Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Flatliners: Contemporary Fiction in a Nutshell

The 1990 film Flatliners has the interesting premise of sins brought to life by near death ruined by smug smarmy-pants loser writers. What are the ultimate sins? Playground bullying and serial womanizing by attractive/popular people that will go on to become successful in life. Chad finally gets his comeuppance!

To throw in one final fedora twirling insult to this steaming pile of angsty resentment, the atheist played by Kevin Bacon is the one that has the brilliantly Christian idea of seeking out those he had sinned against in order to make things right.

Socially stunted atheist gamma males just naturally know how to Christian better than anybody else. This is simultaneously proof of their superior intellects and also a refutation of Christian “superstition”. Genius!

Such people have no concept of the besetting sins women typically face. Therefore, the Julia Roberts character’s awful AWFUL sin is… discovering her war hero father’s secret shame when she was a child– as if women don’t sin, they are merely damaged by their proximity to men.

This isn’t really art or culture or storytelling in any real sense. It’s merely a mechanism for broadcasting the exact same narrative points that academia and journalism pound away at day in and day out. It corresponds to neither reality nor human nature and thus amounts to little more than just another insipid attack on both the imagination and the soul.

3 responses to “Flatliners: Contemporary Fiction in a Nutshell

  1. keithakenny November 12, 2018 at 8:51 am

    You expose pious virtue-signaling very nicely, but I’m sure your insight goes over the heads of—and will be unwelcome by—the self-righteous in Hollywood, academia, and the journalist community.

    Having denounced real atonement and insight, post-Christian writers and directors replace it with posturing and finger pointing, i.e., in blaming others they misdirect themselves as well as the others. Having rediscovering the Christian ethics they mocked, they appropriate them and declare themselves brilliant and sensitive. On the doorstep of actually understanding they fear to step inside.

    I had fun with this theme in my fiction story, “Time Cube.”

  2. Robert James Eaglestone November 12, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    It’s been a long time since I saw Flatliners, but I liked it. I liked the fact that the protagonists are forced to deal with their pasts, and in some cases are responsible for hurting people and must face up to it. And yes, even atone, if only symbolically. Even self-centered science nerds.

    As a teenager, the message I got from it was: your actions have consequences; consequences can’t be undone; and the root sin still must be dealt with in the end. Because why? Because:

    “And just as people are appointed to die once, and then to face judgment, so also, after Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, to those who eagerly await him he will appear a second time, not to bear sin but to bring salvation.” [Heb 9.27]

    Of course, the movie didn’t supply the Hope that passage provides. But that’s the answer to the movie’s question.

    • jeffro November 12, 2018 at 4:26 pm

      Notice also that the women the one guy sleeps with are not complicit in engaging in the sin of fornication. It is the “tricking” of the women into sleeping with him that is the sin there– as if the women were all genuinely attempting to sex their way into a permanent commitment.

      The idea here is that women are above sin and have nothing to repent of even as they embrace a life of outright hedonism and debauchery– as if they have no agency or responsibility at all!

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