Sausage Party & Gnostic Techno Religion

Columbia Pictures’ “Sausage Party.”


It seems like there’s no way to shake off religion in popular American film, even at its most impious and irreligious. The narrative sense of a satisfactory end won’t allow for it. Sausage Party could have concluded this way or that –with what one could be sure would have been the grim, brutal work as the human gods return to Shopwell to clean up the total havoc  wrought in the wake of the great food revolt or with the realized post-coital bliss of the poly-perverse food orgy. But that’s not what happens as, instead, the unio mysitico of Gnostic religion supersedes the cruel, anthropomorphic gods of conventional religion.

After coming to true knowledge about the bitter truth that this world is an unjust and unkind veil of suffering run by demonic demi-urges only thought to be divine, the denizens of Shopwell finally reject the pious delusions about the Great Beyond taught by “the great religions.” But the filmmakers push off the picture of existential bleakness or of simple fleshy happiness. The solution to the predicament raised by the film is a deus ex machina.

The last truth our heroes learn is that they are themselves not real, but are instead animated avatars of sophomoric human actors. Led by Firewater, a shamanic Native American mystic, they are brought to the portal of a technological apparatus designed by a wheel chair bound physicist, played as a used and chewed up piece of pink chewing gum which speaks through an artificial speech synthesizer. Casting off the nasty fate of this virtually mortal coil, our heroes will pass through, after all, into what turns out to be the bright and beneficent illumination of the true Great Beyond.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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4 Responses to Sausage Party & Gnostic Techno Religion

  1. dmf says:

    on a rather different matter and time check out jason stanley’s piece in the nytimes stone

  2. Reblogged this on The Home of Schlemiel Theory and commented:
    Zachary Braiterman on the new Seth Rogen film. He takes note of the gnostic tendencies. I wonder…did Rogen ever take a class in religious studies?

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