Friday night movie

>> Friday, May 02, 2008

I can't help being filled with such a giddy loathing of Jack Chick. Or is "loathing" really the right word? On the one hand, Jack Chick is a bigoted, ignorant, racist, homophobic, intolerant jerk who can barely draw well enough to play "Hangman"; on the other hand, he makes me giggle. Even in his unadulterated form, Chick is unintentionally hysterical. But rewrites like "Dork Dungeons" are utterly amazing (warning: the previous link may contain nerdy in-jokes that are only funny to first edition Advanced Dungeons And Dragons players, including a flumph reference on the second page).

Oh, wait: there may be a few of you who don't know who Jack Chick is, or don't know you know who he is. Have you ever seen those flimsy little black-and-white comic booklets, an inch-or-two wide and maybe three inches long, that tell you you're going to Hell for all eternity if you dress up for Halloween, believe in evolution, or are a Mormon? Jack Chick! That's the guy! Gay? Catholic? Straight to Hell! A mass-murderer who accepts Jesus into your life? Come on into Heaven, you psychotic, homicidal turd, you!

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, you can read Chick Tracts (if you absolutely have to), as they're called, here online--you no longer have to rely on bug-eyed fanatics, fallout surreptitiously slipped into magazines at a newsstand, or bathroom floors between the urinals for you Jack Chick dose anymore! They would rot your soul from the inside if they weren't so skull-droppingly inept in their execution.

Nonetheless, they have a certain value as kitsch and irony, and if you grew up in the American South in the '80s (when the Christians were at open war with the pornographers, witches, Satanists, and Democrats), they have a certain bizarre nostalgia value. (Perhaps other regions were as littered with Chick's ranty cartoons--I can only speak for the Bible Belt.)

And it's in that spirit that we have this Friday Night Movie, brought to my notice by BoingBoing: in 1997, animators Syd Garon and Rodney Ascher did an adaptation of Jack Chick's "classic" "Somebody Goofed," in which a young man's willingness to be led astray and a freight train demonstrate the perils of not accepting Jesus. I feel a twinge--a very slight twinge--of reluctance: there's a case to be made that Chick's work should be ignored rather than celebrated. However, the way in which Garon and Ascher adapted Chick's work via collage and used music is pretty brilliant, in my opinion--they actually elevate Chick's trashy, half-assed drawings to something arty and, I don't know, cleverly primitivistic. And as to the notion that Chick should be ignored, I think "sunlight is the best disinfectant" serves as a better philosophy (this was an issue I had back when I used to hang out on the Wizards Of The Coast boards--their moderators would nix any mention of "that man," as they called him, when the better policy would be to admit he exists and is a fool and to openly mock him).

You might appreciate the animated short more if you read the original comic.

The BoingBoing entry on the short is also worth reading.

Hmm. It seems like I'm forgetting something... what is it? Oh yeah! The Friday Night Movie! "Somebody Goofed":


Peter,  Saturday, May 3, 2008 at 10:04:00 PM EDT  

Great Friday Night movie! (Even for Saturday) For more fun with Jack Chick, check out this trailer for a bunch of short films based on actual Chick Tracts!

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