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Showing posts from March, 2015

Donald Hickey and the War of 1812

The nation’s foremost authority on the War of 1812, Donald Hickory, gave a lecture to a select gathering of scholars and students of history at Louisiana State University of Shreveport in March 2015. He discussed the causes, course, and consequences of that often overlooked conflict, and presented a thoughtful and well-studied argument that the event deserved as much attention from modern audiences as a historical milestone in America’s birth story as does Washington’s crossing of the Delaware and the storming of Normandy. He swiftly guided the audience through a dazzling array of cultural, political, and military legacies with which modern audiences are readily familiar, but might be surprised to learn how little they knew about. The title of his presentation is “Legacy of the War, Forgotten Conflict: Why the War of 1812 Matters Today.”

The Real State of the Union

"Our music no longer has substance because substance no longer sells. Our TV screens sell us twisted perversions of ourselves. All of our models have been distorted, and all our optimism aborted. We struggle and endless struggle just to struggle to afford it."
We are broken. That's what I'll tell you that they won't. This isn't about politics or policy. It is about our culture, about who we have become and to whom we have surrendered. It isn't about China or Putin, or about ISIS or oil or even our proverbial "way of life" we hear the politicians convince themselves we are defending. It is about what J.K. Rowling called a casual vacancy. It is about an absence of values and bearing that hints at a full-scale reversal of all the spoils of the Great Enlightenment. It is about a permissiveness that has become pervasiveness. It is about decadence that has transcended the realm of decision into destiny. We have committed suicide at the level of collec…

Doubt: A Review

Three themes in the movie Doubt are the contradictory roles of faith in modern society, the embattled credibility of the Catholic Church, and the generational rift between staunch conservatism and rebellious liberalism. Sister Aloysius combines inconclusive rumors with a handful of loosely circumstantial evidence to conclude the worst about Father Flynn, and her assumptions of his character are reinforced by the generally accepted associations of the priesthood with pedophilia. As a result, she hangs all of her personal objections to Father Flynn's less-than-orthodox style upon a negative appraisal of his character, and her suspicion of him becomes her own unshakable gospel.
Religious faith requires a belief in the impossible, and therefore, the irrational.

Chicago: A Review

Three main themes in the hit movie Chicago are the sexualization of women as a form of empowerment, the transformation of identity as a solution to practical needs, and the male domination of society. In the film, the main character Roxie Hart desires a life of self-determination that is more fulfilling than her modest, cookie cutter existence as a struggling housewife. She perceives an ersatz vision of this life in Velma Kelly, who wears scant clothing and dances and sings on stage for the entertainment of men. Early on, she holds an unrealistic view of Kelly's sense of empowerment as projected on stage, failing to comprehend that during Kelly's saucy and spirited first musical number, her life is actually crumbling.