Saturday, October 24, 2020

Biblical Hollywood?

 This is from the novel, A Star is Bored, by Byron Lane. The mother of a movie star (herself a star back in the day) has taken enough of a shine to her daughter's new personal assistant to warn him about her:

"Dear, I have some advice," Miss Gracie says, leaning forward only a few centimeters, but she may as well have come nose-to-nose with me; she's that engaging. "You're family now, so I can share this with you. You know the story about the man who wanted to fly, so he made wings out of wax, but he flew too high and the sun melted the wax and he fell back down to earth and landed flat on his ass in front of Jesus? It's in the Bible."

"I'm thinking, That's not the Bible. I'm thinking, Do not correct her."

Friday, October 23, 2020

Scattershot and ideological, methinks

 Years ago, I thought his book Bobos in Paradise was amusing even if blinkered in the way it used white-collar workers in the Acela Corridor as templates for pronouncements about changes in American culture. Since then, however, Bobos author David Brooks has been on a long glide into self-parody. 

Brooks is the guy who in 2005 was much taken with Barack Obama's "perfectly creased pants leg" after an interview. In a recent puff piece for The Atlantic titled "Bruce Springsteen and the Art of Aging Well," Brooks takes a gratuitous swipe at President Trump before strewing rhetorical flowers at Spingsteen's feet:

"President Donald Trump is a prime example of an unsuccessful older person," Brooks writes, "-- one who still lusts for external validation, who doesn't know who he is, who knows no peace." 

Sheesh. That's amateur psychoanalysis at its most disposable, not to say hilarious. Donald Trump seems to know exactly who he is. More than that, he seems comfortable with  himself (as does his very different but complementary Vice President, by the way). Heck, Trump seems to appreciate people who are comfortable with themselves (not least among them Melania Trump), and you can't do that if you're insecure. How Brooks missed that when it's been on public display as long as it has, I'm not sure. Why he missed it is easier to explain -- the man has axes to grind, and they have nothing to do with Bruce Springsteen's latest album. Perhaps the "problem" is that Trump does not care to be validated by the same people that Brooks does. Cocktail party invitations don't mean as much to bar owners as to partygoers who are still looking for signs that their phone calls get returned.

"The Boss" may indeed have life lessons to teach us, but it's hard to stomach Brooks' sycophancy knowing that Bruce has said he'd be on "the next plane to Australia" if American election results don't meet with his approval. Whatsa matter, boss man? You've already got your mansion on a hill. Do ya still feel like you're a rider on a downbound train?

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Of viruses and political ops

The indispensable Ace has this to say today: "Covid is not a medical story -- not in the American media. It hasn't been for some time. It's mostly a Political Op now, as far as media coverage. Only Republican gatherings have been portrayed in the media as spreading Covid for some time now. Apparently left-wingers are immune to the virus."

And let's not forget that co-blogger J.J. Sefton brought the heat (with an assist from Megan Fox at the link) earlier:

"Amazing how every lie, smear and accusation against Trump was front-page stop-the-presses news and allowed to flow on Twitter and Facebook freely along with calls for violence against Trump and his supporters. Yet this [new story from the New York Post about Joe Biden's corruption and his son's grift] was immediately censored because, reasons!"

I expect the Democrats and Republicans to run political ops on each other, in the old Mad Magazine "Spy vs. Spy" fashion. But now we know that vast swaths of federal law enforcement and investigative machinery have been corrupted to run political ops as well. It's equally disconcerting to realize that any line between news and opinion was erased three presidential terms ago, when the media slobbered over Barack Obama in ways that Joe "That's storybook, man!" Biden would have approved (and likely did, when he was still among the silverware, albeit not the sharpest knife in the drawer).

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Groovy tunes

 "Just Right Radio" (WPTK) lived up to its name recently, at least as far as I'm concerned:

  • She Loves You (The Beatles)
  • Sister Golden Hair (America)
  • Sloop John B (The Beach Boys)
  • To Love Somebody (The Bee Gees)
  • Here We Go Again (Ray Charles)
  • Stand by Your Man (Tammy Wynette)
I especially like the Hammond B3 organ that Billy Preston plays for Ray Charles in Here We Go Again; it sounds like what you'd hear at a funky evangelical Christian church service.

On a related note (ha!), Badfinger's "Day After Day" entered Jamel's reaction library as another data point in his quest to "keep great music alive". Not for nothing did that jovial man say, "I'm getting a Beatles feel from these brothas." I'm pretty sure that people who commented in his channel have since explained the ties between those two bands to Jamel.

Lessons from songwriters

Pope Francis could learn from the songcraft of Lionel Richie, Michael Jackson, and Jackson Browne, I've decided.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Favorite answers on Quora

In no particular order (although chronological comes close), here are my favorite answers to questions on Quora:

  1. What is the definition of "covfefe"?
  2. What [are] the criteria to be considered Christian?
  3. When was the last time America had a candid discussion with itself?
  4. What was the wisest thing Jesus ever said?
  5. What is the difference between out of pocket and off the cuff?
  6. How does Mathew 20:6 square with Paul's ministry?
  7. Is Amy Coney Barrett too religious for the Supreme Court?
  8. What is the 'soul of the nation,' and what would it mean to save it?
  9. Is there a difference between Christianity and Catholicism?