The inimitable Hans Fiene at Lutheran Satire on the Jesus’ wife kerfluffle and, more generally, on the mindset it represents:
Local columnist John Kelly asked readers to tell about “common knowledge” that they somehow missed. Some examples:
A reader named Andrea said she was raised in Upstate New York and didn’t visit Washington until she was 21. Growing up, she would hear about artifacts that were being put “in the Smithsonian.”
Wrote Andrea: “I had always thought that the Smithsonian was that tall pointy thing that I had seen pictures of in textbooks — you know, the Washington Monument — and wondered how it all fit in there. I’m not sure when I was disabused of this idea, but to this day I almost always accidentally call the Washington Monument the ‘Smithsonian’ in my head before pointing it out to people — and identifying it correctly — out loud.”
A reader I’ll call “Jan” has had her driver’s license for 35 years. “I understand how cars work and am a good driver,” she wrote. “However, I only learned from my husband a few years ago what those little white lights on the rear of a car were: the back up lights. . . . I keep wondering what else I don’t know.”
Frederick’s Annie Hughes confessed that until about five years ago, she did not know that thunder is the sound lightning makes. “I am very embarrassed to admit that fact,” she wrote. . . .
Laurel’s Charlie Goedeke calls himself “a highly trained modern engineer” who has always enjoyed classical music. “For years I listened to and appreciated the music of Chopin — as in ‘Chopping,’ with a silent g — on recordings,” Charlie wrote. “At the same time I was vaguely aware of the existence of another composer, ‘Showpan,’ heard often on the radio. It wasn’t until I was in my 40s, when a friend was asked to play a Chopin piece on our piano, that the connection between the two finally clicked.”
Annandale’s Jane Pacelli said that she was baffled for years by two words that seemed to have similar, if not identical, meanings: “The word ‘subtle’ (presumably pronounced SUB-tul) was often seen in print but never heard in conversation,” she wrote. “Its twin was pronounced SUTT-el (and presumably spelled ‘suttle’) and never seen in print.” . . .
One day when he was in his 10th-grade biology class, Germantown’s Vince Opperman listened to the teacher answer a student’s questions about blood transfusions and how important our RH factor is when getting blood.
“This seemed odd to me, not having done my homework,” Vince wrote. “So I asked: ‘What does our age have to do with it?’ Brought down the house.”
We’ve been kind of serious around this blog for awhile, and a jolt of humility is good for all of us. Under the anonymity of the internet, what are some things like these that you should have known but just didn’t?
The blogging maestro Anthony Sacramone, who used to be Luther at the Movies, is back, after one of his intermittent long blog vacations. Read his notes on the new Batman movie. Read them all, but here is a random sampling:
Ah! Some real action. Finally. Selina Kyle, aka Cat Womyn, played by Anne Hathaway, granddaughter of Miss Jane Hathaway, late of The Beverly Hillbillies, a true fact I found on Wikipedia after I cut-and-pasted it there, puts one in mind of what a young Sean Young would have done with the role had she not gone batcrap crazy. With legs long enough to make a crane fly cry and a freakishly narrow skull, Hathaway is both terrifying and strangely alluring, a wastrel who cat burgles in order to “feed herself,” although her 14-inch waist would lead one to believe she’s not very good at her job. Desperate to wipe the criminal-record slate clean and start again, this time as a medical transcriptionist in Scarsdale, Cat Person is obviously seeking both redemption and a spinoff movie to make us forget Halle Berry’s calamitous effort. Coming in at a weight of 125 pounds, Selina is nevertheless able to kick several 6-foot-6, 350-pound gangsters unconscious in a matter of seconds, when it took the 135-pound Bruce Lee a good while to take out Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Must be something in those Flintstone vitamins these gals take nowadays. . . .
Lionized by the conservative press as something of an anti-Occupy movie, The Dark Night Mooneth does demonstrate in vivid color what a revolution really looks like — a lot of show trials, explosions, hangings, and an added 45 minutes to everyone’s commute. Makes one feel sorry for Michael Moore and other Hollywood socialists, who I’m sure will be accosted on the streets with copies of Hayek and Burke after young libertarians leave the theaters on fire for counterrevolutionary activity.
(Progressive commentators, however, have bemoaned Citizen Bane’s failure to implement a “green” policy that would have demanded the purchase of carbon credits before setting off the big bang-bang. If you’re going to hold a city hostage, a la certain public-worker unions, you must at least have a recycling plan in place for all the attendant debris.) . . . .
