And ICYMI, the New York Times article on affirmative consent and consent education can be found here.
In this week’s episode: 2 Samuel 4-7. We continue in the Book of 2 Samuel: Die Harder with a look at newly built capital cities and the practical and symbolic significance for the nations they represent.
In this week’s episode: 2 Samuel 1-3. We inaugurate the Book of Samuel 2: Die Harder with a look at politics and politics by other means.
We conclude the Book of Samuel with a look at Shaul’s final days as king and living person and why the Tanakh, though highly critical of it, doesn’t aggressively debunk sorcery.
I admit that I had very high expectations for this film, and not only because I have been waiting since 1980 for some sanity to return to the franchise. (No, that’s not a typo. I have been waiting since the release of The Empire Strikes Back. I thought Return of the Jedi, though not terrible, to be slightly anticlimactic after Empire.)
So after sitting through a half dozen product placement ads, including one for Light Side and Dark Side cosmetics by Revlon (?!) and some weak previews for movies that would most assuredly NOT appeal to the typical Star Wars demographic, I finally donned my 3D glasses and awaited the Force’s Awakening.
Two hours later, I emerged relatively unscathed. (This was not the case, BTW, after I stumbled out of the theatre post-The Phantom Menace.) SW:TFA did not disappoint nor did it particularly impress.
What I did experience was the odd feeling that I had seen this movie before.
And then I realized: I have seen this movie before. It was called Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back.
I could break down how J.J. Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan, and Michael Arndt cribbed pretty much every essential plot point from the first two thirds of the Original Trilogy… but I won’t.
Cribbing, in itself, is not a cardinal sin considering, as Aaron Bady observed:
The one thing the original trilogy wasn’t was original. Similarly, The Force Awakens is great, but it isn’t interesting. The jokes are good, the action is organic and compelling, the characters are well inhabited by competent actors, and the cinematography and music is excellent and consistently inventive. But everything that puts you in the moment, when you’re watching it, falls apart as soon as you turn your brain back on. As experience, as ritualistic performance, as society-wide holiday, and as entertainment-industrial-complex, Star Wars is a strange and magnificent and disgusting enterprise. As original story, it’s total crap.
As a seven year old in 1977, I did not mind that Star Wars referenced (among others) Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, Metropolis, Akira Kurosawa and the 1954 British film The Dam Busters. I wasn’t aware enough to mind. ⌘C + ⌘V for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
And I wouldn’t have minded terribly if Abrams had cribbed for SW:TFA. I would have loved to see how he would have weaved together snippets from, say, Yojimbo or stylistic nods to Sam Peckinpah or allusions to SOMETHING ELSE besides George Lucas. But, alas, he did not. Abrams, too, succumbed to the Dark Side of franchise film making as he did with Star Trek…
Shameless fan service!
We continue in the Book of Samuel with an examination of masters and their relationship with their apprentices.
For the first time, in a LONG time, I think of nationalism and the state and pride in the same sentence. As in:
I am proud to be a Canadian.
My adopted country, touting the values that represent it as a state, has acted in a manner that sets a powerful example for this hemisphere when it comes to basic humanity.
We are welcoming 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of February. As PM Trudeau said: ““Tonight they step off the plane as refugees, but they walk out of this terminal as permanent residents of Canada.”
And I think, as a result of this action, folks in this hemisphere have become more aware of those values too. Like folks at the New York Times who had a lot of nice things to say about my Prime Minister and the people with whom I share this piece of planet.
So, good on you, Canada. Keep up the good work.
TanakhCast is coming back soon! Fear not, children!
We continue in the Book of Samuel with an examination of David’s flight from Shaul and the effectiveness of using force to defeat an insurgency.
We continue in the Book of Samuel with an examination of the age-old tradition of single combat.
And ICYMI, Malcolm Gladwell’s New Yorker piece on David and Goliath.