Saturday, April 21, 2018

What four films define you? (No, really)

It's been a while since a generated meme captured my attention, to say nothing of my imagination, but this one did.
"In four films, please."
My wife has known me for just over a quarter-century, so I asked her which four she thought defined me.

“Just one condition,” I said. “No Star Wars, 'cos it's too obvious.”

This got a rise from her. “You HAVE to say Star Wars, because there is no more obvious film than that!”

Sigh. Okay then, Star Wars it is — Film Number One (1)! And, in fact, with the latest (final?) installment of Mr. Skywalker's adventures the choice seems even more obvious. Like him, I increasingly find myself wanting nothing so much as to be left alone in a comfortable chair.

“Alright, is there a particular concert movie or band doc that defines you?”

Wow — so many greats to choose from. RUSH, Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads, and more recently Devin Townsend.

I squirmed uncomfortably, and said, “Actually, if there's a music doc that defines me best it is almost certainly . . .”
Film Number Two (2)!  — Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music?

Here's the truth: the first rock music I listened to was Christian Rock. Here's another confession: even though I jettisoned 99% of my Christian Rock library in the early '90s, I remained game to attend Cornerstone Festival — the Lollapalooza of Christian Rock.

I never managed it — but Vickie Hunter and Heather Whinna did. I couldn't say which one of them is agnostic and who is the atheist, but they both have such an open spirit they get attendees and acts alike to speak freely about the aesthetic and moral tensions that hamstring their enjoyment of, and attempts at, artistic expression. Watching it 14 years later, this film doesn't just define where I come from — it does a disturbingly good job of defining the current cultural moment as well. It's on YouTube.

“What is your favourite love story?”

Easy! It's . . .
Film Number Three (3) — Punch Drunk Love. For a lot of us dudes, the trick to intimacy is acknowledging the rage generated by our sense of isolation, and letting 'em both go.

“Okay, we need a writer film. Barton Fink?”
Ooo! Another obvious choice, perhaps...
I do love that film — a lot. But it doesn't “define me” (I hope!). Strangely, (and hopefully not too preciously) the writer film that just might is Stephen Soderbergh's second movie . . .
“I write by myself, for myself, in publications nobody reads.”
Film Number Four (4)! — Kafka. I think Soderbergh is, perhaps not my favourite filmmaker, but my most beloved one. He is a daring stunt man, and as with all daring jugglers, the moments I love him most are when he attempts something bold, and drops the ball. (Conversely, he tries my patience when he delivers the safe goods — Erin Brokovitch, Ocean's-By-The-Dozens, etc). In Kafka he drops the ball six ways to Sunday. It dares all, and I love it  I want to be that.

I do not tag people, but I would love to hear what four films define you (no, really). Comment or link below, svp.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

"Die Drasche Maschine"

This is a photo of a primary school class in my father’s (and, eventually, my own) village, taken the year he was born — 1939. It pretty much represents the situation he grew into. A small group of kids, shepherded by a lone woman.

He has stories of getting spanked as a first-grader by the woman principal. The first spankable offense was standing on a teeter-totter to get a better view of a couple of boys in a scrap. This struck him as terribly unfair, and he complained to his parents when he got home.

All he got was a knowing smirk, and “Nah, yo — die Drasche Maschine.” And possibly a comforting pat on the back.

I don’t know if the gal pictured is the legendary “Drasche (eng. ‘Thresher’) Maschine.” The woman who bore the nickname meted out many a strapping in her decades as principal, though. It’s a remarkable anecdote, to me.

Had either of my kids come back from school with stories of getting spanked by a teacher, that person would have committed a fireable offense — an action I’d be keen to see taken. In my father’s time it wasn’t just assumed teachers had every right to corporal punishment, it was a source of wry amusement when it occurred.

And my grandparents were not of the “If you ever get the strap at school, you’ll be getting it at home, too” mindset — also common at that time. Nevertheless, the thought of a relative stranger subjecting their child to corporate punishment with some frequency didn’t seem to phase them. Kids absorbed and grew up, was the thinking.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Boston, '68

I am reading Anthony DeCurtis' biography of Lou Reed, and mostly enjoying it. Other biographers (quite understandably) tend to get hung up on Reed's notorious cruel streak — easy material, really. DeCurtis doesn't skirt around it, but places a greater investment in the artist's journey — a POV I can appreciate.

