Someone Should Open a Restaurant

Spoiler-Free Synopsis of Doctor Who, Season 10, Episode 7, “The Pyramid at the End of the World”:
The mysterious monks from the previous episode have reached Earth, but they’re in no rush to conquer it. They think the world is about to end – the Doomsday Clock is three minutes to midnight – and the human race is going to hand over their planet in exchange for keeping it safe. The Doctor needs to save it himself before some well-meaning humans give in. But he’s still blind.

Yeah, I’ve decided it’s not much of a spoiler anymore. The Doctor’s been blind for 2½ episodes, but they continue to find new and interesting ways to show how it’s problematic for him. Nardole is his seeing-eye cyborg, so he continues to be useful. And Bill continues to be impressed as she learns new things about the Doctor.
This is only part two of a three-part story, but the plot is going pretty well so far. I’ll admit, I was a little disenchanted with the Matrix last week. That big reveal probably could have come part of the way into this episode, except simulations are an integral part of the mysterious monk plot. They don’t just simulate the Earth’s past to figure out how to conquer it; they also know the future.
Also: no references to the mystery vault! That’s refreshing.
For the monks’ plan to work, “power must consent. Consent must be pure. Fear is not consent. Strategy is not consent. Love is consent.” This seems familiar.
God gave people free will because loving him without any other option wouldn’t be real love. He doesn’t want us to choose him out of fear of what he might do to us or because we think he’ll give us what we want. He wants us to obey his commands out of love. Love is consent. And unlike the monks, he is open about what our life will be like if we love him. He offers us salvation, but not at the expense of the will to choose. He wants to take dominion of our lives, but not in a direct, tyrannical way. He will love us back. The monks see us as corpses, but God sees us as his wayward children.
It’s unfortunate that UNIT didn’t show up, but then again, all the important soldiers died.

8.5/10 world-ending broken reading glasses/hangovers.

What do you think of this story so far? Let’s Connect!
@noahspud
@CorrelationBlog

A New Take on BookTube

Does classic literature count as a fandom? I like to think it does; I certainly nerd out about it. More specifically, I nerd out about literary web series.
The thing about the classics is they’re character-driven rather than plot-driven. We’re expected to make deep, empathic connections with realistic characters as they go about their realistic lives and, usually, fall in love in the end.
“Regular updates on the lives of random strangers” (aka vlogging) is very much character-driven. Hank Green and friends were the first to figure out that this format was perfect for re-telling classic stories, especially for modern audiences who don’t read much.
I noticed a trend among most of these web series: LGBTQ+ characters. Many of the classics are about strong female heroines, and the ones that aren’t can be gender-bent. Girl power! And it’s a small step from that to LGBTQWXYZ+ power. Haven’t I been over this before?
Trying hard not to rant. On to the thing that inspired me to write about this.
The professionals inspired many, many not-professional-but-still-brilliant literary web series around the world. I recently discovered and binge-watched The Attic, a Little Women adaptation. It’s set at a Christian college, the characters are unashamedly Christian, and Jo even shares a couple insights about faith. It makes the characters seem even more genuine, which is always a plus in these things. Also, no LGBTQWXYZ+ to be seen.
Jane Eyre talks about religion in one episode of “the Autobiography of Jane Eyre,” but most of these web series don’t talk about it. In “From Mansfield with Love,” Ed Bertram is a teacher instead of a minister. In series like “the Further Adventures of Cupid and Eros” and “Pantheon University,” metaphysics are kind of ignored for good reason. “Or So the Story Goes” has a ghost-demon who kills kids so their ghosts can play with him forever and “Frankenstein, MD” treats Victoria Frankenstein’s work as a medical breakthrough but not particularly bothersome for the religious community.
There’s at least one master list going around. For Christians, I would recommend starting with The Attic, for the reasons I mentioned. For nerds and geeks, I highly recommend the Cate Morland Chronicles. The heroine of Northanger Abbey is effortlessly converted to a super-nerd fangirl, and the series is just as much about fandom culture as the Austen love story.

Do you have a favorite classic you don’t see on this list? Tell us about it. Let’s Connect!
@noahspud
@CorrelationBlog

How the Media Portrays Hell

Before I begin, I would like to give some quick thanks to “elliot5445,” for commenting on my last article, correcting my poor research. I’ll try to do better research in the future.

Last week, I touched on how the Bible says Hell is, more for clarification before I go into this post.

Hell is surprisingly common in media, from my understanding. The thing is, this is because a lot of fictional universes have what I call a “Come-and-go Hell.” This version of Hell is what I hope it sounds like: people are free to come and go as they please, as long as they are still alive. And even if they are dead, they have the chance to go back.

Doom, at least the four games in the franchise, was the first example of this to come to mind, wherein the hero repeatedly enters Hell, shotgun in hand, to fill demons with piping hot lead.

