Friends have been so generous in not only reading what I post here, but in taking time to comment on the postings. In case you may have missed them, here are some comments of particular interest:
Jim Cashman sent me this video by way of comment on “Unconditional Support for Israel: Not even God would pass that test!”
Tzanchan 77 commented on “’Unconditional Support for Israel: Not even God would pass that test!”
Ah yes, Christians who butchered us for centuries now preaching to us about morality and how to defend ourselves. Perhaps you might do a review of the story of the town of Jedwabne in Poland during World War 2 when the good Catholics of that town brutalized their Jewish neighbours and then shoved them all into a barn and burned them alive. Not that long ago, Now, we have our tiny slice of land and you won’t even allow us that. My Mother and her family got quietly onto the cattlle cars. She survived if you can call it that, the rest of the family didn’t. Now we say, the hell with you, we will no longer go quietly.
BRS commented on “Lincoln:” A first-rate second-rate film”:
This seems like a pretty tough review of one of the best movies of
the year and an unfair critique an individual universally recognized
as one of the great presidents in American history. Who says it’s one
of the best movies of the year? The people who review movies. Who says
Abraham Lincoln is one of the best Presidents of all time? Anyone who
knows anything about American history.
You’re quite right that Lincoln’s priority was preserving the Union
and I think Spielberg was pretty explicit about communicating that in
his film. What was also clear, to me at least, was that Lincoln was a
really gifted and savvy politician who didn’t have to push for an end
to slavery but chose to when he saw an opportunity. Now, you’ve argued
that the main explanations for this were political and economic. That
northern industrialists to whom he was beholden figured out that
sweatshop labor was cheaper than owning slaves. That the future of the
economy was in low-wage labor and industrial production, railroads and
mining. I don’t know if that’s accurate or not. What I do know is that
Lincoln made the push to end slavery after being re-elected, which
suggests there was little to be had in terms of political gain. Did
ending slavery make economic sense too? It probably did. I don’t know
why any of that matters though. It didn’t change the result. The war
ended and so too did slavery. Now, if you were to read Doris
Kearns-Goodwin’s book, Team of Rivals, from which the movie Lincoln
was adapted, you’d learn that, for Lincoln, ending slavery was as much
about principle as politics and as much about morality as the economy.
Of course preserving the Union was his priority. And, of course,
ending slavery was a secondary consideration driven by moral, economic
and yes, political, imperatives. What’s news about that though? And
what movie did you watch in which that wasn’t clear?
Your argument then, seems to be, Okay, President Lincoln preserved the
Union and ended slavery in America for all time. But, because there
were not entirely noble political and economic considerations and
factors at work (in addition to moral and human ones which you don’t
address) that makes Lincoln a second rate president? I just don’t
Second rate means mediocre or inferior in quality or value. It is not
a term to be used lightly and certainly not one you would expect to be
associated with a great –and very human– President like Abraham
Lincoln or an award winning film maker like Steven Spielberg.
Having said all of that, it was fun to read your review of this film. I do hope you will keep submitting topical movie reviews –in addition to your other entries– for all of your readers and followers to enjoy and discuss.
Bill Wilson commented on “The Trouble with Prophets”
There is an additional tragedy about prophets in addition to the fact that we either demonize or ignore them. We pervert their message with terrible consequences. The perversion of the original message Moses mediated to the Hebrews gave us the annihilation of whole communities, if the Torah and the Judges are to be believed. The perversion of Jesus’ message gave us the slaughter of Jews, Moors, native Americans and dissenting Christians, and a residual caste system that co-opts the Gospel and brooks no dissent. The perversion of Marx gave us Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, Cousescou, et al. It’s almost as if the divine call to justice, mercy and compassion has a built-in self-destruct mechanism.
I think it was Peguy who said, “God writes straight with crooked lines.” Sometimes I think God is using mirror writing of a type that is ultimately indecipherable to us…Paul’s “mirror” on steroids, the reverse side of the tapestry, which will ultimately prove unintelligible on either side. Pardon the cynicism, but I was just rejoicing that Mahoney, however belatedly, has been barred from ministry only to learn from folks far less naive than I, that this move probably contains a major act of revenge by the Opus Dei gang against the cardinal’s liberal record on social issues.
Winston Leyland commented on “Marx and Jesus: The trouble with prophets”
Good article on prophets, Mike. To those mentioned can be added the names of Daniel Berrigan, Thomas Merton (especially in his anti war writings), Oscar Wilde, Harvey Milk and many others. And what a prophetic and catalytic young man was Aaron Swartz.