My Sojourn in Gilead

I read “The Handmaid’s Tale” decades ago, but as many have noted when discussing the upcoming release of the Hulu miniseries, its theme is more relevant than ever. That’s because a beady-eyed Christo-fascist gender role-absolutist who thinks women should be compelled to hold funerals for miscarriages is one bloated, erratic, 70-year-old junk food junkie’s heartbeat away from the presidency.

In Atwood’s dystopian novel, the Christo-fascist nation that replaces the United States is called the Republic of Gilead. Oddly enough, I have some experience dwelling in a place called Gilead.

My mom was a hippie in the 1970s and an indulgent single mom with a laissez faire parenting style. But she had no qualms about foisting my sister and me off on her fundamentalist Christian parents during the summer so she could enjoy some free time.

I don’t blame her, but the abrupt imposition of rules and structure gave my sister and me whiplash every year. Never more so than when our grandparents began shipping us off to a summer camp run by Bible-believing Christians. The name of the camp was, I shit you not, Camp Gilead.

It was a regular summer camp in some ways. There was canoeing and arts and crafts. There were wienie and marshmallow roasts around the campfire. But there was also religious indoctrination. Campers were compelled to attend chapel daily, and girls were required to wear long skirts to the services.

To comply with the rule, I pulled a skirt over my shorts and wore it to chapel with my customary t-shirt, high-top Converse sneakers and a hideous green-and-white striped hat I’d won at the fair by throwing darts at balloons. I also carried a small Swiss Army-style knife at all times in my front pocket — a kid could get away with that sort of thing back then.

During one particularly tedious sermon, I put my feet up on the hymnal rack in front of my hard, wooden pew, partially unlaced my sneakers and practiced tying nautical knots with my shoestrings. I soon got them in a terrible tangle that tied my feet together.

As I struggled to extricate myself, one of the church ladies began playing the hymn that signaled the service was coming to an end, and we were all compelled to rise for the closing prayer. I could stand up, but try as I might, I couldn’t undo the knot in my shoelaces or break them.

Hoping that the supervising adults’ eyes were closed during the prayer, I hiked my skirt up to my waist, dug the knife out of my shorts pocket, bent down and cut my shoelaces. It worked, and I was able to walk out of the chapel in the orderly recessional rather than hopping as if in a sack race.

Weird how reading a review of an upcoming miniseries on a Christo-fascist dystopia can recall childhood memories. Anyone else planning to watch “The Handmaid’s Tale?”

109 replies
  1. 1
    NR says:

    Anyone else planning to watch “The Handmaid’s Tale?”

    I bet Mike Pence is. Someone should explain to him that it’s not a how-to video.

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  2. 2
    mai naem mobile says:

    I wondering why Peggy Noonan wins the Pulitzer and not Betty Cracker .

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  3. 3
    Lynn Dee says:

    Great story, Betty. Not sure I’ve ever read anything like it!

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  4. 4
    Corner Stone says:

    its theme is more relevant than ever

    Speaking of relevant, the movie No Way Out with Costner is currently airing on rotation in cableland.

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  5. 5
    Roger Moore says:

    @mai naem mobile:

    I wondering why Peggy Noonan wins the Pulitzer and not Betty Cracker .

    Name recognition, both hers and her paper’s.

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  6. 6
    Corner Stone says:

    It was a regular summer camp in some ways. There was canoeing and arts and crafts. There were wienie and marshmallow roasts around the campfire. But there was also religious indoctrination. Campers were compelled to attend chapel daily, and girls were required to wear long skirts to the services.

    Funny because I also attended a camp much like this in the summers between 1st to 2nd and 2nd to 3rd grades. It was a Pentecostal church camp, something I did not understand until much later in life. I just knew that large chunks of it were bogus and I was routinely found asleep in the back row of the pews. My parents weren’t religious at the time so I went with school friends, I guess to give me something to do and give my mom a week off from making dinner.
    Did have a lot of fun though with the crafts, games and other camping type stuff. And we made up some hella-ridiculous campfire stories that were very entertaining at the time.

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  7. 7
    TenguPhule says:

    @NR: Too late. They already copied the instructions from 1984 and Animal farm.

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  8. 8
    Nicole says:

    I’m counting the days. I recently reread the book and then, like magic, there was the announcement of the series with the marvelous Elizabeth Moss.

    I just finished HBO’s Big Little Lies. I went in expecting to hate-watch Rich White Lady Problems for 7 hours, but I ended up really, really liking it.

