Is Freud Trolling Conservatives From Beyond the Grave?
A scene from God's Not Dead
Names are important in works of fiction. Whether or not you realize the significance of what you call your characters, deep within our subconscious mind the etymology is painting in the background to fill in the gaps. And the conclusion that I've come to about some recent conservative pieces of art is that Sigmund Freud is taking the piss out of these people.
Let's look at good name in a story; Luke Skywalker. What do you think of when you read or hear it? The Bible, sure. Luke was one of Jesus' closest buds and a doctor to boot, and I don't really need to explain Skywalker except that it conjures up images of magic and flying. There's a reason it was changed from Annikin Starkiller because that's a stupid name for hayseed turned paladin.
Or look at Darth Vader. Darth is a made-up word, but it's a great portmanteau of "death" and "dark". With Vader you've got the whole "invader" connection, plus it's coincidentally close to the German word for "father" which worked out nicely once George Lucas thought about it. These are great examples of how to name a character.
Now for some terrible examples, let's look at the recent film God's Not Dead and the children's book My Parents Open Carry by Brian Jeffs and Nathan Nephews.
Pictured: A typical college education
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The Luke Skywalker of God's Not Dead is a young man named Josh Wheaton played by Shane Harper. In the film Wheaton takes probably the world's crappiest college philosophy class and ends up in a battle of wits against a rabidly atheist professor who makes it a point to force all of his students to admit God is dead. Yes, it's a movie based on a chain email, and has about the same artistic merit.
Josh is a pretty obvious name. Joshua, or Yeshua, was Christ's Hebrew name. Jesus is the Greek version. So the next time you hear someone wonder why some Muslims name their kids Mohammed, remember that a ton of Christians do the exact same thing.
Wheaton is a bit harder to trace, even though it's not as nearly old. Historically it's a commonly assumed named for orphans or people with no familial connections (Think Jon Snow in Game of Thrones), but it's most likely derived from the Anglo-Saxon word "hwit", which means "white".
His name is literally White Jesus, and that's a problem because if there's a better example of the flaws with a lot of modern American Christianity I can't pick a better one than White Jesus. White Jesus lives in the suburbs and believes that anyone that doesn't follow White Jesus is either sad, broken, or has somehow never been told about White Jesus despite living in a country where 80 percent of the people identify as Christians. White Jesus is secretly hoping you get hit by a car so He can get you to accept Him before you die and He can be the one to "save" you. White Jesus writes stupid emails about girls getting raped in alleys because they didn't pray like the girl who went before them did and then send them on with all caps sentences at the bottom about love.
White Jesus sort of lacks the nuance of a wider world view... which embodies the movie surprisingly well.
Looking at My Parents Open Carry is even more transparently laughable. This book is an attempt to normalize walking around openly armed in public. Sort of like the famous Heather Has Two Mommies but with more possibilities of someone sparking a panic at a Burgerville.
Our heroes are the Strong family; a mother, father, and daughter. They go about a typical weekend afternoon doing things typical families do, but they do it armed in case someone at the supermarket needs capping. The girl's name is Brenna, which is Gaelic in origin and means either "raven-haired" or "a drop of water". The mother is Bea, presumably short of Beatrix. That's Late Latin and means "traveler".
The problem is the dad, who is named Richard. Richard Strong. Etymology-wise it's kind of redundant because Richard means "strong ruler", so his name comes out basically "super huge he-man in charge". The real problem, though is that Richard is commonly shortened to Dick.
Bushmaster Firearms advertisement their AR-15 rifle
As you can see from this ad, there's this weird kind of obsessive link between gun ownership and manhood. Better writers than I have addressed the rather phallic representation of the gun in western thought. You have folks like Illinois state Rep. Jim Sacia claiming that gun control is exactly like castration, and here's OpenCarry.org linking gun control to impotence.
So it's not all that surprising that a die-hard Second Amendment supporter who thinks the best solution to the alarming number of kids that die from gunfire is an early reader book portraying guns as perfectly normal, everyday attire like shoes would chose an avatar that makes you immediately think of a powerful, firm erection.
Freud once said, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." George Carlin replied, "Yeah? And sometimes it's a big brown dick." I'm not sure having the both of them in the afterlife where they can play these sorts of gags is working out well for conservatives.
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