Anybody who’s ever come across the work of creationist nutjob Ray Comfort, knows that he only has a passing acquaintance with the truth… and reality for that matter. If he’s not peddling his own special brand of bullshit on his laughably named “Way of the Master” series – which he presents with the equally pathetic, washed-up former child actor Kirk Cameron – then he’s frantically trying to twist realty to suit himself.
A classic example of this is the way he ALWAYS – in what passes for his mind, anyway – wins debates, no matter how badly and often he gets his ass handed to him on a plate. After his live debate with AronRa, during which the latter tore Comfort a new one; pointing out all his lies in the process, Comfort returned to the safety of his blog and claimed victory. Not only that, he claimed that the whole thing was unimportant and hadn’t attracted much interest. This despite the fact that so many people logged on to watch, that the host site’s servers crashed. Twice.
Similarly, when Comfort and little Quirky Kirk staged their handing out of copies of Darwin’s “Origin of Species” – with a handy little foreword introducing Comfort’s ideas on Intelligent Design – he claimed that “Atheists messed up that giveaway-date. We came a day early and sent them in a panic.”
This was in the same message where he claimed the following:
I hear that PZ Myers just stated publicly that he thinks I’m a fraud. See: http://bit.ly/njFaBW Does that mean that up until today he thought that I was genuine in my faith, but after viewing our latest video (called “180”) he now believes that I’m lining my pockets?
As the good people on WeAreSMRT.com pointed out, that was not the case at all – PZ has ALWAYS thought that Comfort is a fraud. For that matter, how can Comfort’s “coming a day early” be the fault of the atheists? The fact remains that he knew that he wouldn’t be able to stand up to their criticism, so – in typically cowardly fashion – slunk in a day early, hoping to spread his shit around before anybody noticed. Even with that sneaky move, his little stunt was a resounding failure.
Needless to say, I was rather surprised to see that Ray’s latest “documentary” (is there a word for something that purports to be a documentary, but isn’t based on facts, or reality?), called “Genius,” had won an award. Both World Nut Daily and a site called “PRWeb” splashed headlines lauding his efforts.
Comfort went on record as saying:
It is encouraging to be able to say that ‘Genius’ is an ‘award-winning’ movie because it instantly lifts its credibility. People are more likely to watch a DVD or view it on YouTube.
Apparently “Genius” looks closely at the death of John Lennon and particularly on why he was murdered. According to Bananaman:
This documentary is extremely relevant nowadays because it exposes the common denominator in mass killers. Whenever there is a shooting, psychiatrists scramble to try and pinpoint the common denominator in the shooter. They give reasons such as ‘he was a loner,’ or ‘he had just lost his job,’ but they never put their finger on the one thing that all killers have in common. We want people to watch “Genius” and find out what it is.
Now, I haven’t watched the film – yet (I’ve just downloaded a copy from YouTube. I certainly have no plans to give this charlatan a single red cent towards lining his pockets) – but just based on the “one thing that all killers have in common” bit, I’m willing to bet that it’ll come down to the “no morals without God” spiel.
Having seen the clusterfuck of his previous effort, “180,” with it’s usual creationist bait-and-switch tactics, I had to admit that I was curious how he could have improved so much that he made an award-worthy feature. I also wondered what award it was – surely not an Emmy, or – goddess-forbid – an Oscar?
I needn’t have worried that those baby-eating liberal media types were slipping up. What Ray’s little pile of shit won was called a “Telly” award – something I have never heard of. Fortunately, I have Google to turn to.
Turns out these awards are presented by a company with the same name – the Telly Awards and purport to “honor the very best local, regional, and cable television commercials and programs, as well as the finest video and film productions, and work created for the Web.” This all sounds well and fine and very noble, until I noticed something weird – the articles mentioning the award were published around the 8th of February. However, a quick glance at their website, informed me that the closing date for entries is March 1st, 2013.
Now, how on earth can they be issuing awards when there are still outstanding submissions? A bit more digging made me realize that these guys are the award equivalent of buying your doctorate online. You see, you submit your entry, along with a $95 dollar fee, somebody from the “Silver Telly Council” watches it, and signs off on it. Then you win either a Silver or Bronze Telly… for which you pay them $170 (plus shipping) to send to you. No big awards ceremony here – just faceless minions sending out thousands of these awards. Yes, I said thousands. Just looking at the list of winners from 2012 is mind-boggling – there’s so many winners, that they have to be grouped alphabetically and it runs for page after page.
So, let’s get one thing straight, Comfort – your little video didn’t WIN an award, you BOUGHT an award for it. Which makes you a dishonest little shit. It’s also worth noting that you didn’t mention which Telly Award you bought, so I’m guessing it was the bronze one. Given that these people once gave an award to an interactive video of a fish tank, it speaks volumes that your little video was deemed not quite up to scratch by a company that makes money by issuing vanity awards to sad wankers.