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  9. 9
    AliceBlue says:

    This isn’t the first time this story has been filmed. There was a 1990(?) theatrical version with Natasha Richardson, Robert Duvall, Faye Dunaway and Aidan Quinn. It was pretty good, and I’m looking forward to the Hulu miniseries.

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  10. 10
    rikyrah says:

    Indiana just purged 10 percent of its voters from the rolls: https://t.co/Q0DG6cRoDp pic.twitter.com/OPrEAJvLUh

    — Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) April 20, 2017

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  11. 11
    Bill says:

    The HULU series seems like an unnecessary remake since we have the awesome1990 movie staring Natasha Richardson, Faye Dunaway and Robert Duvall.

    (Also, I canceled my HULU account one day after signing up. Hands down the worst customer service I’ve every gotten.)

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  12. 12
    TenguPhule says:

    Anyone else planning to watch “The Handmaid’s Tale?”

    Passing on it. The live action version being planned by the GOP is going to be bad enough.

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  13. 13
    TenguPhule says:

    @Bill:

    (Also, I canceled my HULU account one day after signing up. Hands down the worst customer service I’ve every gotten.)

    They don’t market it as being run by braineating aliens for nothing. Truth in advertising!

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  15. 15
    rikyrah says:

    Not planning on watching it. not right now.

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  17. 17
    oldster says:

    “is one bloated, erratic, 70-year-old junk food junkie’s heartbeat away from the presidency.”

    Yup. And it’s not only a heart attack that might deliver us to President Dense.

    There’s also the fact that our current President Puppet could be killed by Putin whenever Putin decides his former asset has become a liability.

    And even then it will look like a heart-attack. Putin has his thugs beat people to death when he wants to make it clear who is behind it. If he wants to disguise his hand, he can do that, too.

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  18. 18
    Corner Stone says:

    @Bill:

    (Also, I canceled my HULU account one day after signing up. Hands down the worst customer service I’ve every gotten.)

    What request could they not address in 24 hours that was the dealbreaker?

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  19. 19
    Daoud bin Daoud says:

    I may watch the Hulu series (if I can find someone who has Hulu). I just got the book and I’m slowly savoring Atwood’s prose, chapter by chapter. This is my second attempt to read the novel – my first attempt was 15 or 20 years ago; it made me so depressed I had to put the book down. Twenty-some years of losing loved ones and undergoing medical procedures has me more tolerant of pain.

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  20. 20
    dlwchico says:

    If you have Amazon Prime you can get the book for free for now

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  21. 21
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @Corner Stone: For a lot of kids these camps provided low or no cost summer activities so parents were willing to overlook the religious angle. I recall Christian Scientists and Seventh Day Adventists at my kids’ ELCA camp. You get your childcare where you can find it.

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  22. 22
    trollhattan says:

    @AliceBlue:

    This isn’t the first time this story has been filmed. There was a 1990(?) theatrical version with Natasha Richardson, Robert Duvall, Faye Dunaway and Aidan Quinn. It was pretty good, and I’m looking forward to the Hulu miniseries.

    Good God that’s a lot of talent assembled on one stage. I’d go to watch them eat soup.

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  23. 23
    manyakitty says:

    Yes, and excited to see Margaret Atwood speak tomorrow night in Youngstown.

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  24. 24
    Steeplejack says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Relevant? Like anyone in Trump’s cabinet could snag a Sean Young.

    Wait, was she a pro in that movie? Been a while since I’ve seen it.

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  25. 25
    MattF says:

    Well, the only oddity about the Jewish day camp I went to was that the counsellors kept track of our ‘educational aspirations’. When I told them I was going to get a PhD in theoretical physics, they backed off.

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  26. 26
    Bill says:

    @Corner Stone: I was unable to log in to the account after signing up. I tried resetting the password, logging in from different devices, tried different browser etc… Didn’t work. So I called customer service. After being on hold for more than an hour I was greeted by a rather rude young lady who told me to try the things I already tried. When I explained that none of that worked, she said “I can’t help you then,” and hung up. That was past midnight, so I just went to bed. Angry.

    The next morning I went through the same routine again. (Except I was only on hold for 15 minutes this time.) When I explained what had happened to the new guy on the phone, he also said “not sure how to fix that.” I responded: “Look, if you guys can’t figure out how to get get me logged in to the account, I’ll just cancel my subscription.” He said: “OK, we’ve cancelled your account effective immediately.” And hung up. Made no effort to keep me as customer, or to fix my problem.

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  27. 27
    geg6 says:

    @Nicole:

    I am not a big Nicole Kidman fan, but I think she was just spectacular in that. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Every emotion of the character went across her face in a remarkably real way. She didn’t have to speak much, just let it all play on her face. I totally changed my opinion of her based on it.