Still, there are moments when DeCurtis's “from-here-to-there” narrative is just a bit too light on the details or analysis — a bit superficial, finally. One example:
That the Velvets spent so much time in Boston and essentially stopped playing in New York was, at least in part, a result of [band manager Steve] Sesnick's strategy. No doubt Reed perceived New York as Warhol's turf. Performing there regularly would make it much more difficult to move out of his sphere of influence. Some speculated that the Velvets were angry that New York radio didn't play their debut album, which doesn't make much sense since almost no stations played it. It's not unusual for a band, once it has achieved a certain stature, as the Velvets had with The Velvet Underground And Nico, to limit its exposure in its hometown and concentrate on building a national following. But that strategy makes much more sense for regional bands than it does for one from New York; if you have an enthusiastic following there, you pretty much already are a national band. Pulling back a bit from the New York scene may have been a smart move temporarily, but as the sixties were drawing to a close, some people were beginning to think of the Velvets as a Boston band. By any measure, that was a step backward.
This “clangs” for me, somewhat. My impression from interviews is that at this particular moment Reed did not object in the least to the Velvets being considered a “Boston band.” He was making a break from Warhol, sure — and letting the band take on a Boston reputation would surely have been a thumb in Warhol's eye. But at this point in his life Reed was compelled to be near the centre of whatever scene there was — surely there was a Boston scene, no?

We don't get evidence of such from DeCurtis' telling (“By any measure . . . a step backward”).

Fortunately we have Ryan H. Walsh to fill in this particular oversight. Walsh's Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968 is getting a great deal of prestige coverage right now, for which I'm grateful. Walsh apparently eschews the one-artist's-journey-to-and-through-an-album narrative to focus on, ahem, the Boston scene of '68. I've gone ahead and gambled the stamp on Walsh's book. So far I've only read the index — and I am already gratified. In a book “about” Van Morrison, Lou Reed figures prominently in at least 15 pages.

More to follow.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Rattling in my brain pan

Hm -- I'm in a bit of a rut, aren't I? Summary: "You've got to forgive your parents, for God's sake." You'd never guess this was year 1 of the empty next nest, would you? Mebbe some backwards glancing will gestate other thoughts.
  • "Adulthood is overrated; maturity is underrated" -- Mike D considers post-Beastie Boy life. Sidenote: NYM has a fab annotation format to their interviews. I wish more outfits would use it. Heck, I wish I could use it.
  • Another Mike D quote I'm mulling over: "When I grew up in New York, the city was unique in that you could get music from all over the world here. Now you can get any music you want on your phone and New York, or Manhattan anyway, seems a lot less diverse." Related: CDs & vinyl are outselling downloads -- not good news for the industry.
  • "This was the era when documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman's Titicut Follies was such a devastating examination of the mental health system in Massachusetts that it was banned for over 20 years. This was the era of great academics like Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn putting their careers on the line for the sake of protest. It was a swirling vortex of anger, class struggle, racial divisions, and ecstasy found through LSD, spiritual communes, the occult, and something in the music. Was it folk? Was it garage rock? Was it the proximity to New York City and Newport that spoke to the musicality of Boston?" -- "It" was Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, a legendary and magisterial talent's most legendary and magisterial work.
  • "Please call us" -- this collection of classified ads from The San Francisco Oracle (1966-1969) does a terrific job of evoking the thrills, goofiness and heartbreak of that particular scene.
  • There's nothing particularly revelatory in this Smithsonian puff-piece about "All in the Family" -- except, in my case, the YouTube clips of Archie tirades. As I watched, it suddenly struck me: "Oh my goodness -- I'm the same age as Archie Bunker!" One quick Google of Carroll O'Connor and nope: he and Jean Stapleton were, in fact, younger.
One more I'm not just getting older, I'm getting old moment.
  • Mennonite content: Mennonite woman snags best license plate ever! If you've got eyes for a comely/studly Menno but are not yet a member of the tribe, here is the deep inside track -- you will be expected to sing it at some larger gathering involving way too much food. Your cue, before reaching for the plate: "Alright, people: 606?"

Friday, March 23, 2018

Music hath charms...

...but before we soothe, let us inflame (because the world needs more of that, doesn't it?).

The figure on the right bears a striking resemblance to JD; the figure on the left...

I've been a fan of "Colonel" J.D. Wilkes and The Legendary Shack-Shakers' Xtreme-Psycho-Billy stylings since Cockadoodledon't (2003). Wilkes' Fire Dream -- the follow-up to his (vis-à-vis the Shakers) divorce album After You've Gone -- is acoustic, and possibly more disturbing because of it.

