieving Perfection (after the “regrettable but necessary” Reign of Terror to bring it about) and then stop everything because any change from (by definition) Perfection would be a devolution degenerating into IMPERFECTION.

        i.e. If any of those Utopian movements had achieved its goal before the 20th, it would be Natural Law FOREVER that 1/4 of all children die before their 8th birthday. FOREVER. Because the fish don’t know they’re wet, and have never known of anything better.

  4. “I am sure this manner of dress arouses sinful passions in the customers as they walk by. […] Yes, sinful passions of promiscuity, especially in the younger males.”

    Ahhh, the good ol’ “women should dress modestly because men can’t control themselves” meme. Apparently males are just one exposed shoulder away from turning into uncontrollable, rampaging lust-gorillas.

    “One out of two marriages ends in divorce…this is fifty percent.”

    “Who are you, who are so wise in the ways of science?”

    the girls react quite how you would expect two young women to react upon finding out that a creepy middle-aged guy has been eavesdropping on them. They tell him to mind his own business, and they leave.

    Of course, the second sentence reveals their real sin: Failing to defer to a random wealthy middle-aged privileged white man as their obvious superior. Wait until Goodman Carlisle discovers they’re allowed to vote.

    (And oddly enough, it doesn’t sound like the movie touches on the thing that should shock and offend Mr. Carlisle most: Non-white non-Europeans as full and equal citizens? It’s a madhouse! A maaadhouse!)

    • (And oddly enough, it doesn’t sound like the movie touches on the thing that should shock and offend Mr. Carlisle most: Non-white non-Europeans as full and equal citizens? It’s a madhouse! A maaadhouse!)

      Right? And he is constantly interacting with a multi-racial populace–Eddie the laundromat guy is hispanic, the divorced doorman is black, the first saleswoman he talks to at the mall (before she calls over Brad Heller) is Asian. And Carlisle never once bats an eye at this.

      What I assume would shock a guy from 1890 the most is the sight of women wearing pants or short skirts, with their hair down in public. Hell, the business casual clothes I wear to work every day would no doubt be shockingly whorish to a Victorian mind. But again, Carlisle never seems to notice.

      • And let’s not forget 1890 had standards of dress and modesty for men, too. Carlisle should totally be giving the side-eye to all the men walking around in t-shirts and shorts like that’s an acceptable way to dress in public where women and children can see.

    • But Carlisle being racist might imply that Ye Goode Olde Dayse weren’t a candy-coated wonderland of virtue and piety! Can’t be confusing people like that.

      A story about a visitor from the past learning to overcome the bigotry of his time could be compelling, but if Carlisle realized that letting Those People have full rights didn’t turn society into New Sodom, that would rather undermine the movie’s message that society has turned into New Sodom.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      Ahhh, the good ol’ “women should dress modestly because men can’t control themselves” meme. Apparently males are just one exposed shoulder away from turning into uncontrollable, rampaging lust-gorillas.

      That IS the justification/rationale in Extreme Islam for FGM, the burqa, and honor killings to keep those whores in line.

      • That IS the justification/rationale in Extreme Islam for FGM, the burqa, and honor killings to keep those whores in line.

        I assure you, the similarities are not lost on me.

  5. And perhaps the younger females, Carlisle. Let’s not be excluding people. Womenfolk? Feeling carnal urges? Don’t be silly. Good Girls only get between the sheets because it’s their Duty, and Bad Girls tempt men purely for the lulz.

  6. I like to think that as Carlisle is turning up his morally superior nose at 21st-century society, a time traveler from the 17th century, perhaps a Puritan, is exploring the 1890s and aghast at the ungodly mores of Carlisle’s era. Christmas celebrations! Black people walking around emancipated everywhere!

    • And meanwhile a 15th-century Time Changer is touring the 17th century, having heart palpitations over everything he’s seeing. The blasphemous doctrine of heliocentrism, widely accepted by scientists! Nations declaring the king is sovereign, rather than subject to Church authority! Protestantism!! The horror! The horror!

      • Taking this and running with it until Socrates is in screaming fits about Aristotle’s time, fills me with hilarity. =D

        • “The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for
          authority, they show disrespect to their elders…. They no longer
          rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents,
          chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their
          legs, and are tyrants over their teachers.” –Commonly attributed to Socrates, but I understand there’s some dispute.

    • This reminds me of a bit on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:

      Quark: I think I figured out why humans don’t like Ferengi—

      Sisko: Not now, Quark.

      Quark: The way I see it, humans used to be a lot like Ferengi: greedy, acquisitive, interested only in profit. We’re a constant reminder of a part of your past you’d like to forget.

      Sisko: Quark, we don’t have time for this.

      Quark: You’re overlooking something, Commander. Humans used to be a lot worse than Ferengi. Slavery, concentration camps, interstellar war; we have nothing in our past that approaches that kind of barbarism. You see? We’re nothing like you. We’re better.

  7. My mother ADORES this movie. When I saw this part and got upset at the off-the-shoulders thing (at the idea that women are responsible for men’s thoughts and actions, but I didn’t know how to express that as a fundy) my mother was insistent that women’s shoulders were absolutely and totally sexually arousing for men and should definitely be covered up.

    Christian media fucked me up just as much as church and my family did.

