Category Archives: Culture

Bad Teaching: Women Rule, Men Drool, part 3

 

bad teachingThis is the last of a three-part series; here are the links to part 1 and part 2.

 

In my first post in this series, I presented the possibility (probability?) of a wide-spread acceptance in the Christian church of the idea that women are more godly, holy and spiritual than men, and included quotes from others who said that they have bumped up against the idea. I posited that this assumption might be a reason for the disconnect between men and the Church, and presented findings from a Pew Research study showing that, of all the world’s religions, Christianity is the only one with a greater female membership.

My second post explored material that showed that the presumption of a female-superiority teaching is actually quite possible and that there is a very good likelihood that this teaching is at the root of much of the dysfunction that troubles today’s church. Continue reading

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Bad Teaching: Women Rule, Men Drool, part 2

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This is the second of a three-part series: here are the links to part 1 and part 3.

In my last post I presented the idea that, contrary to the teachings of the Bible, today’s church had somehow gotten hold of the idea that women were superior to men and without sin. I admit that it is a novel idea to articulate, but since it seems that this is held as truth by more than a few Christians (however tacitly), this seems like a good time to bring the teaching out into the light of day and examine it.

I cited several writers who have suggested that they have come across the concept in their interactions but didn’t give any particulars or examples, other than to comment that they have observed evidence that it is held by some Christians. While it might be difficult to find a teacher or preacher who openly avows support for such a belief, I did cite a study by the Pew Research group that might demonstrate the results of such a teaching being promulgated. In that first post, I included the Pew Research chart that showed that in all branches of Christianity (save the Orthodox branch) women outnumber men as adherents. The chart further showed that every other major religion has more male adherents than women, leaving Christianity as… Continue reading

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Bad Teaching: Women Rule, Men Drool, part 1

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This is the first of a three-part series: here are the links to part 2 and part 3.

We have a problem in the church. It appears that nearly one-half of the church is made up of carnal, fleshly-minded people whose only thoughts are with satisfying their appetites, and have no desire nor ability to truly seek after God. They hide behind a facade of Christianity but, in fact, are incapable of self-control and are unable to submit to the direction of the Holy Spirit and pursue spiritual goals.

I can only be speaking, of course, about husbands, for it is well-known that wives are more spiritual, more holy and more godly than any ordinary man could possibly be. I know, I know; in the past, I’ve said that there are two sinners in every marriage, but today, I repent of such drollery. I have seen the error of my ways. Continue reading

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Monday Matinee: Pocketful of Miracles (1961)

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Alternate title for this post would be The Christmas Movie That Wasn’t.

One of my favorite holiday movies is Frank Capra’s last film, Pocketful of Miracles. Starring Glenn Ford and Betty Davis, this film is a wonderfully corny, heart-warming film, and measures up to the Capra-Corn that for which Capra films are known. It is a worthy companion to his It’s A Wonderful Life.

Why is this film so great? First off, it’s a Damon Runyon mashup of the Cinderella story, with the twist that the Cinderalla of the film is an old street woman, played to perfection by Bette Davis. Throw in a twist where the hero of the piece is a bootlegger and club owner, played with marvelous desperation by Glenn Ford. Runyon, Davis, Ford, holidays; a guaranteed winner.

Throw in the fact that it seems like MGM emptied its lot to provide the cast for this film. I’ve written a few posts about those character actors that make you jump and shout, “Oh! I recognize him/her from ……..!” This film is loaded with those actors. Here’s a list of who’s who in the movie:

Jack Elam – wall-eyed actor known for Support Your Local Sherrif/Gunfighter
Arthur O’Connell – Anatomy of a Murder; Bus Stop
Peter Falk – Columbo
Thomas Mitchell – Uncle Billy, in It’s A Wonderful Life
Edward Everett Horton – too numerous to try to pull up, but my favorites are his supporing roles in Astaire/Rogers pics.
Mickey Shaughnessy – Elvis’s mentor in Jailhouse Rock
Sheldon Leonard – Nick the bartender, It’s A Wonderful Life
Jerome Cowan – the prosecuting attorney in Miracle on 34th St.
Ellen Corby – Shane, Sabrina, The Waltons
Grace Lee Whitney – Yeoman Rand in the original Star Trek

And then, to top it off, just as Pocketful of Miracles was Capra’s last film, it was the first film for a young ingenue, looking to break into the movies, and making her first appearance on the silver screen: Ann-Margaret.