This guy loves it, too:

I saw Between The Buried And Me open for this guy a couple of years ago. At the time their album Coma Ecliptic was a critical darling. Automata I isn't garnering quite the same love, which is a shame -- I think it is a more focused and driven and structurally impressive step forward for the band. Can't wait for II.

For "soothing" you can't beat Bill Frisell.

Or Brad Meldau.

"After Bach" -- very Bach-y, very Easter-y.

Speaking of Easter-y -- it's not a frame of mind I easily enter into. I tend to square my shoulders and frog-march myself through the Lenten Season and its conclusion. "You don't get the religion without the cross, empty tomb, etc., so suck it up and be happy for those who more easily dig it."

Behind the blue-and-white velvet rope I noticed that some from the "easily dig it" group were posting this guy's abject apology, followed by the offending video. And ... what can I say? ... the entire kit-and-caboodle hit me in the solar-plexus.

I sent the link to a number of friends, to see what they thought. I didn't get many responses back, but the consensus among those who did seemed to be, "You gettin' soft there, WP? (Not that that's a bad thing!)"

Ah, maybe I am. I approached my wife next.
She: It has this lovely, very gentle, call-and-response — not at all the bullying, “Can I get an 'amen'?”
Me: Yes — amen! And, I dunno maybe I'm stretching things, but don't you think it kinda syncs up with the back end of what René Girard is saying?
She: Hm. The whole Revelation thing.
Me: Revelation 5 — shall I recite?
She: . . . aaahmm . . . ? 
Plus, I am privileged to know people like this -- sincere folks who are stepping out and putting themselves on the line in an effort to do right and extend the table. They make their share of bone-headed mistakes to be sure, but I am grateful to be in their company, so what can I say but thank-you -- and shalom.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

A Wrinkle In Time (Great Expectations)

Newsweek: So you’ve seen the movie?
Madeleine L’Engle: I’ve glimpsed it. 
And did it meet expectations?
Oh, yes. I expected it to be bad, and it is.
A precise, and (assuredly) approved, depiction of the story within.
L’Engle isn’t around to give us her frank opinion of the latest attempt to bring her book to screens. But if there is critical consensus it might be: It was the best of movies, it was the worst of movies. David Edelstein casts a gimlet eye on this hemming and hawing, and suspects his colleagues of soft-peddling their displeasure for fear of being read as un-woke. Taking a stab at same, he concludes, “Let me put a more positive spin on a negative review. The book is still out there for people to read: Please do so.”

Amen to that.

Any openness I might have had for this latest movie was quickly revoked when I saw the first trailer. I had zero issues with the casting of the Murry family — in fact, I was thrown by just how perfectly Chris Pine embodied my own conception of how the father appeared and behaved. The three witches and the worlds they introduce, however, seemed to come directly from current Disney stock (one daughter said, “Tim Burton’s Alice? — ugh”). I can’t imagine our beloved, contrarian bard summoning much patience for such predictably tawdry visual opulence.

I haven’t read everything L’Engle wrote — her best stuff is incomparably wondrous, but she wrote plenty that’s not. Regardless, I can’t recall from what I’ve read anything that suggested she was much impressed with movies in general. Stage, on the other hand, was a very big deal to her.

There is a great difference in kind between cinema and theatre. Audience experience of theatre is, by its nature, participatory and liminal. Everyone involved is filling in the blanks in their own unique yet communal way. Film is, by and large, “a wrap.” I suspect L’Engle reflexively distrusted the cinematic impulse to put definitive parameters on the beholder’s imagination.

Whatever the case, Madeleine clearly believed there was nothing more powerful than a girl reading — and loving — a book.

Amen to that, too.

Leah Schnelbach glories in “the sheer weirdness of [L’Engle’s] work” — please read. It is an excellent articulation of the esoteric power of L’Engle’s invitational fiction. That said, I was particularly struck by a single, digressional paragraph Schnelbach feels compelled to add, which begins, “I should mention that not all of this craziness was necessarily great. She did have a tendency to equate ‘light’ with good and ‘black’ with evil. She also perpetuated a really odd Noble Savage/Celt/Druid thing, and also some of her books promote much more gender normativity than I’m comfortable with . . . (etc, etc)” Reading this equivocation, it occurred to me that perhaps the most subversive idea L’Engle sowed within her readers’ consciousness was that they, like she, truly possessed the power to forgive not only beloved authors but parents, siblings, lovers,  — you know: the people who seem to wound us the most deeply.