Another one that comes to mind is Looney Toons, but my memory of the specific cartoon is fuzzy. It was a bit more kid-friendly than Doom, from what I recall. I think it had Yosemite Sam die and go to Hell, but is sent back with the deal that if he kills Bugs Bunny, he can stay alive. He goes back two or three times before giving up and staying in Hell as a demon.

Note: as a demon. This raises even more theological issues.

Another depiction of Hell that came to mind is Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, the first part of his Divine Comedy. I picked it up when I was younger, out of curiosity. I was originally going to categorize this as a depiction of a “Come-and-go Hell,” except there is no implication that Dante goes back to Earth in the end. He goes to Hell, then to Purgatory, then to Heaven/Paradise, and…it stops.

Still, it is no less accurate to the Biblical portrayal of Hell than Doom or Looney Toons.

You see, the thing about Hell, the actual place, is that there are few clues as to what it will look like. The only thing that I could find out for sure is that there will be fire, and it’s built to torture demons.

Therein lies another discrepancy in adaptations: a lot of versions of Hell that I’ve found actually have Hell run by the demons, as though it’s their kingdom. Again, Doom is an example. Another one is in the DC Universe, with their Hell being governed by Trigon. Fans of Teen Titans are probably familiar with that name.

 

In fact, to be honest, almost every example of Hell in media that I have found has this. Hell is where “the bad people go.” Not where the demons go.

Normally, this is where I would give an example of an accurate adaptation of Hell that I have found. Except, I don’t have one.

Well, this is awkward.

 

Let’s Connect:

@Isaac_Trenti

@CorrelationBlog

The Test of Shadows, or “Near Death”

Spoiler-Free Synopsis of Doctor Who, Season 10, Episode 6, “Extremis”:
The Vatican has a secret book in an unknown language. Everyone who translates it and reads it commits suicide. The Vatican has two options: make sure no one ever reads the book again…or ask the Doctor to read it. One of those options makes for a better story.

First of all, turns out other people really liked the last episode, “Oxygen.” I sometimes like episodes that other fans don’t like, but the opposite doesn’t happen to me often. No accounting for taste, and all that. Oh well.
This week, the Doctor is still hiding his secret from last episode. He’s even hiding it from Bill, because as soon as he tells her he’ll have to actually deal with it. But he still wants her to come along with him, even on this particular adventure, because she’s his companion. As I said before, I love companion dynamics.
What doesn’t make sense is why he would bring the Pope and the cardinals along to pick Bill up, just so they could hop out of the TARDIS to surprise her and her date.
Oh yeah, her date. I’m calling it: Bill is going to come out to her foster mom at a very inconvenient moment, like when their lives are in danger. And her mom is going to be totally fine with it, because at least she’s not dating boys. And the fans of LGBTQWXYZ+ will rejoice, and the Christians will have no choice but to grin and bear it. So it is written, so it shall be.
On the bright side, Nardole finally has a purpose! Whether it’s helping the Doctor keep his secret out of friendly loyalty or being “secretly a badass,” I actually like him now. While the Doctor was indisposed, Nardole played the Doctor’s role as only Matt Lucas could. He even stopped complaining about…oh! Almost forgot to mention the vault.
We finally know who’s in there, mainly because this episode didn’t have 40-something minutes of plot so they had to add flashbacks. Not that the flashbacks had much to do with the main plot.

7/10 Latin words that make things sound cooler than they really are.

What did you think of this episode? Let’s Connect!
@noahspud
@CorrelationBlog

How the Bible portrays Hell

Well, I’m back from my brief hiatus. I got my things taken care of, and now I’m in a place where I can blog again.

So, I was scrolling through my older posts, and I found a few old articles based around the theme of “How the Media Portrays…” I did Jesus, angels, and demons, but what about Heaven and Hell?

Well, I’ll get to Heaven at some point, because this week, we’re going to Hell.

Metaphorically.

Now, the main issue I have is that there are many different interpretations of Hell in the media, just as there are many different interpretations of Jesus, angels, and demons. The problem with discussing Hell is that it seems not even the Christians have a good idea about how Hell looks.

So, normally, I would start with the media and then look to the Bible, but in this case, I’m going to do it backwards, solely so I can get a good understanding of things.

 

The Bible (the definitive)

In the translation I use (NIV 2011), “Hell,” the word, doesn’t really come up in conversation that much. Four of these times are the, “If your X causes you to stumble, cut it off; for it is better to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go to Hell,” passages, and several others are in a similar vein.

