Sunday, July 15, 2012

"Here We Go Again"

I watched Speed Racer again. If you know me irl, then you've probably heard me say this: Speed Racer is one of the greatest movies of all time. Period. If I wanted to, I could probably make this entire blog just about Speed Racer and the theological insights that can be gained by watching it. I guess what I'm trying to say is this: If you haven't seen Speed Racer, then watch it right now. Find it somewhere, somehow, and watch it.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, I want to talk about the Grey Ghost.

The Grey Ghost only has three lines, and he only appears twice, quite briefly, in the entire movie. The first time we see him he is in the lead (not really by skill: More because every other racer is busy fighting with other people). Seeing Speed coming up behind him, he notes with apparent glee, "We've got ourselves a real race here!" Then as he and Speed jockey for position, he screams manically, "Show me what you got! SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT!"

The second, and last, time he appears is in the Grand Prix. Again he is in the lead, with Speed coming up behind it. Seeing him in the rearview mirror, he mutters, "Here we go again." And that's it. Those are his three lines. And then four seconds into his confrontation with Speed, he's out of the race, bouncing along the track in a protective bubble while his flaming, exploding car provides Speed with an exceptionally flashy finish.

He has three lines, and he's so far outclassed by Speed that his bravado and apparent eagerness to face Speed are a little funny, but mostly sad. But those three lines are delivered with such conviction. From the viewer's perspective, he's nothing more than an extremely minor character: But to him, he's a main character. You wonder, watching him deliver his three lines, whether they filmed an entire movie around the Grey Ghost just to give him the illusion of importance. He thinks he's a main character: In his head, there's this epic rivalry between him and Speed. Thinking about it now, he may be legitimately mentally ill. And I laugh so hard at him every time I watch the movie.

And the last time I watched, a thought struck me: I wonder if God and the angels ever laugh at me?

Are we the main characters in the story of human history? Does the camera follow us, only briefly panning away to show the supporting cast? When we pray, is God merely Q from the Bond movies, ensuring that we get everything we need to complete our vitally important missions? Of course not. But how often do we think of it that way? How often do we think of ourselves with a vastly inflated sense of importance? I know that for me, it's entirely too often.

And so I must learn to laugh at myself, as I laugh at the Grey Ghost. All my posturing, all my self-important thoughts, have no effect on the real story at all: Except, perhaps, to make it more amusing. I doubt we will be ultimately destroyed by our false sense of importance: But we will be held back by the false image we carry of ourselves. We will not be as effective, and we will not be as happy, as we would be if we would only accept our small role in God's magnificent story and do it to the best of our ability, assisted by God the entire way.


  1. I mucho like this, man... Now you gotta lend me speed racer! XD

  2. Thought you might be interested in this post: