Misato & Shinji

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Postby Mr. Tines » Wed Nov 24, 2004 4:00 pm

The Eva Monkey wrote:Eva leaves a lot of loose threads. And in that respect, (in my opinion) every single visual indicator shouldn't be interpretted in some grand intellectual scheme. ESPECIALLY when the story was only outlined prior to production. The story was storyboarded and finalized on the fly. If it were entirely planned out in advance, I would lend Anno a lot more credit on this subject. However, sometimes a window is just a window, not some grand metaphor for life and existance.

I wish people would stop treating Eva like some thorough and well thought out masterpiece.


Humans like coherent narrative, and are pathological pattern fitters to even random data (e.g. seeing faces or animals in the shapes of clouds). The whole substance of forums like this is exactly such retrospective pattern fitting. Much of this thread is a contrast between those who stop fitting when the pattern looks aesthetic, and those who want to fit all the possibly pertinent data.
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Postby Carl Horn » Wed Nov 24, 2004 6:29 pm

I was just thinking that Aaron has a good point when he reminds us not to view EVA as a perfectly thought-out work. Gainax doesn't think of its works as being perfectly thought-out--I say that because a lot of creators
think they think things out thoroughly--Gainax knows they don't. I'm reminded of a comment Toshio Okada made at Otakon 1995 about GIANT ROBO, saying that it was the kind of anime Gainax would have made, but GR's creators "do not have our confusion."

Just because something makes good sense doesn't mean it's interesting, and EVA is more interesting for its imperfections than most series are for their perfections. As I like to say, there are dozens of anime shows to pick from that have a clear ending and resolve all their plot points, but tonight we are watching EVANGELION ;-).

What Gainax at their best has is not perfection, but sincerity, a sense that the anime really meant something to them--a desperation to burn it onto the screen. This, together with their, er, work habits (EVA was supposed to start in the spring of 1995, so it's no surprise they didn't finish the films on time either), doesn't make for smooth execution.

With EVA, they apparently figured they could always go back and explain things a little more later--you know, with some re-editing, a little additional footage...so that Gainax is still making money off "new" versions of an anime whose story ended in 1997. I said Gainax was confused--no one ever accussed them of being dumb.

EVA is suffused in sexuality, from fan-service teasing to the real thing. It was designed that way--Gainax are otaku, after all (according to Lea Hernandez, in the late 80s head of their U.S. merchandising division General Products, Gainax judged the success of GUNBUSTER by its doujinshi). But I also agree that to identify Misato as a pedophile is a little strange, if only because she doesn't seem especially oriented towards underaged men.

I do think:

a.) she liked to simply tease Shinji (well, he's easy to tease)

b.) Shinji's friends sincerely envied him for getting to live with such a sexy woman (probably without seriously believing either he or they could ever actually get to do anything with her)

c.) Kaji was open and joking to Shinji about the fact he had known Misato sexually--I think this was the opposite of teasing; that Kaji instead was trying to encourage Shinji to view sex as something he should be comfortable with--not because Kaji was trying to "share" Misato, but because he saw Shinji had the opportunity to have a relationship with Asuka or Rei, and thought it would be good for him if he did

d.) much of the way Misato's sexuality is portrayed is fan service, but--

e.) --then EVA, in its EVA way, springs its trap, by showing you Misato is in fact capable of offering herself to Shinji seriously--a potential, of course, that might have never happened, had not the events of the story turned out as they did.

There are a lot of things to like about Misato. Attractive and sexy, she's certainly fun to be around. At the same time she takes her job as NERV's chief tactical officer very seriously and is good at it. She is also extremely brave and competent as a soldier--the type to look her own death in the face (as she did with the Angel Zeruel) and not leave her post.

Misato is also very messed up. She's presumably an alcoholic. She was the only living witness (that is, who was actually there in person) to the Second Impact--she actually felt and saw the presence of a thing that was the herald of the end of days. All those years between 2000 and 2015, the Angels weren't just something on a secret dossier to her, or something to be studied under control in an underground lab. She saw it spread its wings wide over the Earth when she was a helpless fourteen year-old girl. It is no wonder she was catatonic for so long, and admirable that she decided she had to do something to fight. That also makes it all the more horrible the way NERV lies to her, exploits her drive and courage.