Often when so many big names are included in a project, something goes wrong. But in Pocketful of Miracles, that doesn’t happen. With so many great names associated with the film (Runyon, Capra, Davis, Ford, Ann-Margaret), it is fitting capstone to Capra’s career.

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Proud, I tell you, proud!

It should come as no surprise that I love our English language. I play with words like some play video games. So when Chris Taylor, of Forgiven Wife, sent me a link to an article that mentioned me by name, I was extremely pleased. The article? Sesquipedalian. Yessir, that’s me, alright. It makes a boy proud to be a man! 🙂

I nearly idolize people who can use our language in original ways. There are rafts of poets that people like and hold up as great craftsmen, but I’m a little different. My favorite poet was the great cartoonist, Walt Kelly. He’s best known, justly so, for his Pogo characters, but he loved to play with English. My favorite poem is Kelly’s Lines Upon a Lunar Tune Arune.

The Moon is a Madness,
A Madness of mine.
I made her of mustard
And mulberry wine.

I garbed her in silver
And strawberry cheese
And halved her in quarters.
(Her quarters do please.)

I crowned her and gowned her
In Love all ashine,
So boot her and shoot her,
This Madness of mine.

*le sigh*

CSL

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Monday Matinee: Destry Rides Again (1939)

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Getting back to the Class of ‘39, I now come to a film that is one of my favorites, Jimmy Stewart’s Destry Rides Again. Ten films were nominated for Best Picture, and I’ve already discussed most of those. What many people don’t realize is that Jimmy Stewart almost had his own Best Picture race, all on his lonesome. Continue reading

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Netflix Gold: Desk Set, 1957

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Normally, when I write about a find on Netflix, it is something obscure, like a small BBC production, or someone’s art film. Today, I’ve got something really great to rave about, and it kind of crosses the line into my Matinee Monday posts. Usually, Netflix, when they are able to get good movies (yeah, yeah, that is optimistic, I know), they aren’t “classics”. For example, I’m an MGM musical fan, and you can count the number of really great musicals on Netflix on the fingers of one hand. Continue reading

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Matinee Monday: The Wizard of Oz, 1939

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I’ve taken a short break from most of my writing for the blog, and that included writing about my favorite topic, old movies. After lazing about for a couple of week, I seem to be building up another head of steam and am thinking of topics for future posts, and so I’ll begin with an installment of Matinee Monday.

I’ve been writing about the films of 1939, beginning with the ten movies that were nominated for Best Picture. One that I haven’t mentioned, and is the elephant in the room, is the monster hit, The Wizard of Oz. While Gone With The Wind was chosen as Best Picture that year (and won just about every other award), I think it’s safe to say that The Wizard of Oz is much more popular, and certainly much more a part of our culture than GWTW could ever be.

Back in February, when in the early stages of doing these movie posts, I wrote about the song that was made famous by The Wizard of Oz, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.” To write about the movie and settle on any one aspect of the film would be impossible. The Wizard of Oz is probably the most widely loved of all films, reaching as it does to all ages, whether it be through appeal to childish fantasy, to mature audiences by dealing with the idea of lost dreams, and even the true meaning of life.

I can’t think of a film that is more analyzed, frame by frame, and has every aspect of its production written about, commented on, etc. After all, the fact that Buddy Ebsen (Jed, of The Beverly Hillbillies) was originally cast as The Tin Man and nearly died because the aluminum powder from his make-up got into his lungs is widely known and written about. The Munchkins? How about numerous documentaries and books about the little people who portrayed the Munchins? (There was even a feature movie made about the events entitled Under The Rainbow, if I’m not mistaken.)

