Thursday, May 5, 2016

Pope Videos Fake [UPDATED]

Sandwich Mom -- Fake.
[UPDATE: Pope Video Editorial Board surprises, or perhaps, not.]

All of us have been moved by the soulful eyes of our brothers and sisters looking into the camera as they suffer from various injustices of the modern world. Who can forget Scrubbing Woman, Sandwich Mom and Triangle Lady in the latest video. Or... okay, maybe we can forget the Pope Videos. They do blur into a sameness of people of every age and ethnicity looking into the camera in either sadness or hope, while the same synthesized score plays in the background.

All the Characters are Fake, Except Pope Francis

However, with the assistance of reader "laurel," whose search fu is strong, putting the Bear on the scent, the Bear is prepared to disclose that Sad-Eyed Oppressed Stay-at-Home Sandwich Mom With a Quaalude Habit is not real. Neither is Scrubbing Woman, Soul Patch Donkey Farmer, or Turban Man.

If you look at the credits on the Pope Video website, you will find "Pope Francis shooting and file footage," is done by Centro Televisivo Vaticano. In other words, the Pope is the only real person who is actually shot on camera for these productions. All our favorite characters are just actors and actresses.

That's right. Your emotions have been cleverly manipulated by cheesy stock footage purchased from some service. Worse, Sandwich Mom probably doesn't belong to SAG and got paid next to nothing, which is pretty darned ironic in the Bear's book.

Were Actors Compensated Fairly?

We have a right to know whether Scrubbing Woman is being exploited by the Jesuits who are behind these videos. The Bear wants to know: how well were these actors compensated? Did Sandwich Mom, who says "I do my job as well as a man," make as much as Soul Patch Donkey Farmer?

When Is a Prayer Intention Not a Prayer Intention?

This may seem like an obvious and trivial point. However, it is emblematic of the PR pontificate of Francis. When you think about it, juicing up monthly prayer intentions with cleverly produced agitprop turns "intentions" into something other than subjects for prayer. Your emotions are deliberately manipulated to promote an ideological agenda. Pope Francis can't say "all religions are the same," but the video sure can. (That video was possibly actually shot, since the Bear doubts any stock footage supplier would have anything that stupid on hand.)

What does it mean when a prayer intention is actually a political view disguised as an "intention?" When you pray your rosary, are you required to agree about global warming, or the role of women in society? Is it unlikely that the video is going to kick in and complicate your prayers? Just posting them in short text form is infinitely better. If -- that is -- they are intended as real prayer intentions such as we have always had as Catholics.

Pope Video One

No, this is not a scandal. However, it is a lens through which you can see a hollow pontificate in one, long montage. The Pope Videos are fakes, in more ways than one. The only real person in the Pope Videos is the Pope. Or is he, too, playing a part in his personal telenovela?

By the way, here's the editorial board, which should not surprise anyone.

Father Frédéric Fornos, SJ. Director General of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network
Juan Della Torre, CEO of La Machi - Communication for Good Causes
Cristina Miguens, Director of Sophia Magazine (Argentine magazine: spirituality, gender, etc.)
Father Guillermo Marco, former spokesman for Cardenal Bergoglio in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires. Co-Chairman of the Institute for Interreligious Dialogue
Rabbi Daniel Goldman, Co-President of the Institute for Interreligious Dialogue
Omar Abboud, Islamic leader and Co-Chairman of the Institute for Interreligious Dialogue
Marcelo Figueroa, journalist and evangelic leader

And you wonder why the Bear is such a tireless sentinel.


  1. Great points. Disguising political propaganda as a prayer intention is to mock God. That is not a wise thing to do, I think.

    One minor point. The people those hands are attached to are real enough. One of them was a baptized and confirmed Catholic who is now an apostate.

  2. Well, you could contact the marketing firms behind it and say that you'd like to contact sandwich mom for different project (A Bear video!) Mention something vague about wanting to protect the Woodland creatures and need a woman that can project that motherly concern. (the possibilities are endless).

    If she's an actress, she isn't going to turn down video work.

    It'd be hilarious to see the pope people in footage (maybe actually *praying* before the Tabernacle beating their chests) while you read a prayer for Mary to save the Church.

    Maybe we could set up a GoFundMe to raise the production money.

    1. The Bear likes the way you think. If we knew who was supplying the stock footage, we could do even better. Buy the rights for the very same footage, knock out a synthesized score with Garage Band, and produce knock-offs, only with sound Catholic messages voiced over by the Bear. Neither Getty nor Shutterstock seem to be the source, however. The Bear is at a dead end as to the that.

    2. >The Bear likes the way you think.
      Friends have said I should have been a lawyer.
      And my Animal Mask is "Flea" so I don't work for salmon, I work for blood. I'm definitely an irritant, and some people consider me a plague. [That's not my fault; some fleas just travel in bad company. If humans would stay away from rats on the internet, they wouldn't get infected with bad ideas.]
      Does that make me a bad catholic?

      On the upside, Fleas have a long history in the circus!

