Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Childlike Hunger of Grief

    At the National Writer's Series at the Opera House in Traverse City, I met Tom Perrotta, author of The Leftovers (among many other books).  The book is a certainly a dig at the Left Behind crowd (the Leftovers are people who remain after a Rapture-like event), but that plot device is just the backdrop for a story about grief and loss.

    When I began reading, I thought this book would perhaps be a screed against the idiocy of Christians who believe in the Rapture. By the time I was done, the precipitating event has given way to a poignant story of the effect of cataclysmic loss on a small town.

     As the evening progressed at the Writer's Series, two main thoughts struck me.

     First, Mr. Perrotta and I are very different when it comes to our view of God, faith, religion, and social issues, though he was very tactful when talking about people and beliefs with whom he disagrees.  He was careful to note that he used the Rapture scenario because it was in the culture's imagination thanks to the Left Behind series, and he decided to use it as a way to explore how communities respond to such massive upheaval.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Beautiful Creatures

“Mortals. I envy you. You think you can change things. Stop the universe. Undo what was done long before you came along. You are such beautiful creatures.”

In an attempt to enter into and better understand the storiesworldviews, and messages shaping my kids and the rest of today's youth, I submit my latest review of trending books, films, and TV shows effecting a primarily YA audience. My goal is not to critique the art form as much as look at how the story reflects and shapes  the readers' worldview.

     There will be spoilers.


Ethan has bad dreams. A girl smelling of lemons and rosemary continually falls to her death, and he can’t save her. Somehow, she is connected to a haunting song that pops up everywhere:
Sixteen moons, sixteen years, sixteen of your deepest fears…”
Even worse, even when he is awake he occasionally slips into another time full of violence, burning buildings, and death.
Good counsel is in short supply. Ethan’s reclusive father retreated from life following the death of his wife. Amma, a grandmotherly housekeeper keeps the household going -  but she is also a tarot card reader who makes little dolls that aren’t toys. Welcome to life in a small Southern town.

Monday, February 4, 2013

What Super Bowl Halftime Shows Reveal About Us

The halftime show at the Super Bowl reminded me yet again that we live in a very confused culture.   
On the one hand, we hear a myriad of voices rightly warning us about the ways in which women are objectified in our society.  Maybe it's because there is already a recognition bias built into all of us. Both men and women tend to see women as a conglomeration of particular parts rather than a complete person. We even manage to do this when pictures are upside down. It seems sensible to warn us away from a cultural trend wherein we are increasingly bombarded with images and messages that bolster an already flawed way in which we all perceive women.