This film is very loud. I tried signaling the projectionist with a sign (PROJECTIONIST: THIS FILM IS VERY LOUD) I always keep on my person, but my efforts were met with catcalls and boos from my fellow auditors. One even got up and screamed, “Sit the eff down you effing eff or I’ll effing eff you up!” That’s literally what he said. Must be a Baptist . . . .
Why is it that filmmakers love to blow up New York City? It must be the skyline, or maybe Mayor Bloomberg has decided to ban something again, like Mentos or something.
Mr. Sacramone also posts about an upcoming movie about Hell, that guy who texted as he drove off a cliff, and much more.
You should bookmark his blog, Strange Herring, and visit it regularly. I have been doing so for five months, just to see if he might have started posting again. He finally has.
David Sedaris is a humor writer who has a standing gig at National Public Radio news shows. His schtick is based on his array of personal experiences, such as the time he once worked in a department store as Santa’s elf. But NPR got burned when it turned out that Mike Daisey’s expose of conditions at an Apple Computer factory in China was largely made up. And now it has come out that some of Sedaris’s anecdotes–including his time as an elf–did not, strictly speaking, actually happen. Sedaris says his material is “real-ish.” So now NPR is undergoing a crisis of conscience about the extent to which they should fact-check Sedaris’s funny stories.
Fiction, of course, by definition is made up. Sedaris presents his stories as experiences, though the nature of humor is going to require exaggerations, caricatures, and embellishments.
Do you think NPR is being responsible or over-scrupulous? What is the difference between what Sedaris does and what Daisey did? Could you propose some guidelines for NPR?
Do you read the mad-cap sports columnist Norman Chad? His latest column is about the mystery of Albert Pujols, the St. Louis Cardinals superstar–who has hit an average of 40 home runs each season with a career .326 batting average–who can now do hardly anything (one home run, batting .196) after being paid a quarter of a billion dollars to join the California Angels.
Chad wonders if the Pujols deal might join his top five flops of all time:
●New Coke (1985): Was anybody complaining about Coca-Cola? What were they thinking? This was like adding skylights and terraces to the Pyramids.
●Chevy Chase’s talk show (1993): Magic Johnson’s talk show actually was worse, but he was a point guard; Chase is an entertainer.
●Ben-Gay Aspirin (1990s): Yes, Ben-Gay Aspirin. For real. I mean, I’ll smear that delightfully smelly stuff on my back, but do I care to swallow it?
●Dennis Miller on “Monday Night Football” (2000-01): I still have nightmares of the former funny guy referring to Coach Mike Shanahan as “Shanny” 37 times in four quarters.
●Susan B. Anthony dollar (1979-81, 1999): Hey, I was as big a fan of women’s suffrage as the next guy, but I don’t want some feminist coin rolling around my pocket ruining the feng shui of my favorite quarters and dimes.
What are some other epic failures?
The rumor has been going around that this new liturgy will be replacing Divine Service One in the Lutheran Service Book. It dates, though, from April 1. That is to say, April Fool’s Day. (HT: Todd Wilken.) Still, I suspect this order of service will inspire both outrage and the desire to adopt it:
GREETING AND AFFIRMATION
A MEDLEY OF MOOD-SETTING SONGS is sung. Stand spontaneously during the final Guitar Solo
The sign of applause may be made by all in gratitude to the PRAISE BAND.
P. Good Morning!
C. Good Morning.
P. Aw, come on now. Say it like you mean it. Good Morning!
C. Good Morning!
P. Give yourselves a hand.
Silence for Preparation of the Power Point Projection.
P. Let’s lift our hearts to God in prayer.
A MOOD-SETTING MELODY is played quietly in the background. This MELODY continues through the prayer and for 2 minutes into the MESSAGE. It begins again 2 minutes before the end of the MESSAGE.
The Pastor speaks an EXTEMPORANEOUS PRAYER.
P. Lord, we just want to thank you…
…because You’re an awesome God. And all God’s people said…
P. Aw, come on now. Say it like you mean it.
A RELEVANT, GENERALLY INSPIRING MESSAGE is spoken by the Pastor, as well as a series of ANNOUNCEMENTS AND PROMOTIONS, concluding with another EXTEMPORANEOUS PRAYER.
MORE AWESOME MUSIC
A MEDLEY OF INCREASINGLY UPBEAT SONGS is sung. Standing Ovation
P. Have a great week everybody!
P. Aw, come on now. Clap like you mean it!
Applaud until the Pastor smiles and signals to stop.
P. Give yourselves a hand.