Might I get an “amen”?

Friday, March 09, 2018

The last time I cried

 A nephew recently threw a multi-generational shindig in honour of his 30th. Those of us for whom 30 is a receding memory stuck mostly to ourselves, sipping déclassé brews and chatting amiably whilst the kids (30! What was that even like?) engaged in more robust varieties of socializing.

The neph's a passionate gourmand, and ensconced himself in kitchen triage, attending to fires inside and out while the scene bubbled happily around him. An early party trick included chicken (or veggie) wings, and a Hot Ones* line-up.
At some point in my last two decades, spice became a risk-management affair. I still appreciate a kick, but have received the heel hard enough to give hot sauce label warnings their due. I eyed the line-up warily. The only label I recognized was "Da Bomb"  we had a bottle cluttering up the fridge for a while before I finally threw it away, half-consumed. Flavourful stuff, but hotter than I want my chili to be.

Da Bomb was fourth of, I believe, eight or nine sauces in ascending order of Scoville units. I tried the milder sauces, then finally reached for Da Bomb. I was surprised to find it less scorching than I recalled. Emboldened, I reached for the sauce that came next  something called "Mad Dog dabbed a little on a freshly fried wing, and . . .


Hard to say what came first  hiccups, full-body sweat, copious tears, etc. All I know is that asking for a glass of milk felt like a mistake, because my teeth burned hotter when I exhaled than when I inhaled.

As the youngsters gathered round the old duff melting into a hiccuping puddle of sweat and mucous, the neph's charmingly candid wife admitted she may have confused the order of the hot sauces when she moved them from the bar to the serving table.

No matter. As I recovered, the young bucks in the room sprang to the table to test their mettle. Debate ensued as to whether Mad Dog was the hottest or merely the penultimate.

I didn't — and don't  care. There will be no Mad Dog in our fridge. There will be no more crying today.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Friday Frippery

Brendan Hines' sleep-deprivation-inspired fizz will have to suffice for a post this week.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Billy Graham & Archie Bunker

The great stadium preacher of the 20th Century has passed away, and now the great dispenser of sacred public opinion is weighing in with an even division of "Likes" and "Dislikes." To some he is a saint; others pillory him as, at best, an unwitting political stooge.

I have my own, largely conflicted, thoughts regarding the man and his life's work -- I may yet get around to telling of my single encounter with him. But this is not about that. This is about the nature of public opinion.

Funerals are enlightening experiences, for those who pay attention. When my friend's pious father passed away the kids jumped at the opportunity to get in the last word. In their eulogy they noted how, in his later years, he slowly transformed from being reflexively judgemental to being a man of consideration and compassion.

I thought, Jesus -- here's hoping the kids can manage the same trick.

The eulogy struck my daughters as a bit strange, but they couldn't quite put their finger on why. Ever the helpful blowhard, I took a stab at explanation and said, "If you truly believe in Hell -- truly believe in Hell -- you will do everything in your power to steer your precious little children away from its gates."
Maybe you'll even force them to listen to music they don't like...
One of the most freeing bits of wisdom I received from a friend when the daughters first appeared on the scene was, "The question isn't, 'Will you fuck up your kids?' The question is, 'How will you fuck up your kids.'"

There isn't a parent alive who doesn't believe in a Hell of one sort or another. The bulk of my childhood Sunday School class grew up to believe the worst Hell imaginable occurs when Fundamentalist Dogma gains a stranglehold on human imagination. They're only half-right (doesn't anybody read Nietzsche anymore?), but the limited scope of appraisal and perspicacity that brought them to this conclusion is an understandable self-hobbling.

It is even forgivable.

Luther's corpse takes a whipping from me on this blog, but I am grateful to him for the following exhortation: "Be a sinner, and sin boldly -- (etc.)"

If you're having trouble with that, watch Archie and Meathead trapped in a storeroom -- again.
Was it Archie Bunker or Jean-Paul Sartre who said...?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

We're all "fans" now (God save us)

A curious development in Star Wars fandom -- a very loud and possibly large contingent of us actively wants the forthcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story to bomb -- dreadfully.

Sez Joe Vargas of The Angry Joe Show, "I was thinking maybe if it does bad, Disney will be smarter with how they do these future things." (Joe should realise, I'd hope, that this has never been Disney's business model. When a franchise under-performs -- and they set the metrics, remember -- they drop it and bury it and walk away. Where's that Home On The Range ride we were expecting in Frontierland?)

