Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday round up

I have no idea if I'll keep this up but this post is inspired by the "Seven quick takes Friday" popular among Catholic mommy bloggers. I'll have some quickish takes but won't aim to always have seven. (Seven is a number of completeness and I'm not complete.)

1. Five biblical women

Geoffrey Morin of the American Bible Society lists five biblical women and draws some life lessons we might learn from them at Fox News. He picked his five based on frequency of searches using the ABA's Bible search tool. They are (starting with the most-searched) Eve, Mary, Martha, Sarah, and Rebekah. I find it rather unfortunate that so many people searched Eve as it seems to me that any cultured person ought to know who Eve is and also, should they want to know more about her, should be able to find her in the Bible without a search engine as her story comes up at the very beginning.

I'd go so far as to say that it is an indicator of the pathetic lack of culture of the people who use the ABA site that these five women would make it to the top.

I wonder, by the way, how they differentiated searches for Mary, the mother of Jesus, Mary of Bethesda, and Mary Magdalene?

2. Five other biblical women

Whenever I think of biblical women I think of Tamar who committed incest, Rahab the prostitute, Ruth the seductress, Bathsheba the adulteress and Mary who conceived outside of marriage. All five make it into Matthew's genealogy, which otherwise mentions no women at all.

It's interesting that five scandalous women are essential to the salvation of the human race.

3. "Scandal"

Some will no doubt insist that there was no scandal surrounding Mary the mother of Jesus. That's not true. You can make an argument that the scandal was not justified but you can't argue it wasn't there.

I was taught as a child, by the way, that I should act so as to avoid causing even unjustified scandal because that scandal might lead others astray. I might, for example, enter an apartment with a woman and be acting perfectly innocently in doing so but someone may see us doing this be scandalized and lose their trust in Catholic morality because they incorrectly think this guy, who otherwise passes himself off as in agreement with church teaching, makes an exception for his sexual desires.

That sort of thinking was abused in a systematic way by women in my family who figured out that they could control others lives by imagining scandal any time anyone did something they didn't like. My mother, for example, would insist on rigid controls to avoid even the tiniest suggestion of scandal when one of her children was dating someone she didn't like. When she approved of a boyfriend or a girlfriend, however, she'd cheerfully overlook anything short of overt discussion of their having sex together.

That said, it isn't a completely crazy principle.

4. Mary Magdalene

Biblical interpreters these days go to great lengths to remove any suggestion of scandal related to Mary Magdalene. That seems extremely unlikely to me. Just the fact that she traveled with Jesus  would have been occasion for some scandal in the antique world.

Jesus did not seem intent on avoiding scandal. Then again, he is Jesus.

5. Elisabeth Moss's breasts!

You want to see them don't you? Here they are. I think the preferred internet term for what you get is "side boob". I hate the word "boob".

 There is an interview attached that is all about how she is the real star of the show. That's why she has to flash her breasts for everyone.

I suspect that is right in the sense that she has to inherit the future. That's the only outcome that could possibly satisfy anyone.

6. Mad Men prediction

Speaking of which, the final (not really) season is going to suck. AMC aren't doing well. They scored two big shows and then couldn't repeat it. As a result, they're going to stretch the final season of Mad Men over two years. I suspect this is going to be really awful.

That said, none of these big series have had very satisfactory endings: Sex and the City, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad had finales that are pretty underwhelming. The problem is the medium: for all the comparisons with the novel, TV just doesn't lend itself to a satisfactory story arc,

7. Girls on film

Indeed, Ms. Lauzen said, the percentage of female speaking roles has not increased much since the 1940s, when, she said, they hovered around 25 percent to 28 percent. 

“We think of Hollywood as a very progressive place and a bastion of liberal thought,” she said. “But when you look at the numbers and the representation of women onscreen, that’s absolutely not the case. The film industry does not like change.” 
 "The industry does not change."

The piece starts off with the sad news that, despite having three movies in the top ten with female protagonists, 2013 was a bad year for women in film. Of the years 100 top-grossing films, only 15 had women in leading roles. That is, in fact, a decline since the 1940s.

Notice the easy assumption that the industry could simply have switched things around and put women into more top-grossing films. You can imagine the script meeting:
Shall we write a big woman's part for this?
No, it's going to be a top-grossing film.

It's sort of like saying,
 Be especially careful delivering this baby doctor because she's going to be a great scientist when she grows up.
 By the way, the three top grossers with women in lead roles? The Hunger Games, Frozen and Gravity. That's two princess fantasies and Gravity just happened to costar George Clooney.

 "The industry does not change."

Well, it's easier to say that than to face the possibility that human nature doesn't change.

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