Religion

The Church of Doc Manhattan of Latter-Day Superheroes

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I defended Rorschach's Objectivist bona fides here on Reason Online the other week. Today at the American Spectator, Reason magazine contributor Jeremy Lott explains how Watchmen's only truly super hero, Doc Manhattan, makes a fair stand-in for the Mormon conception of God.

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  1. Ah, no wonder The Watchmen hate lesbians!* They are Mormons!

    *Discovered on Hit & Run today.

  2. Giant blue penis?

  3. I didn’t realize that Doc Manhattan communicated to only one person and it was via a stone in a hat.

  4. I didn’t realize that Doc Manhattan communicated to only one person and it was via a stone in a hat.
    ________________________________________
    with special golden tablets that only Smith could read, and that god took back right afterword, so there could be no proff. i think south park had it right on the mormons.
    dumb dumb dumb!

  5. The thing about Mormonism is, if you look at it closely, it’s a pyramid scheme.

  6. Giant blue penis?

    Here’s my question. The MPAA has a cow whenever a movie shows a schlong. So why did they not freak out over all the Dr. Manhattan full frontal? Blue dicks are more acceptable to them?

  7. Giant blue penis?

    Well, blue anyway. 🙂

  8. Bah!

    This character is no god.

    Now the Que on Star Trek, that’s a different story.

  9. I defended Rorschach’s Objectivist bona fides here on Reason Online the other week. Today at the American Spectator, Reason magazine contributor Jeremy Lott explains how Watchmen’s only truly super hero, Doc Manhattan, makes a fair stand-in for the Mormon conception of God.

    Um … what?

  10. with special golden tablets that only Smith could read, and that god took back right afterword, so there could be no proff.

    About as believable as some Jew getting the same treatment as any other rabble-rouser or traitor and somehow being the magical son of God with magic tricks to boot!

  11. Blue penis, funny.
    Blue balls, not so funny.

  12. It’s ok ‘with the MPAA cause it was a stunt penis, like in Boogie Nights.

  13. Oh Come on the Q were not gods. they were hyper intelligent beings. But i guess they could be seen as gods to less civilized cultures…. hmm…… i wonder if our peoples various gods…… hmm……

  14. You can say all religions are just successful cults, but Mormonism really takes the cake. “See, I got a message from God. But only I heard it. Y’all got to listen to me. P.S. I want a whole lot of wives.”

    Still, while it’s easy to bash Mormonism, the fact is most Mormons really are great people.

  15. Mormons are good folk just trying to get through life. They don’t hate anyone. Their beliefs, while unique, are no more nor less irrational and unbelievable than every other religion, moral philosophy, untested scientific postulate or graphic novel.

  16. I was unfamilar with those aspects of Mormon theology. No wonder they get accused by the fundies of being non-christian pagan polytheists.

  17. caveat- if accurately represented by Mr. Lott of course.

  18. “Oh Come on the Q were not gods”

    They were a lot closer to it than this Watchman character.

    They are way more powerfull than he is.

  19. caveat ii – there ain’t nothing wrong with being a non-christian pagan polytheist.

  20. You can say all religions are just successful cults, but Mormonism really takes the cake.

    I’ll raise you a Xenu and DC-8 spaceships.

  21. I’ll raise you a Xenu and DC-8 spaceships.
    ___________________________________________
    Thats got to be a winner

  22. Still, while it’s easy to bash Mormonism, the fact is most Mormons really are great people.

    If you get the chance to hire a Mormon, do so. You won’t be sorry.

  23. Dr. Manhattan is a more realistic God than any that have been invented. “Humanity? What a bunch of self-destructive loons. I’m outta here!”

  24. “The thing about Mormonism is, if you look at it closely, it’s a pyramid scheme.”

    No it’s an incest ring. That’s the reason they put on the perfect 1950’s America family act. It’s a smoke-screen.

  25. They don’t hate anyone.

    Except the gays, of course. And until very recently the blacks.

    The only reason Mormonism is seen as more farcical than any other religion is that its defining revelation was in modern times. Magic trees, talking snakes, burning bushes, and the whole passle of other alleged miracles are much more believable when experienced by stone age goat herders.

  26. I’m not one, I don’t want to befriend one, but I’m comforted by their continued existence in a manner that I cannot explain.

  27. It’s ok ‘with the MPAA cause it was a stunt penis, like in Boogie Nights.

    Did Joseph Smith have a blue penis?

  28. They don’t hate anyone.

    Except the gays, of course. And until very recently the blacks.

    Just like the unions!
    /snark

  29. Much like Joseph Smith, Dr. Manhattan smote North Vietnamese infantry with his massive aquamarine shlong, glowing magnificently in the rays of the dying sun.

  30. Whoops, possible spoilers.

  31. No it’s an incest ring.

    Why can’t it be both?

  32. “Did Joseph Smith have a blue penis?”

    No. Skin colored with big purpley veins. Tasted terrible.

  33. Kolohe-

    And hippies. And free traders. And right to work supporters. And scabs. And, most of all, real work.

  34. I’m actually Joseph Smith’s Daughter, no John Smiths. I can’t believe I posted with the wrong name. Perhaps I’m subconsciously suppressing something. Hmmm…

  35. Mormons are a classic example of pragmatism when applied to religion. Yes, I find their beliefs fundamentally absurd, but the belief structure turns out some really great people. I wouldn’t want them to run the government, but they make great neighbors.

  36. My pulsating blue cock is too big to fail!

  37. If Dr Manhattan is a Mormon god, Rorshach is a Catholic saint. Come to think of it…

  38. Of all the people who post at Hit & Run, who would ya’ll trust most with Dr. Manhattan like powers?

  39. I’d trust Mister Nice Guy.

  40. I thought Ozymandias ruled btw.

    Now, you’ll probably assume this is because of his utilitarianism, and you’d be partly right. But I mostly have always liked the idea of a human with no real powers save for honing his athletic and mental ablities to the height of human capability.

