Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Little Round-Up

In my last post I mentioned that I occasionally peek at John C. Wright's blog, which I found a few months back. I am not a regular reader and I haven't read back into his archives, but every time I visit his blog I find something interesting. Mr. Wright is a convert to Catholicism from atheism, as well as a writer of sf, and he writes about religious and moral issues, philosophy, sf/fantasy, with frequent mentions of his wife, She Who Must Be Obeyed. (Their "wedding photos" moved me deeply. From this and other posts, I now know that where I went wrong as a bride was in allowing misbegotten notions of male equality to prevent me from building a Pit O' Doom in front of my throne--in fact, I confess with head hung down that I even neglected to build an awe-inspiring throne. Result? One uppity husband. Listen and learn, ye maidens that have ears to hear.) His posts have made me think, made me laugh, or at least provided mild entertainment. Would that every blogger could provide half as much bang per visit.

Maybe if I were bigger on philosophy, I might visit more often, but I pretty much gave up on voluntary reading of philosophy in my mid-teens, when I decided it was all "mental masturbation", then decided that term was fun to say, and didn't miss a chance to say it for five or six years.

Another blog I like to look at sometimes these days is also written by an atheist convert to Catholicism: Jennifer Fulwiler's Conversion Diary. Mrs. Fulwiler blogs about religion, especially trying to put religious principles into practice in our everyday lives, and about young mother type stuff. Also scorpions. I mostly read the religion stuff.

I actually first saw Conversion Diary last winter when I saw an article by Fulwiler on how she became pro-life and clicked on the link to her blog at the end for a very brief visit. I didn't visit again until this summer. I can't remember where I saw that article, but I think it was pretty much the same as this blog post. If you've ever wondered how an intelligent, free-thinking, normal human female could possibly go so far wrong as to align herself with the pro-life crowd, read this post.

That first Cul de Sac collection I mentioned recently, Cul de Sac: This Exit, I got and read this past week. Good stuff, although not as good as Calvin & Hobbes. (That's called praising with faint damnation, BTW.) Uncle Pookie liked it less well. He expressed annoyance that Alice's parents don't explain things often enough, leaving her confused about many things. I argued that confusion is a pretty normal state for a four year old, even ones who don't have parents like mine who hold that children shouldn't ask questions because "children should be seen and not heard"; because there's just so very much seemingly basic stuff left to learn when you are four. Uncle Pookie also called Miss Bliss an idiot and asserted that "Alice deserves better". I didn't exactly argue against that, but I'll leave my comments on that for another time; I don't need hate mail from people in early education right now.

I finally got around to watching The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Excellent movie. It's a cliche to say this, but there's something for everyone--John Wayne, romance, action, political drama, a man trying to live up to his ideals, some good minor characters, and thought-provoking stuff about what it takes to settle a frontier and how we get and keep law and order. As to the question of which character is more attractive as a romantic partner, John Wayne's or Jimmy Stewart's, I have to say it is very, very close, but Tom Doniphon (John Wayne's character) nudges out Ransome Stoddard (Jimmy Stewart's) for me. It's a slight thing. They are both attractive characters. Tom Doniphon is tough and well-suited to frontier life. He's tall and manly. Plus he's played by John Wayne. Ransome Stoddard is a man of integrity, committed to his ideals, willing to stand up for law and order when it is awfully hard to do so, honest, and learned. Whereas Tom Doniphon is unafraid of Liberty Valance because he knows himself to be as tough or tougher, Ransome Stoddard (like most of us would be) is terrified of Liberty Valance when he goes out into that street to face him and yet he never backs down. That is very attractive in a man. (Or anyone else.) What puts Tom Doniphon slightly ahead for me is the way he puts his love interest's happiness ahead of his own when he lets Ransome take credit for killing Liberty Valance. It may not be the most noble thing ever done, but I think it is noble.

Question for anyone who's seen this movie: Do you think Liberty Valance was really dead already when the doctor declared him dead? Valance was scum and the doctor clearly knew that as well as anyone in town. When they turned Valance over for the doctor to look at, he barely looked at him. I think there may have been a little life fast draining away within him, and the doctor just didn't want to spend time on futile treatment of a man most people would agree needed killing.

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