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Nolan's Pop Culture ReviewFailed Rapture, Arnold's Love-Child, and Other Stuff
POSTED BY NOLAN B. CANOVA, May 23, 2011    Share

One of my favorite aspects about American pop culture is how the silliest things can not only get the most runaway publicity, but capture the attention and imagination of the public as a guilty pleasure. In decades past it might be a UFO or Chupacabra sighting or Jesus's face appearing on a garage door.

The Deluded Faithful
The big deal this last weekend was the May 21st "Rapture", predicted to occur around suppertime Eastern Daylight Savings Time. The promoter was Harold Camping, 89, a former civil engineer, currently a Christian broadcaster of Family Radio out of California. I wrote about him and his End Times predictions in some depth in a previous issue of PCR. He also predicted the End of the World and accompanying return of Jesus Christ would occur six months later on October 21st.

However, The Rapture---where all the faithful vanish off the face of the Earth so they don't have to face Doomsday---did not happen as scheduled. After the appointed time of 6:00pm came and went, Camping said it was a "test of faith" and to wait until midnight. After midnight came and went, so did Camping, who did not answer his front door or his telephone.

I predicted Mr. Camping would rapture himself into the high desert with millions of dollars of his flock's money until the heat was off. Fortunately, I was wrong.

Camping finally came forward Sunday night and said he was "flabbergasted" the Rapture didn't take place....BUT, he's still hanging on to the October return of Jesus Christ! Besides buying time to figure out what to do in case that doesn't happen either, it might give his lawyers a chance to deflect rumored lawsuits.

Many people have contacted me about this case conveying a total lack of sympathy for anyone foolish enough to sell their homes, quit their jobs, and wait on a mountaintop for Jesus, just because a radio preacher told them to (Camping is not an ordained minister). As easy as it would be for me to concur, I actually do have some sympathy for a faithful public who wants so badly for anything in the Bible to pan out as true, that they'll believe anyone with a good enough publicity stunt, because, hey, they must know something we don't, right? In all fairness, I will repeat one statement from my previous article, and that is that I don't personally know anyone, Christian or not, who took any of this seriously. But I know others are out there who did, and to them I say---as it says in the Bible---"beware of false prophets".

Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Love Child"
Former Terminator and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, 63, recently came out with the news that he fathered a child fourteen years ago with a former house employee. This employee, maid Mildred Patricia Baena, 50, a family employee for twenty years, didn't tell Arnold he was the father until the boy was a toddler. Arnold took care of them financially and said nothing to his wife. This also means the maid kept this secret during the daily contact with Arnold's wife, Maria Shriver, 55, during and after the pregnancy, and the whole remaining time of her employment until she retired in January. It also means Arnold knew all this and still ran for governor of California seven years ago, and won. Guy's got nads. Of course, he's also a colossal jerk.

Now, old conspiracy buffs like me know that when a long-kept secret is finally revealed by the main perpetrator, it's very likely because someone else now knows it and is holding it hostage, maybe threatening to go to the press pending extortion threats. The surprise, according to reports, is that Maria herself is behind this. She confronted the maid noting the eerie resemblance her boy had to Arnold. The subsequent confrontation with Arnold could not have gone well. The couple separated almost immediately, and the divorce could cost Arnie upwards of $200 million, dwarfing previous records.

Hollywood insiders are coming out with speculations that more Governator love-children are likely to be surfacing soon.

So...another Republican "family values" guy caught with his pants down. The shock is how long he was able to keep this secret! Lots of money changed hands, sure, but I think nobody wanted to believe it even if they did hear it. The Arnie fame train was a powerful thing.

This affair (pun semi-intended) has put any future political plans of Schwarzenegger's (if there were any) on the dump heap. His Hollywood projects---everything from the planned Governator cartoon, to any Terminator sequels---have been put on hold indefinitely.

Not that he'll have much time for them anyway. He's got a LOT of damage control to attend to.


The Series Finale of Smallville
I've been loosely following this series the whole decade it was on, but only caught an episode here and there the last three years or so. I was looking forward to the series finale May 13th and, for the most part, wasn't disappointed.

There are plenty of onlne reviews to summarize the final season's plot points, so to conserve time and space (and my energy) I won't go into them here. In the finale, Michael Rosenbaum's return as Lex Luthor was particularly welcome, as well as visions of the Kents. The back-and-forth with Jorel at the Fortress of Solitude was handled well. Lois Lane's character is terrific. I somehow missed the memo that she knows Clark is Superman now, but actually his super-character up to now has apparently been "The Blur" and his final transition to Superman wouldn't happen until the end.

Lionel Luthor, Lex's father, died some time back, but was brought back several episodes ago to interface with Darkseid. OK, that's oversimplified, but will have to do for now. Particularly lame was how Lionel Luther/DarkSeid was dispatched at the Kent farm (quick and dirty).

Particularly interesting is how Lex loses his memory of the Clark/Superman dual identity--a neuro-toxin of his own devise administered by his sister during a scuffle. (It's hinted that Lex runs for President of the US in "future" Metropolis.)

The greatest disppointment was not ever seeing Tom Welling (Clark Kent) head-to-toe in the Superman costume during scenes from "future" Metropolis. Either it was super close-ups of his face with some cape showing during flying scenes, or it was distant CGI full-figures that could've been anybody.

However....in the final scene, singular in inspiration, after a distress call comes into the Daily Planet, Clark exits a rooftop door, rips off his glasses and, yes, pulls back his tie and white business shirt to reveal the classic Superman chest emblem (the Brandon Routh "embossed" model, if you're still following this) all to the majestic John Williams score from the movies! That alone was worth the wait and I'm sure brought tears to the eyes of many fanboys; I know it did to me.

The first of this year's "superhero" blockbuster movies and one with the highly-anticipated Avengers tie-in has been very well-received, and deservedly so.

Mike Smith did an excellent review of this film, please read that for story details, but generally I agree with his assessment. This film is awesome.

Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), and Anthony Hopkins (Odin) are great in their roles. The CGI special-effects are incredible. And the faithfulness to the comics is admirable (including a nod to Thor's secret identity from the '60s comics, Donald Blake).

One of our group members was disappointed Hemsworth never donned the classic Thor pointy helmet-with-wings, but I regard that as a very minor issue.

There are references to several Marvel characters including Tony Stark and Bruce Banner (the latter as a "missing scientist who had been doing research on Gamma rays"). Uber-archer Hawkeye even makes a cameo as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

And speaking of S.H.I.E.L.D....the by-now expected extra scene following the end credits, as had been the case with Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk (and expected with the forthcoming Captain America movie), strengthens the tie-in with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) but adds some confusing imagery concerning Loki and the Cosmic Cube(?). I imagine that is a plot device we'll learn more about as these movies continue to deploy.

"Nolan's Pop Culture Review" is ©2011 by Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2011 by Nolan B. Canova.

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