The only exclusive truth claim you can make

As someone who spends a lot of time doing research, I’ve become a huge fan of Amazon’s recommendation system (“Customers who bought this item also bought…”). It’s a great way to simulate the experience of browsing through a bookstore or a library and stumbling across an item you didn’t know you needed until you saw [Read More...]

What if…

A top notch Libyan special forces unit sneaked into the United States and abducted a known terrorist–who also happened to be a US citizen–and then spirited him (or her) off to some undisclosed location to face trial under Libyan law? How do you think Americans would react? [Read more...]

Freedom, security and Ben Franklin

Last night while cruising through the foggy mountains on the way home from a couple of… “gladitorial” Hellbound? screenings at Abilene Christian University, I caught the tail end of the first Fragile Freedoms lecture series on CBC Radio’s most excellent Ideas program. The speaker was British philosopher A. C. Grayling, who provided a brief survey [Read More...]

Don’t be a chickensh*t(ter)!

Way, way back when I was in college, I spent some time studying family systems therapy, which was developed by psychiatrist Murray Bowen beginning in the mid-1950s. In a nutshell, family systems therapy, or the Bowen Theory as it came to be called, is a theory of human behavior that views the family rather than [Read More...]

This is not a pipe. (Or a painting of a pipe!)

Last weekend I had a wonderful time speaking and showing Hellbound? at Lendrum Mennonite Brethren Church in Edmonton, Alberta. While preparing a talk entitled Why What’s Clear to You Isn’t So Clear to Me, I came across the painting below by Belgian artist RenĂ© Magritte. Called The Treachery of Images, I feel the painting is [Read More...]

How to get on the right side of history

A few years ago I made a serious attempt at becoming a day trader. Call it burnout, a midlife crisis or simply a desire to indulge a passion I’ve had since childhood, but I resolved to finally give it a go. So I did what I normally do when seeking to learn something new: I [Read More...]

A few thoughts on fundamentalism

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about fundamentalism in preparation for an upcoming project I’d like to do on Rene Girard’s mimetic theory. As part of the development process, I’ve been doing a series of presentations to help me workshop the material. I’ve never approached a documentary project in this way before. However, I’m finding [Read More...]

The new cutting edge of horror?

I’ve always had a fascination with horror movies. In fact, one of the first things that piqued my interest in filmmaking was reading about legendary makeup artist Jack Pierce, Lon Chaney, Jr., Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and the Universal monster movies. (The book pictured here was one of my favorites.) Long before I’d seen any [Read More...]

An abstract for a book chapter I’m going to write

Recently I was asked to contribute to an upcoming book on Marshall McLuhan and philosophy. My role is to write on McLuhan and film narrative. It just so happened that shortly before I received this request, I watched Quentin Tarantino’s latest film Django Unchained. Like his previous film, Inglourious Basterds, I was so struck by [Read More...]

What’s your “immortality formula”?

One of my major discoveries during the production of Hellbound? was the work of existential psychologist Ernest Becker. Tragically, he succumbed to lung cancer when he was just 50 years old. But thankfully he was afforded enough time on earth to write The Denial of Death, in which the following quote appears. Becker ranks as [Read More...]