Monday, July 25, 2011

How to Spot the Christian Villain: Ten Tips

It happened again. I was watching an episode of the British mystery series Midsomer Murders, one of the best cozy series of all time, and once again the villain of the story was a Christian. And I knew early on, as soon as this character mentioned God, that he would be the killer. Some whodunit, huh?

You’d think TV and movie screenwriters would want to vary the Christian-equals-villain formula just to keep viewers guessing, but the enjoyment they get from sticking their fingers in Christians’ eyes seems to overwhelm their sense of storytelling. Even when they stray from their formula and make someone other than a Christian the murderer, the Christian character is still, somehow, at the root of all of the misery (think Mrs. White in Stephen King’s novel Carrie).

I love mysteries, so although I like to think I can guess who the murderer is, I don’t like to be assured of it almost every time a Christian character appears on screen, and I don’t like to waste my time watching a mystery when I know what the outcome will be. So in the interest of saving my fellow mystery lovers time, I’ve compiled a list of ten ways to spot the Christian villain. When you see one of the following characters, you’ve found your killer—and you can change the channel or go to the next movie in your Netflix queue:

1. If a character has the impertinence to bring God into everyday conversation—say, at a lunch with friends or during a card game—he’s clearly deranged and thus a Christian. At the very least your field of suspects has narrowed. Watch for further clues.

2. If a character is an unbearable prude—often illustrated by her not hopping into bed with a guy ten minutes into their first date—she’s a rabid Christian and she’s killed somebody.

3. Any character who talks about God and has a southern accent is sure to be the villain.

4. If the above-mentioned character (talks about God, has southern accent) possesses less than a full set of teeth, he is more than a villain. He’s a serial killer. The semi-toothed Christian preys on full-toothed agnostics and atheists, particularly attorneys, social workers, and politicians.

5. If a character has "no use for that fancy book larnin’ thing," he’s a Christian. His ignorance and bigotry may have caused another character to snap and commit murder.

6. Does the character get up early in the morning, own farm animals, or dress like it’s 1940? These signify "Christian" to the formulaic screenwriter, so be on the lookout for other important clues. You may have found your killer.

7. Although the religious villain is often portrayed as a cleric in the Catholic Church, if a religious figure is an evangelical, the chances of him or her being the villain more than double.

8. The Christian character will scowl at the mention of sex, alcohol, or laughter (because all three are outlawed by the Bible). Make note and watch for other telling clues.

9. Does a character home school her children? This is a red flag indicating the presence of an unstable Christian mind. Such a character is not only a killer but also a child abuser.

10. If a character says "God," keep an eye on him; if a character says "Jesus," change the channel now, you’ve spotted the killer. (Note: If a character calls God "the man upstairs," he’s probably not your murderer.)



Beverly Nault said...

Thanks for pointing out what I'd been annoyed by for years. Why is it all right, even if you're not trying to bash an entire community of faithful, to fall into this cliche trap?

Well said.

Cynthia Bruner said...

LOL funny...wait, can I laugh and be irritated at the same time?! You are so right about this!

Karin Kaufman said...

Thanks, Beverly, I appreciate your comment. Not only are these TV and movie cliches narrow-minded (and obviously false), but for crying out loud, we're so used to seeing them that they ruin the programs!

Karin Kaufman said...

Cynthia, laughter and irritation are exactly what I was hoping to evoke--so go right ahead!

Dominic de Mattos said...

Bravo! Well said.

Had me laughing and sighing in equal measure!

Arrived here from twitter, in case you were wondering. Just shows that tweeting about your blog really works!

RW Bennett said...

Very funny post, Karin. Apropos, too.

Christian characters fall into three broad categories of bad guys.

1. Crazies - These are just insane people who 'hear God's voice in their head' indicating who to kill next.

2. Zealots - These are Christians who are motivated to commit acts like bombing abortion centers or destroying gays because they are against 'sin' and performing what they perceive as God's will.

3. Hypocrites - This is Hollywood's favorite. These Christians commit murder to further their selfish or depraved purposes in spite of their so-called Christian beliefs.

Keep it coming, Karin.

Karin Kaufman said...

Dominic, thanks so much for your comment. Re Twitter--I'm glad you let me know. I do sometimes wonder about the value of tweets!

Karin Kaufman said...

RW, thanks for your comment. How right you are! And, of course, both Crazies and Zealots are also Hypocrites ("hypocrite" being the secular word for anyone who believes in a standard of any kind yet sometimes, humanly, fails).

Anonymous said...

Very funny and sadly accurate. Nicely put, Karin.


Karin Kaufman said...

Thanks for your comment, Elizabeth!

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