“Genius” – Keep Me Covered, I’m Going In!
So, what about the “documentary” itself? Well, I covered all the flat surfaces around me with pillows, grabbed some strong alcohol, and settled down to watch it. Of course, this was 30 minutes that could have been spent more productively, by, say, licking battery terminals, chewing tinfoil or jabbing needles in between my toes, but sometimes you just have to take one for the team. The things I do for you, Dear Readers…
It opens with a bunch of talking heads being asked who John Lennon was. Fortunately, most of them seem to know he has something to do with the Beatles, although one lady did confuse him with Jay Leno. We then get a bit of history, telling us how John was raised by his aunt, who sent him to a local Anglican Sunday school. We then segue into John’s infamous “We’re more famous than Jesus” comment, which Comfort gives his own special spin. In his mind, Lennon’s comments were motivated by the “spiritual climate in the UK at the time.”
As Comfort puts it:
Generally speaking, traditional church services in the 1960s in England were a little dull, with dry hymns and monotone priests and ministers, who preached lifeless sermons to a group of sad, elderly people. They often sat in a cold, stone building, that was appropriately surrounded by a graveyard.
So, a “young and vibrant” John Lennon, was giving his impressions about Christianity. Oddly, Comfort doesn’t expand on this. Rather, he goes on to mention Lennon’s apology (done to save the US tour, of course) and then bizarrely goes into the full quote, where Lennon included phrases such as “Christianity will go” and “It will vanish and shrink,” and “I don’t know which will go first – rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity” – and then lamely says, “People have come to different conclusions on the issue,” based on context. Comfort seems unwilling, or more likely unable, to spin this in a positive light, and so hurriedly moves on. We’re 6 minutes in and there’s already two interesting themes left hung out to dry, because Comfort has no idea how to tackle them.
Now we’re back to the talking heads, being asked how Lennon died. Sadly, most of those who made the cut are as clueless about Lennon’s demise as Comfort is about Life, the Universe and Everything. Suddenly, we see Comfort asking the same talking heads if they think Lennon is currently in heaven. Of course, most on screen say yes, although one feisty Buddhist gives him a mouthful. She’s the one with the red stripy vest. Again, I’m not sure why Comfort left her in, because she shoots him down, responding with rage when he asks if she’s an atheist.
Then it gets a little weird. Suddenly we have the talking heads being asked to answer two moral dilemmas. The first asks them if they would steal $2 million from a bank, if they knew they wouldn’t be caught. No, I have no idea what this has to do with the life of John Lennon either. Naturally, most of those on screen say they would. Then Comfort asks them if they would help kill a woman’s husband, if she paid them $10 million.
“Aha!” I thought. “Are we going to get into some conspiracy theory where Yoko paid Chapman to kill John?” I rubbed my hands together, grabbed more popcorn and replenished my alcoholic beverage, waiting to enter tinfoil hat land. Sadly, I was mistaken. After a few minutes of people saying they would, we suddenly focus on a guy who wouldn’t. Why? Because it was against their morals.
Then comes the question: “So where do you get your morals from? Is it a belief in God? Why wouldn’t you do it? Are you afraid of facing God on Judgment Day, or something?” Of course, the answer to these questions is “Yes.”
Comfort then makes the leap, saying that what separated the non-killers from the killers was a “God-given belief in moral accountability.”
By this point, I was glad for the extra padding I’d placed around me, although my face was making contact with the fluffy pillows so often, I was in danger of asphyxiating myself.
I’m going to pause here for a minute to discuss this little bit of bullshit. Firstly, saying something and doing something are two totally different things – especially on camera. I could tell you I would give Comfort a blow job, at noon on payday, on the City Hall steps, for $10 million. Yes, I know Ted Haggard did it for meth, but I have standards. Actually doing it, however, is a totally different matter, not matter how much Comfort offers me. Secondly, whenever people say that it’s fear of God’s judgment that stops them from killing, it always creates the impression that they’re a bunch of psychopathic fuckwits, who will embark on a serious killing spree, should they ever decide God doesn’t exist. After all, that seems to be the only thing stopping them.
Finally, and this is a point that morons like Comfort can’t seem to grasp: If you can’t tell the difference between right and wrong, then what you lack is empathy, not religion.
Back to the movie. Having decided that morals come from God, Comfort goes on to tell us that:
When a nation loses that restraint (the God-given belief in moral accountability), that guiding conviction, it will become lawless and ultimately spin out of control. And there’s nothing that gets rid of moral accountability like atheistic evolution; the belief that there’s no God and we’re the descendants of primates.
