Hawaiian Folk Music, Crusades and Columns

Last night, my husband got home from an outing and watched The Descendents, starring George Clooney. Not really a Clooney fan, but he was very good, and the movie was engrossing. Hubby and I both wished that some religious perspective might have been introduced, but then that would have made it a completely different movie, so — it is what it is. The reason I’m mentioning it at all, though is because we both commented, almost at precisely the same moment, that we were really enjoying the soundtrack of Hawaiian instrumental and folk music. It’s the sort of music you might like to listen to while working in the garden, or sweeping a patio, or cleaning a kid’s room.

Jonah Goldberg’s The Tyranny of Cliches: If you’ve been wondering if you’ll like it, you can read an excerpt, here

Two Ladies: Elizabeth Duffy and Pat Gohn both offer columns this week that I think are well worth reading. Elizabeth Duffy confronts the issue of empathy and why we don’t have much of it online:

[Do I] enter deeply into the feelings of real people? More often I considered other people’s feelings as slightly irritating obstacles to work my way around, and/or placate.

For example, I recently participated in a raging internet debate. I took for granted that my side of the debate was founded on the highest ideals, so I had only to convert my opponent to my way of thinking, or, if that could not be done (as likely it couldn’t), then to shame him with his error.

I’d written out several biting responses and the only thing between me and the publish button was a sneaking suspicion that I might hurt his feelings. What’s more, I thought he deserved it, suffering as he did from an invincible erroneous conscience—the kind of thinking that cannot be converted in spite of the truth that’s obvious to everyone else. It’s difficult to assume that anyone else has pure intentions when we mistakenly believe that we alone have the monopoly on right thinking. So I kept rewriting my response in attempts to hurt his feelings more subtly, in a way that didn’t indict me as the despicable person I know I’m capable of being.

You’ll want to read it all. And then, because it is May, and because all of our musings and meanderings — even the ones about empathy in the world and online — can be entrusted into the care and keeping of Our Lady, you’ll want to check out Pat Gohn’s interesting thoughts on turning, again and again, to our mother — who leads us to Christ.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://egregioustwaddle.blogspot.com/ Joanne K McPortland

    I had the same thoughts about the lack of a religious perspective (especially in the descendants of missionaries) and thought it was an Alexander Payne choice, but I hear it is also absent from the novel. And I also loved the soundtrack. The scenes of everyday Hawaii were also charming; I’ve never wanted to go there before, but I do now.

  • Kelly Two

    May I recommend any CD by Sonny Chillingsworth, master slack key guitarist? It’s pretty close to angelic music, I think.

  • Kelly Two

    Oopsy, make that Sonny “Chillingworth” (no “S”).

  • TXRed

    On the Internet, you don’t have to face the person you are talking/arguing/remonstrating with. And you can be fairly certain that you won’t accidently cross paths with them over the onion bin at the grocery store, or while going in to temple/mass/worship. So in some ways you are not talking at/to a real person whose feelings you need to consider.

    There’s also the problem of misunderstanding the writer’s tone. I’d love for someone to develop a sarcasm font, or a “gently kidding” typeface, just to name a few.

  • Izzy

    Yeah, Hawaiian music is the best for stress release. Cheaper than a trip to the islands too.

    I typed in Israel “IZ” Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole as Israel, and got the BEST free Hawaiian music on my Pandora channel.

    Brings on the smiles, deep sighs and memories of warm sandy beaches.

  • fiestamom

    I’m under the weather, I rented this movie after reading your post. How sad of a place is Hollywood? That the writer of the movie thinks it’s “normal” that a mother is on life support, yet her husband and kids leave her for days at a time? I also kept thinking about the spiritual aspect. You’re right, it would have been a different movie, but Hollywood doesn’t “get” religion.

    I am not a fan of Clooney, but I thought he was good in the movie, I’m glad he didn’t movie star it up, he looked like an average middle aged man. I like the casting, the kids and supporting characters all looked “normal”, not glamorous. The music was beautiful.


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