Top 10 Fictional Dads

With Father’s Day tomorrow, I thought that I would do a tribute to the fictional dads that I really liked.  Whether they are the biological fathers, or father figures, they are loyal parents and often go to incredible lengths to protect their children.  Sometimes they are diligent, doting parents, other times they are aloof but prove their loyalty in other ways.  I’m not limiting this to any one genre of fiction, because my favorite fictional parents come from all sorts.  Let me know the fictional parents who you admired most in the comments.

10. Sojiro Sakura
Persona 5
When you first meet Sojiro, he’s a stern and almost cold character.  He doesn’t like you and makes no secret of the fact that he sees having to watch over you as a burden.  However, as the plot unfolds you realize that there is a caring man, who has a secret.  He has been caring for the daughter of a dear friend who passed away a long time ago.  The girl is a shut-in and he desperately has been trying to be a good dad while also respecting her very strict boundaries.  But once she is able to come out from that shell, their bond becomes just that much more apparent, since he can finally be a doting father figure to a child who has had a very hard life.  Stern, yet compassionate.  A Japanese father to a fault.

9. Peter (last name unknown)
Animorphs
The father of one of the main characters, Marco, he is one of the most interesting literary parents.  His wife died a long time ago, and he has been looking to move forward with his life ever since.  This has caused more than a little strain between him and his son.  What I like most about the character is the fact that they show him to be human.  Very much so.  He’s lonely, and wants to be able to move forward from losing his wife.  Now, granted there is more to what’s going on with his wife, which makes Marco even more unhappy about how his father is trying to move on, but Peter doesn’t know that and so his son is trying not to hold it against him.  When you finally see the two of them bonding, it feels genuine.  Not the most dynamic character, but a human one all the same.

8. Lieutenant Colonel Griswald
Recess
A military man through and through, and father to Gus Griswald, the Lieutenant is probably the most stern character on this list.  He talks to his son as if he is one of the men under his command, and does have high expectations of him.  However, there are numerous times in the episode where you see him genuinely care for him and even go out of his way to help him in whatever way he can.  The fact that his son wants to follow in his footsteps as a soldier constantly makes him proud, along with the fact that he is loyal to his friends.  Again, not the most dynamic character but having known a few Army brats growing up, this makes me think of them.  One of them had a really shitty dad, but another had one who reminded me of the Lt. Colonel.

7. Hank Hill
King of the Hill
Hank is the quintessential typical American dad.  He’s conservative as all get-out, has no understanding of his son or the world he lives in, and constantly sees the youth culture as strange and disconcerting.  But despite all that, he is still a strong family man.  Not only does he constantly try to be a good husband, but he tries to be a good father too.  There are a lot of moments where he looks after Bobby despite not understanding the first thing about him and the world he lives in.  At the end of the day, him and the family can bicker and argue, but they’ll still have a grilled steak, so long as the grill uses propane.

6. Jack Foreman
Prey
A stay-at-home father who is trying to get used to the dynamic he is living in, all while battling his sense of uselessness and his growing sense of ownership over the home and the relationship with the children as his wife is growing more and more distant.  Jack is a fantastic father.  Not only does he make sure the house runs smoothly, he goes out of his way to try and be understanding of his wife’s situation with her increasingly demanding job.  However, when he gets involved in his former employer’s situation in the desert, and things are looking their worst, the first thought he has is to protect the children that he left behind.  The book ends with him taking radical steps in order to protect them, but he’ll do whatever it takes.  So loyal that he fights against forces so radically overpowering in order to keep what he has waiting for him safe.  Naturally he’s from my favorite book.

5. Bryan Mills
Taken (the first one, not the shitty sequels)
This character is probably the most loyal father ever.  A former CIA badass who ends up retiring so he can try and reconnect with his daughter.  However, when she is kidnapped by Algerian sex-slavers, he will stop at nothing to secure her freedom.  He’ll attack cops, shoot the wife of a former ally, even torture a man by electrocuting him until the power shuts off just to make a point.  Bryan is a no-nonsense, do not fuck with me dad, and has years of “specific set of skills” to prove it.

