• Soraya Roberts on “Winona, Forever.” It’s a terrific profile of the actress, and probably also about something more than that.
(Ryder also co-stars with Oscar Isaac in this spoiler-filled David Simon story about Show Me a Hero, the account of one battle in the age-old war between writers and actors.)
• “Hezekiah removed the high places, broke down the pillars, and cut down the sacred pole. He broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it; it was called Nehushtan.”
• My number was up this week for jury duty, which can be a tricky thing for those of us who work nights. I’d actually like to serve on a jury some day, but the timing this week was sub-optimal and likely meant a day or two of very little sleep. Happily, the recorded message on the 800-number we’re supposed to call the evening before our service has informed me that my service will not be needed either of the two days I was called for. I’m off the hook.
I’m not sure if this is due to a lack of crime here in Chester County, or to particularly skilled criminals managing to evade arrest, but whatever the cause of this week’s light schedule at the courthouse, I’m grateful for it.
• “Life is what happened to the dead.” This is sad, but lovely. Which I guess is part of the point.
• Here’s a story about college students required to wear a Fitbit for a freshman health and PE class. That’ll be a lot harder (though not impossible) to fake than the fitness journals we were required to keep when I took my school’s version of that class.
The surprising thing here though is the particular college in question: Oral Roberts University. That’s a very evangelical institution from a branch of white evangelicalism that puts a big emphasis on End-Times-y, “Bible prophecy” folklore. And now its students are required to bear a mark that will track their every move.
Fitbits, in other words, are just exactly the sort of technology that used to give American evangelicals fits. This is a religious subculture that has, over the years, balked at Social Security numbers, UPC labels, smart phones and GPS. I’d have expected at least some of ORU’s community to look at a Fitbit and say, “Let anyone with understanding calculate the number …”
Maybe this means the religious right’s Mark of the Beast paranoia is ebbing enough that some day I won’t need to constantly replace the expiring paper documentation of my auto registration and proof of insurance, but can just have all of that data available by swiping my driver’s license. As it should be.
• “Now that Nephilim are on TV every week, the mission of Remnant of Giants is complete. Let the reader understand.”
I watched the pilot back while we were snowed in and here’s my review: Not enough Nephilim. Sure, if you’re just looking for a Chosen One YA story set in a world in which everyone is even better looking than on the CW, then you may enjoy Shadowhunters. But a few oblique allusions to the angelic theory of Genesis 6 don’t go nearly far enough to satisfy the need for far more weird Enochian legend in prime time TV.
For those keeping track of such things, Shadowhunter is on “Freeform,” which is the terrible new name for the channel that started out as Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network, then became the CBN Family Channel, then just the Family Channel, then Fox Family, and then ABC Family, and now “Freeform.” That string of names, I think, is probably a metaphor for something.
• The title of this post is from a Matthew Sweet song from 1991, the year after Edward Scissorhands and Mermaids and Roxy Carmichael. But Soraya’s essay has me thinking of this Sweet song from a couple years later, after the Age of Innocence, and after 10,000 op-ed proclamations that all these slacker 20-somethings will be forever regarded, perpetually, as slacker 20-somethings, no matter how old they get.