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Old 06-14-2010, 12:01 PM   #76
Walton
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Originally Posted by Montana Smith
If those other faiths also had a proven ability (as Mola Ram's Kali cult proved that it could work supernatural powers), that would mean Indy believed in different gods, or at least very different methods of pleasing the same god. Methods that would be inconsistent with most Christian ideals.

Let's not discount the existence of the demonic.

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Originally Posted by Montana Smith
Indy's world differs from ours in that a 'supernatural' is shown to exist, that it's still undefined by science means that it isn't yet incorporated into the natural world (even though it is a 'natural' part of Indy's world).

I think Indy would have to keep an open mind, as relating everything he witnesses or experiences to a Christian understanding would prove difficult, based on the Bible. Though, if he took the apocryphal texts (which von Daeniken used to interpret the 'Most High', the flying machines, and God as a spaceman etc), then he might be able to bring the Inter-Dimensionals into some sort of Christian definition.


In tribal Africa, there is no doubt of the supernatural. We're not talking about digital effects and camera tricks. They don't have such technological barriers between them and the supernatural.

Christianity espouses there is one God who created this world, the heavens (universe), and all that is in them. IDBs are not a problem under that canopy of belief. Part of the created world(s); apocryphal texts not necessary.

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Originally Posted by Montana Smith
Rather than an atheist, I think Indy has to be a polytheist. Indy's world appears not to be dominated by a single God, but many.

While I profess belief in one God - one Creator, one ultimate God - I do see evidence of many gods in the world...whether they are myths or not is irrelevant; the fact is, people believe in them and worship them. The reality of many gods (as affirmed by the existence and practices of their worshipers) in the world does not conflict with Christian theology, as the Bible itself acknowledges that various peoples and tribes worship other gods; in Acts Chapter 17:16-34, the author Luke states that in Athens there was even an idol to "an unknown god" (v23)...probably put there just in case the worshipers missed one.

I believe the key tenant of polytheism isn't so much that one believes in the existence of many gods, but that one also worships many gods. So I do not see Indy as classifying himself as a polytheist.

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Old 06-14-2010, 12:41 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by Walton
Let's not discount the existence of the demonic.

In tribal Africa, there is no doubt of the supernatural. We're not talking about digital effects and camera tricks. They don't have such technological barriers between them and the supernatural.

Christianity espouses there is one God who created this world, the heavens (universe), and all that is in them. IDBs are not a problem under that canopy of belief. Part of the created world(s); apocryphal texts not necessary.

This goes back to the point I made somewhere that there is a tendency of those of a particular faith, to view the movies through the eyes of that faith. That would make the Kali cult another form of satanic worship, and presuppose that all beliefs around the world are twisted versions of belief in the Hebrew/Christian God.

In Indy's world I think that the other gods - whether they're superior elemental beings or merely 'aliens' - have an individual identity.

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Originally Posted by Walton
While I profess belief in one God - one Creator, one ultimate God - I do see evidence of many gods in the world...whether they are myths or not is irrelevant; the fact is, people believe in them and worship them. The reality of many gods (as affirmed by the existence and practices of their worshipers) in the world does not conflict with Christian theology, as the Bible itself acknowledges that various peoples and tribes worship other gods; in Acts Chapter 17:16-34, the author Luke states that in Athens there was even an idol to "an unknown god" (v23)...probably put there just in case the worshipers missed one.

I believe the key tenant of polytheism isn't so much that one believes in the existence of many gods, but that one also worships many gods. So I do not see Indy as classifying himself as a polytheist.

Polytheism supposes belief in many gods, though the individual need only worship one of them. In the Greek and Roman myths there were many gods. Some heroes had their guardian gods whom they worshipped, while other gods tried to thwart the hero's progress.
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Old 06-14-2010, 01:01 PM   #78
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This goes back to the point I made somewhere that there is a tendency of those of a particular faith, to view the movies through the eyes of that faith. That would make the Kali cult another form of satanic worship, and presuppose that all beliefs around the world are twisted versions of belief in the Hebrew/Christian God.


Did you see the statue of Kali? It didn't look particularly friendly. I'm not presupposing anything of the kind. There's are a number of religions that bear no resemblance to Christianity/Judaism. They are what they are; no one's trying to force them into a mold. My point about demonic (and yes, I had Kali in mind) was that it was clearly evil; in Christianity, "clearly evil" means satanic/demonic, yes, so it's no crime to put Kali in the same category of "evil spirit/god", that is to say, one opposing the good.