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    TenguPhule says:

    @oldster:

    There’s also the fact that our current President Puppet could be killed by Putin whenever Putin decides his former asset has become a liability.

    Why bother? Margalargo food poisoning could do the trick without him ever risking an asset.

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  29. 29
    hovercraft says:

    @rikyrah:

    Indiana just purged 10 percent of its voters from the rolls

    Of course they did, they voted for that Muslim America hating Blah guy in 2008, got to make sure something like that never happens again. Maybe by 2020 they’ll have changed the law so that we are back to only property owners voting, that’ll take care of all those people in Indy and Gary.

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    Ladyraxterinok says:

    For evangelicals’ view of role of women, see blog lovejoyfeminism at patheos. Also at patheos see slacktivist.
    Tremendous amount of info òn ‘complementarianism’ or Christian patriarchy at Thewartburgwatch. The latter has info on the heresy developed by the SBC among others to support women’s subordination, The Eternal Subordination of the Son. This heresy claims Jesus was never equal to God the Father! He was and is always subordinate. Therefore. since Jesus cheerfully accepts subordination, women should also cheerfully and joyfully submit to men. Even after death!

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  32. 32
    The Moar You Know says:

    Anyone else planning to watch “The Handmaid’s Tale?”

    No. I read it in college. I’d been the recipient of nothing but shit from the Jesus freaks since I was a kid, but didn’t understand until I read that book what it was those people were after. I do remember throwing up at some point while reading it, which is something I’ve never done with any other book. Wasn’t from anything graphic, I just finally realized that the people I’d been making fun of for years had a path to absolute power and wouldn’t hesitate to kill or enslave me and everyone else I knew.

    Did me good, though. I used to laugh those people off. I never did again after reading that book. You can say it was the book, the formative event, that got me to take conservatism seriously. Not in the way they’d like, I am sure.

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  33. 33
    Corner Stone says:

    @Steeplejack: C’mon! She was sleeping with at least three people for business reasons. She was The Honeypot.

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  34. 34
    Ric Drywall says:

    I did not think the Natasha Richardson movie was very good. The mini-series will have a lot more time to develop (turning a 350 page novel into a 2 hour movie is actually pretty tough). But the main problem is you lose the prose and the internal thoughts, which are the point. As is usually the case with great novels, the plot alone isn’t the point.

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  35. 35
    Steeplejack says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I don’t remember the plot details that well. Mainly I remember that it was Sean at her peak, before James Woods drove her crazy. That bastard.

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    bemused says:

    When I was a little kid in a small rural grade school close to 60 years ago, I remember attending with classmates some religious class held by two old (to me) crone looking ladies. I don’t remember if parents had to give permission or not. The ladies had those easels covered with felt and religious figures to stick on telling a bible story. Anyone here old enough to remember the easels? I do remember that I didn’t like this class much and don’t think the other kids were thrilled with it either. I’m sure we would rather have been making snowflakes or some art projects instead. My parents weren’t very religious so that may have had a lot to do with my feeling of discomfort with the whole thing.

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  37. 37
    TenguPhule says:

    That wasn’t God telling Tillerson he had more work for him…..

    “The JCPOA fails to achieve the objective of a non-nuclear Iran,” Tillerson said, using an acronym for the 2015 nuclear deal. “It only delays their goal of becoming a nuclear state.”

    “An unchecked Iran has the potential to travel the same path as North Korea — and to take the world along with it,” Tillerson said.

    Only one quote comes to mind.

    Only an idiot fights a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the kingdom of idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts. -Londo Mollari

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  38. 38
    hovercraft says:

    @Ric Drywall:

    But the main problem is you lose the prose and the internal thoughts, which are the point. As is usually the case with great novels, the plot alone isn’t the point.

    Which is why the book is always so much better than the movie/mini series. Theater does a better job of adapting books because having a narrator or a soliloquy seems to just work better

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  39. 39
    HeleninEire says:

    I just re-read Handmaiden’s Tale a few months ago. Read it first right out of college. I then gave it to my 14 year old friend, Megan. It was as scary for her now as it was for me 30ish years ago.

    The more things change……

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  40. 40
    Chris says:

    I freaking love childhood “what were you doing in church when you were supposed to be listening?” stories. Especially when they turn out like this one did.

    “Mississippi Squirrel Revival” still ranks high on my list of favorite songs for this reason.

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  41. 41
    Corner Stone says:

    @Steeplejack:

    Mainly I remember that it was Sean at her peak

    “Laces out!!”

