17 February 2004
Yesterday I got several testimonials for Mel Gibson's Jesus-y movie in my e-mail inbox. Two of them were identical except for being credited to different sources (neither of the two sources knew the difference between "Della Rosa" and "Dolorosa," sadly). But they both harped on how this movie was Biblical, Biblical, Biblical.
Except that it isn't; it's known to have been based partly on the story in the four canonical Gospels but partly on spiritual writings from a couple of nuns many centuries later. Please understand that I'm not saying that this makes it a bad movie, or that being Biblically-based would make it a good movie. I'm not saying that it automatically is or is not a Christian movie on this basis, either; I don't generally set myself up as the judge of what's Christian. (I do have a hard time with people who think "God is love" is a metaphor rather than a definition, but I am not the Grand Arbiter Of Things Christian. I keep reminding myself.)
What I am saying is that when someone tries to gloss over their sources, I look very, very carefully. And when they try to gloss over their sources by appealing to something they expect their listeners will find authoritative, I'm even more skeptical. The Left Behind books fall into this category for me: their supporters go on and on about how Biblically based they are, when most of their source material is entirely non-Biblical and that which is Biblical is interpreted extremely narrowly, if not...let's say in a manner that's difficult to match up with the text.
Also, I really, really hate it when supporting a specific work of art (and I use that term in a judgment-neutral sense, as works of art can also be pieces of crap) is deemed necessary for a philosophical or religious viewpoint. It's The Christians Vs. The Nonbelievers! Whose side are you on? Choose now or face perdition, sheep or goats, whoooooooo!
Nowhere in the Bible does it say, "She who promotes lies and bad art in My name will be called blessed." It's just not in there. Also, it doesn't say, "Anything people can slap My name on has My authority behind it." In fact, there's a whole bunch of stuff the Bible doesn't say. People seem to get confused about this. When I was looking at colleges, one admissions department suggested to my father that, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" was a quote from one of the Gospels. Uff da mai.
But I really, really wish people realized that I'm a bad person to e-evangelize. I really do.
Anyway, I was reading Making Light this morning and came across Stephen King's speech accepting the National Book Award people's Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Award. Teresa quoted the bits about storytelling, which were good indeed and worth thinking through, but the bits where he was talking about his wife choked me up a bit.
So. I finished Finland in the Twentieth Century and knew enough to dispute several of the author's main points. Bah. I also read Bujold's "Winterfair Gifts" out of Irresistible Forces, but enough firm anti-recommendations of the rest of the book have convinced me that I have enough to read right now and don't need to spend my time on it. So I picked up Stella's copy of Patricia Briggs's Dragon Bones, and I may alternate that with Modris Eksteins's Rites of Spring: the Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age. If I have time to read at all: it's Timprov's birthday, for one thing. (Yay!) So we're going out for dinner. (Yay!) And the list, oh, the list. I seem to be in the middle of several items without being able to cross any one of them off. Sigh. And I need to get on the phone to the water heater people, because enough is enough already, and this has gone past enough. Sheesh.
On my list of odd observances: apparently in this house bras are like cereal. Here's the thing with cereal: we never buy just a box of cereal. It's rare that we buy two. We usually have at least three or four boxes open, because if we're going to eat it all before it goes stale anyway, why not have options? We're all about options here. We're often confusing that way. Anyway, so we'll have somewhere between three and eight kinds of cold cereal in the pantry, and we'll be noshing along happily, and then all of a sudden they'll all run out at the same time, and we'll buy a bunch of boxes all at once. (The advantage here is that there are often coupons for 2-4 boxes of cereal at a time. This advantage will not come up in the bra discussion.) I even have a fair idea of why this is: if we eat from all or most of the boxes on a fairly even basis, then go on a jag for one particular kind, then the other boxes are already partly depleted when we're forced to turn to them, and the selection is smaller, so it kind of spirals in on itself.
I always have this with bras, too: I go from having plenty of them, no problem, wearing them fairly evenly except for maybe one really good one. And then one of them goes, and then another, and all of a sudden I'm left with very little in the way of support. Luckily, I've done this before, so I can see it coming and act accordingly. Still, it's frustrating to have wires poking out of one after another of them. And I didn't really need another errand on the list. Ah well; maybe the internet can help me. It would help more if I was British...sigh. (Ackack! Why are so many of them peach? And yellow! I can't wear yellow! Ackack! Sassy grape?)
But enough of all that. I'm still thinking about Noah! (I have often said that I will give this journal up when I get pregnant, if I haven't before. Perhaps it's becoming clear why.) On the phone with Kari Sunday night, I stopped all of a sudden and said, "Kari, you're somebody's mom." She laughed. "I know." But the thing is, she's the mom of somebody specific.
I know, I know, it's silly. But there's a big difference between having a baby and having this baby, this Noah Mason Kirchmeier who has a favored foot for sticking out when he's hot or frustrated, who is opposed to keeping his monitors where they've been stuck, there in the NICU. Who has, in short, opinions. It's the difference between knowing that you might one day fall in love and being in love with that guy, look, right there, you can poke him with your finger. (He'll probably ask, "Why are you poking me? Why do you torment me so?" But you can still do it if you want to.) It's just...it's an awfully big thing, is what. I don't blame new parents who tell dozens of seemingly trivial stories about their babies. Because they've got an entirely new person to introduce to their friends and family, and we don't really know what to expect. And they don't, either. There are already things Noah does like Kari, ways Noah looks like Jake, but there are going to be things where they're looking at each other going, "Did you do that? I never did that. Do you like that stuff? I don't like that stuff -- he must have gotten that from your side." There will be things he loves that they've never even heard of. He's so new, and already he's a person. It just boggles me.
I'm not very focused today, but that's mostly an artifact of the way I've been doing other things while I write this. I've been focusing fine on the other things. Which is probably a sign that I should just shut up and go do them already.
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