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Originally Posted by Montana Smith
In Indy's world I think that the other gods - whether they're superior elemental beings or merely 'aliens' - have an individual identity.


Right, Kali is Kali, and I'm not questioning that.

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Originally Posted by Montana Smith
Polytheism supposes belief in many gods, though the individual need only worship one of them. In the Greek and Roman myths there were many gods. Some heroes had their guardian gods whom they worshipped, while other gods tried to thwart the hero's progress.

What I'm getting at is that beyond belief worship involved.
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Old 06-14-2010, 01:15 PM   #79
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Did you see the statue of Kali? It didn't look particularly friendly. I'm not presupposing anything of the kind. There's are a number of religions that bear no resemblance to Christianity/Judaism. They are what they are; no one's trying to force them into a mold. My point about demonic (and yes, I had Kali in mind) was that it was clearly evil; in Christianity, "clearly evil" means satanic/demonic, yes, so it's no crime to put Kali in the same category of "evil spirit/god", that is to say, one opposing the good.

Right, Kali is Kali, and I'm not questioning that.

When I wrote "satanic" I meant as pertaining to Satan, not generally demonic. It would be possible for those of the Christian or Jewish belief to assign Kali to a form of Satan worship - that Kali is Satan/Lucifer in another guise.

But you've already qualified that by stating "Kali is Kali".

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What I'm getting at is that beyond belief worship involved.

What I'm saying is that it's possible for Indy to be a polytheist simply by believing that more than one god exists, though a polytheist does not have to worship those other existing gods. For example, he may believe that Kali exists, but he wouldn't worship Kali in the manner of Mola Ram's cult.
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Old 06-14-2010, 01:20 PM   #80
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I think Indy would have to keep an open mind, as relating everything he witnesses or experiences to a Christian understanding would prove difficult, based on the Bible.
Not in the least. Christianity is remarkably versitile...as noted in a later post:
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Originally Posted by Montana Smith
When I wrote "satanic" I meant as pertaining to Satan, not generally demonic. It would be possible for those of the Christian or Jewish belief to assign Kali to a form of Satan worship - that Kali is Satan/Lucifer in another guise.

But you've already qualified that by stating "Kali is Kali".

What I'm saying is that it's possible for Indy to be a polytheist simply by believing that more than one god exists, though a polytheist does not have to worship those other existing gods. For example, he may believe that Kali exists, but he wouldn't worship Kali in the manner of Mola Ram's cult.
O, be some other name! What's in a name? that which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.

as far as Kali and Shiva, their spheres of influence intersect so much they can be interchangeable...

You're going to have to clarify your position on polytheists...

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Old 06-14-2010, 01:25 PM   #81
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Originally Posted by Montana Smith
When I wrote "satanic" I meant as pertaining to Satan, not generally demonic. It would be possible for those of the Christian or Jewish belief to assign Kali to a form of Satan worship - that Kali is Satan/Lucifer in another guise.

But you've already qualified that by stating "Kali is Kali".


Correct, I do not view Kali as a manifestation of Satan. I see them as separate. Both evil, but not the same entity.

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Originally Posted by Montana Smith
What I'm saying is that it's possible for Indy to be a polytheist simply by believing that more than one god exists, though a polytheist does not have to worship those other existing gods. For example, he may believe that Kali exists, but he wouldn't worship Kali in the manner of Mola Ram's cult.

Ok, I get that. So...technically, a polytheist can also be a monotheist??? I mean, if you're only worshiping one deity despite acknowledging others exist...polytheistic monotheism or monotheistic polytheism?

I also see Indy as being the kind of person who - if he were going to worship anything - would find his way through to the ultimate god...whom there is no one greater than...why settle for second rate deities? (That is to say, if I were in his shoes, that's how I'd do it.)
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Old 06-14-2010, 01:30 PM   #82
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Not in the least. Christianity is remarkably versitile...as noted in a later post:

O, be some other name! What's in a name? that which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.

as far as Kali and Shiva, their spheres of influence intersect so much they can be interchangeable...

You're going to have to clarify your position on polytheists...

