Pictures of Paradise

by CaptainSchmideo 4 Replies latest jw friends

  • CaptainSchmideo

    A previous post showed the new handbill for the district convention, and the discussion about it reminded me of something I saw 15 years ago.

    Some here may remember Spalding Gray. He was a writer/actor/monologist (a monologist is like a public speaker, only a lot more informative and entertaining.). He was in the news recently because in a fit of depression, he jumped off the Staten Island Ferry in New York and drowned himself, but that's not the subject of this post.

    In a film he did for HBO called "The Terrors of Pleasure", he chronicles his efforts as a New York City tenderfoot buying and fixing up a house in "the country" (Connecticutt or somewhere). He finds all sorts of things wrong with the house (bad plumbing, electricity, heat) especially the foundation.

    The next part I am quoting from memory, so if I get something wrong forgive me. The next part will be in Mr. Gray's voice:

    "So on Saturday morning, three individuals come to my porch, two women in dresses, and a small boy. One woman has her glasses taped together, the boy is wearing a string tie. The woman with glasses asks me if I've heard about the Great Crowd.

    I say, "Sure, I just came from New York!". She didn't seem to get the joke, but proceeded to tell me about how a person who did not live their lives according to God's will and plan their lives around that would be like the man who built his house on a foundation of sand.

    Boy, she had MY number!

    She then sold me a book "Your Kingdom Come", and I was drawn to the picture on the inside.

    (At this point, he actually pulls out the book on stage, and the camera focuses in on it)

    You can see this beautiful country setting, people dressed like the 1950s enjoying the surroundings.

    (Pointing out the different people) Here is the White Couple prominent in the foreground. The African Americans just behind them. ...oh, and the Third World couple wayyyy off in the back there.

    But, the thing that REALLY caught my eye were the HOUSES. Each one of them had PERFECT FOUNDATIONS! "

    (at this point, he enthustically gives the picture a great big kiss.)

    Anyway, since that monologue, I have never been able to look at the "paradise pictures" in the same way.

    Anyone else ever see this bit?

  • blondie

    Yes, I saw him do this on TV when I lived in NY. I think the area was the Catskills because I wondered if I could have known those JWs since I lived about 40 miles away. It was interesting to see how non-JWs view JWs that come to their door and how they see the literature.


  • Crumpet

    What an excellent story - I like that. If only people could take the mickey more in the public eye - and parody the less opbvious but more dangerous aspects of JWs a little.

    (crumpet: thinks of commencing new career as a comedian whose jokes are mainly based around christian fundamentalism as an upbringing!)

  • CaptainSchmideo

    I guess I should have followed up with this fact:

    Ever since that monologue, I've watched the placement of the different ethnicities in the pictures. And now, it's usual for either an African American or an Asian, a non-White, to placed in the foreground of the shot.

  • blondie

    One thing to know too is that the magazines aren't all printed at Wallkill. Various branches have their own printing facilities thus in Africa, a black person will more likely be on the cover and in Asian countries, Asians. It is no accident how they place racial or ethnic groups in the publications. If you look at the publications from the 50's and 60's there is hardly a black person to be seen.

    I miss Spaulding Gray. I was so sad about his death.


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