Perhaps the clearest conservative themes in “The X-Files” emerged in connection with religion. Scully’s Catholicism was the focus of several episodes, and she was depicted as a woman of sincere faith, if not a consistent churchgoer. Two episodes show Scully in the confessional, once after saving a boy who is a stigmatic from a man who was in league with the devil, and again after helping to thwart the devil from taking the souls of four teenage girls, whom Scully comes to believe had been sired by an angel. It’s doubtful a leftist show would ever feature the devil as a real character. It’s even less likely it would depict him occupying the professions he did when he appeared on “The X-Files”: a high school biology teacher (“Die Hand Die Verletzt”), a social worker (“All Souls”), and a liberal Protestant minister who advocates tolerance and opposes fundamentalism (“Signs & Wonders”).
“Signs & Wonders” might be the most reactionary episode in the entire series. Mulder and Scully go to rural Tennessee to investigate a murder, and they immediately begin to suspect Enoch O’Connor, a snake-handling fundamentalist preacher who expelled his daughter and her boyfriend from his congregation when she became pregnant. (Interestingly, in addition to sharing the same last name as the great Southern writer Flannery O’Connor, Enoch has the same first name as a character in O’Connor’s novel Wise Blood and wears old-fashioned glasses reminiscent of the type worn by the writer). When Scully complains to Mulder about O’Connor’s “intolerance,” he replies, “Sometimes a little intolerance can be a welcome thing. Clear cut right and wrong, hard and fast rules, no shades of gray.”
Monday, July 21, 2008
Great anticipatory review of the new X-Files movie over at Taki's Top Drawer, examining the non-ideological, conservative-ish politics of the show, including some Southern Gothic Catholic themes.