Thursday, February 28, 2008

He Had a Cigar Named after Him, So He Must Know Something

"A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject."

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed."

"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire."

"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others that have been tried."

"History will be kind to me for I intend to write it."

-Winston Churchill-

Friday, February 22, 2008

In No Strange Land

'The Kingdom of God is Within You'

O world invisible, we view thee,
O world intangible, we touch thee,
O world unknowable, we know thee,
Inapprehensible, we clutch thee!

Does the fish soar to find the ocean,
The eagle plunge to find the air-
That we ask of the stars in motion
If they have rumour of thee there?

Not where the wheeling systems darken,
And our benumb'd conceiving soars!
The drift of pinions, would we hearken,
Beats at our own clay-shutter'd doors.

The angels keep their ancient places;-
Turn but a stone, and start a wing!
'Tis ye, 'tis your estranged faces,
That miss the many-spleandour'd thing!

But (when so sad thou canst not sadder)
Cry;- and upon thy so sore loss
Shall shine the traffic of Jacob's ladder
Pitched between Heaven and Charing Cross.

Yea, in the night, my soul, my daughter,
Cry,- clinging Heaven by the hems;
And lo, Christ walking on the water,
Not of Gennesareth, but Thames!

-Francis Thompson-

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Ex Ossibus Meis

One I popped out around a year and a half ago and forgot about.

What would ensure that She had known from me
She was the bone stripped from my opened side,
Scarred where in my fast sleep the wound gaped wide,
Or had She seen me so, how answered She?

For She is now surpassing beauteous,
Past the pale promise of her ivory,
But She knows not herself, no more than me;
And we, once one, what love lies left to us?

I would not fright her by some dear disclosure,
Though She is I, the growth of my flesh. She
Disremembers her first deep rest in me,
And it lies not to me to rest in her.

-Thomas Banks-

Friday, February 15, 2008

Nulli Se Dicit Mulier

She vowed the favor of her love to me,
Forswore the passions of men and plight of Jove;
And yet her vow, sworn to my anxious love,
Was writ on wind, scribed on the changeful sea.

Trans. from the Latin by Thomas Banks

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Si Quicquam Mutis Gratum

If any comfort reach the grieving from the grave,
Know this, friend, while you, fond and sad, recall
The Love in life disdained, for whom our tears now fall:
Death holds for her no pain as bold or brave
As was the love she held for you, her joy, her all.

Trans. from the Latin by Thomas Banks

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Correction

Davis has pointed out to me that in his review he directly attributed no salvific element to the film "Rambo." Mea culpa, and may said allegation in future times be rightly declared anathema.


Saturday, February 9, 2008

Some Thoughts on Rambo, and Some Thomas Hobbes Thrown in to Boot

I saw "Rambo" today with Gibbs and the Frater Minor. My personal investment in this film, beyond that of the Abe and a half I put down for the matinee showing, were those of a casual fan of bad action movies, supplemented by the good notice I had read in appreciation of this film by Davis, who cited it as a worthy example of the soteriological theme in modern American cinema.

It was not.

I do not mean to imply that it was a terrible film, but any praise offered it must necessarily dwell on what it was not rather than what it was, and this indicates that it could hardly have been a good one either. In this light, let me say that it did not put on airs of any kind, and it did not take its message seriously enough to make any attempt at plying the audience's conscience as it walked out of the theater; there was no epigraph of the "Dedicated to the Victims" or "Landmine Awareness" variety. The story resolves itself within its own vacuum more completely than any coalition force could hope to do with its factual referent, and moreover, does not concern itself much with the politics of its own backstory beyond a brief collage of CNN footage that serves as an opening credit sequence; shedding illumination on third world mass murder is neither the motive not the excuse for its own body count (a figure which undoubtedly raises the bar for likeminded movies).

If the violence was not pornographic, neither was it especially personal. None of the "developed" characters met with any graphic demise, and the thousand or so extras that get blown away in the films staccato-edited action sequences function more as props than people. War and killing are presented as unrefinable and unavoidable evils; early in the film Stallone says something to the effect that war is the only real fact of life (though even more tersely, if that is possible). The rest of the film exists only as an illustration of the fact, which negates any real chance of developing his character, but then again, this is hardly the point of the movie to begin with. Not only this, but he never suffers for any other character throughout the length of the film, either emotionally (surprise) or physically, removing any chance of his becoming a Christ figure by the story's end (sorry, Davis). And as for the supporting characters who thought to trancend the narrative's sordid circumstance by avoiding violent means even in the service of peaceful ends, well, they learn better, proving that Thomas Hobbes, as adapted for the syllabic capabilities of Mr. Stallone, was right about the state of nature.

Friday, February 8, 2008

A Question

This query came out of a conversation I had with Gibbs this afternoon:

Which would make you feel more fulfilled: If a casual drinker gave up drinking out of love for you, or if a teetotler took it up for the same reason?

Monday, February 4, 2008

That Rare Political Post

Just Curious: Who here thinks Obama's going to get the nomination?