June 18th, 2012

sleazy fandom

Big Bang Theory and religion

I don't in fact aim to invite a flame war, but there was this amusing moment in season 4 of The Big Bang Theory (a show that you should watch if you haven't yet, because it is hilarious):

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Priya: Listen, Rajesh, Leonard and I have decided to see each other again, and you don’t get to tell me who I can and can’t have a relationship with.

Sheldon: Actually, he can. The Hindu Code of Manu is very clear in these matters. If a woman's father is not around, the duty of controlling her base desires falls to the closest male member of her family; in this case, Raj. The code also states that if she disobeys, she will be reborn in the womb of a jackal and tormented by diseases. If true, that seems like an awfully large gamble given that the prize is Leonard.

Raj: There it is, Priya. We're Indian. We believe this stuff.

Priya: I think it also says that if you eat beef, you need to live with cows for three months and drink their urine.

Raj: Some of it makes sense, some of it's crazy. My point is, you can't go out with Leonard.

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"Some of it makes sense, some of it's crazy" is basically the response I got recently when (with great foolishness) I ventured to say on an online forum that it isn't wise to cite the Bible as a defense for being anti-gay, since you could also use the Bible to be pro-slavery and pro-stoning-women-to-death-for-adultery, not to mention anti-shellfish and a number of other "crazy" attitudes. It was coolly suggested that I don't really understand the Bible if I propose such parallels. Okay, some truth to that; I am not in fact a religious studies scholar. Nonetheless, it *is* almost indisputable that some of the Bible makes sense and some of it's crazy. And the parts that now seem crazy are usually due to out-of-date cultural standards (or maybe mistranslations). So, when are we ready to admit that gayness being an abomination to God is just as culturally out of date as slavery being A-OK with God?

The Big Bang Theory is comedy. They know Raj is actually objecting to his friend dating his sister because of a basic annoyance and disgust factor, not really because of religion. Religion is just a handy excuse. So, yeah. Parallel, much?