Frankly, I think Jay is being overly lenient with us, which only encourages the sort of recidivism to which bloggers like us are statistically prone. But he did manage a measure of revenge by making us read Robin's recent plunge into film criticism:
America's BabyRobin doesn't actually spoil the movie, because she becomes too distracted by the set dressing and angry thoughts about Woody Allen to actually describe the plot, but I think the "Reader Alert" is a nice piece of customer service, and she should consider adding one to all her columns.
I don’t like horror flicks and avoid seeing them. However, I recently made an exception and rented the 1960’s classic, Rosemary’s Baby. (Reader Alert: Movie Spoiler)
I saw the movie sometime after it came out, though I was only a teenager. I can’t imagine how shocked I must have been. I grew up secular, with no education about God and evil. The movie confused and horrified me.Well, it was a horror movie. And given that Robin is confused by most things, from facial expressions to bike lanes to the code of conduct governing the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, I'm going to have to score the match for Polanski so far.
And yet, the movie wasn’t graphic at all, not the way horror flicks are today. The 60’s was a completely different time, film-wise, before blood and gore were flung in your face — in 3 D. The horror movies back then were understated, subtle, which allowed the imagination to run wild. And, in many ways, this made the films even creepier.I don't want to accuse Robin of Bay Area elitism, but it seems clear she didn't spend much of the 1960s at the drive-in.
I also noticed some fascinating moments, such as when Rosemary’s husband hides the book she received on witchcraft. The camera lingers over other books on their shelves. There are two books by Kinsey, both on male sexuality. I wonder whether the writer of the film, Ira Levin, knew that Kinsey was a pervert, or whether Levin was making inferences about the danger of unfettered male sexuality.I wonder whether he also insisted that copies of Highlights be prominently displayed in the waiting room of obstetrician Ralph Bellamy, in order to subtly remind the audience that Goofus and Gallant were originally fairies who were into three-ways and man-on-dog:
Goofus: "I'm thankful for my dog and Tom. I don't like anybody else."
Or as Jay remarks: "Who on Earth would write about Rosemary's Baby, put in a plug for 'Spoiler Alert' for a movie that's 41 years old and then focus the books on the shelves, a Time magazine from the doctor's office (Charles Grodin, if I remember correctly), both of which she credits to the SCREENWRITER (I can see it now: "Note to Roman, please put some Kinsey around the house -- just a thought, thanks, Ira")."
The movie is even more disturbing in retrospect, since we know the evil that befell some of the main players. Only a year after the film was released, Director Roman Polanski’s wife, Sharon Tate, their unborn child, and several other people were victims of the most demonic mayhem and mutilation possible at the hands of Charles Manson’s “family.” How strange that Polanski made a movie about the Devil, and then endured the agony of having his wife and unborn child brutally savaged in a manner that could only have been inspired, if not engineered, by Satan himself.So Satan was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Tate-LaBianca murders. It's always a little shocking the way rich, well-connected people and manifestations of supreme evil can commit heinous crimes and get away scot-free in this country. Sort of like Florida Governor Rick Scott. I guess the only remaining mystery here is how the Father of All Lies managed to avoid being swept into office by the Tea Party landslide of 2010.
Rosemary was played by Mia Farrow, who cohabitated with Woody Allen, a grade A slimeball himself. Farrow discovered nude pictures Allen had taken with the daughter that they were both raising, Farrow’s adopted child, Soon-Yi.Well, that's creepy, but not exactly a movie spoiler.
And finally, for another macabre fact about Rosemary’s Baby, it was filmed in and around the Dakota, the apartment building where John Lennon and Yoko Ono lived. Tragically, Lennon was murdered right outside of the Dakota by crazed gunman, Mark David Chapman.Actually, it was filmed outside the Dakota, since the co-op board wouldn't allow the production access to the interior. But if your standard for "macabre" is "a building outside which somebody was killed," then good luck taking a frisson-free stroll down any given block in New York City.
Rosemary’s Baby author, Ira Levin, was inspired to write his book upon hearing about the creation of the Church of Satan. (Which I’m proud (not) to say was started in San Francisco.) Levin accurately foresaw what would happen if Satanic forces were unleashed, while “God is Dead.”A New York Times bestseller, followed by boffo box office?
This phrase is from the infamous cover of Time Magazine, an issue that Rosemary peruses in her doctor’s office. It’s also the statement bellowed by one of Satan’s followers during the jaw-dropping, climactic ending of the film.I think Nietzsche did some of his best work as a staff writer for Time, although I realize many people prefer his earlier, funny stuff.
While the film twists and turns in complicated ways, the message of the movie is quite simple. Without God, we are all vulnerable, not just a young woman like Rosemary, but every one of us. And not simply people, but this country and our entire world.I thought the message of the film was, "boo!"
It’s not a coincidence that Rosemary is chosen to be violated and used in the most demonic manner imaginable. Rosemary is unsealed; she lacks the armor of God. Consequently, she is utterly unprotected.I suppose she could have gotten MacGyvery and tried to fashion a Bible into a makeshift diaphragm.
Several decades have passed since the release of Rosemary’s Baby — and Time Magazine’s proclamation that God is Dead. Many atheists celebrate the untethering of people from the grip of God. But what have been the results? Wickedness and depravity that no one would have believed even in the l960’s.We were so innocent then, all we wanted to do was give the World a Coke and teach it to sing in perfect harmony; perhaps do a few swing choir shows in our free moments between assassinations, war crimes, riots, and sensational serial killings.
Back then, we would have been incredulous to learn that girls would be gang raped, and their assailants would upload the footage on Facebook. Or that child and violent pornography would be available in seconds with the click of a mouse.So back then we were blasé about evil, but flummoxed by technology.
It would have been inconceivable that female conservative politicians would be verbally raped and threatened (it didn’t happen back then) — or that people could pen rape jokes and obscenities and other vileness and then simply load it onto the computer or text or sext it.
Joel: "Sexually provocative humor wasn't on TV, it was on cocktail napkins, and we liked it that way!"
Rosemary’s Baby was a cautionary tale of what transpires when people abandon God. When people are left to their own devices, they create a hell on earth, just like Rosemary’s next door neighbors. We don’t have to look any further than the evening news to see what has happened to America’s Baby.So Satan knocked up the Founding Fathers against their will? No wonder the National Archives keep getting all those hits for "Federalist+Papers+mpreg."
But the good news is that things have gone so far south that many people are turning back to God. I hear it all the time: people returning to church, or those, like me, attending for the first time.And I'm sure you'll do the same thing for the church that you've done for the image of psycho-therapy.
But that doesn’t need to be the case for the rest of us, for America’s Baby. Not if we have the courage and the wisdom to wake up and seek safe shelter — the only iron-clad protection in this universe — before it’s too late.So the victims of the Manson Family were vulnerable to guns and knives only because they were atheists, and faith is a guarantee that nothing bad will ever happen to you? That's a novel theory of good and evil. Or maybe Robin just means that believing in God grants you iron-clad protection against Ruth Gordon.