You know, I often think tht it is the "middle generation" of EVA that has the worst of it. They lost far more than a parent each--they saw half the world die when they were Shinji and Asuka's age (and rarely lay this guilt trip on the Children). They know too much (and at the same time too little) about the enemy, and yet in many ways are never really allowed to fight back, waiting on the younger generation. The incestuous overtones in Gendo's approach didn't start with Rei, the pseudo-daughter of Yui; they started with Ritsuko, the actual daughter of Naoko.

He took advantage of her genius in the same way he took advantage of Misato's courage, and his actions leave them both wishing for death by episode 23. Do you think Gendo is even listening to himself when he tells Kiel, "Death cannot give birth to anything"? It sure gave birth to a swell career for Mr. Rokubungi.

No wonder Anno doesn't talk much about EVA any more. Because it's hard to stop ;-)

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Postby Dave » Wed Nov 24, 2004 6:32 pm

The Eva Monkey wrote:Eva leaves a lot of loose threads. And in that respect, (in my opinion) every single visual indicator shouldn't be interpretted in some grand intellectual scheme. ESPECIALLY when the story was only outlined prior to production. The story was storyboarded and finalized on the fly. If it were entirely planned out in advance, I would lend Anno a lot more credit on this subject. However, sometimes a window is just a window, not some grand metaphor for life and existance.


I disagree with you Monkey, I disagree with you a lot. I think you should lend Anno even more credit for the very fact that it WASN'T planned out in advance, and that nearly every scene in Eva still managed to have some sort of meaning. Whether by pure luck or Anno's genius we will never know, but it is foolish and arrogant to find fault with others when they try and dissect and examine everything about this show. The truth is, the show stands up to such dissections AMAZINGLY well. All the visual indicators ARE part of some grand scheme, what type of scheme that is remains open to debate. Why the hell do you think the show is so god damn popular? Do you really think the characters have kept this show popular (among an easily swayed fan base I might add) for 10 freaking years? Sure the characters are great, but other shows have characters just as realistic as Evangelion.
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Postby Reichu » Wed Nov 24, 2004 6:42 pm

Carl Horn wrote:I was just thinking that Aaron has a good point when he reminds us not to view EVA as a perfectly thought-out work.


For something as sloppily put together as NGE, it can make a huge amount of sense at times. By the same token, though, it has plot holes you could drive a truck through. [cough]"This is Adam, the first human."[/cough]

The incestuous overtones in Gendo's approach didn't start with Rei, the pseudo-daughter of Yui; they started with Ritsuko, the actual daughter of Naoko.


...Incestuous? You're confusing me here... Gendo isn't related to any of the ladies in question, so what part of his approach is "incestuous"?

He took advantage of her genius in the same way he took advantage of Misato's courage, and his actions leave them both wishing for death by episode 23.


When was Misato wishing for death? She admits that she is as tragic a person as Ritsuko, but that's not quite the same as saying, "Shoot me if you like. No... you'd be doing me a favor if you did!"

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Postby Carl Horn » Wed Nov 24, 2004 8:50 pm

Reichu wrote:
Carl Horn wrote:I was just thinking that Aaron has a good point when he reminds us not to view EVA as a perfectly thought-out work.


For something as sloppily put together as NGE, it can make a huge amount of sense at times. By the same token, though, it has plot holes you could drive a truck through. [cough]"This is Adam, the first human."[/cough]

The incestuous overtones in Gendo's approach didn't start with Rei, the pseudo-daughter of Yui; they started with Ritsuko, the actual daughter of Naoko.


...Incestuous? You're confusing me here... Gendo isn't related to any of the ladies in question, so what part of his approach is "incestuous"?

He took advantage of her genius in the same way he took advantage of Misato's courage, and his actions leave them both wishing for death by episode 23.


When was Misato wishing for death? She admits that she is as tragic a person as Ritsuko, but that's not quite the same as saying, "Shoot me if you like. No... you'd be doing me a favor if you did!"


EVA has advantages in making "sense" that go beyond the letter of its script. The notion of the Instrumentality and the subjective viewpoint of the characters gives it a kind-of built-in flexibility (or wiggle room ;-)). This isn't just a gimmick, because, in EVA, people tend to drive events as much as events drive people, and EVA's people are often seriously messed up and/or being lied to--they *can't* make sense. Another thing I believe is that the emotional sincerity of the series itself makes for another kind of "sense" for its audience. Even if they can't make all the pieces of the puzzle fit, people are willing to play the game out of respect for the courage of the creators, their own willingness to turn their soul inside out on screen. It's not like everyone did respect Gainax for it--even a lot of otaku said, "Man, you guys really *are* fucked up!"