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  42. 42
    hovercraft says:

    Oh FFS

    Trump Cabinet has Bible study meetings with pastor who wants ‘disciples of Christ’ to take over the government

    Cabinet officials in the President Donald Trump’s White House meet for a weekly Bible study group led by a right-wing pastor dedicated to “making disciples of Christ in the Capitol” and spreading Christian fundamentalism among U.S. leaders.

    Fusion.net reported Thursday that Energy Secretary and former Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry attends the weekly prayer and Bible study meetings which are held in the Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday mornings.

    Fusion obtained a copy of Perry’s schedule from Apr. 5 which included the meeting, but did not list who else would be in attendance. Pastor Ralph Drollinger’s website Capitol Ministries, however says that the Christian pastor presides over weekly Bible Study meetings with Trump Cabinet officials.

    Drollinger, Fusion’s Brendan O’Connor wrote is “(a) former college basketball star turned evangelical Christian whose own church disavowed him over his bigotry and radical theology.”

    The controversial pastor, O’Connor said, “has variously proclaimed that Catholicism is ‘the world’s largest false religion,’ that female legislators who continue working after having children are sinners, and that homosexuality is an ‘abomination.’ He has also written that social welfare programs are un-Christian. ‘It is safe to say that God is a Capitalist,’ Drollinger once wrote, ‘not a Communist.’”

    Drollinger is a devoted friend and supporter of Attorney Gen. Jeff Session, who he said in January “hungers and thirsts for the Scripture.” The pastor takes credit for inculcating Sessions with radical anti-immigrant views, which were on display during Sessions’ contentious confirmation hearings……….

    O’Connor reported that Drollinger holds three weekly prayer and Bible study groups: “one for Cabinet members (‘7:00 am Wednesdays Mornings. Location Undisclosed. Light Refreshments Served.’); one for the Senate (‘8:00 am Tuesdays, Rotating Offices of Senators. Hot Breakfast Served.’); and one for members of the House (‘Capitol H324: Monday or Tuesday Evenings after First Votes Back. Dinner Served.’)”

    Capitol Ministries groups have been sponsored by now-CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Vice President Mike Pence, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX).

    Capitol Ministries’ website proclaims that the group “plants and develops biblical ministries of evangelism and discipleship to Public Servants” and that it has “birthed ongoing outposts for Christ in more than 60 capitols throughout the world since our founding in 1996.”

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  43. 43
    Corner Stone says:

    @Steeplejack: She was the mistress of SecDef Gene Hackman, playing Mature Gene Hackman. And she was boning Costner as her boy toy plaything while she kept an eye on him. And she was giving her all for Mother Russia to her handler.
    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    ETA, ummm, except for the whole “Russia” aspect, I mean. Carry on.

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  44. 44
    Nicole says:

    @geg6: I agree; I thought she was awesome. I also really loved Laura Dern, whose character could have been so one-dimensional and yet was really complex and likable. I liked them all, actually, and I came in really not being a fan of whats-her-face from the Divergent movies (I think part of that was holding her Bernie-fandom against her), and by the end thought she was really good too.

    Oh, heck, they were all good. Imagine that- give actresses three-dimensional, fully realized characters and they churn out excellent performances. Who woulda thunk it?

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  45. 45
    TenguPhule says:

    @hovercraft: If this was a soap opera, the producer would be fired for coming up with such a ridiculous plot.

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    Ric Drywall says:

    @hovercraft: The HT movie particularly suffers because the lead character is all about inner thoughts. In the movie, she comes across as empty (IMO).

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  47. 47
    rikyrah says:

    The New Yorker
    @NewYorker
    The White House and the Pentagon were either deceiving Americans or just don’t know what they are doing. Or both. http://nyer.cm/n4rplYk

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  48. 48
    hovercraft says:

    @rikyrah:
    Both.

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  49. 49
    hovercraft says:

    This is shocking!

    Lindsey Graham heaps praise on Trump: ‘I am all in’

    “I am like the happiest dude in America right now,” a beaming Graham said on “Fox & Friends.” “We have got a president and a national security team that I’ve been dreaming of for eight years.”…………..

    On Tuesday night, the Trump administration told Congress that Iran was in compliance with the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump fiercely criticized during his campaign, and it extended sanctions relief to the country. But Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. would review the agreement.

    “To me, that has been music to my ears,” Graham said. “Iran is running through the Mideast. They are toppling every government they can get their hands on. North Korea, if I were Kim Jong Un, whatever his name is, I would listen to Mike Pence. The fact that the vice president of the United States went to the DMZ, looked across the way and said, ‘We’re watching you’; Donald Trump is not going to let this nut job in North Korea get a missile to hit America. And if I were North Korea and China, I would start thinking anew about the president of the United States.”