      I think "Pope Francis Shooting and & file footage" is referring to CTV's contribution for Francis video.
      I found the source for some of the stock footage, and probably the company sourcing music. (I'm a little hesitant to post the source on the internet)

      Tractor video from "Small Farmers" at 0:56. ($575)

      From “Care for Creation”
      Trees 0:01
      Beach trash 0:27
      Beijing air pollution 0:44
      Smiling turban man 0:53

      From "Respect for Women"
      Radiologist woman @ 0:05 (variable by use -- $980)
      Mother/child @ 0:09 (variable by use -- $980)

      There's a LOT of video. If you don't hit the right tags, you've got a lot of searching to do. I haven't hit the tags for Asian flowchart woman.

      I don't think "sad Quaalude women become happy" is stock. It's too custom. I think they're mixing. The video quality is actually different.

      So, if you want to make, dare I say “anti-PopeVideos”, I can hook you up. But you’re gonna have to raise some salmon from the blogosphere. You might need some blogger “city” cousins, ‘cause I don’t think you’re raising the cash from the “woodland” cousins.

      Maybe you could collaborate with They’ve got the cameras for extra video, and video processing software. They might be likely to go for something like that.

    3. Oh, I found "Men plowing with mule" and "Asuma rice farmer" (they probably liked that because of (H/T a friend)

      The more I think about it, the more I think the custom video is all being done local in Argentina by la machi. Local actors all look likely to be available in Argentina.

      I've got to go get some work done!

    4. I've got a better idea than going back and re-doing the early intention videos. Instead you jump forward and release AHEAD of la machi. If it were done with real earnest Catholic sentiment and you could appeal to a wide audience--such as CMTV, or NCR(egister), any lame release by la machi suffers by comparison. By not going back, you avoid accusations of mockery. In an optimistic world, you might be able to influence a change in the la machi videos even if out of embarrassment.

      Lot of work to make that happen.

  3. Patron Saint of the performing arts...

    There's a great story about St. Genesius, the patron saint of actors, that tells of how he had an epiphany while performing in a play satirizing Christian sacrament and converted to Christianity on the spot, right in the middle of the play. Emperor Diocletian, for whom the play was being performed, was enraged and, when Genesius refused to change his mind, had the performer tortured and beheaded. Sadly, this story is just that—a story—that originated three centuries after Genesius' death. Genesius was actually a legal clerk who became so upset about the edict of persecution for Christians that he left his position and went in search of baptism. He was beheaded, around 303 CE, but there's no evidence to suggest the conversion-during-a-play story is accurate. Nevertheless, St. Genesius remains the go-to patron for actors.

  4. I thought you were on vacation. And you weren't going to let the Pope bait you anymore.

    I guess that's what they meant when I was told bears are unpredictable. :)

    1. No, this is not Bear baiting. This is a Bear attack, which is the one where it's the Bear that has the fun.

      Yes, the Bear said he was going on vacation. He needs a vacation. But who will watch over the woodlands? Perhaps the Bear needs a sidekick to assist with the hectic pace of this ephemeris. But talking animals are so hard to find, especially Catholic ones who can write well.

    2. St. Florentius had a Catholic bear, but he was sadly killed by a group of envious monks ( Just think of the great works of literature that bear might have produced!

  5. Pope Francis and his traveling dog and pony show are the stuff of my nightmares. Like Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, he is the cheesiest. Laced with arsenic. I need Zofran quick.

    1. The Bear is going to have to come out and explain just what he believes about Jorge Bergoglio.

  6. @Sandpiper...loved your comments. Funny with a cutting edge.

    1. Thank you bvs. What creature are you? Beautiful Vole with Sunglasses?

      The woodland is fascinating. Just look how Flea is energised to expose the profoundly ersatz Catholicism Francis pedals.

      I'm just a little shorebird flitting about. Must be an ocean at the forest's edge.

    2. It's not exactly true that I'm "energized". It was an interesting intellectual puzzle to find the stock footage, the Bear was at a deadend, and I could show him how much it would cost.

      Like the Bear (and Pete below), I don't find stock footage a scandal, nor even the use of actors. It's the tone and message of the petitions that are deficient.

      I reiterate, I don't think mocking (by parody or satire) is the right approach. Rather a production that shows how it should be done--without offending the sensibilities of the average Catholic--packs a far greater punch.

      Being angry at the hierarchy (or Francis) for the problems in the Church is the wrong approach. I understand the reaction; I went through my angry Catholic phase. But after looking back in Church history for similar situations and how saints handled it, we are called as laity--who have no authority to enact direct change--to submit to the will of God and live the passion of the Church in this age. Our role is to repent, sanctify ourselves, do penance and reparation to obtain the Grace of God for the Church, and let God work the changes. Notwithstanding the complex interrelationship of the laity, priesthood, and episcopacy, I've come to the conclusion that the problems in the hierarchy are the effects and a Divine punishment on the laity for their sins.

      That's not fun, entertaining, or pleasurable, but rather the hard path of the Via Dolorosa. Things aren't going to change until the laity understand and embrace this.