Finally, it is impossible to separate EVA entirely from its fan community, who will, like we are now, try to *make* EVA make sense ;-). It's not that there isn't an official EVA, a canon EVA, but even if Anno were to talk about those damn dirty otaku (and he has); that only goes so far--it's not like EVA is Superman, the property of some huge multinational company in a skyscraper. EVA was also a smash-hit phenomenon, but it's still owned by the otaku who actually created it. Or to use another field, it's not like EVA is open source, but you sure wouldn't call it Windows, either.

As for Misato seeking death, this to me is the logic of her both loving a doomed man and taking up that man's investigation which led to his death. You're right, she's not the type to get on her knees and beg to be shot--nor is she the type to shoot herself. It seems to me she would prefer to find a death in the line of duty, to die saving someone or something. But she herself doesn't strike me as having much to go on for--not with her crusade against the Angels under collapse, and not with the death of Kaji (who did much to cause it to collapse). Maybe if the hour hadn't been so desperate, Misato could have worked her way through and found another way to live--but it's not like she or anyone else is granted a peaceful respite.

I talk about incestuous overtones rather than literal incest. In real life, if someone has an affair with a woman, and then, after her violent death (itself linked to Naoko's perception that the image of Rei--or "the thing" as Ritsuko later calls her--was taking the space in Gendo's heart* that she deserved) eventually starts sleeping with that same woman's daughter--well, even in the blue states, people would tend to raise an eyebrow. There just seems something scandalous about a guy who sleeps with both a mother and her daughter, even if it wasn't at the same time (although, according to this doujinshi here...)

--C.

*I don't literally mean that Gendo has a heart; the term is just used for convenience ;-)

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Postby The Eva Monkey » Wed Nov 24, 2004 10:29 pm

Shin-seiki wrote:I find the idea that Anno was still "making it up as he went along" by that point in the series' production to be more than just a little hard to credit.

Hey, I'm not making this up. This is coming from Takeshi Honda, someone who actually worked on this show. Its not something scrawled on a pizza box I found in a dumpster. This is coming straight from Gainax. I don't understand how you can argue crediblity on something like this. I'll break out my video recording of the panel I attended with Honda and type up what was said. Granted its through a translator, but I would say its fairly accurate.

Carl Horn wrote:I was just thinking that Aaron has a good point when he reminds us not to view EVA as a perfectly thought-out work. Gainax doesn't think of its works as being perfectly thought-out--I say that because a lot of creators
think they think things out thoroughly--Gainax knows they don't.

Carl Horn, you're my hero. :o

Ok, now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying Anno is a hack, and that he pulled Eva out of his ass. But I think people give him an inordinate degree of credit. He had one hell of a vision, but its gotten to the point where its becoming like an urban legend. Eva is mind candy, and somewhere deep down there is stuff that makes comlete sense, and stuff that makes no sense. The problem (in my opinion) is that people completely discount that it isn't entirely coherent. People try to "make" Eva make sense. And that's not right. You shouldn't find a way to iron out someone else's creative work.

I certainly don't think Anno is a hack, I deeply admire the man. Nor do I think that he pulled Eva out of ass from time to time. But the fact is that Eva changed through the show. Its very evident now that the manga is exploring aspects of Eva's planning that didn't get realized. But I think people need to take Eva with a grain of salt. That's why I include in the written statements section some essays that just bad mouth Anno and Eva, not to mention the fans. Why? Because I want you to take a step back and ask yourself "Am I taking this a bit far?". Eventually, you'll make this realization, I've had a good 5 years of constant "Eva Eva Eva!!!" rattling around in my head, and I used to think Eva COULD be explained. I was wrong. I'm nowhere near as harsh towards Anno as some people are. I don't think he's a hack, I just think people are making an urban myth of him.
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Postby thewayneiac » Wed Nov 24, 2004 11:12 pm

The Eva Monkey wrote:Yeah, if the mention it, it has to happen later. Typically thats how it works in cinema. However, its Eva, and Eva has quite a few plot holes and unanswered question.