Joe's is a mild utterance -- almost benign, were it not for its evident passive-aggressiveness. Here's the stronger stuff, courtesy Dani Di Placido for Forbes: "I want Solo to bomb spectacularly at the box office, mercilessly mauled by critics. I want an army of furious Star Wars fans out in force, furiously Tweeting with their finger firmly on the caps lock button, launching wave upon wave of angry reaction gifs. [It] doesn’t matter how good the film is, frankly, because I hate the idea [emphases mine]."

The idea alone merits unfettered vitriol from the masses -- maybe I'm out of step, but I think it's fair to slot this sort of emotional response in the "irrational" category.

Moving on to another, uh, beloved franchise, here we have Amelia Tate's New Statesman article, "J.K. Rowling created an army of liberals – now they are turning against her." It seems to one very loud and possibly large contingent of Harry Potter fans that the author might not be quite as "woke" as the characters she introduced to the world, and thus is an artist to be publicly renounced by one and all.

Most readers over the age of 50 (and, I would normally have hoped, over the age of 20) understand that authors of beloved works are almost sure to disappoint when encountered on the street. In fact, for most of my life it was understood that our most popular authors were truly odious people whom you hoped you'd never encounter personally. Now it is the authors who need to look out, because their readers are all a bunch of Annie Wilkeses.
"Let me enlighten you."
This all seems of a piece with the current political moment, which manages to invoke feverish rantings from all sides -- including, most grievously, the side I've habitually cheered on and stumped for.

I've been yacking a bit about this with Prairie Mary -- here's an excerpt of an email I wrote in response to CULTURE SHAPES NATURE:
The current politics are indeed profoundly weird. What I find especially bizarre/fascinating/abhorrent is all the "virtue signalling" involved. In my lifetime I can't recall this level of fervently expressed moral absolutism coming from anybody but the Religious Right. The Left has always had its causes, but the general tenor of its evangelism was usually of the "Put yourself in their shoes" variety -- the liberal ideal we learned from being wide and deep readers of Important Texts. 
Now the Left has wholly embraced the tactics of the Right: there IS a moral order, and anyone who questions it is a troglodyte, or worse. I do not see this drum-beating marching the mob in a happy direction. 
It's simplistic of me to say, but my sense of the generational attitude among those of us who came of age in the 80s was "We're figuring it out, just bear with us." Exceptions allowed for, of course -- I was a pious and socially docile youth for most of that decade. But we'd witnessed the razing of mores in the 70s, watched as families split up and reconfigured in unusual formats, fended off (with varying degrees of success) the adult solicitations for sexual favours while we were still pre-teens, mostly steered clear of drugs that weren't visibly rooted to the soil, etc. Sometime in the last 30 years there occurred a "Eureka" moment, I'm thinking probably among the post-modern set I left behind at the University -- THIS is what is morally acceptable; THIS is absolutely NOT -- and I missed it. I'm still trying to walk it all back and figure out how we got here. 
The Hero's Death -- every kid has to live through it and come to terms with it herself, but I think what made the 80s different was the common acceptance that there was an entire tier of Heroes expected to behave execrably. Rock Gods received an absolute pass -- movie stars and the like came close to it also. Famous authors, etc. Rise high enough in the public consciousness and illicit behaviour is approved. 
Disappointment occurred when someone was perceived to be a decent person, only to be revealed as the antithesis. Nobody my age thought Harvey Weinstein was a decent guy. Charlie Rose, on the other hand -- he was NPR, so probably not too out-of-whack. So Rose elicits disappointment. 
With the kids these days the stakes are so much higher. I was reading this morning that an entire generation raised on J.K. Rowling is disappointed (or more likely incensed) that she is not as "woke" as they. Yeah, but she's my age! And a novelist! She's still figuring it out, expecting the challenge will remain there to puzzle over long after she's laid to rest. 
Not so, the kids.
No grand overarching conclusion from me -- I'm still scratchin' my head over it all -- so this is where I sign off. Supply your own conclusion in the comments, should the Spirit so lead.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Harvest Commission

It pleases me greatly to have a couple of features published by The Harvest Commission.
Paying gigs are always nice, and working with this bunch in particular is super-delightful. There is a gentle curiosity at work here, yielding delicious results -- it is a treat and a privilege to throw in with the noble, epicurean cause.