    3. Obviously, the Bear does think satire has its place. Or at least it is an excellent weapon for the weak against the strong. And as the Bear has realized, something like Amoris Laetitia defies close analysis. It's just a tar baby. Horses for courses.

      A video, on the other hand, is different. First, the Bear may write some wicked satire, but he doesn't make satirical films, so he probably would get the tone wrong. Second, the Bear agrees that it would be quite wrong for this project.

      This is just an idea. If there is sufficient assistance offered, the Bear will green light it. Then the creative team will brainstorm, and decide on tone and message. Effective videos have been as simple as a montage of people holding up handwritten signs.

      But, unlike everything else that goes on here (except the comments) at SCB, this is not a project the Bear can do by himself. If people do get "energized," and want to contribute their time and talent, then great. If not, well, it was a decent enough idea, the Bear supposes, but just isn't going to happen. The Bear is fine with either eventualities.

    4. utubeo:
      "I've come to the conclusion that the problems in the hierarchy are the effects and a Divine punishment on the laity for their sins."

      You gotta be kidding. You are precisely incorrect. It is the Popes and the Bishops who are to blame for most of our woes. First off the Popes and the Bishops effectively encourage sin by never mentioning it. They hardly ever mention confession. They hardly mention the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Many of them have lead scandalous sexually perverse lives. Now, with AL Pope Francis seems to be inviting folks to sin.

      On the use of satire by the Bear I am all for it. Mockery is a useful weapon especially since the reality of the Catholic Church itself is a mockery of Christ. As far as offending folks with satire this is exactly what should happen. Maybe it will force them to look at the Church and themselves without rose colored glasses.

  7. Move over Hillary here comes Pope Francis debasing himself for liberal cred by inflaming resentment with old and new victim groups. Doesn't this make you want to weep? Yes, for the Catholic Church.

  8. I bring home the bacon and I make BLT's.
    Do I get free quaaludes if I appear in a 'pope' vid?

    Seattle kim

  9. Great observations. I wouldn't be surprised, knowing the contradictions running through much of what's going on, if there was a disconnect in the compensation these actors received. Then again, perhaps they consider it compensation enough to be part of the show.

  10. The pit traders in last month's video may be stock footage, but they aren't actors. They are real people, probably many of whom are Catholic, unknown to the Holy Father yet nevertheless smeared as "exploiters". That's a harsh judgment for someone engaged in lawful and socially useful work, especially as they significantly improve the chance that Donkey Man will find a market for his humble crop. If you find this hard to understand, it may be that you do not fully understand Mercy.

  11. No time to answer individually today, but great comments and great research. The woodland creatures are rallying: sniffing, burrowing, each according to their own God-given talents. While the cost of the stock footage is prohibitive for poor woodland creatures, there may be alternatives. The Bear already has a couple of potentially viable ideas. Time to start storyboarding my friends. This is a no-lose even if the project takes awhile. Expect further. Use the email link for the Bear. He will respond with his Drop Box account. If we're going to have a production company, it will need a name, too.

  12. BTW, this article has proved very popular. Please consider sharing in whatever way you feel is appropriate.

  13. For those creatures with ideas but no video equipment-- Don't worry about stock footage -- focus on the storyboard and just use stock footage from YouTube. Create a rough draft and share it. Some creature with better skills and access to cameras can take the idea and run with it.

    1. The Bear has a storyboard as far as the shots go, but there's not much story to it. My thought is that instead of shooting around the storyboard, like in normal film-making, it would be simpler for people to send in what they can get under very broad parameters, then, through the magic of editing, make the story fit what we have. We can always fill in what we need.

      I'm using iMovie, with which I've actually gotten some really nice results with before on a documentary. Anyone who has it on their Mac would be useful.

      See new topic.

  14. If we email a video to Bear from our iPhone does that work?

    1. It would be nice to have some HD, but lower res could be used, even mixed. Also iPhone has a weird aspect ratio. I'll experiment and see if there's a way to overcome it. A "guerrilla film-making" vibe can work.

      ONE VERY IMPORTANT THING: do NOT video ANYONE without paying them consideration (a nickel is fine) and obtaining a signed release, just to be on the safe side. Email me in a bit for the release form. EXCEPTIONS: videos where people are not recognizable (e.g. from behind, hands holding a rosary); Crowds (where people are lost in a sea of faces). This is SERIOUS. You will need to scan and send a release form with each submission.

      Sorry, but Ursa Major is not some rinky-dink amateur operation. It's a cooperative film-making project that does not enjoy getting sued by someone who later says, "But I LOVE Pope Francis!"

      Let's move further discussion to the new topic, or private email, as appropriate.

  15. I don't like the videos either, but as for the actors involved, I am not surprised. I didn't think that there were "real people" in the videos.

    1. Honestly, I didn't think about it. But I didn't say, "Oh, these are just actors," either. Filmmakers never want the audience to come anywhere near that. So part of it was having a little fun while showing how calculating and manipulative these videos are. The main point is that these slick videos have more to do with ideological indoctrination than legitimate prayer intentions. Yet another dubious innovation by Pope Francis. Anyway, people seemed to enjoy the piece :-)


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