Culture Watch

Cara Boekeloo 2-04-2008

During the 2004 election cycle, I was bombarded repeatedly with messages about how young voters had failed to be involved in the electoral process. My generation-the Millennials-was failing to live up to its potential, it seemed. This time we're starting to shake things up-and people are taking note.



Motivated by growing economic inequalities, a declining environment, excessive war, [...]

Gareth Higgins 1-31-2008

Last night I finally saw Juno, Roger Ebert's favorite film of 2007 and recipient of four Oscar nominations, which has as its center the story of an unplanned pregnancy and the people affected by it. The protagonist, Juno MacGuff, played by Ellen Page in one of those so-good-she's-either-brilliant-or-really-like-that-in-real-life performances, is a misfit attracted to her male mirror image. Wiser beyond [...]

Becky Garrison 1-23-2008

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview John Sayles about his movie Honeydripper, a multilayered and complex account of the birth of rock and roll in the Deep South. Following is an excerpt from our conversation. (The full interview with John Sayles will be published in a forthcoming issue of The [...]

Gareth Higgins 1-17-2008

Tim Burton's striking and gruesome film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's musical 'Sweeney Todd' made me feel alternately impressed by Johnny Depp's singing talent and wince at the violence. The story of a 19th century barber who avenges the loss of his wife and daughter by providing the closest shave ever to a litany of customers including the judge who caused his pain left me preoccupied by [...]

Gareth Higgins 1-10-2008


I would love to live as a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.


The Irish writer, priest, and environmental activist, and my beloved friend - John O'Donohue - died unexpectedly and peacefully in the early hours of Friday, Jan. 4, 2008. His witness to peace, his work on the human heart, and his actions [...]

Becky Garrison 1-08-2008

This past Friday Bill Maher crossed the WGA picket line to offer this witticism on Late Night with Conan O'Brien:


You can't be a rational person six days a week

Becky Garrison 12-21-2007

When I got an invite to the premiere of the IMAX screening for I am Legend, I went to the theater expecting an evening of frothy fun and engaging eye candy - pure escapism at its best. While the sight of zombies up close and personal almost caused me to jump out of my seat a few times, I was more shocked to discover that this action-packed [...]

Ryan Rodrick Beiler 12-14-2007

Jim wrote a piece a few weeks back about the new Bonhoeffer-quoting Aussie PM Kevin Rudd. Well, another fun fact is that he has appointed Peter Garrett, rock star turned environmental activist turned Member of Parliament, his new Minister for Environment. That's the Aussie version of putting Bono in charge of the foreign [...]

Gareth Higgins 12-13-2007

This will be my final post for the God's Politics blog in 2007, and given that it's the time of year for lists, here's my choice of the films that have struck me the most in the past 12 months. (I should acknowledge that I haven't seen There Will Be Blood as it hasn't been released in my homeland yet

Shane Claiborne 12-11-2007

A few years ago I remember a pastor friend telling me they tried something a little different for their Christmas services. Instead of the usual holiday décor and clutter of the sanctuary, they brought in a bunch of manure and hay and scattered it under the pews so the place would really smell like the stank manger where it all began. I remember laughing hysterically as he described everyone coming [...]

Gareth Higgins 12-06-2007

Here's the good news: The Golden Compass does not promote atheism. It isn't going to steal your children. It does not signal the end of hope for religion in the West. That's the good news. Here's the bad news: it promotes the same, shallow "don't touch my stuff or I'll kill you" message that appears in so much of popular culture. But more than this, in spite of delightful visual imagery, [...]

Gareth Higgins 11-28-2007

When a film ends with the recounting of a dream in which a weather-beaten, life-weary man searches for the fire his father is building to warm them, it's impossible not to think of the love we all yearn for and can hopefully muster. It's also a welcome spiritual respite when that film has seduced its audience on a journey into a hell of the relentless violence that follows a man after he steals [...]

Becky Garrison 11-23-2007

Back in 2004, Anthony Flew, the world's most prominent atheist, stated he believed in God. Since this pronouncement, some of his fellow atheists treat him as though he's gone over to the dark side and literally lost his mind. In a nutshell, they feel this champion of their cause has flown the coop, as it were, and is being used as a pawn by those Christians who need someone of Flew's stature to give weight to the entire Intelligent Design movement. (

Gareth Higgins 11-23-2007

It's not often that something I write attracts an immediate response from one of the most famous media entities in the world, but surprisingly enough, just after my recent post calling for our popular culture to propose concrete and distinctive opportunities for progressive activism, Rolling Stone magazine published a 40th anniversary issue that includes interviews suggesting just that. [...]

Randy Woodley 11-19-2007

 

Millions of Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving again this year with a philosophy of Manifest Destiny. Many Native Americans will not celebrate Thanksgiving at all. They will view the holiday as a national day of mourning. To them, the Thanksgiving Myth justifies the genocide of indigenous peoples and acquiesces to notions of White supremacy. They will protest at Plymouth Rock and [...]

Mary Nelson 11-06-2007

Economists are telling us that people are not spending enough money this Holiday time and thus our economy will suffer. I am reminded of the president's urging after 9/11, to go out and spend money, buy things as the way to make things better. I can't believe we fall for this false assumption of economic well-being: buying things, or things themselves, will bring happiness.

A consultant in community building was invited by the South Korean government, saying, "We have money and [...]

Mary Nelson 11-06-2007

Economists are telling us that people are not spending enough money this Holiday time and thus our economy will suffer. I am reminded of the president's urging after 9/11, to go out and spend money, buy things as the way to make things better. I can't believe we fall for this false assumption of economic well-being: buying things, or things themselves, will bring happiness.

A consultant in community building was invited by the South Korean government, saying, "We have money and [...]

Mary Nelson 11-06-2007

Economists are telling us that people are not spending enough money this Holiday time and thus our economy will suffer. I am reminded of the president's urging after 9/11, to go out and spend money, buy things as the way to make things better. I can't believe we fall for this false assumption of economic well-being: buying things, or things themselves, will bring happiness.

A consultant in community building was invited by the South Korean government, saying, "We have money and [...]

Gareth Higgins 9-28-2007

It's intriguing how many current films address questions of revenge and justice. Like all cinematic epidemics, this is a mixed bag, from Quentin Tarantino's alternately boring and horrifying car-crash fest Death Proof, just released on DVD, to the slasher-style terror of Death Sentence starring Kevin Bacon, to the mature and moving reflection on justice and fatherhood in 3:10 [...]

Administrator 4-27-2007

Peggy Noonan, a special assistant and speechwriter for Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, isn't exactly my favorite pundit, but she's right on in her OpinionJournal.com column today on the effect on children of our cultural propensity toward in-your-face violence.

Her strongest language is aimed at the callousness of the rich:

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