June 14, 2006

And you thought the Baldwin brothers were only good for South Park and Team America: World Police jokes.

Oh how wrong you are.

Stephen Baldwin has found God.

That's him preaching in the picture, by the way, not filming his latest straight-to-video blockbuster.

First, a little briefing. Stephen is the youngest of the four Baldwin brothers - Alec, Daniel, William, and little Steve-B. Yes, the one who made Bio-Dome with Pauly Shore. The one who played a career criminal in The Usual Suspects. That Stephen Baldwin. The one who used to model Calvin Klein underwear.

Not long after 9/11 Stephen had his conversion experience and for what it's worth, it appears to be a genuine one. Whatever your feelings on Hollywood and Christian conversions (mine tend to be centred mainly around my gag reflex), it must be said that Stephen in this incarnation is just as insane and passionate as he was in his stunt-riddled movie heyday. He has a blog, an extreme sports tour evangelistic outreach program, and a new book called The Unusual Suspect detailing his conversion story. (Tip of the Day: turn your computer speakers OFF before you visit stephenbaldwin.com.)

... warning, rant ahead...

Okay, it has to be said. The world needs another "hardcore and radical" Christian outreach program that "kids can relate to" like it needs another Baldwin brother in the public eye. If it really was as simple as hosting an extreme skate competition with some has-been Flintstones actor, I mean if that REALLY led to eternal glory and the solution to all soul-rending questions and damning debates... well fuck me, where the hell has Stephen Baldwin BEEN all this time?

If he's saved, good for him. I'm not questioning the status of his faith or where he stands with God. More to the point, I don't much care about the status of his faith. But I do care about really shitty Bible-belt funded Christian movies (the Left Behind funders are helming Stephen's latest effort called Midnight Clear) and endless Christian propaganda brainwashing sessions masquerading as extreme sports gatherings. Why am I speaking out so vehemently? Because I am a product of Christian propaganda brainwashing sessions. I went to all the latest things that "kids could relate to" back in the day. Christian rap concerts, hip weekend conventions, Christian movies, whatever. I believed it all. I bought it and lived it and fed off it and then it all vanished into a great cloud of hooey when I emerged into the real world. Because no amount of extreme skateboarding or pump-you-up post 9/11 conversion stories from a D-list celebrity can prepare you for the reality of facing the questions of life and death and eternity in a world gone mad with temptation and chaos on all sides. No amount of "breakthrough" youth gatherings will stop drugs and sex and rock'n'roll from being easy outs. No number of motivational convention speakers who wear God bling and talk street with love are going to be able to prevent real life from happening. And when the Church as a whole institution fails and you find yourself in an alcohol-induced near-rape situation with no idea where your shoes are, nevermind your eternal soul, FUCK SKATEBOARD MINISTRY. If you immerse totally in the Church, you'll never question the shit they're peddling. That's true. But if you dare to "be in the world but not of it" you will see things no church gathering can prepare you for and the questions must be asked. If not sooner, later. This skater bullshit is just the latest incarnation of a Church wildly out of touch with reality and hoping to hell they're never required to lift their head out of the sand to take stock.

Sorry, Stephen Baldwin, but you're just the newest in a long line of has-beens who don't get it. You get the bulk of my wrath because you're a public figure and really, with that blog and your film history, you're so asking for it.

Faith is something entirely and utterly separate from the shit that can be bought and sold on Amazon.com. Faith and spirituality cannot be summarized in a skateboard quarterly, my friend. Nor should it be.

June 13, 2006

Superman Returns
(to jeers and ridicule)

Look, I've never claimed to be a comic book fan. I don't have favorite superheros. If you held a gun to my head and made me choose, I'd say Batman. He's, you know, a bat... man. But Superman? I don't get it. He wears head-to-toe red and blue spandex, a giant 'S' insignia, is "faster than a speeding bullet" (even though we measure things in light speed nowadays), can "leap tall buildings in a single bound", and has a really bad allergic reaction to green gems. How is this cool? No... that was a rhetorical question. Do not bite me with endless diatribes on the hows and whys of Superman being cool. The glasses, the kryptonite, the spandex, the dork reporter alter-ego, Lois Lane... my mind is made up. Combine this with my recent and growing aversion to all things re-made or blockbuster in Hollywood and I'd say Superman Returns was a shoe-in to top my list of Films To Avoid At All Costs....


(thanks to the official Superman Returns site for the download)

Bryan Singer cast Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor.

I love Kevin Spacey. Even in that rather shitty movie with Helen Hunt and the kid who sees dead people. Kevin Spacey could read a phone book for two hours and it would be the most compelling piece of cinema ever witnessed. Kevin Spacey is a god. I used to think the best thing on the planet would be if Kevin Spacey and John Cusack did a movie together and then Clint Eastwood (who is surely a genius) made Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and thus also made my year. So I won't hesitate now to say that if Kevin Spacey and Marton Csokas were to make a movie together, it would be the best thing in the galaxy. I'll wait while some genius director (I'm looking at you here, Clint) sets that up for me. But while I wait I'm going to have to go watch Superman Returns. Because even though it has some gay spandex-wearing flying guy and Orlando Bloom's girlfriend in it, it also has KEVIN SPACEY. People. Nevermind arguments for or against Superman. Who cares? Kevin Spacey is Lex Luthor. That's the whole movie right there.

Lex Luthor: Come on, let me hear you say it, just once.
Lois Lane: You're insane.
Lex Luthor: No! *laughing* Not that, no, the other thing.
Lois Lane: Superman will never--
Lex Luthor: WRONG!!

June 12, 2006

You, my darling one,
coveted priceless jewel
sliced deep into my sanity
rendered me a fool

You, my precious one,
my own sweet cooing dove
worked my wrists like razorblades
drained me of my love

You, my sweet ambition,
the one I aimed to own
lashed out where it injured most
I really should have known

You, my vicious darling,
all promise and no vow
You've siphoned me of meaning
for the last time now

copyright Gabrielle 2006

(And no, it isn't about my boy. Just for the record.)