4. Victor Sullivan
Uncharted (series)
Sully has no children of his own.  However, as you learn in Uncharted 3, one day he happened upon a little punk in Spain who he took under his wing.  That punk just happened to be Nathan Drake.  What came from that was a relationship of two career criminals who just happened to rob the artifacts of ancient empires in order to sell them and live the good life.  Sully is crass, suave, a complete man-whore with all the talent to be cool as fuck while doing it.  He also has no problem using a gun. The scene where he tells Nate that he always saw him as the son he never had was pretty touching.  No matter how he may not have been the best father figure, he is Sully, and that’s all he’ll ever need.

3. Ethan Mars
Heavy Rain
Bryan Mills would kick whoever’s ass to keep his daughter safe, but Ethan Mars is a bit on the different spectrum.  After a moment of losing track of his first son led to him being tragically killed in a car wreck, Ethan and his wife are separated and he is a little overly protective of his younger child.  So when the Origami Killer steals him, Ethan is now in a position where he will do whatever it takes in order to keep him safe.  Even if that means complying with the increasingly-twisted demands of the killer, like to cut off one of his own fingers.  It’s horrifying, but when you see him weather it in order to get his child back, it makes you want to fight even harder to make sure it happens.

2. Maes Hughes
Fullmetal Alchemist
Probably the most doting father on this list, Hughes attachment to his little girl is more than a little insane.  And he makes sure that every single person around him is forced to suffer through it at all hours.  However, underneath that there is an incredibly intelligent investigator who is not only looking to keep his family safe, but also his best friend Roy Mustang.  When he happens upon a truth so horrible that it threatens to destroy everything, he rushes out without hesitation to confirm it.  But in the end, that determination to dig up the truth is what gets the better of him.  The enemy becomes the one thing that he can’t raise a weapon to – his wife.  A good man, a loving father, and a tragic end.  He is pretty awesome like that.

And my favorite fictional dad is…

1. Joel
The Last of Us
While the relationship he had with his daughter Sara is a profoundly beautiful and tragic relationship, we don’t get much chance to know them.  It’s his relationship with his companion Ellie, who becomes his surrogate daughter, that is the one I want to talk about.  Joel is a survivor.  After Sara is tragically killed, he has 20 years for his heart to harden to ice.  But when this teenage girl comes into his life, and goes out of her way to try and bond with him and reach him on a personal level, he finds that ice melting away.  Eventually, he grows to see her as his own child, and will stop at nothing to keep her safe.  To the point that when he finds out the only way to get Ellie’s immunity into a form where it can be made a vaccine would kill her, he sells the ENTIRE human race up the river to save her life.  A cold, calculating, kind of monstrous person, Joel finds his humanity again in that little girl.  When you hear him telling her unconscious body the things he said to Sara and he ran with he, it makes the situation that much harder.

Who are all of your favorite fictional fathers?  And to all the dads out there, Happy Father’s Day

Until next time, a quote,

“Yeah, you keep telling yourself that bullshit.” – Joel

Peace out,

Maverick

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How to be a Christian Rocker/Rapper

So, you wake up one morning and you think to yourself – I think that God wants me to be a rock star!  Or maybe a rap artist.  Either way, you want to do this.  And naturally, you figure that there must be an easy way for you to get rock or rap to be all for God, right?  Well, if that is what you feel like your calling is, here are a few pointers to help you get on your way to spreading the message of God through your music.

1. Totally try and pander to what you think is popular
After all, if Michael Bay can get away with it, why can’t you?  Watch some old music videos and don’t for a second think about what is or isn’t popular.  Just go with your gut-instinct.  I mean, if it worked on MTV, it must work now, right?

