The Speckled Mind

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Bits and Pieces

There are a few things I've been meaning to blog about, none of which deserve their own entry. So, here goes:

1. Jessica and I were walking through Barnes and Noble in Duluth this past weekend. As we were about to exit the store, I noticed a table of books marked, "Easter is Coming Soon!" As we approached, I noticed the following books: The Jesus Papers, The Davinci Code, The Gospel of Judas, The Gospel of Mary and Jesus by Marcus Borg. Because apparently the employees of Barnes and Noble feel there is no better way to celebrate a Savior who is alive and well than with a table full of books that deny the historicity of His resurrection.

2. As Jess and I were driving to said book selling establishment, we saw three buildings on the side of the road. The first was a Christian radio station and the third was a Planned Parenthood clinic. In between? A legal firm. It's good to see that irony is alive and well in Duluth.

3. Part (I think) four in our ongoing 'For those about to waste time, I solute you' series is this curious little Russian website. Click on the red square in the middle and move it to avoid both the moving blue squares and the static black border. I've been told that if you can do it for 18 seconds or more you are a genius. I can't best 8 seconds.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

What do Tim and Iran Have in Common?

Apparently we both had second thoughts about the movie 300. Of course, mine were somewhat rational and not nearly as adaptable to a Daily Show spot as Iran's.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

300 Ways to Die Trying

I saw 300 last night and am still reeling from it. Though I usually like to have thoughts fully formed before blogging, I haven't posted in a long time...

...which may tell you about how many thoughts I've fully formed in the last two weeks.

This movie appealed to me in a base kind of way. There's just something about being a dude that gives you an insatiable urge to watch movies with exploding buildings, fast cars or ripped heroes picking a fight.

So...was it good? Critics were mixed in their evaluations, and after leaving the theater I had similarly mixed feelings. The movie was undeniably gorgeous from a cinematography perspective. While the dialogue was often predictable, it mattered little in the wake of the visual elegance. But something about this film has left me feeling empty.

About halfway through the film, I noticed myself longing to see the Spartans spill the blood of their enemies. The arrogance, cruelty and blasphemy of Xerxes and his minions begged for a taste of true justice, and who better to administer it than the Spartans? After all, they were in the right, simply protecting their land, women and children. Fighting for freedom. Protecting Justice. Ensuring liberty.

But something about these slogans and their trappings rang painfully hollow as I thought back on the film this morning. Sure, the Spartans were presented in the film as the protagonists. As heroes. As liberators.

But were they?

Exactly what sort of freedom, justice and liberty were the Spartans aiming to protect by King Leonidas' ill fated march against the Persians? Justice that snatches the most beautiful young girls from the city and subjects them to a wasted life of pseudo prostitution as oracles? Liberty that casts all 'undesirable' babies to their death and instills an insatiable blood lust in the desirable ones? Freedom that ultimately begins and ends with the one who wields the mightiest sword?

Is anything truly gained by substituting one form of tyranny for another? Is there really any difference between the 'benevolent' rule of Leonidas and the 'benevolent' rule of Xerxes? Is there really any sort of freedom that doesn't come at the expense of systemic bondage? Shouldn't evil be identified as such irregardless of personal or national familiarity with it?

The parallels to our own situation almost go without saying and, though it has become fashionable to criticize current United States foreign policy, the implied questions are still worth asking irrespective of fashion. But, I'll leave those questions implied for the moment.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Tut, tut. It Looks Like Snow

For those of you keeping score at home, it's still snowing. We're hovering around 14" outside of my house right now, and I expect over 20" by the time I wake up tomorrow morning. The only thing in Minnesota exceeding the snowfall amounts today was (sadly) Carlos Silva's ERA--a whopping 22.50. Perhaps he was showing sympathy to his home state. That, or he's just a terrible pitcher. Logic and experience force me to lean toward the latter.

I'm soooooo not going to work tomorrow. But it's OK. I have The Departed and Syriana to keep me warm.

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