‹ speculatio pauperis in deserto

Tags / criticism

In the eighth episode of Beef, in one of a series of flashbacks filling in the backstories of the two beefing protagonists (or, better, the two antagonists), we see a particularly affecting scene between Danny & his younger brother, Paul that illustrates what Thomas Merton calls “the pattern & prototype of all sin.” (Spoilers follow.) Danny & Paul are at their parents’ motel: Danny is perhaps 20 or 21 years old & working as his parents’ handyman (contractor, he insists), while Paul, three years his junior, is preparing his college applications.
Jul 24, 2023
I really enjoyed both Barbie & Oppenheimer; I plan to see both again soon, but some initial thoughts: Barbie is just so fun to watch, start to finish. The production design is stunningly detailed, the writing is weird & funny, & Ryan Gosling & Margot Robbie both deliver wonderful performances—Gosling’s wonderfully funny, & Robbie’s wonderfully subtle. Greta Gerwig adds another film to her already impressive body of work in this sensitive & delightful reflection on the human project of making meaning in the face of uncertainty & death.
Jun 14, 2023
I admire the aim in Elizabeth Johnson’s Creation and the Cross: The Mercy of God for a Planet in Peril: to produce a theology that considers how Jesus’s life, death, & resurrection are good news for the whole cosmos, particularly in the context of ecological crisis. & while I don’t disagree with some of the conclusions (presented chiefly in book 6), ironically the particularity of Jesus’s life (natal & risen) & his death don’t seem to determine the conclusions as much as the work’s title might lead one to expect.
‘What do you keep on arguing for? I’m only telling you the sort of chap I am. I only want my rights. I’m not asking for anybody’s bleeding charity.’ ‘Then do. At once. Ask for the Bleeding Charity. Everything is here for the asking & nothing can be bought.’ This is one of my favorite exchanges in C. S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce. Here the “Big Man” (the first speaker) is insisting on his own decency in his earthly life—ironic considering the reader is introduced to the Big Man when he beats a man up to take his place in the line for the bus to Heaven—& how Heaven is therefore his “by rights.