2. Don’t think for a moment about how Christian rock is looked down upon
There will be lots of people who will come up to you and say that your music sucks, and you aren’t making things better for Christians.  Or they will say that you are making rock look worse by what you are doing.  Well, they are just heathens who God hates and will burn in Hell.  So don’t put any credence to what they say.  Sure, you may not be making hardly any money.  But your reward is in Heaven.  Well, maybe.  I mean, it doesn’t actually say anywhere in the Bible that God loves Christian rock, does it?  But hey, it’s for God.  That comes with the territory, right?  So yeah, don’t listen to any of the doubters or haters.  They are just hating on you because of how much you love God, and how in God’s good graces you are.  Even though he has never and will never talk to you.  You know by default.

3. If your lyrics suck, that’s alright.  It’s for God, so it’s all good
Remember that rap “Christian Side Hug?”  Remember how totally ridiculous and stupid the lyrics are?  Well, that doesn’t matter.  I mean, look at some of the other garbage that kids are listening to these days.  Am I right?  They listen to Justin Bieber, for crying out loud!  And she is still one of the most popular women currently in music today.  And I think it’s just awesome of Selena Gomez to be totally out of the closet with her.  What a brave girl.  Even if, since we all know that God hates homosexuality, they will both be burning in Hell.  Still, brave of them.  But yeah, your lyrics are about promoting the Holy Spirit.  So even if they don’t sound all that good, it’s alright.  You have God on your side.

4. Don’t think too hard about if your songs make God out to be a petty douchebag
There are people who have made videos about this.  One guy made a video called “God’s Music,” where he showed that some of the lyrics in these songs really don’t make much sense, and if you really think about them, they kind of make God out to be an incompetent jerk who really doesn’t care much for his own creations and only cares about his own selfish impulses.  And hey, he even pointed out that the music was funny, right?!  So naturally, if you are doubting the lyrics you make, just assume that God loves it, and you are totally fine.

5. Don’t question why God needs you to carry the torch for him
I mean, sure, if God would only come down in a form that could be perceived, nobody would question his existence.  It would be the quickest way that the world could understand his greatness and believe in him.  But don’t let yourself get sucked into that internal conflict either.  After all, he created this world and left no trace of his existence, so that must be even more proof that he he’s real, right?  I mean, an all-knowing God who is supposedly in all places wouldn’t just create this world and totally leave the people inside of it, with all the natural disasters, disease war and famine with no proof unless he was real, right?  Sure, that sounds totally heartless, but God has a plan for it, after all.  Even if it sounds like a gutless and mean-spirited plan, it will all make sense eventually.

6. Always let your passion cloud if you have a good singing voice or not
If there is one piece of advice we could give above all others, this would be it.  I mean, sure, no record label will even look twice at you.  Your music is loved by the church, and that’s all that matters.  I mean, it’s not like your family, friends, church and all the people who have very strong ties to you and wouldn’t want you to feel bad would lie to you and tell you that you’re good, right?  Naturally, they are the most objective source of guidance that you could get on how good you are at making music.  And of course, your priest wouldn’t like to you.  They have you at the church every Sunday, don’t they?  Yeah, that totally makes sense.

There, got all that?  Good.  Now go out and make your terrible music, so the rest of the rock or rap community can point and snicker at you.  I mean, if you can’t give us a good laugh, then what use are you?

Until next time, a quote,

“Can’t you see?  You’re not making Christianity better.  You’re just making rock and roll worse.”  -Hank Hill, King of the Hill

Peace out,

Maverick

The Dentist and Christian Rock Music

If there is one thing that sucks more than having to go to the dentist for what you KNOW is going to be a painful procedure, it is having to go into the dentist for what you know will be a painful procedure and then having to sit in the lobby and suffer through all of that Christian rock music.  That really adds insult to injury.  It is the worst possible thing in all of history.  It is an insult to all forms of good music having to listen to that dreck.  No good music ever came from the words “Christian rock.”  When the word was invented, it just lost the ability to be good.

