Watching “Under the Banner of Heaven.”

I’ve been watching Under the Banner of Heaven,” a limited series on Disney+ via Starz by way of Hulu. Only four episodes have been released, so I’m watching it old-school, one episode a week.

I’m not a fan of the slow unroll anymore. The frustration is intense. Streaming services trained me to binge-watch the things I like. What’s up with slowing me down now?

What’s up with me watching a series?

I vetoed watching television series a couple of years ago – I was done with making a weekly commitment to watch something I mostly didn’t care about. Movies are better – the time commitment is less (unless we’re talking about the MCU – twenty-eight movies so far) and there’s always popcorn.

I do watch design and cooking shows, which are technically series, but you can take or leave them as they don’t have carry-over storylines. They also aren’t as emotionally manipulative as prime-time dramas. I’m done with writers and producers jerking my chain. But then I read some reviews about “Under the Banner of Heaven” and they were good. And it stars Andrew Garfield, who I very much admired. His work is generally speaking, amazing (though I skipped his portrayal of Spiderman. Not my thing.)

Have you watched him in “Hacksaw Ridge?” Bring all the Kleenex.

Plus, I’m fascinated by the LDS (Latter Day Saints aka Mormons). I’m always fascinated by theories and religions that venerate men and subjugate women. I like reading the justifications. They’re always so weak.  

I read The 19th Wifeby David Ebershoff a few years back. It alternates between the history of the church and the reality of today’s LDS as viewed through the lens of a trapped woman. It’s a good book that hurts the heart. FLDS is a fundamentalist cult that exists for the pleasure of men, and although they tread more softly, I’m not convinced that LDS is much better. They seem to abuse women and children regularly and with impunity. [i]

Heaven isn’t for them. I wonder if they know? I don’t think they care. They’re having too much fun collecting money and hurting people. A gross generalization, of course, but not too gross. It’s the ones that know and keep silent that hurt the heart, though speaking up in those situations is brutally hard.

When it comes right down to it, our species isn’t all that wonderful. We’re not good for each other much of the time, and we’re not good for this planet either. There are good people, of course, but we turn to the dark fairly willingly when we want to get our way. We’re the people that came up with crucifixions, the Iron Maiden, and being drawn and quartered (so very vile).

We drop napalm on children. We poison the rivers and oceans. We let people sleep on the street and eat trash. We kill each other for stuff. We’re juvenile, and it doesn’t seem to me that we’re getting better.  

I think improving will be hard. There’s too much selfish evil at the top, and too much selfish apathy as you slide on down. We’re not very willing to sacrifice for what’s right, or for the collective good, so we’ll end up with the world we chose.

It won’t be what we wished for, and it won’t be pretty.

I do hope we’re not the best this planet can do.


[i] The 19th Wife. David Ebershoff. 20008. Random House, NY.


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