So, I broadened my search to the concept of Hell. A lot of the passages I came across acknowledge that Hell is a place, and it involves fire. In my studies, one of the most telling passages is Revelation 20:7-10, where Satan receives his final judgment: being “thrown into the lake of burning sulfur” where he “will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Verse 10)

I have two things to note about Hell, from this passage. First, sulfur technically doesn’t burn, as it is a mineral. Rather, it melts at roughly four-hundred degrees Fahrenheit, and boils at twice that temperature. Any scientists in the audience, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

Second, we know that Hell is calibrated to torment demons for eternity. Just to put that in perspective.

With that, I’m going to leave the rest of this article for next week. This one is going to be lengthy.

 

Let’s Connect:

@Isaac_Trenti

@CorrelationBlog

What Does This Have to Do with Crop Rotation?

Spoiler-Free Doctor Who, Season 10, Episode 5, “Oxygen”:
After giving a lecture about how the vacuum of space can kill you, the Doctor takes Bill to visit the vacuum of space. On this future space station, space suits are killing people. But you need to wear a space suit to have an oxygen supply. And the Doctor lost his sonic screwdriver. Also, Nardole keeps complaining that the Doctor isn’t supposed to leave Earth. And there’s a blue person.

Ugh. This season has been good so far. But this episode… maybe it just had too many moving parts.
The blue person made them bring up racism. I get that it’s good to talk about it, but the season with Martha didn’t make as big a deal about skin color as this season. The Whoniverse is supposed to be too big to worry about these social problems; sexuality is never EVER questioned, but they need to pause to discuss racism on a show where even human is optional?
Nardole didn’t serve much purpose. Sometimes he was funny, but mostly he was just there to say “Season-Long Mystery, Remember? We can’t tell anyone what it is, but we can’t let anyone forget that it’s there!”
Bill conveniently gets the space suit that breaks down at the most inconvenient times. And the other space suits have confusing powers. They can’t enter a certain room, but they can hear people whispering on the other side of it. They can magnetically steal a sonic screwdriver but not a gun, apparently. And they’re capable of electrocuting their occupants for some reason but not *spoilers*; seriously, why build a space suit death trap that also provides oxygen? It doesn’t make sense.
Oxygen supply is measured in breaths, rather than time, because when you’re freaked out you use oxygen faster. But no one in the episode dies from running out of their oxygen supply. So why point that out, except for added realism?
And on top of all that, the Doctor is *spoilers.* Too many moving parts.
If Jamie Matheson had used considerably less moving parts…and made the major threat less disappointing…yeah, no, then there wouldn’t have been anything to speak of in this episode. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship had many moving parts, and that was excellent. Jamie Matheson wrote Flatline, and that was excellent. Why couldn’t this one be excellent?

3/10 radio voices called… Velma. Ooh. Scary.

Did anyone like this episode more than I did? Let’s Connect!
@noahspud
@CorrelationBlog

Exactly What It Says on the Tin

What if American slavery wasn’t just cheap labor for rich people? What if it was also a cheap food supply for vampires?
That’s not just something for nerds to fantasize about. That’s the premise for “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.” Okay, the actual premise is the life of Abraham Lincoln as if his mother was killed by a vampire so he spent his nights chopping their heads off. But then his war on the blood-suckers crosses over into his day job – politics and the Civil War.
The movie is based on a book written by Seth Grahame-Smith, the same guy who wrote “Pride & Prejudice & Zombies” and the Lego Batman Movie. In the early days of the Correlation I wrote a post about P&P&Z before I’d even seen it. I have seen it now, and my opinion hasn’t changed: it’s a well-made, brilliantly-acted movie. I finally get why Mr. Darcy is the object of literary girls’ fantasies: he has very impressive zombie-killing skills.

The Abraham Lincoln one isn’t quite as good as P&P&Z, but it has similar merits. The acting is very good (I spotted the MCU’s Falcon and Howard Stark, Firefly’s Alan Tudyk, and Scott Pilgrim’s Ramona). The atmosphere is appropriate for the era but also the subject matter.
The vampires are day-walkers, they have this weird invisibility power, and the mechanics of how they convert humans is vague, but they’re treated just as seriously as the zombies in the Jane Austen adaptation. The movie isn’t “hilarious in its grim sincerity” like P&P&Z was, but it makes Abraham Lincoln a proper hero – now slavery has a fanged face to be brutally mutilated.
Also (slight spoiler warning), the movie does not cheapen Lincoln’s assassination by saying it was related to vampires. Maybe that will appeal to the people who are worried it mocks history. My college roommate was a History major, and his positive opinion of this movie is what convinced me to watch it.
If a history buff can enjoy this movie, can’t Christians lower their expectations just a bit and enjoy this and other fandoms? It’s the same point I made about P&P&Z, and it still applies.

I wrote this one a while back, and I didn’t have anything new for today, so here it is.
Ask us questions to give us ideas for new material! Let’s Connect!
@noahspud
@CorrelationBlog