I've got two pieces with them: a bit on local seed libraries, and more recently a meditation on culinary history and my Oma's incomparable tapioca pudding. Please check them out, and do a little exploring while you're there. Oh, also: Brad Long On Butter is an exceptional book -- one of those surprisingly rare cookbooks that makes a revelation of culinary fundamentals. Highly recommended.

Friday, February 02, 2018

"Who's writing the script here?" Following breadcrumbs on the Splinter-Net

POTUS 45 delivered his first State Of The Union (SOTU) address. I paid as much attention to it as I've paid to all the others delivered in my lifetime  — little to none.

But this year it finally dawned on me what this bit of absurdist theatre most closely resembles  — the average person's Facebook feed. Every third sentence uttered elicits a dog-whistle Standing O, hate-clapping, dramatic miens of perplexity, etc. One can only speculate as to what any of this achieves, but one fact is abundantly clear — as with your Facebook feed, the SOTU situates a near ideal triangulation of desire. More about this later, but first some links.
  • Over at Medium, Umair Haque delivers his own SOTU: Why We're Underestimating American Collapse. Says Haque, "America has always been a pioneer  —  only today, it is host not just to problems rarely seen in healthy societies  —  it is pioneering novel social pathologies never seen in the modern world outside present-day America, period." He lists five, and makes a largely compelling case.
  • "Those familiar with poststructuralist social theory will understand the shiver of alarm I felt on reading recent interviews in which the billionaire Facebook investor Peter Thiel celebrates the work of the philosopher Rene Girard." This is where the triangulation of desire comes in — Thiel evidently payed VERY close attention to Girard, and ran Girard's concepts in a direction that would have, I suspect, delighted and horrified the theorist in equal measure. Guy Zimmerman unpacks the unsettling significance of it all, here.
Be well. Be kind.  — WP/dpr
"We're all Neo-Pagans now, Henry."

Friday, January 26, 2018

Bible Wars!

2018 began with a bang, for that vestige in the West still vested in New Testament studies. David Bentley Hart (US American, Orthodox) took it upon himself to issue his personal translation of the New Testament; N.T. Wright (British, Church of England, with his own translation on the market) took it upon himself to throw a little shade on the project and the man. Hart's response was . . . predictable.

Anyone who enjoys watching a couple of erudite blowhards flame each other will find this to be high-octane entertainment indeed. Both dudes are deeply learned, of course. That they've greatly benefited from the US church's appetite for swallowing whole any pronouncement spoken (or, in Hart's case, written) with a British accent shouldn't be held against them -- but, I confess, I do. Hey, Johnny Rotten's got the accent and is a wanker of the first order -- you're in highly esteemed company, Perfessers! Long may the flaming continue.
"Let's begin with the Synoptics, shall we?"
The Apostle Paul (née: Saul of Tarsus) is the sticking-point for these gentlemen, as he is for most modern readers and more than a few ancient ones as well. Wright has helped me come somewhat to terms with Pauline thought, but he didn't make it easy -- I found Wright's "layperson guides" circuitous and baffling; his pro-scholar stuff slightly less-so. Wright would probably shudder, but this is what I took away from the protracted exercise of reading him.

And Hart would probably clap palms to scalp in dismay, but that's pretty much what I'm getting from his POV on Paul as well. In any case, where Wright is working to encourage and uphold, Hart is working to rekindle the provocation of the original texts, and sow a little holy mischief in the process -- and I'm kinda diggin' it. More later, perhaps.

Links: Christianity Today coverage.

Friday, January 19, 2018

"It keeps me young!" And other weirdness.

I'm trying to figure out why this video makes me glum.
Hey, it's their song -- they came up with the guitar riff (which is catchy as hell) along with all the rest of it, they have the absolute right to play this song into the ground. They appear to be having fun, I'd say -- that's good, no?

Still and all, the optics depress me. And maybe that's 100% my bad -- I enjoyed the Led Zeppelin one-off a couple of years back. They'd have been roughly this age. Happily for them they're still trim dudes with manes of hair intact.
Another element at play is the "bubblegum" nature of Foreigner's work, in contrast to the "serious" content vis-a-vis the "rock gods" of Olympus. Bubblegum is for kids; seriousness is for adults -- I've swallowed the lure, alright.

I dunno. Anymore if I want some re-connection with my own increasingly distant youth, I turn to Nat King Cole. I was probably 30 when I picked up the first CD, which is that "optimum" age for a guy -- young enough to glory in strength, experienced enough to make a good first impression, and moving gently with intent toward a horizon where memories should be (he hopes) predominantly pleasant.