Archive for the ‘Mad Minerva’ Tag

post-Advent playlist

Right, Christmas is over, so you blokes pack up your sappy attitudes and get back in line.

For all my Jewish readers (anyone? anyone?), putting Adam Sandler’s Hanukkah Song up should make you groan:

And for those who just hate Christmas, and New York City, here are the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl:

I blame it all on Mad Minerva.

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Shattering and Binding

Two days. Forty-eight hours it’s taken me to articulate my reaction to Obama’s election. So many calls for conservatives to be adults, to put country first, to look at the bright side.

Wordless rage. Obama won through deception, dishonesty, and with the full-knowing falseness of the media and academy. Much of the journalistic and intellectual realms have betrayed America. They know what they have done; they know they hid inconvenient truths and propagated harmful lies.

Why should I stand up and be a good citizen? I will only be destroyed, my voice ripped out, my character fed into the industrial shredder should I dare speak out for my beliefs. Why should I continue to guard and feed those who have slammed the picks and axes of irrational hatreds between my shoulder blades? Please explain how Obama was duly elected in the midst of possibly hundreds of millions in illegal campaign cash, voter fraud, the dumping of military ballots, and so many other attacks on election integrity? Please explain how an America who was intentionally blinded to the truth about her candidates made a legitimate choice of leader?

Again I had to ask: Why should I stand up and be a good citizen when America has so grandly rewarded being a bad one?

I was trying to study, deciding my own victory lay in what I could achieve, what I could do. I am becoming part of the academy, and just like the Left took it, I will be part of the next revolution. I had to stop to sift through events and bodies of sense. I wandered into the next room where CNN was showing reactions to the election.

There was singing and dancing in Harlem, a sea of black faces in bright garb, drums, and joyous voices. A black man was front and center saying he could now tell his children they really could be anything. A black woman said “Obama isn’t just a black president, he’s the president of whites and everyone.” The scene shifted to champaign corks popping in France, to the people of the city of Obama, Japan, singing their silly “Obama” song.

Confucians believe that ceremony is an inherent part of being human. Rituals mean something, symbols carry power, and acting in accordance with those ceremonies brings us into harmony with those meanings, that power. Ritual allows that power to use us for righteousness and us to use it for strength and direction.

The elation on the faces of my fellow Americans, my brothers and sisters who have for so long been estranged in spirit from this country I love, brought salt water to my face. I think Michelle Obama was wrong for never being proud of her country before her husband was raised up before it, but I understand, and I can’t hold that against her. I hope all these people, from Harlem to Paris to Obama City, have felt the power and meaning of the rituals we are enacting. I hope their joy brings their spirits into harmony with ours, because we need that. It is most difficult to fight a brutal enemy while divided from those who are your family.

In Classical meanings, the meanings of function and reason, America lost this election. In Romantic meanings, the meanings of symbol and ritual, America won.

As my heart has wandered these brick canyons and alternate realities of the academy, it had no choice but to align with the force field of Love. Not some dewy-eyed emotionalism that weakens knees and spine, no, not that hippy toke trip. Rather, Love as the righteous and terrible twin of Hate: unifying love for the One who Drew us all in breath and dirt, compassionate love for the good-hearted soil of humanity, proud love for my nation — the tribe of the free, sensuous love for this glorious Created world in which we are all given merely a few brief moments to shudder in Awe at the Divine incarnate, and violent love for all-consuming combat against Evil and its demon horde of injustices. This is why I must be a good citizen, not only now, but until my last breath, until I can no longer wear the armor and swing the sword and shout the battle cry of freedom.

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I welcome our new potted overlords

Potted plant blogs in Japan.

Update (11/5/08): Welcome, Mad Minerva readers! Our favorite scholar of all things silly, quirky, cuisiney, and cinematicky has linked to a post here on something she herself covered, so I guess I should add something to make the click worthwhile.

I offer Plantio, a pot that allows plants to react to their owners. (Sorry. Hope you weren’t expecting glorious splendor. Though I do like the lighting up when the plant’s petted bit.)

I guess I should also offer a link to Midori-san’s blog.

lumpenscholar trapped in the tubular cinema

recently had the opportunity to see a number of movies on video, and since that lovely lass Mad Minerva has been my cinema guide all summer, thought i would post responses to her reviews and some assorted (or sordid) comments — after all, two of my movie selections were all her fault

haven’t seen these movies? then if you’re lucky, there aren’t any spoilers ahead. me, I’ve lost track. maybe there are, maybe there aren’t. so, what you gotta ask yourself, cinemaphile, is do I feel lucky? well, do ya, cinemaphile?

where to start?