I know and understand what you're getting at. However, I'm looking at Indy's world, not ours. In his world I see that these gods have individual identities - they are unique, and not just local names for the same single being. I say that, because using the films as evidence, we aren't lead to think otherwise.
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Old 06-14-2010, 01:38 PM   #83
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Ok, I get that. So...technically, a polytheist can also be a monotheist??? I mean, if you're only worshiping one deity despite acknowledging others exist...polytheistic monotheism or monotheistic polytheism?

Monotheism is the belief that only one god exists. Therefore a monotheist only has the option of one god to worship.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monotheism

Polytheism believes that more than one god exists. Therefore a polytheist has the option of more than one god to worship.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polytheism

With Greek and Roman myths the characters in the stories don't worship all the gods that they know exist. Some characters are hindered by certain gods, just as certain gods hinder other gods.

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I also see Indy as being the kind of person who - if he were going to worship anything - would find his way through to the ultimate god...whom there is no one greater than...why settle for second rate deities? (That is to say, if I were in his shoes, that's how I'd do it.)

That presupposes that in Indy's world there is an ultimate god! In TOD we see that Kali gives a man the power to remove another man's heart, and for the victim to continue living. That sort of power isn't given to another human by any other god in the films.

You see, I'm merely playing devil's advocate!

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Old 06-14-2010, 01:45 PM   #84
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I know and understand what you're getting at. However, I'm looking at Indy's world, not ours.
I don't see Indy in his own universe, I see him in ours and think that there are questions and things that can't be explained, (which is why faith is still important even today). I always enjoyed how Indiana Jones bridged that gap between real world rational and hyperbolic history.


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In his world I see that these gods have individual identities - they are unique, and not just local names for the same single being. I say that, because using the films as evidence, we aren't lead to think otherwise.

It's pretty hard to overlay one all encompassing overlay to Indiana Jones because the approach to the stories were all so different. Raiders was that do or die movie and as a result his 'persona' has evolved...just like Lucas' tastes.

I look at each film on the own, not as a continuing saga. The attitudes, while similar are starkly different as well.

Which is why "using the films as evidence" doesn't really work for me...

It's like making sense of the character of Dracula. Many people have taken the character and written stories and scripts, and redefining the spiritual, (pact with the devil) as physiological, (blood disorder) and in effect transforming the character from a willing participant into a victim.
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Old 06-14-2010, 01:53 PM   #85
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I don't see Indy in his own universe, I see him in ours and think that there are questions and things that can't be explained, (which is why faith is still important even today). I always enjoyed how Indiana Jones bridged that gap between real world rational and hyperbolic history.

I had to take him out of our universe because the history didn't match - Afrika Korps before their creation, German military romping around British controlled Egypt, MP-38 machine pistols in 1936, Kubelwagens, etc etc. I can't help but see Indy's world as occurring in an alternate universe. Even the physics don't match ours!

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It's pretty hard to overlay one all encompassing overlay to Indiana Jones because the approach to the stories were all so different. Raiders was that do or die movie and as a result his 'persona' has evolved...just like Lucas' tastes.

I look at each film on the own, not as a continuing saga. The attitudes, while similar are starkly different as well.

...and I can't help but see them as one story. But then I'm like that - I like for things to fit into patterns and chronologies, which is why I feel obliged to accept all of KOTCS despite the elements that don't sit easy.

I accept the evolution of the character, as I still see the Indy of Raiders in the Indy of KOTCS, albeit older and hopefully wiser!

I'm going to be facing the same dilemma with the Bond movies - how to mesh at least 20 of them into one continuity?
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Old 06-14-2010, 01:55 PM   #86
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In his world I see that these gods have individual identities - they are unique, and not just local names for the same single being. I say that, because using the films as evidence, we aren't lead to think otherwise.

However, in the films we have the "bending" issue to deal with as compared to our world. The films are limited in scope which forces us to make some choices when we discuss them. Here's what I mean:

ToD talks about the Thuggee. We have the details from the film, but we have to suppose that the history of the film Thuggee cult includes that the Thuggee were suppressed by the British in the 1830s by Sir William Henry Sleeman (as they were in real history) since we are not told otherwise.

Raiders has the Ark of the Covenant and the Bible. We must assume, unless otherwise stated, that the Bible therein is the text we know today.

