If Only Angels Would Prevail: The Ballad of Sweeney Todd

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The Pope Francis bookclub post will run on Wednesday, since the chapter seemed apropos for the beginning of Lent.In a time when Hollywood is producing gritty remakes of well nigh everything, it might be appropriate to look back at one of my favorite works on how to live in an irrevocable corrupt world.  Today, at Ethika Politika, I'm discussing the tragic love that the Demon Barber of Fleet Street still bears the Moral Law in Sweeney Todd. Bond’s Sweeney, when confronted by bloodshed, has a … [Read more...]

Coriolanus’s Lonely Love

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I'd never read or seen Coriolanus before a group of friends and I went out to see Tom Hiddleston as the eponymous lead in an NT Live broadcast.  During intermission, one of my friends leaned across our block of seats to say, "I've guess this is the methadone to my House of Cards addiction."In Coriolanus, the title character is a great general, but flounders when his friends try to elevate him as a Roman Consul.  His apparent arrogance and disdain for the ordinary people of Rome, who he would … [Read more...]

Oh, the places you might not want to go!

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Tomorrow, I get to watch my brother graduate, and I'm quite excited for him, and, well, for the commencement speaker: Joss Whedon.  Since my brother is not a public figure, and Whedon is, I'll limit the content of this post to only one of these awesome people.There were two quite interesting pieces on the arts in The New York Times this weekend.  A feature on Whedon mentioned his delightful habit of having Shakespeare parties while shooting Buffy and Angel, and the impact this had on … [Read more...]

“You’re Gonna Have to Serve Somebody”

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In yesterday's post, I talked about the unenviable invulnerability of indifference, and, it so happened that the play I saw this weekend (Tom Stoppard's Rock and Roll at the Actors Ensemble of Berkeley) touched on similar themes.  The play is structured around (among other things) resistance to Soviet-dominated Communism in Czechoslovakia.  At one point in the play, Jan gets into an argument with his friend Ferdinand (recently released from prison) about who represents a larger threat to the go … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (3/15/13)

--- 1 --- I've joined up on one of the online campaigns for Dungeons and Discourses, and, meanwhile, friend of the blog Christian H has invented an expansion pack for Scott's game.  He's invented spells and feats for a new Critic class and you can see how he put it all together chez lui.  Here's one I particularly enjoyed: PERFORM GENDER Type: self, feminist, lgtbq, postmodern Prerequisite: 2 Level Utopian or Ethicist Cost: 2W Duration: 2 turns Spell: You use your knowledge of gender per … [Read more...]

Pulling Off the New Vulgarity

I am cautiously optimistic for Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of The Great Gatsby, though, like pretty much everyone, I have some hugely unsettled and queasy feelings each time I watch the trailer below:The modern music is jarring, and the dancing looks lewd.  But I think that might be all to the good.  It's hard to manage vulgarity when it occurs in a period piece.  Flapper dresses are so much prettier and more embellished than my jeans and a t-shirt that it's hard to remember that, in their … [Read more...]

What Do We Owe All the Valjeans?

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Since Les Mis seems to prompt endless reprises on this blog, you won't be surprised to find I'm over at First Things today talking about Valjean, Javert, and what we owe to the prisoners in our criminal justice system. When Jean Valjean appears for the first time in the stage musical Les Misérables, he is in the process of being paroled, and he is in an argument with his former jailer. When Inspector Javert barks out “You are a thief,” Valjean replies, “I stole a loaf of bread.” For Valjean, his … [Read more...]


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