    “I am all in. Keep it up, Donald,” Graham added. “I’m sure you’re watching.”

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  50. 50
    Nicole says:

    @Ric Drywall: I think for an adaptation of a novel to be successful, there needs to be a willingness to really adapt it, from a printed to a visual medium. And to understand the finished products won’t be the same thing. Best example of why that’s necessary is The Shining– the movie is very different from the book, and excellent, and the miniseries was very faithful to the book and was pretty boring.

    I don’t mind if an adaptation veers from the book- if it’s a good film, it’ll get me to read the book it’s based on, and then hey, win-win. Let the Right One In is quite different as a film than as a book, but I wouldn’t have read the book without having fallen in love with the film, and I enjoyed it just as much, but differently.

    I also was kind of lukewarm on the movie of The Handmaid’s Tale. It wasn’t terrible, but it didn’t stick with me.

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    MomSense says:

    @hovercraft:

    Would love to know what the Russians found in his emails.

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  52. 52
    TenguPhule says:

    @hovercraft:

    “I am like the happiest dude in America right now,” a beaming Graham said on “Fox & Friends.” “We have got a president and a national security team that I’ve been dreaming of for eight years.”

    So Graham has always been a Russian loving Traitor.

    Color me surprised. Or not.

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  53. 53
    Steeplejack says:

    @Corner Stone:

    In her defense, that may have been before it was generally known that being in a Jim Carrey movie was career suicide.

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  54. 54
    Chris says:

    @hovercraft:

    Yeah, any hopes that the McCain/Graham community would rein in Trump were grossly optimistic. Not to say fantastical.

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    bemused says:

    @hovercraft:

    I can’t imagine Trump sitting longer than 10 minutes for these meetings! The only topics he can happily concentrate on for over a half hour is himself and how great he is.

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  56. 56
    TenguPhule says:

    @Steeplejack: The first pet detective was a great movie.

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    Kay says:

    I wasn’t aware of the series so thanks, Betty. I recall the book vividly although I read it a long time ago so I’ll watch.

    I also love Atwood because I saw her Twitter feed during the Canadian PM election and she was freaking out about voter suppression in a way I completely understand :)

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  58. 58
    dogwood says:

    @Nicole:
    A film based on a novel is an interpretation of the original work. It doesn’t have to recreate all the events and characters in the novel, but should leave the viewer with an accurate and authentic perception of the novel’s intent. It should be true to the intellectual and emotional core of the original work. The original movie of The Handmaid’s Tale was pretty faithful to the novel’s plot, but despite an excellent cast, never really captured the emotional core of Atwood’s tale.

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  59. 59
    SFBayAreaGal says:

    @TenguPhule: Babylon 5

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  60. 60
    Nicole says:

    @dogwood: I concur. The buzz on the new series is that they veer from the material a bit (it’s not all from Offred’s point of view, I think) but really capture the novel. I. Cannot. Wait.

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  61. 61
    Steeplejack says:

    @TenguPhule:

    No argument here. As was Dumb and Dumber.

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  62. 62
    Chris says:

    @hovercraft:

    FTR:

    Iran is running through the Mideast. They are toppling every government they can get their hands on.

    Iran has exactly one reliable ally in the Middle East, which is currently still hanging on by its fingernails and vastly less powerful than it used to be. (Assad’s Syria).

    Other than that, you’ve got: Iraq, in which they have a significant amount of influence (for which you can thank George W. Bush), but then so do we – they’re not the only player there. Lebanon, which is in the same position (Hezbollah is an Iranian ally, but Hezbollah hardly controls the entire place). And Yemen. That one is new, but it’s the only recent case I can think of that actually fits what Graham’s describing.

    Oh, and Hamas, I suppose. So, yeah. In addition to the above, the world’s largest open-air prison is also affiliated with Iran. (That also happened on Bush’s watch, by the way, as long as we’re finger pointing).

    Adam can feel free to correct me, but yeah. The region is hardly falling under Iran’s control. (Nor is it likely to, given the current Sunni/Shi’a polarization and the fact that there are a lot more Sunnis than Shi’a).

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  63. 63
    TenguPhule says:

    @SFBayAreaGal: You win a Noprize!

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    The Moar You Know says:

    “I am all in. Keep it up, Donald,” Graham added. “I’m sure you’re watching.”

    @hovercraft: “Please don’t let your mobster friends kill me, sir” he failed to add.