Your theory about foreshadowing not applying in Eva is badly overbroad; it could be used to shoot down anything that is telegraphed ahead. You seem almost to be saying that nothing that happens in Eva has any bearing on anything that happens later. For example, here's a place where you used it on me:

From the Toji on the Train thread:

thewayneiac wrote: What seems to be happening here is a genuine flash-forward to Instrumentallity. Perhaps the idea is that Instrumentallity is a timeless state of existance, and that once you've synched with an EVA, it's possible, under extreme circumstances, to experience it without warning.


is it likely that something that is, "just an hallucination", would look exactly like the moments leading up to instrumentallity? Those scenes look alike for a reason: Touji is seeing something that hasn't happened yet.


The Eva Monkey wrote:Eva, unlike previous Gainax shows, was not written out in advance. The ending changed dramatically from what it was originally sketched out to be. You're assuming that the entirety of the show was thought out in detail prior to its production. This is not the case. It changed more and more as the production drew nearer to the end. The train scene in this episode would in effect be referring to an end which had not been fully conceptualized.

As an afterthought to the series, they included another train scene in another context, though only somewhat different. This is a way of establishing continuity and similarity, as well as familiarity.


This argument would hold a little more water if it the scene had been a lot earlier in the show, but even then I probably wouldn't buy it. Isn't the actual reason the show diverged more and more from the original outline in the later episodes because they were starting to get a feel for where they were going, and it wasn't where they had originally intended when they wrote the outline? By ep. 19 nearly all the elements they needed for the climax were in place, Adam, the Lance, Asuka's ever-increasing anger with Shinji since he failed to respond to her in ep. 15, ect. And even if they didn't know exactly what the context of Toji's vision would be, doesn't the final context determine the original context?

But as I said, I can't really buy the notion that foreshadowing doesn't apply to Eva, even in the earliest episodes. For example: when Toji implies in ep. 3 that he has no mother, and Kensuke states flat-out in ep. 4 that he has none, this is plainly setting us up for the revelation in ep. 19 that all of Shinji's classmates are pilot candidates, and the implication that their mother's souls are all in storage somewhere. Would you really go so far as to say that when they wrote eps. 3 & 4 they were making it up as they went along, so it doesn't mean any such thing? Just because they were making it up as they went along doesn't mean that they weren't carefully following from what happened previously. I'm sure that in the places where the pieces do fit together perfectly, it was on purpose.

So getting back to the subject at hand, just what do you think they are getting at in ep. 25 when the replay the seduction scene from 23 while telling Misato how disgusting she is?

Dave wrote:I disagree with you Monkey, I disagree with you a lot. I think you should lend Anno even more credit for the very fact that it WASN'T planned out in advance, and that nearly every scene in Eva still managed to have some sort of meaning. Whether by pure luck or Anno's genius we will never know, but it is foolish and arrogant to find fault with others when they try and dissect and examine everything about this show. The truth is, the show stands up to such dissections AMAZINGLY well. All the visual indicators ARE part of some grand scheme, what type of scheme that is remains open to debate. Why the hell do you think the show is so god damn popular? Do you really think the characters have kept this show popular (among an easily swayed fan base I might add) for 10 freaking years? Sure the characters are great, but other shows have characters just as realistic as Evangelion.


I couldn't have put this better myself. I once had a teacher who used to say that he would believe in evolution when I could shake up a box of tacks and have it fall together into a watch. By coming up with something with this much depth with little or no planning, Anno seems to have done just that.

The Eva Monkey wrote:For example, episode 24 was supposed to be about Shinji confronting Yui's presence in the Eva, not his relationship with Kaworu Nagisa.


And if they had done that episode, they would have found a way to make it fit perfectly with the rest of the series.
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Postby Shin-seiki » Wed Nov 24, 2004 11:46 pm

The Eva Monkey wrote:
Shin-seiki wrote:I find the idea that Anno was still "making it up as he went along" by that point in the series' production to be more than just a little hard to credit.