GrapplingIgnorance made a really great video about the topic of Christian music.  The basic point is – it all sucks.  Really, all of it.  There isn’t a single piece of good Christian music that has ever been made.  Having grown up in the Lutheran church, I got to listen to the endless series of dirges that came from that musically not-so-inclined place.  It was all so depressing.  Then there is the polar opposite of that.  The girl on “Jesus Camp” said it best, that if you don’t sing loud and lively about what a great guy God is then he will hate you and he will send you to Hell (the worst sales gimmick in all recorded history).

So that is the polar extremes.  There are the Catholics, Lutherans, and other such people who have dirge music, and there are the Evangelicals and African-American churches (some, not all) where they are going crazy and shouting to their savior how much they like the guy.  And on both extremes, the music SUCKS!  I remember as a small child desperately waiting for it to be over so I could escape the church and go home.  Even as a little kid I never bought into religion, but that is because it has all of the driving power to a rational mind of a piece of lettuce.  It is about as convincing too.  It is no better than a fairytale.  I remember thinking as a kid that that was what it sounded like.

For real, not one piece of what goes on in the church sounds like something other than superstition.  Noah’s Arc (another example of God’s genocidal nature), the Ten Plagues of Egypt (also an example), Adam and Eve (the stupidest story that people take seriously), all of those stories sounded just so ridiculous.  I seriously will never understand how something that sounds so incredibly illogical and really has plot holes and endless contradiction is something that people believe so passionately.  Perhaps it is weakness.  I make no effort to hide my contention that people who believe in God are afraid.  They are afraid of the real world, and so they invent this other world that they can live in.  In this other world they have a magical friend who is always looking out for them.

As such, I really have no respect for any religion (somebody is already getting ready to bitch at me about Buddhism, but I don’t qualify that as a religion.  I’m with TJ when I say that it is atheism with a little spiritual garnish).  Even the really decent ones seem so silly to me, like the Wiccan faith.  Any belief system that believes in magical powers is just so ridiculous.  I can enjoy reading about magic and stuff like that all the time, but I can’t actually and actively believe that it exists.  To believe that is just such a farce.  A force that is unseen but can radically change all of reality, that makes no sense.

And that brings us back to the fact that I have to get a painful procedure done today at the dentist, made all the more painful by the fact that I have to sit in the lobby and listen to this shit.  And of course, you can’t say anything to anybody.  That is the other big problem with an office that plays Christian rock.  If you say something to somebody, they start going on about how you are disrespecting their beliefs because you don’t like their kind of music.  Now, in a town as hardcore religious as the one I live in, I get that that can be kind of a problem to deal with, but the fact that these people make me suffer their bad tastes.

And that is exactly what it is, bad taste.  There are no good Christian rock bands, not one.  I remember having to suffer through some of that live when I was a kid.  I wanted to tear out my ears.  Granted, I am not much into rock (Post 1990) and more into classical music and jazz (pretty much anything with no words, and don’t you Christians get on me that a lot of old-school classical artists were Christian.  Yeah, they were, but guess what, I don’t have to suffer bad lines to listen to!), but I know good rock from bad rock.  It isn’t hard to spot.  With all the bad rhymes and logical disconnects, it is easy to see why the average atheist like me thinks that you music sucks.

And that is going to be my day.  I am going to have to sit through a very painful dental procedure and have to have that horrible shit playing in the background.  At least when their stuff is on and making a lot of noise, that will drown it out.  I’ll be in pain, but maybe that is better.  A lot of religious people are in the world, and they have every right to listen to what they want, but why should those of us who think religion is nothing but a bunch of bullshit that needs to be eschewed in the name of social progresss have to suffer for that belief?  And it is suffering.  It even makes Christians cringe often.  The church I grew up in when I was religious may have only sung dirgest, but at least those were good for what they are.

But today is going to suck, a lot.  Wish me luck, eh?

Until next time, a quote,

“You’re not making Christianity better, you’re making rock worse!”  -Hank Hill, King of the Hill

Peace out,

Maverick