Salon Critic Pummels 'The Conjuring' for Not Mocking Christians, Families

Apparently the only thing you need to do to make a conservative movie is show a family that’s not a freak show and religious people who aren’t nuts. Oh, and if your villain is a female ghost you’re also anti-woman.

There’s no word on whether that also applies to a movie where the male poltergeist leaves a woman to drown in a car, uses one as a humidor or sends sexts of its undead junk.

These are the helpful insights from Salon writer Andrew O’Hehir in his review of The Conjuring. Somehow this perceptive commentator, no doubt utilizing the critical thinking skills gathered sitting through countless undergrad womyn’s studies seminars at Johns Hopkins, detected “the film’s deeply reactionary cultural politics, and the profound misogyny that lurks just beneath its surface.”

Gee, I thought it was about a haunted house and ghosts and stuff. Thanks for forcing my eyes open and making me confront the patriarchal power structure or something.

O’Hehir elaborates:

I don’t know how intentional this was on the part of the filmmakers--possibly not much--but “The Conjuring” is one of the cleverest and most effective right-wing Christian films of recent years. It’s a movie about America’s obsession with evil, and how easily that gets pointed in the wrong directions. It’s a movie based on the reassuring premise that when something is wrong in your family, your community or your country, you don’t have to worry about the priests, the cops, the dads or the other male authority figures. They’re the good guys. Blame the women.

[Spoilery] Well, Andy, when the evil spook who is running around possessing people and stuff is female, you probably should blame the woman. Well, unless the female ghost was driven to it by the cruelty of society’s phallocentrism or something.

I thought The Conjuring was just a really fun, scary horror flick, but I was wrong. It turns out that it’s actually parable about how America in general sucks:

Here’s the real “true story” behind “The Conjuring”:

Any time people get worked up about a menace they believe in but can’t actually see--demons, Commies, jihadis, hordes of hoodie-wearing thugs--they’re likely to take it out on the weakest and most vulnerable people in society.

It’s unclear whether O’Hehir is arguing that “commies,” “jihadis” or even “hordes of hoodie-wearing thugs” don’t exist, or whether we’re just awful people for noticing. But liberal props to O’Hehir for dragging the Trayvon Martin case into a review of a haunted house flick set in 1971 Rhode Island.

O’Hehir’s beef is really that The Conjuring refuses to embrace the liberal memes that permeate most of the sewage flowing from the Hollywood cesspool. The family is steadfastly normal--mom, dad, five kids, and lo and behold they all like each other! The ghost hunting couple who aids them is also a happy traditional family--both couples clearly deeply love each other, and it is no compliment to popular culture that this really is so unusual that you notice it when you’re in the theater.

There are no creepy secrets lurking under the surface of this traditional family.They’re nice, normal Americans and to a big city liberal that’s like holy water to a demon.

Even worse, from his perspective, is the fact that the ghost hunters are not just religious, but explicitly Christian and specifically Catholic. What O’Hehir finds most unforgivable is the lack of irony in the movie’s treatment of their religion--there is none. The characters are devoted servants of the Lord who frequently--and without winking--remark that they are serving God’s purpose.

The movie also gently chides the haunted family’s parents for not having gotten around to baptizing the kids. Whoa. Christians treated with respect instead of as caricatures played for laughs? To liberals, that’s got to be really scary. No wonder he does his very best to try to put a stop to this dangerous, subversive trend. Oh, and speaking of “dangerous” and “subversive,” O’Hehir’s article also exercises his edgy, not-limits, comedy chops:

The three stages of demonic entanglement, as written on a classroom chalkboard: INFESTATION, OPPRESSION and POSSESSION. That also describes the mental deterioration that comes from watching Fox News for more than 10 minutes.

It must have blown his Salon readers’ mind to see someone dare to take on Fox News. Keep fighting the power, rebel.


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