Friday, November 7, 2014

7 Quick Takes vol. 43

Still hosted by Conversion Diary

1.       Well, that was an enjoyable election season. I suppose it’s too much to hope that, with the largest Republican majority since the days of Herbert Hoover, we’ll soon be experiencing a return to 1920s level prosperity. As a matter of fact, given my experience with the GOP, I suspect they’ll whizz this victory away just like they’ve always done in the past. Still, 2014: the Bloodletting was at least a fun experience of schadenfreude.

2.       I’m doing Nanowrimo this year, and using it as a chance to finally tackle the next entry in the Gods and Monsters universe, which I’ve been considering off and on since at least May. So far so good; the story’s flowing and cohering better than it ever has before, and I’m having fun doing some very intricate plotting. It’s also unexpectedly kind of sad, since I know what’s going to happen to all these characters down the road and they’re all so blissfully unaware of their impending fates. Not that all of them have unhappy endings, necessarily, but they’ve all got trouble with a capital T coming their way, and we meet them in one of their last moments of relative peace. 

3.       So far my Halloween video has been getting mostly good feedback, though a friend of mine pointed out a rather embarrassing flaw: on YouTube I titled it “Batman Rouges Gallery:” thus misleading some poor soul into thinking it was a tribute to Bruce Wayne’s extensive selection of cosmetics for bringing out just that right shade of blush in his soft, dimpled cheeks. Needless to say, this has been corrected and no, this is not the first time I’ve made that error.
I understand Bane once did something similar. He received a charming makeover before realizing his mistake.

“That Autumn Rose color betrays you because it belongs to me!

4.       I’m back to being engrossed in reading Witness by Whittaker Chambers, which I’ve been reading on-and-off for about a year now (it’s a big book, and sometimes kind of hard to follow: lots of little details about life in the Communist underground and the various people who aren’t using real names). Now I’ve gotten to the part where he talks about the actual Alger Hiss case. One of the really interesting things, for me, was the prominent role played by then-Congressman Richard Nixon, who proves one of Chambers’ staunchest allies/weapons in the case. Nixon today, of course, is basically the political boogeyman of the US government (him and Joseph McCarthy, which frankly says a lot more about America than of either of those two men), but at the time Chambers was writing, his Presidential years and fall from grace were still far in the future. It’s startling really to see him here, recalled with such evident respect and gratitude. When I have time, I think I’d like to study Nixon a little more closely; the image I’m beginning to form of him is not quite the ‘Corrupt and power-mad tyrant defeated by the heroic efforts of the fourth estate’ which is all I’ve ever been shown.

5.       Apparently (I wasn’t following it very closely) there was ‘shock and amazement’ recently when Pope Francis announced that Evolution and the Big Bang were both compatible with Christian faith. My reaction: can we please stop pretending to be surprised whenever a Pope says this? I mean, if I’m not mistaken, every Pope since at least Pius XII has said something about how there’s no conflict between Christianity and Evolution. Every serious Catholic writer and thinker I’ve ever read, if he brings it up, tends to kind of shrug at the idea and say something to the effect of “If that’s what science says, fine, but it doesn’t have any effect on doctrine.” Hell, Saint Thomas Aquinas was allowing for evolution back in the twelve-hundreds (“Species, also, that are new, if any such appear, existed beforehand in various active powers; so that animals, and perhaps even new species of animals, are produced by putrefaction by the power which the stars and elements received at the beginning”).
Basically, whenever I hear anything about the ‘war between science and religion,’ or the like, my reaction is pretty much the same one your average atheist has to Christianity: “Good God; do people still believe that crap!?”

6.       Today after work I have plans to go straight to the theater to see Big Hero Six, which I’ve been really looking forward to, even before I had my own resurgence in Disney Animation. I doubt I’ll have the time or energy for a full review, but I will at least let you know what I thought (early word is quite encouraging, though that’s what I said about Frozen, so we’ll see).

7.       And our ending quote:
“This will go down in history as the cinema season the proved that crime doesn’t pay, but there’s a fortune in adultery, incest, and homosexuality.”
-Bob Hope, 1970 Academy Awards

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