How our politicized media would review the Narnia books

Our media is highly politicized across the spectrum, obsessed–pro- or con- or somewhere in between–with the Donald Trump phenomenon.  No one can escape it!  And in print, on screen, and online pundits are interpreting non-Trump phenomena in Trumpian terms.

My former student John Ehrett, of whom I am proud, has a hilarious piece in The Federalist about what various outlets would say if The Chronicles of Narnia were to be published today.

He looks at 21 media outlets, from The New York Times to Patheos, and nails the sensibility and obsessions of each one.

Samples after the jump.
[Read more…]

Dave Barry’s 2016 Year in Review

Dave_BarryOne of my New Year’s Eve rituals is to read Dave Barry’s annual Year in Review.

The month-by-month breakdown helps me remember and sort of relive the year that is ending.  But it’s filtered through off-the-wall hilarity and on-target satire of all sides.

If you didn’t read it over the weekend, it’s not too late.  I’ll get you started after the jump. [Read more…]

The Christmas stories of Connie Willis & her favorite Christmas movies

Connie Willis, MiracleConnie Willis is an award-winning science fiction author and a deft satirist of contemporary foibles.  (Read her novel Bellwether.  Never again will you take seriously fashions, trends, or being cool.)  She is also a Christian.  (For more on her biography, go here.)

She has published a collection of short stories about Christmas–gift idea!–entitled Miracles and Other Christmas Stories.   I’m reading them as part of my Advent and Christmas observance and enjoying them greatly.  Some of them are of the Miracle on 34th Street-type warm-hearted type, only funnier, others are darker but thought-provoking, and some are about the True Meaning of Christmas.

Also of value in that volume is her introduction, in which she discusses the genre and gives her favorite Christmas stories. She then discusses Christmas movies.  After a gentle critique of It’s a Wonderful Life and an illuminating reading of said Miracle on 34th Street, she gives her favorite movies, most of which you will probably never have heard of.  So we dug up three of them that I’ll tell you about after the jump. [Read more…]

Garrison Keillor and the test of a good religion

Garrison Keillor has stepped away from Prairie Home Companion.  Ethan McCarthy discusses his depiction of the Midwest and its values, which Keillor loves, though he often finds them annoying.  But you’ve got to read what McCarthy says about Keillor’s depiction of the church and Christianity (excerpted and linked after the jump), which, I suspect, many of you will relate to.

McCarthy closes with a quotation from G. K. Chesterton:  “It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it.” [Read more…]

When TV goes literary

NBC is developing a new series based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel Oliver Twist.  The series, called Twist, will be a “procedural”–that is, it will follow the main characters as they solve crimes.  Here is how the network describes the show:  “A sexy contemporary take on Oliver Twist with a struggling 20-something female (Twist) who finally finds a true sense of family in a strange group of talented outcasts who use their unique skills to take down wealthy criminals.”

So Dickens’ orphan boy will become a sexy 20-something woman.  The homeless children whom Fagin teaches to be pickpockets will become talented crimefighters.

Similarly, Fox has in development a series called Camelot, based on the King Arthur legends.  It too will be a procedural.  It will feature a graffiti artist named Art who solves crimes with the help of his ex-girlfriend Gwen and his best friend Lance.  (Seriously.  Read about it here.)

But at least the TV-watching public is getting the benefit of classic literature!

These series may sound like parody, something from the Onion, but they are real.  Nevertheless, they beg for actual parody. What other modernized procedurals could we come up with from other works of literature and (we’ll extend it a little) cultural milestones?  I’ll go first, after the jump. [Read more…]

Gaffigans end their TV show for a more important project

A few nights ago, we watched comedian Jim Gaffigan’s routine “Obsessed.”  We laughed so hard we were in pain.  He and his wife and writer Jeannie just announced that they were going to end their successful TV series, “The Jim Gaffigan Show.”  They said that it was taking too much time away from their “most important project”; namely, raising their 5 children. [Read more…]