In my never-ending quest for entertainment, Netflix has delivered to me the collected first series of Morgan Spurlock's TV show "30 Days." Spurlock, of course, is the Michael Moore-lite most famous for his documentary Supersize Me, in which he ate only McDonald's for a month and nearly died. Famed blogging curmudgeon Samurai Frog hates Spurlock, because Spurlock is so healthy and Samurai Frog is bitterly jealous. I kid, I kid. Actually, there are a lot of valid criticisms to be made about Spurlock's message and his use of the medium. But what interested me about Supersize Me wasn't the stunt, any more than Michael Moore's brilliant move in Roger & Me was the stunt of trying to interview GM CEO Roger Smith. The strength of those two films, to me, is the light they shine on areas of American culture (the appalling crime that is the plight of our working poor, the chronic ignorance about basic nutrition) that don't usually get much mainstream media attention.
So I enjoyed "30 Days" for much the same reasons. The stunt here (and, yes, Spurlock's kind of a one-note stuntster) is putting people in situations they are diametrically opposed to for 30 days and see if the experience changes them. (Well, duh. Experience pretty much is development; thus the success of boot camps.)
So you have a Christian going to live as a Muslim in Michigan; another Christian living with a gay man in The Castro district; two urbanite hyper-consumers learning about their massive ecological footprint and living off the grid (and recycling their own feces to make "hu-manure!" cool!); Spurlock himself living on minimum wage for a month; a pudgy salesman going on an anti-youth drug regimen; and, bafflingly enough, the mother of a college freshman embarking on a month of binge drinking so as to, uh, understand or help her daughter's drinking problem for some goddam reason.
Of course, the show heavily promotes and rewards Spurlock's leftist expectations --- how could it not? The homophobe learns that gays are people, too; the Christian realizes that all Muslims aren't terrorists; and the guy taking the HGH and steroid regimen, of course, realizes that we shouldn't mess with mother Nature.
I did enjoy watching the Muslim and homosexual segments, even if they may have been tweaked a bit (and hey, maybe they weren't). One thing struck me about the Castro show, though. The guy living as a gay man meets several times with a lesbian pastor, who tries desperately to convince him that homosexuality isn't a sin.
That, to me, is weird. Christian gays must be to some degree self-loathing, not unlike black Republicans, Western women who convert to Islam, and, uh, gay Republicans. I mean, why try to ingratiate yourself? Homosexuality is a sin, period. If you ascribe authority to the Old or New Testaments, if you believe in the very concept of "sin," then you must admit that. It's a very different thing than saying homosexuality is wrong. I find nothing wrong at all with homosexuality as a practice, but -- sorry, gay Christians --- it's a sin. Says so in the book that defines "sin."
Most gay people understand this, but the subsection of the population that wants to call itself Christian doesn't get it. Why do they lend the Bible authority in the first place, since it condemns them for who they are? The lesbian pastor says during the show something along the lines of, "I think God is more concerned with our potential than what we do with our genitalia." The guy mutters something like "Sorry," which is an acceptable answer, I suppose. If I'd been in his seat, I might have responded, "Well, that's nice that you think that, reverend ma'am, and you must be happy with the God that you made up to make yourself feel better, but actually the Christian God is very, very concerned with what people do with their genitalia." Personally, that's one of the reasons why I don't ascribe any authority to His text. Why use as a crutch an institution that despises you? It's the same hypocrisy as homophobes who only know one verse of the entire Bible: the one about stoning homosexuals.