  8. This movie is wonderful and the situations presented in the movie show the reality of our days. Please, people, stop fighting God and repent of your sins. Give your lives over to Jesus, who loves you, because He died for you. Jesus didn’t come to make our lives miserable, He came that we have abundant lives. But did doesn’t mean we can do whatever we want to. God’s ways are far better than ours, even if we can’t see that for the moment. When we give our hearts to Jesus, He will come and make them new. But then we will receive a new nature that will fight with the old, sinful nature until we die or Jesus returns. But Jesus says :

    “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will find it.” This life is for a moment only, but life after death is FOREVER. We can’t understand eternity now because we are limited as humans. But if we think a little more, we will realise that it’s not worth it to lose an eternity in heaven for some passing sinful pleasures. I too need to repent of a lot of sins, even if Jesus is my Saviour. Please, think about that people. Jesus loves you, but He won’t force you to stay with Him an eternity. Hell is horrible, people. Please, read this :

    http://www.divinerevelations.info/documents/prepare_to_meet_your_god/index.htm

    Have a blessed day!

    • Based on past experience with comments similar to yours, I doubt you will visit again or read this, but just in case:

      Well, lets start with the fact that we have experience with such comments. And not just from reading this site. You can safely assume that the people who visit this site are aware that there are people who believe what you believe. We know some people believe Jesus was divine and died for us. We know some people believe everyone needs to ask for their sins to be forgiven or they’ll go to hell. It’s just that most of us here don’t believe this is true. And one more person just asserting that, no really, it’s totally true, isn’t going to persuade us.

      If you’d like, I (and probably some others) wouldn’t mind debating this so you can explain why you are convinced that this is the truth. As long as you don’t mind that I will try to explain why I think my beliefs reflect the truth, and why I might not be convinced that what you believe reflects it.

      For example, there’s the part where you portray humans being condemned to an eternity in hell to the kindness of Jesus not “forcing” us to stay with him. I’m not impressed by that display of Jesus’ “love”. “Do what I say is best, or be tortured forever” does not strike me as particularly loving. Especially when the reality of that threat, or how to prevent it from happening, are so poorly and unconvincingly shown.

      Now, I’m sure you feel that God’s teachings are very clear, but I can tell you that I have never seen any proof or any indication that God even exists, never mind that he wants me to do exactly what you think he wants us to do. And I’m hardly the only one. There are billions of adherents to faiths other than your own. Some of those faiths forbid as many our more pleasures because they are allegedly sinful. And some of those people are being persecuted (and I mean really persecuted, not merely being denied full control of the laws of the land or having to see people who do things they feel are sinful) for their beliefs.

      It’s hard to imagine those people having decided to believe the things they belief because they want a quick grattification. I must assume that most of those bliilions really think their beliefs are true. And even those who, like you, believe that the will of God is found in the Bible, disagree on exactly what that will is. Right now there are people who say that supporting gays is against the teachings of Jesus, and people who say not supporting gays is against the teachings of Jesus.

      Now you posit that there is a God who loves us, and that this god knows that all those who do not follow his teachings are going to hell (never mind for now that God himself made that hell, while the existence of Earth proves that it’s possible to make a world where “sinners” can live without incredible suffering). Why would this God keep playing coy about his existence and his will for us? If he loves us and doesn’t want us to go to hell, why has he left us with nothing more concrete than an alleged holy book, that looks a lot like many other alleged holy books with contradiciting messages? Not to mention that this book is sufficiently ambigious that people have fought over what the exact teachings are for millenia.

      As for this movie: I’ll grant you that it’s not the most unrealistic portrayal of the world we live in I’ve seen. But the protagonist and his world are unrealistic. His world and teachings are presented as righteous and wonderful. But the portrayal of those teachings rings false. And that’s in part because of those ambigious teachings: In the 19th century, there were many practices and beliefs that were defended on Biblical grounds that are considered wrong and unjust today, even by Christians. This movie ignores those ugly parts, instead presenting that world as untouched by what they percieve as the sins of the modern world, but also by what they would now percieve as the faults of the 19th century. This undermines the intended message.

      Add to that that this movie simply asserts that many things in our world are wrong and horrible without feeling the need to tell us why, and that it confuses no longer being allowed to persecute minorties with being a persecuted minority, and I can’t say that I consider this a good movie.

      If you disagree with either my assesment of this movie or your claims, feel free to explain to me why you think that I am wrong. Just do a little better than simply saying I am.

      Have a pleasant day (I don’t think I an atheist can really bless something).

  9. This was a terrible argument. I saw the movie and actually thought it was good. The arguments were well thought, it addressed many problems that a lot of people see, and the acting wasn’t even that terrible. Keep in mind that they only had $800,000 to make this movie, and the average cost of movie production is around 2 million dollars. I really liked the movie, as did many other people. If you actually watch the documentary about it, it says specifically that this was not a movie for non-Christians. It was to bring light to things that we deem “normal” and we’ve compromised, so we can change it.
    Oh, and just so you know, studies show that there is a higher domestic abuse rate as of 2010 than there was in 1890. I noticed that, for some reason, this was a common argument, although this had nothing to do with the movie or the moral message.
    Now we just sit back and wait for all the hate to start rolling in…

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