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    opiejeanne says:

    @Corner Stone: I went to camp at a couple of the Southern California sites affiliated with my church. After 4th grade it was Wrightwood, after 5th it was Lazy W on the Ortega Highway between Lake Elsinore and San Juan Capistrano. They were a week long and not oppressively religious, and while a couple of the counselors were pastors or pastors’ wives they were wonderful fun people and much more fun than the overly-earnest young adult counselors. Mike Fink told ghost stories that got everyone wound up and nervous, and then ended hilariously; one night he got us all into a conga line, singing and doing what he called a snake dance, and had the lodge rocking and hollering. My mother was a counselor that year and she did not approve of him, but she was raised Southern Baptist so that’s understandable. She thought it was unseemly for a minister to behave that way.
    I was not really aware that he was a pastor until I was an adult.
    We had a lot of free time to swim or hike or just do nothing, but the second camp was overrun by rattlesnakes that week because of a brushfire farther up the canyon. Other animals ran through our camp but mostly at night. Neither camp had a lake or horses but they both had swimming pools and miles of trails and there was always a counselor organizing another hike. The rattlesnakes put a bit of a crimp in the hiking and there was talk that we might be evacuated because of the fire, so that week was a bit of a mixed bag.
    Oh! I just remembered Cathy! She was “developing” a bit ahead of schedule and had older sisters, and behaved in a manner that seemed totally weird to the rest of us 11-year-olds. I’d say oversexed but that’s not quite it. More like she was celebrating her approach to puberty while the rest of us were still just kids.
    And then there was Eddie, who announced that he intended to blow up the world because he hated it so much and everyone in it. I wonder if he went into politics.

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    Mnemosyne says:

    @hovercraft:

    The controversial pastor, O’Connor said, “has variously proclaimed that Catholicism is ‘the world’s largest false religion,’ …

    I keep trying to tell my fellow Catholics that we may not be at the top of the “purge” list when the Dominionist revolution comes, but we sure as shit are on the list.

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  67. 67

    Who or what is Gilead supposed to be. Protestant evangelical version/s of Christianity is/are so confusing. I am sorry, I just don’t get it. At times, it does seem like a Christian version of Taliban.

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  68. 68

    @Mnemosyne: They are the upstarts that’s why the hate against those who were there first, the Jewish people and the Catholics.

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    Chris says:

    I went to the NC version of this…”New Life Camp” in Raleigh. The campsite was located in what turned out to be relatively expensive north raleigh real estate. I would have never believed it. I thought I was out DEEP in the boonies. Talk about indoctrination..they spread it on thick. With a huge bonfire on the last night to declare how we had all given our lives to Jeebus. I can still hear it now…”That bonfire is hot…but nowhere near as hot as the fires of hell….” (can you imagine 100 or more 10 year olds saying that?? Well it happened folks….”I remember this time at Bible Camp……”

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    TenguPhule says:

    @schrodingers_cat: See here

    Not what, where.

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    SFBayAreaGal says:

    @TenguPhule: Yes. One of my favorite series.

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    Steve in the ATL says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Protestant evangelical version/s of Christianity is/are so confusing

    that’s because it’s like republican policies–so deeply unpopular and nonsensical that you have to lie about what it is to get anyone to support it who’s not a horrible, horrible person.

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  73. 73
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Chris:

    ”I remember this time at Bible Camp……”

    The Lord God was merciful and spared me from bible camp, but I can remember plenty of other places I went and didn’t get laid, so I may have had a similar experience. Or maybe not, as I was never molested by a deeply closeted gay pedophile bible thumper.

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  74. 74
    Mnemosyne says:

    @dogwood:

    I haven’t read the book in years, but the thing that really stayed with me was Offred’s husband, who was happy to go along with the clampdown on women’s rights as long as he benefited. It’s a really great story about how patriarchy actually works, which is by giving a few men at the top all the power and making everyone else — including less powerful men — miserable.

    I think she had to create the frame story around it just to make it less depressing for the readers — we know from the beginning that Gilead didn’t last forever, even though we don’t know how it ended.

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  75. 75
    HeidiMom says:

    I haven’t seen a filmed version, but read the book many years ago and was impressed/appalled/terrified. Two things stick with me: 1) the leaders’ wives thought there would be a role for them after the revolution, only to learn that the whole female-subordination thing was meant for them too; and 2) the post-menopausal and other sterile women were sent to work in toxic waste dumps, and even though that was not yet the category I was in, I knew that being there — doomed but relatively free — would be the only chance at having a shred of happiness in such an awful world.

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  76. 76
    TenguPhule says:

    @SFBayAreaGal: Yep, pretty much a quote for any situation imaginable.

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  77. 77
    opiejeanne says:

    @MattF:

    When I told them I was going to get a PhD in theoretical physics, they backed off.

