Sunday, May 22, 2011

Chesterton - What I Saw in America

GK Chesterton, the gregarious British satirist, essayist and author of the early 20th century, is probably most well-known for his "religious" books like Orthodoxy.  Yet, he was also a prolific commentator and evaluator of the culture and spirit of his time.  His age was an age of liberalism, rationalism and the march of progress...survival of the fittest, expressed in economic terms through free-market capitalism, was accepted wisdom.  Yet, Chesterton saw the flaws inherent in the thoughts and ideas of his age, and with great wit and vigor he defended the old ways of thinking and behaving as still relevant and essential to society.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Time for Burning



It is hard to believe that A Time for Burning could have been made without a script.  Released in 1966, the film was a pioneering sort of documentary that wanted to tell a story through the eyes and voice of real people.  The filmmakers wanted to explore the issue of racism in the church, and they settled on going to the all-white congregation of Augustana Lutheran Church in Omaha, NE.   A new pastor, Bill Youngdahl, had just been hired.  Youngdahl was heavily involved in the civil rights movement elsewhere, and the filmmakers were "looking for struggle, but hoping for success" in Youngdahl's attempts to make Augustana more inclusive.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Common Controversy

If you're a Daily Show fan, then you probably watched Stewart's take-down (part two here) of Fox News' coverage of the latest overblown non-issue to dominate your TV screen.  The latest stir involves the rapper Common, who has a reputation for being a "conscious" rapper...in other words, he's not a gangsta rapper, or a raunchy party-rapper, but instead is respected for being creative, original, and not pandering to the money-girls-drugs theme that is so often prevalent in hip hop.  Jay-Z, a man who has made millions on the money-girls-drugs theme, noted the respect that Common (formerly known as Common Sense), has for being an intelligent, thoughtful artist when Jay rapped: "Truthfully, I want to rhyme like Common Sense...but I did five mil, and I ain't been rhymin like Common since."