Hey, I'm not making this up. This is coming from Takeshi Honda, someone who actually worked on this show. Its not something scrawled on a pizza box I found in a dumpster. This is coming straight from Gainax. I don't understand how you can argue crediblity on something like this. I'll break out my video recording of the panel I attended with Honda and type up what was said. Granted its through a translator, but I would say its fairly accurate.
Don't get me wrong; I wasn't questioning the credibility of your reporting of this guy's statement. I just found it hard to reconcile what he said with the necessity of resolving the plot elements I referred to above, i.e. that Kaworu, if he was going to show up, needed to do so by #24 (unless his point was that it was the Shinji/Kaworu friendship that was the story element added at the last minute...) But even that raises a lot of questions. Shinji needed to have some sort of tragedy befall him at this point in the story, so that he would be a complete psychological wreck in time for the story's climax (a mentally healthy Shinji = no 3I)

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Postby Reichu » Thu Nov 25, 2004 4:32 am

Aaron, why do you continuously pound us over the heads with this idea that any of the "superfluous elements" of NGE aren't worth discussing? I can only speak for myself, but you seem to, with rather ruthless generalizations that skirt dangerously upon sheer arrogance, assume that we are all a bunch of dense idiots who are incapable of recognizing NGE as a flawed work. You assume that because it is flawed, because not everything fits together, because there are plot holes and contrivances, that it is not worth trying to figure out -- that to look more closely is to try to force it to make sense.

I understand your viewpoint, but I think you have cultivated it to the point of being rather overblown. Despite everything, the series somehow manages have, overall, an underlying logic, and enough of the pieces fit that we are encouraged and pulled into Anno's otaku trap. Being a flawed product, going deep in NGE entails running head-first into a lot of obnoxious imperfections, but at the same time there are enough threads to connect and "Eureka!" moments to behold that it's strangely worth it.

Yeah, the characters are great, but it's really not fair to dismiss everything else as "unimportant". You could do this with pretty much any story -- strip it down to its bare elements and declare the rest unnecessary, irrellevant. Yeah, it's the bare bones that make or break a story, but the without all of the additional, "unimportant" elements, it's just a skeleton, not a fully-fleshed creature, not a realized universe that we want to immerse ourselves within. I'm going to enjoy the WHOLE series, not just single out one specific element to place on a pedestal at the expense of all else.

Knowing you, I'm probably falling on very deaf ears... but I can be awfully stubborn at times.

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Postby DatDude » Thu Nov 25, 2004 10:31 am

Let me attempt to get things back on track here. If some of you want to talk about the way eva was writen please make another thrtead like I did when this topic came up else ware.

Back to the matter at hand.

So far i've seen no one provide a convining argument that Misato's
" affection " for shini was anything other then misguided concern. By that I do mean that she did come on to him, but only to try to tell him she cared.

Yes She did intent to use Shinji for her own revenge, but over time she did grow to care for him. If Misato didn't care about Shinji she would not have tryed to get him to make friends or cryed the way she did when she though he died in unit-1.

Look at the last scen for a minute she was not crying because she lost her means of revenge (she still had Asuka), but Misato cried because she though she lost " her Shinji".

Every time Misato shows real sexual attraction for Shinji ( not just poking fun) she's trying to take his pain away, the only way she knows how.

In the end she knew it was wrong EoE proved that much to me. I'd like to think that if she came back from instrumemtality she'd learn from she mistakes and not repeat them. Even if EoE left me feeling dead positive that she was not coming back.

As i've said before, it is really sad that a 29 year old woman couldn't say the words " I love you".
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Postby Shin-seiki » Thu Nov 25, 2004 10:46 am

I agree with that for the most part, Datdude, especially insofar i think it is a mis-characterization to label Misato's relationship with Shinji as "pedophilia". On the other hand, I should point out that wherever Misato is at the end of EoE, it isn't "Instrumentality", because that is over and done with once Rei and Yui, persuant to Shinji's wish, pulled the plug permanently on that state of existence, and restore people's AT Fields. I myself suppose that she will come back to physical reality sometime, eventually, just like everyone else (but what we see in 'I Need You' seems to indicate that coming back is not easy, and takes a lot of time...)

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Postby Carl Horn » Thu Nov 25, 2004 11:15 am

I couldn't have put this better myself. I once had a teacher who used to say that he would believe in evolution when I could shake up a box of tacks and have it fall together into a watch.