KOTCS is based on the actual published account by Karl Brugger of a place called Akakor (not Akator as in the film) and a tribe called the Ugha Mongulala (shorted to Ugha in the film). The movie goes the IDB route, as the account of Akakor includes mention of the gods' "flying disks".

With these differences in mind, we assume things to be as we know them in our world, unless otherwise explicitly stated by the movie (as in KOTCS).

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Old 06-14-2010, 01:58 PM   #87
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It's pretty hard to overlay one all encompassing overlay to Indiana Jones because the approach to the stories were all so different. Raiders was that do or die movie and as a result his 'persona' has evolved...just like Lucas' tastes.

Not sure I'd call Lucas' tastes evolution. Evolution would imply progress.
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:02 PM   #88
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That presupposes that in Indy's world there is an ultimate god! In TOD we see that Kali gives a man the power to remove another man's heart, and for the victim to continue living. That sort of power isn't given to another human by any other god in the films.

Why wouldn't there be an ultimate God in Indy's world? There are progressively greater and weaker forms of weapons in the film, more and less evil individuals, more and less admirable characters. In a world of many gods, on the scale of gods, it is reasonable to conclude that there is an ultimate God.
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:02 PM   #89
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Not sure I'd call Lucas' tastes evolution. Evolution would imply progress.
I empathise, but progress isn't always pretty:

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Old 06-14-2010, 02:05 PM   #90
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However, in the films we have the "bending" issue to deal with as compared to our world. The films are limited in scope which forces us to make some choices when we discuss them. Here's what I mean:

ToD talks about the Thuggee. We have the details from the film, but we have to suppose that the history of the film Thuggee cult includes that the Thuggee were suppressed by the British in the 1830s by Sir William Henry Sleeman (as they were in real history) since we are not told otherwise.

Raiders has the Ark of the Covenant and the Bible. We must assume, unless otherwise stated, that the Bible therein is the text we know today.

KOTCS is based on the actual published account by Karl Brugger of a place called Akakor (not Akator as in the film) and a tribe called the Ugha Mongulala (shorted to Ugha in the film). The movie goes the IDB route, as the account of Akakor includes mention of the gods' "flying disks".

With these differences in mind, we assume things to be as we know them in our world, unless otherwise explicitly stated by the movie (as in KOTCS)?

Yet the gross historical inaccuracies of basic equipment are out of place in 1936. The only way to see the Afrika Korps in Egypt in 1936, using weapons not yet invented, is to see Raiders as a fantasy which takes only hints of our version of 1936. I have for a long time seen Indy's world as an alternate world. The closest we can get is our world where different choices have been made at certain points, which creates a "bending" of history.

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Old 06-14-2010, 02:10 PM   #91
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I empathise, but progress isn't always pretty:


Nice! Yeah, that's an ugly one alright.
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:13 PM   #92
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Why wouldn't there be an ultimate God in Indy's world? There are progressively greater and weaker forms of weapons in the film, more and less evil individuals, more and less admirable characters. In a world of many gods, on the scale of gods, it is reasonable to conclude that there is an ultimate God.

I said I was playing devil's advocate.

Given the Story Conference Transcript of 1978, and the events of KOTCS it's hard to tell exactly what was in Lucas' mind.

The likelihood is that there is an ultimate god, as Zeus/Jupiter became in Greek/Roman myth.

Because I do see all four films as connected, and because Indy doesn't trash the concept of Kali or the power of Kali, it makes Indy's world all the more interesting. Akin to the world of Hellboy where all manner of myths and legends exist side-by-side.
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:16 PM   #93
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Yet the gross historical inaccuracies of basic equipment are out of place in 1936. The only way to see the Afrika Korps in Egypt in 1936, using weapons not yet invented, is to see Raiders as a fantasy which takes only hints of our version of 1936. I have for a long time seen Indy's world as an alternate world. The closest we can get is our world where different choice have been made at certain points, which creates a "bending" of history.

Well, yeah, it is fantasy. Of course it is. But since we don't have extensive volumes of documents and all included in that fantasy (or the time to read them all), the supposition we're somewhat forced to make is that things mentioned are as we know them in reality unless otherwise stated (i.e., Akator in the film, not Akakor per Karl Brugger).
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:16 PM   #94
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Nice! Yeah, that's an ugly one alright.

