Friday, September 12, 2008
Last night, I saw "I Am Legend." It certainly did seem interesting and I think a lot of people were excited to see something along the lines of a Doomsday movie (it probably has something to do with the general pall overhanging the United States at the moment). It didn't take too long into the movie to realize, however, that all my hopes for the movie--a reflective autobiography on the last man's quest to reestablish humanity--were going to be crushed. What ended up happening for the next 93 minutes or so was a terribly ineffective hybrid of Resident Evil and Castaway, both of which I had already seen and didn't need to see again. If you want to see the internal struggles of a man who has been taken away from his friends and family, watch Castaway. If you want to see some really creepy creatures created by a mutated virus, watch Resident Evil. But I would strongly recommend not trying to watch both at the same time. It just doesn't work.
Another movie that I saw and would not recommend is "Wall-E." Now, I might be establishing myself as a pariah for even mentioning the fact that Wall-E was a bad movie, but I think it's worth the sacrifice. I can only say, first of all, that Robots are not Humans--nor will robots ever be able to be human and any movie that attempts to break that ontological barrier will fail miserably. I suppose that that was the irony: that the robot was more human than the thousands of tubs of lard floating in space, but again, I challenge the idea that a human being would ever allow themselves to grow so distant from virtue without feeling like a worthless human being. Where is Aristotle when you need him? One could argue that the movie was just being fantastical, but I counter, saying it was just flat-out offensive to humanity. It might be a cute movie for a kid to see--ultimately, the robot does em-metal some pretty heroic virtues--yet I would have to express that no machine will ever be able to be more heroic, on its own initiative, than a human being. At least, this is what I would make sure my kids knew.
Have a good day! If you have any suggestions for really good or really bad movies, please do comment. I love a good movie!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
On this the seventh anniversary of the attacks, I could preach what I think, but the day is about America, Land of the Brave and Home of the Free. Instead, I'll let someone else more eloquent than myself do it. To me, this song sums up everything about that day. When it is done, take a moment to remember that day and how it changed the country, for good or ill. Take a moment to light a candle for the victims, for the heroes, and even the terrorists, for, after all, God is mercy and who are we to question God?
That said, here is the USS New York, made from 24 tons of scrap steel from the World Trade Center. It is the fifth in a new class of warship. It will carry a crew of 360 sailors and 700 combat-ready Marines to be delivered ashore by helicopters and assault craft.
The ship's motto is 'Never Forget'.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
So everyone knows that Obama's latest comment, though off the cuff, was really a lighthearted jab at McCain using a phrase that, apparently, is quite common in Washington circles--"lipstick on a pig." McCain himself used the quote of a Clinton policy a couple years ago.
Many might accuse the McCain camp of going off on nothing and making a mountain out of a molehill. But, either Obama knew what he was doing, and directly offended Palin with full intent. Or, he mistakenly made a comment that was eeriely similar to a comment Palin made of herself, without any intent whatsoever.
On the one hand, obviously, the first does not make Obama look good, and, of course, he's not going to admit that he consciously made a comment he knew would offend Palin. On the other hand, making the comment, so shortly after Palin's speech, and in the direct context of an atack on McCain (and by extension Palin), he simply committed a mistake. He messed up. He said something without really thinking out the implications.
It is this kind of president that I certainly don't want to be around the table with world leaders. (And knowing Obama, that's the ONLY way that we'll ever deal with world leaders.) But I don't want him sitting there with the leaders of Russia, China, or whoever, "making honest mistakes" and offending powerful men. His lack of experience shows.
Finally, it is quite possible that Obama made the comment, banking on the McCain camp to respond as they have done. Obama could then attack the McCain camp for being immature and practicing "politics as usual." Yet, it seems to me that it is Obama who is either severely inexperienced in the matters of dialogue and politics or even more entrenched in "politics as usual." Your call.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Many of the volunteer college students, including two who had just finished their first year at Notre Dame, signed up for the experience to augment their studies in Russian. Faith and an interest in Catholic education drew Hannan, a theology and philosophy major.
UCU has reconstituted its Catholic mission since 1994, when the Soviet regime pulled out. But Catholic university students face a social stigma.
“They constantly have to defend their choice,” she says.
The students’ faith was genuine, as was their interest in speaking—albeit in rudimentary English—about their beliefs, Hannan says. Five hours of daily classroom work balanced three hours of liturgical services—all of them sung. Nightly, Hannan and another volunteer led students in the Rosary.
Hannan will use some of her senior year to prepare her honors thesis on the philosophy of Catholic education. Her time in Ukraine will help frame her thoughts, not just on how these institutions are structured, but on the dedication and commitment they elicit.
The newness of the University, the passionate thoughtfulness of its chief administrator and the enthusiasm of the students, have given her a new view of Notre Dame, as well.“It almost made me think what it was like to be at Notre Dame in its beginning,” she said.