Fri, 27 July 2018
Welcome everyone to episode 212 of the Everyone’s Agnostic podcast. I’m Cass Midgley. I'm going to die. A big thanks to each and every one of our Patreon and Paypal supporters. Today my guest is Pat LaFord Green. We interview people you don’t know, about a subject no one wants to talk about. We hope to encourage people in the process of deconstructing their faith and help curb the loneliness that accompanies it. We think the world is a better place when more people live by sight, not by faith. Please subscribe to our podcast, and leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts. Also, we offer these podcasts freely. And your support truly makes a difference. You can support us monetarily in two easy ways: you can pledge a monthly donation through Patreon. that’s www.patreon.com/eapodcast, or leave a lump-sum donation through PayPal at our website, www.everyonesagnostic.com. We taped this conversation on July 21st, 2018. The intro and segue music is by Dave Weckl called "Just Groove Me." Thanks for listening, and be a yes-sayer to what is.
Pat decided before coming on this podcast, because he's been featured on a few, that he was gonna be real. He was gonna relax and not pre-imagine what it was going to be, or plan out what or how he was going to present. He was going to be Pat. Not "just" Pat, or "just" Cass, because that intones "only or merely." And there's nothing mere about Pat or me or you. On the other hand, "merely" means only as specified and nothing more. So in this sense, Pat did show up as merely Pat and nothing more. No showboating or posturing or masquerading. Just Pat. Which sounds like something Mr. Rogers would say, "just you." And we're enough, aren't we? We're all a mixture. We're all confused. We all succeed and fail and we vary on what those words even mean. We avoid placing judgment on the art that is us, don't we? Hopefully we do, because if a painter or sculpture or poet or songwriter or woodcarver sets out to express themselves in ways that they don't even know where it's going to go when they put paint brush to canvas, then the Big Bang certainly didn't know either where this was going, did it? So everything is a big "OOPS" isn't it? How many of us are accidents where our Dads were in such ecstacy in climaxing balls deep inside our mom's that we're really just a big "oops?" When we see the reality of this chaotic mess we find ourselves in we lose entitlement and expectation and privilege, don't we? We're not privileged to be here. A privilege is a benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most, and when it comes to our biology, our cellular makeup, the fact that we're all animals and accidents at best, is the truth. Any narrative that lifts us above another is mythology, and a pernicious one at that. Scared people kick and scratch to elevate themselves above others. It's only true in their imagination. They love the elusion, don't bother them with the facts, their "enjoying" their superiority, their lie, their bedtime story that calms their fears of being stuck in an elevator with 10 other strangers for 24 hours where body odor and urine and feces and rage and panic would manifest, maybe even death. They might have to be in the same room with a corpse, which is basically 150 pounds of mud that was formerly animated by electronic synapses firing impulses and orders to the eyes and mouth and now is gone to who knows...Where was I. Oh yeah, Art. Isn't it lovely?
In art, especially in the medium of movies, we have the full gamut of "feel good" movies and horror. I've often wondered why some people find horror movies entertaining, because I personally find them ugly, repulsive, disturbing and vile. But I'm suspicious that my place of privilege far removed from the real horrors of life, raised white straight cis male upper middle class by parents who loved me and never fucked me. If my childhood had been a horror instead of the blissfully ignorant and naive pampered version of a super-loved, mono-ethnic, Christian rural upbringing, I might find some entertainment, even comfort, from horror films. It seems that the privileged don't want to be reminded of the horrors of reality, whereas those whose reality and childhood were already a horror, perhaps they find comfort and entertainment in the mockery and public display of the horrific. There's some fascinating scholarship out there studying the existential connections between the art-horror genre and humanities' attraction and avoidance of anxiety and repulsion.
I learned a word when researching this subject: intersticial. It has to do with a small or narrow space or interval between things or parts. In the Hegelian dialectic, its the synthesis, but in the case of horror, it's disrupting and/or disturbing. On the question of what makes a monster horrifying, Noël Carroll, in his seminal work "The Philosophy of Horror," argues that monsters are ‘interstitial’ or ‘impure’. They are not entirely alien to us, but rather fall between familiar categories: for example, vampires, zombies, and Frankenstein’s monster are somewhere between living and dead, werewolves and the the Fly are both human and beast. The Exorcist and The Omen, even Christ demonstrate something part human and part supernatural entity.
These hybrids throw a wrench in modern western binary thinking. And some of us are ready for complexity, nuance and even outlandish, because perhaps we're bored with chocolate and vanilla. Maybe we're not afraid to be wrong or that life is beyond our understanding. We don't have to have it all figured out in order to have fun. In fact, quite the opposite.
Well my guest today, Pat Green vomited the fruit from the knowledge of good and evil and decided that he didn't need such shallow knowledge, nor did he need to know or place judgment on things as either good or evil. He chose neither. Pat is a former minister of 16 years who left ministry and entered the secular life around the time his son came out transgender.