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Indiana Dog

June 6, 2012

O-M-G-ohonzon! Please tell me I am not the last person to see the movie The Last Detail, starring Jack Nicholson, Otis Young and Randy Quaid – circa 1973?

I caught the tail end of it recently. It didn’t catch my attention until the closing credits. I have a movie credits fixation. Yup that’s me the last one to leave the theater reading who the Unit Production Manager and the 1st Assistant Director are. What did catch my attention was seeing the words Nichiren Shoshu Members scroll through the credits; one of the members was played by the late Gilda Radner – you know, Saturday Night Live’s Rosanne Rosanadana!

I had to find the movie and watch it! It’s a story about two sailors in charge of delivering a third sailor to an 8 year prison stint, but before they do they set out to take him out for the time of his young inexperienced life.

They embark on an adventure of firsts for the young sailor including his maiden voyage to a whore-house. Awkward. Eventually, they find themselves on the street and notice an unusual humming sound none of them had ever heard nor could identify.

The reverbing humming sound sounds a lot like a bunch of people repeating Indiana DaaawgIndiana Daaawg – Indiana Daaawg…over and over again. As they all listen quietly trying to figure out what the sound is, one asks, “What the hell is an Indiana Dog?”

They decide to investigate and go inside, to be met with a pile of shoes outside of an apartment door displaying a hand written sign that reads Nichiren Shoshu. The sound, once Indiana Daawg, morphs into Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.  They take off their shoes and go in for a while.

O-M-G-ohonzon! It is a classic creepy 1970’s Nichiren meeting, with a butsadan adorned with candles and greenery and the little baby bell plus a dozen or so cheerful chanters hyped to tell their experiences, followed by a robust trio of A-A-OH!

The rest of the movie is colored by the young sailor chanting everywhere they go – on the subway, at the ice skating rink, in a bar where a woman who hears him, introduces herself as a Nichiren Shoshu member and invites the three to a party.

The Last Detail is just one of those last little details you have to at least be able to say you saw if you have ever had any kind of affiliation with any kind of Nichiren Buddhism.

It’s like when people say, “You just had to be there”, and well you just have to see it. But in the meantime here are some snippets of the scripted dialogue while you wait for Netflix to send you your flick.

Randy Quaid: What are they saying?

Jack Nicholson: Hold it down. I think we’re in a church. (they take of their sailor caps)

Randy Quaid: What’s a Gohonzon?

Jack Nicholson: Shhh! I’ll tell ya about it later.  (as if he knows – Ha!)

Nichiren Shoshu Members: (singing) There’s a sun shining in your heart – there’s a song waiting to be sung – there’s a dream longing to be free – in your life happiness you’ll see – bring it out – your shining light – you can change this world of trouble and strife…

Jack Nicholson: Why does all this make me feel so fucking bad?

Otis Young: Let’s see if it works. Then you can chant for something really big…

Jack Nicholson: Yeah, like how’s about the three of us getting laid, huh?

Randy Quaid: Well, should you chant for something like that?

Jack Nicholson: Why the fuck not?

Randy Quaid: Well it’s a religion.

If you thought the Nichiren scenes in the Tina Turner What’s Love Got To Do With It movie were too short – The Last Detail will be right up your alley. And if you feel warm and fuzzy watching them and not totally creeped out by them – then you my friend are still deeply embedded in the cult.

Indiana dog –Indiana dog- Indiana dog….

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 30, 2013 1:53 pm

    I was deep into the Nichiren Shoshu of America cult when this movie came out. Those scenes at the NSA meeting were officially advised by NSA, There had been a story in the cult newspaper.about it. So a bunch of us NSA members went together to the theater to see it. We were excited as we already knew it had chanting and an NSA meeting portrayed in it. Talk about creepy – we all thought the representation of NSA in the movie was great! The movie makers were spot on with the meeting scene. That’s exactly how it used to go down – members acting super happy while giving all the credit to chanting, while they deluded themselves into believing the magic chant was really working. Now it all seems doubly creepy and so obviously cult-ish.

    Guess what – If you were to be unlucky enough to wander into a current meeting it would still be almost exactly the same as it was then. The only difference would be lack of the embarrassingly bad songs. Stupid songs lead with big arm waving (Japanese style) in a dorky effort to fire up the energy and enthusiasm as they punctuating the testimonials and love-bombing of guests to promote conversion. Gees, I hated those dumb-ass songs! Just thinking about pretending how happy we were – it makes me vomit a bit in my throat. Most everything else remains the same – a slick sales pitch for the marks. Same old carrot dandled before hungry eyes – ‘You can get ANYTHING by chanting!”

    In the movie, chanting seems to be working for the convicted sailor up until the end of the movie when he starts chanting to successfully run away from his two Navy SP escorts and escape going to prison. But his chanting DOES NOT WORK. It is heart-breaking to see his glimmer of hope dashed by stark reality. But we NSA members just glossed over the harsh reality ending, where chanting fails miserably. Blocked that little tidbit out and kept our attention trained on the fact that actors on the silver screen were chanting OUR chant.

    That little denial trick is a good example of how NSA (now called SGI-USA) cult members deceive their own minds with cognitive dissonance. Chanting did NOT work, but no matter – isn’t it great – he CHANTED! All that mattered was that the chant. In our deluded minds, it didn’t matter that he failed to get what he desired and instead went to prison – he had chanted – therefore everything was going to be just dandy. Yes, the poor unfortunate fuck would be okay now because… he had chanted! And chanting is all that matters. Yes, we NSA members had swallowed the bait – hook, line, and sinker, and we would not be so easily dissuaded from our comfortable illusions. Well, as Mark Twain said, “It’s easier to fool someone than to convince them they have been fooled.”

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