Garland not the first choice? Frank Morgan buying an old frock coat in a thrift store to be part of the Wizard’s costume, and finding L. Frank Baum’s name in it? “The Jitterbug” and extended jazz dance scene by Ray Bolger left on the cutting room floor? Memorabilia selling at record prices? Where do you begin? Of all the Oscar-nominated films of 1939, not one comes close to inspiring love, affection and nostalgia as The Wizard of Oz. I could write five posts about it, and not cover it sufficiently.

I guess that when many of us try to think of something that appeals to us, we have to agree with Dorothy’s assessment of the Cowardly Lion, at the end, when she says she’s going to miss the way he cried for help when he was frightened. I think that beside the fact that the initials were the same (CL), the reason I chose Cowardly Lion as my Twitter avatar is because his use of language during his “Courage” speech just makes me smile:

CSL

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Netflix Gold: The Best of Men

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This past week, we watched a film we had never heard of before, and loved it. Entitled The Best of Men, it tells the story of Dr. Ludwig Guttman, a Jewish refugee from Hitler’s Germany, who was instrumental in changing the treatment of patients with spinal injuries. Brisk and brusque, Dr. Guttman, when finally assigned to serve at a military hospital dealing with paraplegic soldiers, clashes with just about everyone: the nurses, fellow doctors, military higher-ups at the hospital. You name it, he clashed with it.

BUT he got results.

What drew us to this British film was the man playing the lead, Eddie Marsan. Admittedly, Marsan is not a household name, but he is one of our favorite actors. Confession time: we of the CSL household are serious Anglophiles; we love British programming. Whether it be the comedy of QI, the period dramatizations of Dickens, Austen and Thackeray, or even a few British crime dramas, like Midsomer Murders, Agatha Christie’s Poirot or Sherlock Holmes (either Cumberbatch or Brett is just fine, thank you.) We love them all.

We first came across Eddie Marsan as the snorting, irascible rent-collector Pancks, in the BBC production of Little Dorritt, and then were delighted when he turned up as Inspector Lestrade in Robert Downey’s Sherlock Holmes films.  Finding that he was the star of The Best of Men was all I needed to put the film in our queue.

And was I glad I did. As I said, it tells the story Dr. Guttman, who transformed care for spinal injuries. The film showed how the soldiers were delivered to the hospital in coffins! They were not expected to survive, but merely waste away until the coffin was needed. Guttman began treating them as patients with a future, against the conventional wisdom of the time, and eventually gave the men a purpose for living. I did not realize this, but Dr. Guttman was the driving force behind the creation of the Paralympics, and was knighted in 1966 for his achievements.

All in all, The Best of Men, while not a well-known film, is a worthwhile film. Put it in your queue and enjoy.

CSL

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Matinee Monday: Ninotchka (1939)

The next film from 1939 makes me smile just thinking about it: Ninotchka. It starred the great dramatic actress, Greta Garbo, in a surprising new role: comedic! Just to show you how surprising this was to the movie-going public, here is the poster for that film:

Film_ninotchka

Note the tag-line: “Garbo Laughs!” Garbo was so-well known as a dramatic actress that it was a complete surprise to everyone to find out that she was an accomplished comedienne. After all, Edmund Gwenn (Kris Kringle, in Miracle on 34th Street) is supposed to have said on his death bed, “Dying is easy; comedy is hard.”

In Ninotchka, three Russian commissars are sent by Moscow to Paris to sell jewelry confiscated from Russian aristocrats, but are corrupted by Count  d’Algout (male lead Melvin Douglas.) Concerned about these three, Moscow sends a special envoy (Garbo) to straighten the commissars out and take charge of the sale. Garbo plays the role of the stern and cheerless envoy with a deft touch, and as she blossoms in the Paris summer, she comes to see that there are delights in the world.

Ninortcha was very successful, and even spawned a Cole Porter musical remake, Silk Stockings, with Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse. The dialogue is witty, with many digs at Stalinist Russia. One scene has Ninotchka reporting to the three commissars, “The last mass trials were a great success. There are going to be fewer but better Russians”.

Here is the scene that surprised America:

CSL

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