Monday Morning Confessional

I confess that I don’t get why people are so upset about Ben Affleck as Batman. I like Ben Affleck. Maybe its because I never saw Gigli? I did see Pearl Harbor, though… ouch. But I also saw Argo, and Good Will Hunting, both of which I think are amazing films. Perhaps even more impressive is Gone Baby Gone, which he directed and wrote. Oh man, that’s a good movie. And the ethical questions involved are important. Those three films alone – two won Oscars and one received critical acclaim and other awards – that’s a career.

But that’s not my real confession. My real confession is this: I love Armageddon (the movie). I think I’ve watched it no less than ten times. I know, it’s completely over the top, formulaic, self-indulgent, and Hollywood… but I dig it. The scene where Willis is walking Affleck down to his death-by-saving-the-world moment, then pulls the switch, with Affleck going crazy and crying? That’s harder to do than it looks. Actually I think Affleck has several really good moments in that film. I could quote you a few lines… but I won’t. Also, I confess that I liked Bounce, too; and Jersey Girl; and I did not dislike Reindeer Games or Surviving Christmas

I wonder if people hate Affleck because we all love to feel superior to someone and Affleck represents the low hanging fruit… which brings me to my next confession. I’m pondering the right posture with which to respond to Miley Cyrus’s performance at the MTV awards last night. I didn’t watch live, but it’s grabbing headlines today. After reading one article I confess that I had to Google the world “twerk,” and promptly wished I hadn’t. I think my posture is this: I really wish that the world would find a way to tell this little girl that she is enough, just as she is. She doesn’t have to keep trying to stay on top. She doesn’t have anything to prove. If I could say one thing to her I would say, you don’t have to be Hannah Montana anymore if you don’t want to, but you have to figure out how to to be yourself without needing to shock the world. Don’t try to be the best, Miley. Try to be good, virtuous, and whole. Everybody wants it to work out for you. We don’t want to watch it happen again… scandals, rehab, divorces, addictions, and everything else.

I confess that I’m about 2/3’s of the way through McCullough’s Truman biography, and I’m still loving it. This last week I read through the era where he was deciding whether or not to use the atomic bomb. What surprised me more than anything is that Truman seemed to never consider the ethics involved. He hardly seems to have talked about whether it was morally defensible, or how it would change the world. When Oppenheimer came to see him later, sweating, agitated, and confessing to the president that he was haunted by what he had created, Truman was disgusted by the display. It’s so interesting to me that over a half-century later, the primary question is the ethical one when at the time, ethics wasn’t a question at all.

I confess that I have tried to keep reading about the events in both Syria and Egypt. Today my prayer today is that there are no more chemical weapon attacks, and that the U.S. doesn’t start raining cruise missiles on Syria. If Syria really used chemical weapons, then Assad is a war criminal now. That means a fight to the death, and he won’t care who he takes down with him. I confess that today, I would like to have just about any job in the world other than head of the U.N. Weapons Inspection Team headed for Damascus while snipers take pot-shots at their SUV. God help them.

I confess that I am mystified by the pervasive violence of the Arab world. I’ve been trying to avoid a place of judgment as I keep myself informed, and it is becoming more difficult to pull off. Lately, this is what I tell myself: These are largely pre-modern societies that are just now entering modernity. That’s a tough move no matter the era. When I start to judge the constant violence and pettiness and terrorism and poor judgment, I just make myself think about what it would have been like if the Protestant Reformation would have been televised. I usually find myself singing a little Ben Folds,

“Everybody knows; It hurts to grow up 
But everybody does; It’s so weird to be back here 
Let me tell you what; The years go on and 
We’re still fighting it.”

I confess that the list of tags for this blog post has to be the most eclectic I’ve ever made: Ben Affleck, Armageddon, Miley Cyrus, McCullough, Truman, Syria, Egypt, Assad, Ben Folds, and Bruce Willis.

Okay friends, that’s my confession for this week. Now it’s time for you to make yours!


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