Have you ever wandered into a TV show, and without knowing anything of the story thus far, a mere thirty seconds can tell you more than you wanted to know? In fact, you know so much from that brief glance, you can, without any hesitation, write the entire episode?
This is pretty much how it goes in our house whenever we see almost any Christian clergyman on television. If it's some sort of religious figure, he's the murderer / pederast / psycho / bad guy. In fact, if there's a guest star who shows up as a priest, the only way my family is surprised is if the priest is not guilty of something. Also, if there's a choice between an old-fashioned, grouchy priest, and a hip, young good-looking priest filled with charisma, we know whodunit—the old guy, because killers are never charismatic, are they?
Now, unless someone can correct me, this rule only applies to some variety of Christian group, but, more often than not, it's a Catholic priest. Even on the television show 24, where Muslims terrorists were involved (literally) every other season for the first six years, no Imams were involved. I have never seen a Rabbi involved in a crime anywhere on television.
Under the heading of “these and other stupid things,” there are some interesting facts.
Despite what the average conspiracy theorist likes to spin, priests have a fairly good record, behavior-wise. Within the last ten years, The New York Times came up with an interesting number: 100. One hundred is the number of priests who have been guilty of abusing children. Not over the course of a decade or two, but over the previous SIXTY YEARS. So, one-hundred priests over the course of sixty years have been sick, twisted freaks, out of a NATIONAL population of over a hundred and nine thousand.
In 2004, John Jay did a study, and their number was: 4%. That's the number who were accused of sexual abuse. Of those allegations, 3% ended in a guilty verdict. 3%
So, many were exonerated. But, let's assume that some were never reported, because some aren't. So, let's assume these two numbers cancel each other out, and stick with 10,667.
Hmm.... wait, in nine years, public school teachers have abused twenty-nine times the number of children than an entire profession of priests over the course of sixty years?
On average, abusive priests have been accused of going after 810 kids per year, but the public schools have assaulted 32,000 per annum …
Wow, Catholic Conspiracies? Really? Rome has nothing on the teachers union.
So, if we use the number of the NYTimes, there have probably been more abusive priests on television than in real life. I say probably because I've only seen a few dozen on television, and because I will use a power drill on my temple before I watch another episode of Law & Order: SVU. Certainly, though, the per capita count on tv is higher than in real life.
I must have missed all of those episodes where they went after teachers. Oh well.
Fun fact: since the Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade, there have been a grand total of six abortionists assassinated in the United States.
Which means there have been more abortionists killed on the twenty year run of the original Law & Order than there ever were in real life.
And the amusing part is that all of the abortionists are so good, so pure, and so virtuous, that there was no other conceivable reason that anyone would want to kill them. In real life police investigations, the first step is that you look for at the significant other for your murderer. Why? Because, more often than not, that is the murderer. Cop shows will, occasionally, follow inquiries along this line.
But, nope, you can't have it happen like that when it's an abortionist? Really? Just once, I want an abortionist on television to be murdered by his ex-wife or something. Current wife? Girlfriend? Wife and girlfriend? No one is so perfect that the only people on the planet Earth who would want to kill him/her is a right-wing violent psychotic.
I don't know what it is with British television (not just the BBC), but, recently, I watched through a whole slew of British mysteries and stories, etc. After a while, I started to get the odd notion that the British have the strangest obsession with being gay. From the murder mysteries of Inspector Morse to the science fiction of Dr. Who, and the list seems interminable.
Original statistics showed that 10% of the population had some sort of homosexual sex.
When they stopped polling the prison system exclusively, the number averaged out to about 1% of the population.
By my count, there have been more gay characters in all of British cinema than have ever been born.
And that's another problem I've had, as far as murder mysteries and cop shows are concerned. Notice that my formula about real life murders was generally gender-vague. Gay, straight, bi, whatever, most people are murdered by murdered by their nearest and dearest.
In fiction, the victim is murdered by anyone, as long as they are not gay. And no one will ever consider suggesting that they did it. This strikes me as mildly offensive. What sort of homophobe will declare that a gay person is innocent because they're gay? Isn't that just a sort of passive bigotry? "Oh, you're the obligatory gay character, you can't have committed this brilliant murder." What? Wait? Really?
Why do I mention any of this? Because cliches are tiresome, and boring, and for the love of God, can't anyone come up with an original idea? There are only so many times I can see the same plot recycled through the same unoriginal scripts. If real life were like television, abortionists should collect hazard pay, every priest should be arrested immediately on suspicion, and half of everyone is gay, and are so pure and virtuous that they've never perpetrated a crime.
I'm not approving clergy child abusers, or assassinations of abortionists, nor am I condemning gays for being so. However, if you spend more than five minutes on someone being gay in a plot, you better have a damn good reason for it; I fast forward through “straight” romance subplots unless it's relevant, why should I care that two guys are making out in the corner?
I don't want Barry Fitzgerald and Bing Crosby in collars, but damnit, I'm tired of writers who are so brain damaged that the only way they can think to bring in a priest on television is to make them the villain.
And, please, can someone on television murder mysteries kill an abortionist because his wife caught him cheating on her?
In A Pius Man, I take pride on the fact that I take every cliché I can think of about the Catholic Church, and I turn it on its head.
I have a mysterious priest in the background, and he seems to have combat training. Hmm … he's got pale skin and silver hair, does that qualify as an albino?
I have a violently, borderline right-wing African Pope who is Atilla the Hun, and who uses the line “by any means necessary” more than a few times. Could he be a villain?
I have a violent, borderline psychopath that the Vatican has hired. That can't be good, can it?
I have a shifty-looking Cardinal, hmm.....is he up to something?
Does the head of Papal Security have to come head to head with the Pope? Maybe even arrest him?