After Twilight: Fear of Rick Perry's Christian Texas

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We first met Gary Watson of Roadster Productions when we were wandering the booths at Comicpalooza. What drew us over to his table when we had a world of comics, horror films and quidditch to choose from was the poster adorning his booth.

On it was the image of a clenched fist defiantly thrust upward. Tattooed along the inside of the wrist was a bar code, and below that the quote, "How do you fight a state that has God on its side?" In the background the Texas flag fluttered, but the Lone Star had been replaced with a crucifix. Needless to say, it got our attention.

Watson was promoting his short film After Twilight, the tale of a young librarian who joins the resistance movement against an evangelical Christian theocracy formed by a secessionist Texas. The film was finished in 2004, featuring production work from the always excellent Sophia Vassilakidis. Watson's day job involves cranking out film work for nonprofit organizations so the production values are much higher than your average indie film, and it certainly shows.

The world of After Twilight is a bitterly oppressed black and white image of our own beloved Houston. The secular laws we currently live under have been replaced with a nightmarish array of literal translations of rules from scripture, and dissenters are hauled away to re-education camps to be purified... if they survive, of course.

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Underneath it all there is the struggle by the underground resistance. Their work is primarily the preservation of knowledge and art suppressed under the regime, particularly things like science books and literature like Harry Potter. What bothers Watson is how eerily the world he's envisioned is starting to mirror the world that we inhabit.

"We have a governor who has filled the board of education with as many creationists as he can, who hold giant prayer rallies," said Watson. "None of that was happening when I wrote out the film or when we shot it, but more and more it's like Rick Perry is using our work like some kind of guide."

Obviously we're quite a distance yet away from stoning adulterous women in the street... at least we hope so. However, Watson isn't worried so much about his specific personal apocalypse happening as he is about the gray area that happens before. The title of the film actually comes from a quote by Justice William O. Douglas. It reads...

"As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air -- however slight -- lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness."


For Watson, the fear that we may be entering the twilight is small, but there. However, he is quick to point out that After Twilight is not meant to be an anti-religious or an anti-Christian film. It is simply an expression of the logical extrapolation of extremism.

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6 comments
PaulMack
PaulMack

If I truly believe in freedom, and I believe that the US is not a tyrannical empire, then I will not give a tinkers damn about what Libya is or isn't doing. 

The right wing/fundamentalist trick is to make adherents believe that if you don't do anything about all of these "other" people then the adherents themselves will face the same punishment. They therefore focus on the behaviors of "others" and become tyrannical in the process.

I care more about what is happening to and in my own country. Our country is in serious trouble when a person that blatantly advocates secession is running for President and it isn't even an issue for the media or the Republican party. 

With the parade of buffoons that the GOP presents as their candidates for the presidency we should be concerned for our country and its continued survival as a secular state. Our liberties are in jeopardy of being bulldozed into the dust bin of history by the 'religious right'.

arhooley
arhooley

Why do something so unrealistically dumb when real life has real nightmares? Libya is right now imposing Sharia law. They just lifted the ban on polygamy and outlawed interest-earning banks for starters.

Mandy Clark
Mandy Clark

Your use of the phrase "unrealistically dumb" gives your stance away, arhooley.

You're basically revealing that you feel Christian extremism in the US isn't "real". You, and I'm sure many believers who will come across this article, will see this story as pure fiction and hyperbole.

I am sorry that you feel that way, but a great many other people, both believers and non-believers, would not agree. I have to assume that you are a Christian, and want to argue that there are "greater evils" (or that the problem this author has chosen to focus on is entirely fabricated). Unfortunately, not everyone feels exactly the same way.

While even a secular person could argue that there may be more pressing, urgent, and unsettling matters in places like Libya -- it doesn't make having the same concerns as this author any less valid. I can see that it isn't valid to you, but it's valid to me.

arhooley
arhooley

Ridiculous. To "fear" "Rick Perry's Christian Texas" is to be ignorant, stupid, and fantastical. We live in America, where Christian extremists have free speech like everyone else, and virtually no power to -- to what, exactly? What is it that you fear they'll do? All that verbiage in your post and nothing concrete. I gave you two actions in Islamist Libya: polygamy, and outlawing the paying and earning of interest. You got an actual fact or threat from Rick Perry? One?

No, I'm not Christian; I'm a realist, unlike you.

Drozy
Drozy

Have you not been following The Texas School Board's batshit crazy education agenda?

Gp1350W
Gp1350W

The book addresses issues such as book censorship, suppression of free speech, suppression of association, suppression of alternative views of religion and science. As well as the notion that Texas might secede from the union.

You can visit the video blog on the After Twilight websight - to see clips of the Govenor and his followers in public appearances - advocating directly or indirectly for just these sorts of extreme positions.The story is set in an 'alternative future' - that mirrors our present day realities in a number of ways. INCLUDING what is happening in Libya. It's not a stance against CHRISTIANITY - it's a stance against THEOCRACY - of any kind. It simply chooses Christianity in Texas to illustrate how TWILIGHT precedes the fall of darkness. No matter the state, no matter the oppressor. It comes in small stages.

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