Wait… WHAT THE FUCK? I thought this was about John Lennon? Can’t you stay on topic for 5 fucking minutes? And “descendants of primates?” Really? Is this idiot incapable of grasping the concept of “common ancestor?” Then again, we are talking about the moron who thinks that bananas were intelligently designed to fit into the human hand. No, I’m not kidding.
Suddenly, we cut to scenes of Comfort haranguing passersby in the street, asking them if they’re descended from an ape, and that evolution doesn’t have a proof, it’s a belief and where did the Big Bang come from. It’s all getting a little bizarre now – as we’re miles away from John Lennon and Comfort is willingly putting his ignorance on display. The minute the poor passerby can’t answer part of Comfort’s Gish Gallop, he leaps in with the same old “Goddidit” argument, we’ve heard a million times from this dribbling fool. He has one arrow in his quiver, and he never fails to end up shooting it into his own foot.
We’re now halfway through this drivel, and I’m still no closer to learning anything about the genius of John Lennon, or why killers kill.
Ah – here we go. Apparently Lennon didn’t believe in evolution. From the quote Comfort uses (“Everything they told me as a kid, has already been disproved by the same type of “experts” who made them up in the first place.”) is plain to see that Lennon- if he even said this (Comfort has a penchant for quote mining) clearly didn’t understand how science works. Then again, he never really was much of a scholar, if his biography is to be believed.
Not only that, but it becomes pretty apparent that Comfort – as usual – has engaged in some creative quote mining. Here’s the rest of Lennon’s quote:
Nor do I think we came from monkeys, by the way…That’s another piece of garbage. What the hell’s it based on? We couldn’t’ve come from anything — fish, maybe, but not monkeys. I don’t believe in the evolution of fish to monkeys to men. Why aren’t monkeys changing into men now? It’s absolute garbage. It’s absolutely irrational garbage, as mad as the ones who believe the world was made only four thousand years ago, the fundamentalists.
That and the monkey thing are both as insane as the other. I’ve nothing to base it on; it’s only a gut feeling. They always draw that progression-these apes standing up suddenly. The early men are always drawn like apes, right? Because that fits in the theory we have been living with since Darwin.
How unusual that Comfort should neglect to mention that Lennon thought the creationists were as bad as the evolutionists.
Then we’re back to the talking heads. Comfort asks a bunch of questions along the lines of ‘Have you ever pirated music?” and “Have you ever used God’s name in vain?” He shows his class by asking a man if he’s ever looked at a woman with lust in his heart. When the interviewee replies, “No,” Comfort asks him if he’s a homosexual. That looks like a bit of projection there – Comfort can’t seem to grasp that a man can look at a woman without lust in his heart. You randy bastard, Ray!!
He then goes on to lecture about how his questions all have to do with the 10 Commandments and when people stand before God, they’ll be judged on these. Again – WHAT THE FUCK does this have to do with John Lennon??
I skipped forward a bit at this point, for the sake of my own sanity. Now we get to a juicy bit. Comfort goes through some of Chapman’s testimony, focusing on the bit where Chapman said, “I was a Christian before I committed my crime.” BOOM! Out comes the “No True Scotsman” argument. Comfort asks how you can you call yourself a Christian, if you don’t follow the 10 Commandments, because No True Christian would do those things. Because they’re all too scared of Sky Daddy punishing them… and that’s the only reason.
Finally, he has a look at Lennon’s “Imagine.” In a perfect bit of what passes for logic in Comfort’s mind, he claims that the line “imagine there’s no Heaven” implies that Lennon believed in a heaven. To quote Comfort:
If I said “imagine there’s no New York, it’s easy if you try,” I’m saying that New York is a real place, but let’s pretend that it isn’t. So the song is actually acknowledging the existence of Heaven.
No it fucking isn’t, Comfort!!! Does that mean if I say ‘imagine there’s no unicorns,” or ‘imagine there’s no Shangri-la,” I’m actually saying that unicorns and Shangri-la exist, but I’m pretending they don’t. Even by your incredibly low standards, that is a pathetic argument.
I gave up at this point. Once again, Comfort has produced a crock of shit, wrapped in a thin veneer of something resembling a story, but which only serves as a vehicle for him to spout the same old crap, in the same old way. Even from a story-telling perspective, it’s messy, disjointed and badly filmed. In between his street preaching, he twists and distorts the facts of Lennon’s life and beliefs, claiming that he might have been a Christian, but he’s probably in Hell right now, and more than anything it’s just another vehicle for Comfort to repeat his tired old bullshit.
No wonder he had to buy an award. But even that won’t give it any credibility.
And it’s certainly not going to convert anybody.