    And he totally kicked Rosarch and Nite-Owl’s ass while seemingly not sweating.

    And he, a mere mortal, ultimately outdid the God-like Dr. Manhattan and his blue penis.

  41. H&R’s new chief liberal admires the guy who lies and kills millions of people in the service of some vaguely defined greater good.

    Anyone surprised? Bueller?

    Myself, I’m not a fan of utilitarianism because it’s used most often to rationalize one’s preexisting moral beliefs (or lack thereof). But I would have had a lot more respect for him if he’d been in NYC instead of Antarctica when the blue bomb went off. If you’re convinced that tens of millions of people have to die to save the planet, then you’d better damn well be one of them.

  42. Thank you crimethink. You win the thread.

  43. Were the Watchmen guards for Howard Hughes, or is that a different Mormon sect?

  44. I fail to see how letting the imminent nuclear war occur was a more moral thing for Ozymandias to do. Many, many more people would have died.

    He saved the entire world, from themselves. As for Rosarch, letting “the truth” be done “though the heavens fall” is nuts. The truth is a pretty small thing when noone is around to hear it…

    But as I said, I like Ozy mainly because of his “powers” and the fact that he had the balls to tangle with Manhattan.

  45. “They don’t hate anyone.”

    “Except the gays, of course. And until very recently the blacks.”

    It amazes me how much the Mormon God changes his mind on important subjects like polygamy & black people.

  46. I’m an agnostic, but if I was going to choose a religion. I would probably go with Mormonism. If you’re a good christian you get to go to heaven when you die. If you’re a good muslim you get to go to heaven & get 72 bitches when you die. If you’re a good Mormon you get to become a God when you die. No wonder it’s the fastest growing religion in the western hemisphere.

  47. If you are ever traveling through southern Illinios. I would recommend going to Carthage Jail where Joe Smith Jr. was assasinated. Nauvoo, Illinios is pretty interesting too.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nauvoo%2C_Illinois

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carthage_Jail

  48. MNG,

    Nuclear war wouldn’t have occurred if Ozy hadn’t manipulated Manhattan into going to Mars.

    And there’s definitely no guarantee that ten years down the road, the memory of Dr Manhattan wouldn’t have faded and the same crisis wouldn’t have happened again. I thought liberals were all about addressing the “root causes” of problems and not forcing temporary top-down band-aid solutions on people. Or has Daily Kos been lying to me all these years? Say it ain’t so, joe MNG!

  49. Yes, the Mormon Church didn’t acknowledge that blacks were human beings until BYU some good basketball players.

    That’s faith in action, folks!

  50. The film stated that Manhattan could not stop all the U.S.S.R.’s missiles. He was moving away from humanity and its concerns. Ozy realized that saving kittens in trees is the real band aid, for all their efforts the Watchmen helplessly watched as all life was threatened by geo-political forces that you could not just “punch in the face” to stop. Ozy chose a grander, complicated way to “save” the world, albeit one that involves some serious moral concerns. But given the benefit of the doubt his actions are hard to condemn (of course, the same can be said of many characters in Watchmen, like most well written projects it has complicated characters that can be viewed in many nuanced ways).

  51. Ozy chose a grander, complicated way to “save” the world, albeit one that involves some serious moral concerns.

    There’s nothing grand about what he did, MNG. Calling the intentional, direct murder of millions of innocent people a “serious moral concern” is an understatement with a capital, bold, italic, underlined, shadowed “U”. And even in this jury-rigged comic book universe the plausibility of his plan actually working in the long term is quite dubious. Rorschach’s POV, which you mock here, is actually far more conducive to the way the real world works.

    The fact Ozy was not willing to give up his own life for this supposed greater good speaks volumes about him, as well. Fuck, Nite Owl and Rorschach were more willing to risk their lives for good than Ozy was.

  52. I will say this much, though: Rorschach was a fool for actually telling murderous thugs like Ozy and Manhattan his plans, rather than just going along with it for a few hours until Manhattan and his membrum were a safe distance away showing Andromedan life forms how good batteries can taste.

  53. In the comic, Rorschach leaves his journal with details of Ozymandias’ intentions with a right-wing conspiracy paper (the only news source he trusts) because he suspected that he was going to die.

  54. Spoiler warning but I think we already well past this.

    The fact Ozy was not willing to give up his own life for this supposed greater good

    To be fair, in the movie at least, he was willing to let Night Owl (or was it Rorschach?) to beat the crap out of him after his plan was fully executed without putting up a fight; the scene was shot to make it look like Ozy deliberately wanted to suffer if not die. Until Manhattan said it’s not worth it. And I think Ozy planned to live alone (with his cat) in his fortress of solitude for the rest of his life no matter how his plan turned out.

    And even in this jury-rigged comic book universe the plausibility of his plan actually working in the long term is quite dubious.

    I find it plausible this was deliberate. That the intent of the author and the filmmaker was to present a pat ending for the audience to go WTF? and realize that such a tradeoff would never be worth it because of the future is always unknowable. A lot of the plot revolves around what it would mean to have perfect knowledge. And when it is lacking. There is in addition a throwaway line in one of coda scenes that goes something like ‘it’s never over’.

  55. I guess in the end this illustrates perfectly the difference between libertarians and liberals. We see morality as a question of actions for or against individuals and they see actions for or against the collective.

    MNG’s comparison of, you know, refraining from killing 20 million people to “saving kittens from trees” tells me all I need to know about liberal morality.

  56. I don’t see how Manhattan was a murderous thug.

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