I hope this guy wasn't a science teacher--neither tacks nor watches have DNA, nor are capable of reproduction. I also hope this guy didn't base his modern life around anything owed to science--like the electric power system, a clean water supply, pasteurized foods, computers, automobile engines...I love these anti-"Godless science" stickers you see on some cars and SUVs; they'll take everything else science gives them. The Amish are a lot more honest with themselves.

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Postby Reichu » Thu Nov 25, 2004 12:12 pm

Shin-seiki wrote:I agree with that for the most part, Datdude, especially insofar i think it is a mis-characterization to label Misato's relationship with Shinji as "pedophilia".


Not to mention it is to apply Western sensibilities to characters who are not governed by such. Remember, 14 is the age of consent in Japan (last I heard, anyway).

but what we see in 'I Need You' seems to indicate that coming back is not easy, and takes a lot of time...)


As I am fond of pointing out, we are only shown a rather select portion of a much larger planet.

Carl Horn wrote:I love these anti-"Godless science" stickers you see on some cars and SUVs; they'll take everything else science gives them.


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Postby thewayneiac » Thu Nov 25, 2004 12:20 pm

DatDude wrote:So far i've seen no one provide a convining argument that Misato's
" affection " for shini was anything other then misguided concern. By that I do mean that she did come on to him, but only to try to tell him she cared.
......
Every time Misato shows real sexual attraction for Shinji ( not just poking fun) she's trying to take his pain away, the only way she knows how.


I can't really agree with this. Misato's dialogue at the end of this scene shows that the seduction attempt was actually all about her, not Shinji.

I see; anyone will do. I'm the one who's lonely.


She came on to Shinji to fill her void left by Kaji, not his left by Rei.

Carl Horn wrote:I hope this guy wasn't a science teacher


No, he tought foreign languages and World Lit.
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Postby DatDude » Thu Nov 25, 2004 12:36 pm

thewayneiac wrote:
DatDude wrote:So far i've seen no one provide a convining argument that Misato's
" affection " for shini was anything other then misguided concern. By that I do mean that she did come on to him, but only to try to tell him she cared.
......
Every time Misato shows real sexual attraction for Shinji ( not just poking fun) she's trying to take his pain away, the only way she knows how.


I can't really agree with this. Misato's dialogue at the end of this scene shows that the seduction attempt was actually all about her, not Shinji.



Yes but to view it in that light suggests that Misato didn't care for Shinji very much if at all. That is somthing I can't agree with.
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Postby the-artist-known-as-chris » Thu Nov 25, 2004 2:19 pm

Reichu wrote:
Shin-seiki wrote:I agree with that for the most part, Datdude, especially insofar i think it is a mis-characterization to label Misato's relationship with Shinji as "pedophilia".


Not to mention it is to apply Western sensibilities to characters who are not governed by such. Remember, 14 is the age of consent in Japan (last I heard, anyway).



Indeed, I forgot to bring that up. Very good point.

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Postby Dark FireStar » Mon Nov 29, 2004 2:47 pm

I wish it was that way for the U.S.
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Postby bp32 » Mon Nov 29, 2004 5:11 pm

Carl Horn wrote:I hope this guy wasn't a science teacher--neither tacks nor watches have DNA, nor are capable of reproduction. I also hope this guy didn't base his modern life around anything owed to science--like the electric power system, a clean water supply, pasteurized foods, computers, automobile engines...I love these anti-"Godless science" stickers you see on some cars and SUVs; they'll take everything else science gives them. The Amish are a lot more honest with themselves.


Took the words right out of my mouth--couldn't have said it better...
"Men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, for everyone can see and few can feel. Every one sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are."-Niccolo Machiavelli

"In religion and politics, people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination."-Mark Twain

the-artist-known-as-chris
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Postby the-artist-known-as-chris » Tue Nov 30, 2004 9:41 am

Dark FireStar wrote:I wish it was that way for the U.S.


I think we all wish that. :lol: What guy at Shinji's age wouldnt want to live let alone be with a babe like Misato?

Carl Horn
Israfel
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Postby Carl Horn » Tue Nov 30, 2004 10:20 am

the-artist-known-as-chris wrote:
Dark FireStar wrote:I wish it was that way for the U.S.


I think we all wish that. :lol: What guy at Shinji's age wouldnt want to live let alone be with a babe like Misato?


The only guy I can think of who actually wouldn't is Shinji ;-)


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