    My get-away-from-me response was that I was going to be an ornithologist. Most adults who asked me this couldn’t spell it. That lasted until I was about 13 and started taking piano lessons but when I told people I wanted to be a professional pianist they heard “professional pe-nis”. My childhood was fraught.

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  78. 78
    opiejeanne says:

    Help! My comment is in moderation for using the p-nis word.

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  79. 79

    @TenguPhule:


    Only an idiot fights a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the kingdom of idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts. -Londo Mollari

    Babylon 5 is streaming for free on go90.com. Re-watching it now, it suddenly seems relevant…

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  80. 80
    TenguPhule says:

    @Certified Mutant Enemy: Highly under appreciated series. Much better then Star Wreck Deep Bore Nine (Pre-Dominion War) and Vo-yawner.

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  81. 81
    Kathleen says:

    @manyakitty: I’d love to see her. Would you mind psting about her talk?

    I saw an incredible one woman performance at a local theatre. Gripping, terrifying and uplifting. Don’t know if. I have guts to read book.

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  82. 82
    Chris says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    This drives me crazy. Like, fucking hell. We were the number one target of the religious right for most of this country’s history, and one of the biggest targets of the anti-immigrant brigade, to the point that an entire mainstream political party was once constructed on a platform of nothing but “fuck the Catholics.” That may have finally calmed down in the last half century, but it doesn’t take too many forays into fundiegelical territory to realize that these people hate us, and if they had their way, we wouldn’t be around much longer than the Muslims.

    ETA: I meant “number one target” among groups defined by ethnic/sectarian identity, of course. The number one overall target of the religious right, ultimately, has probably always been women.

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  83. 83
    catclub says:

    @Chris:

    (Nor is it likely to, given the current Sunni/Shi’a polarization and the fact that there are a lot more Sunnis than Shi’a).

    I would put it that the Persians seems to be handling their weaker hand in the region much better than the Arabs are handling the stronger political/hardware/allies hand that they have there.

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  84. 84
    Chris says:

    @Chris:

    Oh hello, Other Chris :D

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  85. 85

    I have not read this book and all your descriptions make me want not want to read it at all. Its seem dour.

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  86. 86
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Chris:

    We were the number one target of the religious right for most of this country’s history, and one of the biggest targets of the anti-immigrant fringe, to the point that an entire mainstream political party was once constructed on a platform of nothing but “fuck the Catholics.” That may have finally calmed down in the last half century, but it doesn’t take too many forays into fundiegelical territory to realize that these people hate us, and if they had their way, we wouldn’t be around much longer than the Muslims.

    Ironically, catholics now have almost total control of SCOTUS. I fear that I, an Episcopalian, cannot get justice there. (not really)

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  87. 87
    Chris says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    I actually find this funny: every single person on the Supreme Court is either a Catholic or a Jew. Those are the people who decide what the constitution means. And unlike the black guy who was in the White House for a few years, they’re there for life: the only way they can leave is if they decide to.

    You’d think the old KKK types, if nobody else, would be in absolute hysterics about this. By the standards of the old (i.e. pre-1960) ethnic/sectarian battle lines, a Supreme Court like that means they’ve lost “their” America as completely as it’s possible to.

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  88. 88
    cmorenc says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Never more so than when our grandparents began shipping us off to a summer camp run by Bible-believing Christians.

    The director of the summer camp I was sent to up in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the early 1960s was close enough friends with Evangelist Billy Graham that Graham came to the camp to lead the convocation the last night of our session at camp both years. The camp wasn’t set up to be primarily a religious or “Bible study” type camp – most of our day was spent hiking, swimming, shooting rifles or bows and arrows, etc. Nevertheless, the evangelical Christian atmosphere of the camp was pervasive, even if usually in the background.

    I survived the experience just fine, just as you did your experience (albeit it sounds like your camp was more heavy-handed about it than mine was). And just like you, I learned to think for myself and not mindlessly swallow everything the dominant culture around me said I should think.

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  89. 89
    TenguPhule says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Its educational. To defeat your enemy, you need to understand their thinking and goals and what happens if they win.

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  90. 90
    Mnemosyne says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    It’s really not — Margaret Atwood is a great author with a very accessible style. It’s basically a horror novel, though. It’s her version of a Stephen King or Dean Koontz book, but with no supernatural element, just bad people.

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  91. 91
    Shana says:

    @Ric Drywall: I agree. Loved/hated the book, in the best way, but had a lot of problems with the movie. Kind of like the BBC miniseries version of Brideshead Revisited vs. the movie. And Pride and Prejudice vs. any movie version. You get so much more time with a miniseries.

