The Invisible Web

Your Trip Into the Chapel Perilous

Minority Religions and the Media – A Short Tirade

Posted by invizweb on April 25, 2010

Last week, there was much uproar over Muhammad and Islam on South Park, (which I did watch after a long ban, since I wanted to find out about Cartman’s real father since I felt that storyline was not properly resolved when i watched it as a kid), which prompted Jon Stewart to make this rebuttal on the Daily Show.  

However, this article is on a media portrayal which, as of today has not gotten much press yet.  On Friday night, “Hammer of Gods” episode of Supernatural portrayed Ganesh as an eater of human flesh (he’s a vegetarian), Kali as the weak-kneed bitch of the seraphim Gabriel, and an entire cadre of non-Abrahamic deities including Odin, Mercury, and lwa Baron Samedi were squashed by Lucifer.  As Annalee Newitz of io9 reports:

A hodgepodge of pagan gods meet up at a hotel in the middle of nowhere called Elysian Fields, where every meal is human flesh (even though some of these gods are from vegetarian cultures). And they lure the Winchesters there as part of some vague plan to challenge Lucifer. But even before the Lucifer challenge happens, we’ve got problems. All the pagan gods are just lumped together, with figures like Odin and Mercury hanging out with Kali and Ganesh. So you’ve got the gods from faded or dead religions granted the same status as gods from powerful, living religions like Hinduism…

Now we’re left thinking that somehow Christian deities are more powerful than any other deities in the world. Dean goes so far as to call them “just monsters.” Which A) doesn’t really fit the show’s premise, which is that Christianity is one mythological system among many; and B) makes it seem that Supernatural buys into the idea that Christianity is somehow the “best” or “most powerful” mythological system out there. Thumbs down on that one.”

Outside of NeoPaganism and Heathenry, Odin and the Norse Gods are still in the cultural consciousness of the Scandinavians (whereas the   Olympians are treated as “antiquated delusions” by the Ministry of Religion of Greece, which is headed by the Greek Orthodox Church, whom banned religious observances at the Athenian Parthenon).

Hindu activist, Rajan Zed, who was heckled out a predominantly Evangelist Senate floor in 2007, voiced his disapproval over the misinformative portrayal of the Hindu deities:

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that Lord Ganesh and Goddess Kali were highly revered in Hinduism and such absurd depiction of them with no scriptural backing was hurtful to the devotees. Ganesh and Kali were meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be thrown around loosely in reimagined versions for dramatic effects in TV series.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, asked the producer EW Network and director Rick Bota to issue a public apology and urged them not to reimagine Hinduism concepts and deities in the future to advance the commercial or other agenda.

Here are Jason Pitzl-Water’s view on his Wild Hunt blog.

I stopped watching the show a while ago (despite my aunt telling me how great it is) because I had a feeling this would happen.  No surprise as Hollywood is full of racist bigots.  That’s what happens when the media is controlled by a few companies.

Of course, minorities need to consolidate to create new media projects or else they will not be represented correctly.  That takes time, which is why Better Luck Tomorrow was what it was compared to the overall success of Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle.

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