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Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

Christmas means a lot of different things for different people. For me and other mecha fans it signals the yearly rewatch of Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket. Why celebrate Christmas this way? Well, I’ve watched 0080 over Christmas and New Years for the past two years and I plan to do so again this year because it’s by far my favourite Gundam series and since the last episode is set on Christmas Eve it seems appropriate. It also never hurts to have a little heartbreak and some tears to go along with the happy times that the holiday season brings.

0080 has often been called the “Gundam for people who aren’t Gundam fans”. I can see where this comes from because it is different in the scope of the story and isn’t a packed with the usual narrative clichés used in Gundam. It isn’t about a protagonist who is special and gets to pilot a giant robot and change history. Instead of the usual protagonist we have Alfred Izuruha, who is an ordinary 11-year-old who likes giant robots and because war hasn’t effected his pocket of space he thinks it is the cool stuff of movies (Basically, he is the perfect audience avatar). The extreme ordinariness of all the characters, not just Al, is pretty a huge difference from Gundam-as-usual. There isn’t a single ace in the whole show and, while I don’t want every mecha show to go this way, it is refreshing.

At the same time, 0080 is still very much a Gundam show in theme because war is still hell and the way to show that is through children or teenagers suffering and coping with it. Al doesn’t just around doodling Zakus and dreaming about piloting, through a series of coincidences fueled by his eagerness to be a “hero” he manages to meet a Zeon soldier, Bernie, and play out his dream. Of course, he ends up realizing that war isn’t a game he gets to play with no consequences in the worst possible way.

The ending is pretty brutal and heartbreaking in part due to the way Al comes to learn about the real cost of war. However, the full brutality — and also what makes the entire show for me — is the shear pointlessness of Bernie’s death. The moment I realized that Bernie will die trying to save a colony that doesn’t need saving went beyond simply tragic irony to making me feel the a touch of absurdity. Everything Al and Bernie did is futile, despite all heroism and sacrifice we see that the world really is out of the control of the protagonists. There isn’t inherent meaning in Bernie’s death and all the meaning is in what Al and ultimately the audience take from the story.

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J’ai toujours fait une prière à Dieu, qui est fort courte. La voici: Mon Dieu, rendez nos ennemis bien ridicules! Dieu m’a exaucé.

I always made one prayer to God, a very short one. Here it is: “O Lord, make our enemies quite ridiculous!” God granted it.

Voltaire probably wasn’t thinking of Bill O’Reilly and his paranoid “War on Christmas” bit when he wrote this, but given a time machine he could have been. Yes, it’s that time of year again: Fox News is yet again trying to show just how angry they can get over the smallest of things in attempt sell more of their hate — and it warms my cold, cold atheist heart. I don’t like Fox New and I don’t usually have a reason to watch it, but for the past couple of years I’ve made sure to catch all the “War on Christmas” bullshit because there is nothing more amusing that a bunch of adults trying to frame the phrase “Happy Holidays” as an attack on civilization. Seriously this is one bit of the 2009 coverage of their paranoid delusions:

Yes, kids, they are angry that Christianity isn’t being given special treatment. Come on, it’s oppression when you lump them with the Jews, Pagans, and African-Americans. Don’t you see that?!?!?! [insert bawling]

Bonus LULZ: The young woman who thinks people should be offended by “Merry Christmas” because it’s has nothing to do with Christmas and it’s just like saying “Happy Holidays” — which is why she can’t just say “Happy Holidays”.

The highlight of the “War on Christmas”-season, so far, has been Bill O’Reilly, Gretchen Carlson, Margaret Hoover trying to figure out why atheists hate Christmas:

The “theories” these assclowns come up with are:

  • Margaret Hoover: They hate American culture
  • Gretchen Carlson: They hate Baby Jesus
  • Bill O’Reilly: They’re jealous of the presents we get

I’m not kidding, this is actually what they claim to believe.  The best part is the basis of their claim that atheist hate Christmas is an ad that says “No God?…No Problem! Be good for goodness’ sake”  and has people wearing Santa hats. This is all the proof these people need to claim that atheists hate Christmas. I forgot, it’s also because the American Humanist Association doesn’t put up ads saying similar things any other time of year — oh, wait, they do.

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