Yet probably perfectly adapted!
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:20 PM   #95
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Well, yeah, it is fantasy. Of course it is. But since we don't have extensive volumes of documents and all included in that fantasy (or the time to read them all), the supposition we're somewhat forced to make is that things mentioned are as we know them in reality unless otherwise stated (i.e., Akator in the film, not Akakor per Karl Brugger).

I can't even remember how we managed to get to this, but for me these discussions always prove one thing: for a series of pulpy adventure tales, there's so much depth to them!

There really isn't a 'correct' way to view them, but they do open up a lot of debate.
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:20 PM   #96
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Yet probably perfectly adapted!

So do you go the micro-evolution route or the macro-evolution route? Or both?
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:25 PM   #97
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I can't even remember how we managed to get to this, but for me these discussions always prove one thing: for a series of pulpy adventure tales, there's so much depth to them!

There really isn't a 'correct' way to view them, but they do open up a lot of debate.

Lol, yeah they do! It's amazing the variety of viewpoints. I mean, you see it as alternate universe. He sees it as in our world. I'm not even sure my take on that one...except that it's great fiction. I know I like the idea of it being "historical." But as you say, there are too many anachronisms. His satchel is a WWII gas bag. I've got a replica of it. It's sturdy, I can see why it was chosen as a prop; I use the thing every day. But in the film it's out of historical order.

I think we were talking about how to classify the different deities in IJ.
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:27 PM   #98
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Why wouldn't there be an ultimate God in Indy's world? There are progressively greater and weaker forms of weapons in the film, more and less evil individuals, more and less admirable characters. In a world of many gods, on the scale of gods, it is reasonable to conclude that there is an ultimate God.

I'm not sure that those earlier types of gradations can be mapped onto the question of different gods, though. And that's dependent on our even accepting that there are greater and weaker weapons - that rocket launcher proved pretty handy when Indy was stuck at the back of a convoy, but wouldn't have done a thing for him when he was tussling in the dirt with Dovchenko. And there are certainly many cases in which Indy's whip is better than a gun. There's something about contextual appropriateness going on that doesn't simply boil down to greater and weaker.

Or take good and evil: is Belloq's vaingloriousness more or less evil than Mola Ram's fanaticism? Toht's sadism vs. Mac's greed? Henry's Sr.'s neglect vs. Willie's self-centeredness? Aren't we dealing with too many different sorts of vices and virtues to really rank them?

So why is there necessarily an ultimate God in a polytheist world like Indy's? Why would there be only one above all others?
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:29 PM   #99
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Yet the gross historical inaccuracies of basic equipment are out of place in 1936. The only way to see the Afrika Korps in Egypt in 1936, using weapons not yet invented, is to see Raiders as a fantasy which takes only hints of our version of 1936.

I always took it as getting a glimpse at events and places that were secret and hidden. The wing was under development and as far as the one captured on screen, who's to say it wasn't a prototype?

Are you quite sure we're not seeing the forebearers of the Afrika Korps.

Fantasy, while appropriate, really conjures up images of laser guns. Which they could have easily rounded up from LFL, but they didn't. The reason Raiders is universally loved is because it is so "grounded", and things like a leap across a "bottomless" pit are fantastic, tense and thrilling...a long way from jumping mine carts, meeting Hitler of riding the Frigidaire.


Too slow, the conversation is too quick! Serving two masters! Have at it!
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:36 PM   #100
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I'm not sure that those earlier types of gradations can be mapped onto the question of different gods, though. And that's dependent on our even accepting that there are greater and weaker weapons - that rocket launcher proved pretty handy when Indy was stuck at the back of a convoy, but wouldn't have done a thing for him when he was tussling in the dirt with Dovchenko. And there are certainly many cases in which Indy's whip is better than a gun. There's something about contextual appropriateness going on that doesn't simply boil down to greater and weaker.

Or take good and evil: is Belloq's vaingloriousness more or less evil than Mola Ram's fanaticism? Toht's sadism vs. Mac's greed? Henry's Sr.'s neglect vs. Willie's self-centeredness? Aren't we dealing with too many different sorts of vices and virtues to really rank them?

So why is there necessarily an ultimate God in a polytheist world like Indy's? Why would there be only one above all others?

Never mind that I'm speaking from my beliefs. The very concept of a champion entails a singularity. Surely, champion status can be shared, but it does not need to be...as even in shared champion status, there is a "best of the best."
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