    I think of The Handmaid’s Tale every time I use an ATM to this day and I read the book when it first came out.

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  92. 92
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Shana:

    And Pride and Prejudice vs. any movie version.

    For a moment, I thought you were dissing the Colin Firth miniseries of P&P and there was going to have to be a throwdown! 😂

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  93. 93
    TenguPhule says:

    @Shana:

    And Pride and Prejudice vs. any movie version.

    Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

    You lose.

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  94. 94
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @manyakitty:

    I’ve heard her speak in person on three separate occasions. She is engaging and passionate and angry and laugh-out-loud funny. You’ll have a great experience.

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  95. 95
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Mnemosyne: I adore Atwood, but I think many of her books’ endings seemed tacked-on — as if she owes her editor the final chapter, gets tired of being hassled for it and just slaps an ending together in haste. I won’t post a spoiler in case anyone here who has not done so is planning to read it, but “The Handmaid’s Tale” avoids that fate with the epilogue, IIRC.

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  96. 96
    glory b says:

    I thought we’d get Betty Cracker illustrations (like the parade).

    Pouts

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  97. 97
    LT says:

    @Lynn Dee: Your story reminds me of something Jean Louise Finch [Scout, in To Kill a Mockingbird] would do were she to be caught with her shoelaces tied together during chapel.

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  98. 98
    Jake the antisoshul soshulist says:

    @Bill:
    I remember a review of the 1990 film.
    The reviewer’s biggest complaint was that no one seemed happy, even Robert Duvall. Obviously, they had no experience with fundamentalist religion. One of the fundamentals of which is this life is not for pleasure but to suffer to earn your reward in heaven.

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  99. 99
    manyakitty says:

    @Kathleen: I’ll be glad to!

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  100. 100
    manyakitty says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Great! I’m already pretty excited.

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  101. 101
    EriktheRed says:

    I’ve read the book and seen the movie. ‘Tis enough for me.

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  102. 102
    danielx says:

    Every time I think I’ve read the ultimate Betty Cracker post….tho I admit the one about you and your sister in the parade is hard to top.

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  103. 103
    grrljock says:

    @Nicole: I also dismissed the series as Rich White Ladies Problems from the ads (despite being a Reese Witherspoon fan), but got intrigued by the great reviews it was getting. We just finished the first episode and eager for more. Plus it’s just so gorgeously shot.

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  104. 104
    evodevo says:

    @Ladyraxterinok: Don’t forget Roll to Disbelieve, too, for insight into fundie attitudes toward the distaff sex and control thereof. She’s a former fundie who now blogs from the outside.

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  105. 105
    J R in WV says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    “I am sorry, I just don’t get it. At times, it does seem like a Christian version of Taliban.”

    It is a Talliban of Christ. You can’t make sense of it because there’s no logic to grab hold of. It’s faith based, you have to believe all in, and then you won’t worry about the lack of logic. It’s very scary.

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  106. 106
    J R in WV says:

    @Chris:

    This drives me crazy. Like, fucking hell. We were the number one target of the religious right for most of this country’s history, and one of the biggest targets of the anti-immigrant brigade, to the point that an entire mainstream political party was once constructed on a platform of nothing but “fuck the Catholics.” That may have finally calmed down in the last half century, but it doesn’t take too many forays into fundiegelical territory to realize that these people hate us, and if they had their way, we wouldn’t be around much longer than the Muslims.

    ETA: I meant “number one target” among groups defined by ethnic/sectarian identity, of course. The number one overall target of the religious right, ultimately, has probably always been women.

    And gay, trans, etc people, Atheists, Episcopals, etc. Of course women AND some different other combined get worse (more hated) fast!

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  107. 107
    debbie says:

    I never got around to reading “The Handmaid’s Tale,” but I just reserved it at my library. I know no one else here has read Stacy Schiff’s “The Witches” about the Salem trials, but I’m curious as to how strong the parallels will be between Atwood’s society and Puritan New England.

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  108. 108
    Tehanu says:

    @mai naem mobile:

    Life isn’t fair, alas. If it was, Betty would be on the New York Times op-ed page 3 times a week and MoDo would be schlepping bedpans at Bellevue.

    Not going to watch “The Handmaid’s Tale,” I don’t need to be infuriated.

    @Corner Stone:

    I love “No Way Out”! Thanks for the mention, I’ll have to hunt it up and watch it again.

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  109. 109
    Elizabelle says:

    @debbie: Those are two books to read in succession. Have read neither, but both excellent writers with a lot to say.

    And loved B Cracker’s post.

    ReplyReply

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