Thursday, September 8, 2016

A Reason To Have Faith In Network Television, Courtesy Of The Blacklist.

Like many people today I rarely watch T.V.  In fact, in my dorm I don't have access to cable, or satellite.  So like most, I rely on Netflix, which means waiting months for the next season of any show I like to pop up and then binge-watching the whole season while neglecting my studies.  Well that is exactly what happened today when I noticed that season three of one of my favorite shows The Blacklist starring James Spader.  The particular episode is episode 4 of season 3 entitled "The Djinn".  While many viewers may have just watched for the action and suspense, or perhaps for Spaders' witty quips, but at the end of the episode Spader has a monologue that absolutely made me light up.

As a skeptic, secular humanist, and fervent believer in equality, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I support gay rights and especially detest religious hatred aimed at members of the LGBTQ community.  Furthermore, as a political science major, I wouldn't have chosen UC Berkeley if I didn't believe in social justice.


So the premise of the episode is that a woman named the Djinn allows people to torture or otherwise take revenge on people who have wronged them.  Midway through the episode an Iranian businessman dissapears and it is revealed his Daughter Nasim kidnapped him for revenge. Reddington (played by Spader) and Keen (played by Meghan Boone) eventually find out that Nasim is the Djinn and then procede to reveal her secret.

Here is the transcript of the inspiring speech given by Spader about the situation:

Reddington:  Was it so horrific to discover that your 19 year old son, your eldest son was gay.  So horrific that you forced him against his will to go under the knife, change his gender, to give you a daughter instead of your son?  Who was gay.

Father: The clerics accept.  People can get trapped in the body of the wrong sex.

 Nasim:  I wasn’t trapped.  I liked my body, I liked men.

Father:  I wanted to protect you Nasim.  They could have killed you.

Reddington:  For being Gay!  They’re so homophobic that being gay is a hideous crime, but chopping off a man’s penis isn’t?  Honestly is it just me or is the human race armed with religion, poisoned by prejudice, and absolutely frantic with hatred and fear Galloping pell mell back into the dark ages?  Who on earth is hurt by a little girl going to school, or a child being gay?

For more on this real issue view the Vice News report on the subject from 2015.  Religious fundamentalism truly is trying to drag us back into the dark ages and it is up to individuals of rational mind to fight against it.  Every person in the world has the intrinsic right to live free of judgement about their sexual preference, free of persecution, free of fear of death and imprisonment over issues that no one else has any right to even know about.

I am encouraged by knowing that many others like me continue to become the majority, but religion continues to be the main enemy in the fight towards equal rights for all.  I haven't touched on religion much throughout my blogging, but I feel any decent skeptic (or sceptic for the Brits) must look at the scientific data and say religion has no place in the making of policy or determining how to treat our fellow humans.  Only reason, and the simple idea that we must care for one another, should guide our interactions.

So in closing I recommend the Blacklist to all of my readers.  I may enjoy it for the simple entertainment value most of the time, but it is also heartening to know that the typically shallow entertainment sector does manage to sneak in SJW topics from time to time.