IRON MAN! great movie. i heartily concur with much of MM’s reviews (and her sibling’s): great geeky fun and just plain funny, great special effects, feminine females, masculine males, AND intelligence, courage, and wit from all genders and sides; even the bad guys aren’t stupid or cowardly, which is nice

as she mentions, this movie could easily be taken as a criticism of the military-industrial bugaboo we’ve grown so tired of seeing slammed into the soil cinematically. Stark’s redemption is turning against the military industrial complex, and the ultimate bad guy Iron Man faces off against is a greedy capitalist white male eager to sell weapons to the enemy if it turns a profit. also, it seems our GCWM set up the ambush, so it wasn’t the insurgents’ fault, per se; capitalism did it. on the other hand, Stark’s decision to take the fight personally, to armor up, defend our own, and kill the enemy himself, was as good an endorsement of going out and enlisting to fight the terrorists as I’ve seen on celluloid, outside of actual recruiting video, and the insurgents are nasty and we’re glad to see them killed and the Afghan civilians saved.

i wasn’t as critical of the military aspects as MM’s friend: airmen do go out with the army on the ground as forward observers (someone has to talk to the fighter jocks giving close air support) and commo types, but not generally as drivers I think; one criticism in the ambush scene, why stop when the lead humvee is blown up? last I heard, humvee’s were ATVs, right? but this is all lead in. the thing I was most disappointed in on the military side was the failure of Lt. Col. Rhodes to clearly articulate why developing better weapons for the US military is a good thing

check out the fan art — cool stuff there, though sadly none seem to feature ms. potts in her silly footwear, a great loss for all the male fans. one laugh-out-loud line MM didn’t quote: “Sometimes I even take out the trash.” politics aside, i’ve got to see this again, preferably on the big screen this time — is it still playing? it’s just a lot of fun, and that’s what hollywood should deliver first and foremost, imho.

next up? Kung Fu Panda! yeah, you’ve seen the plot a million times. but that’s not the point in this kind of movie; it’s how you get from A to dragon warrior that counts, and this movie had me laughing out loud and cheering for a fat panda — and even tho’ i kno’ MM will never ever visit my site again for saying this, i am not a big panda fan, so that’s a good endorsement, i think; i’m not just cheering cuz of the cute hero.  it also had one of the best takes on hero enlightenment i’ve seen, i think. loved it; want to see it again.

bit of a side note, i’m getting tired of plot twists. it’s SO friggin’ predictable that there’ll be a plot twist that i don’t even notice it anymore. like Stane being the bad guy in Iron Man. bald, smooth-talking white capitalist, close friend of the hero — gotta be the evil mastermind behind it all, no other choice, unless you want to be called boring and predictable like Kung Fu Panda, right?

anyway, for real reviews, read MM.

on to non-MM-reviewed flicks. not that these will be reviews, either. but thought I should mention them.

The Visitor. basically, lonely widower meets a wonderful couple who just happen to be illegal aliens. they show him a new world and show him a way to recover from his grief, but the husband is caught and sent to detention for deportation. fine and good; i wish there had been two stories. this one, and another where an illegal immigrant murders an american couple for their car. that said, i liked it. richard jenkins does a great job playing prof. walter vale; i am right there with him on the drums. the rest of the cast was good, the plot believable, though I have to admit, for various reasons, I did not get to watch the last 15 minutes or so, so there may be a bizarre plot twist where we find out the bald white capitalist set it all up. i would watch it again to see that last 15 minutes, but would probably pass on a third sitting

Smart People. hate to say it. another way-left movie that i actually liked. basically, another widower / college prof movie. he has to deal with his teenage daughter (who’s rebelling by being in the young republicans, which gets treated as seriously as any teenage rebellion — she’ll grow out of it, we assume), a stoner brother (who won’t grow out of it, but that’s okay, we assume), a flagging academic career, and (simultaneously) a new love interest and his grief for his deceased wife. strangely, even though i’m not in any of those situations, i felt a lot of sympathy for chuck wetherhold, our erstwhile hero, and thomas haden church did a good job playing him. wouldn’t see it again unless a friend really wanted to see it and i had to get away from the books for a couple of hours. or there was free food and drinks.

luckily for my readers, that’s all the movies i’ve seen over the summer.

maybe I’ll end my boycott of hollywood . . .

Tim Blair and Mad Minerva both covered Andrew Klavan’s oped in the WaPo, Why Are We Whispering?

Conservative artists can’t battle this state of affairs with silence or secrecy. They must create — with courage, openness and honesty. These are the tools of both conservatism and art. With them, we can take the culture back.

I’ve been envious of Mad Minerva’s cinema adventures, but not enough to actually step into a theater. The overwhelming leftist sermonizing of Hollywood has turned my stomach enough that I can’t bear the thought of giving them any of my money. I even view recently-made, neutral, entertainment-focused films as simply a way of recouping losses from their spate of BDS-driven flops. I know, that’s going a bit far, maybe. But it’s how I feel, and entertainment is pretty much all about how one feels, isn’t it? Even if there’s a great film showing, if one has a bad feeling about it, why go? (Movies seen for non-entertainment reasons, of course, don’t fall under this line of reasoning.)

But, if Klavan and others are stepping out and changing the climate of Hollywood, maybe it’s time for me to go see a movie. And really, what I want isn’t “rightist” films per se, but real diversity in entertainment, a real choice about what I see and what, if any, lessons are delivered in my entertainment.

And this leads me to another topic, which is, why do I blog anonymously? I’ll admit, I’m in training for a career in academia, which is dominated by leftists, and I’m simply afraid putting my real name to my opinions will ruin my career before it gets off the ground. Am I practicing cowardice, or prudence?