QUADRIVIUM

Have you come here to play Jesus to the lepers in your head?

Archive for July 30th, 2007

Smash Cut – The Simpsons Movie

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I was eight when The Simpsons first appeared on Fox.  My mother would not let me watch it, but that didn’t stop me from sneaking a viewing here and there.  (Hi, Mom)  As I got older I started appreciating the humor—a more satire laden comedy than anything meant to undermine parents—and when word of the movie came out, a friend of mine asked me if I’d go with him to an opening night showing.  Of course, I said yes. 

This movie is as irreverent as any thoughtful parent might fear.  It’s PG-13 for a reason, you know, but that did not stop a gaggle of parents I saw from dragging their nine-year-olds into the theater. 

Everything we’ve come to expect from The Simpsons makes its way onto the film.  The movie is quick to criticize anything, even the audience.  Yes, there is a certain level of fanaticism involved in paying eight bucks to sit and watch something at the theater that I would ordinarily be able to watch at home for free.  If that makes me a sucker, then a sucker I shall be.

If you take this kind of thing too seriously, it would be easy to walk out of the film feeling like someone just spent an hour insulting your mother.  The government is portrayed as evil and inept; religion is still the bane of Homer Simpson’s existence.  In the midst of crisis, he frantically flips through the pages of scripture declaring, “This book doesn’t have any answers!” 

This would no doubt strike a nerve with any Christian in the audience if Homer was portrayed as the hero.  Homer, however, displays anything but heroics.  The one counterpoint, of course, is Ned Flanders, the okely-dokely, humbly religious next door neighbor.  And although believers might see Flanders as a prime example of over-simplistic Christianity, a closer look at the character reveals two important details: Flanders is always Homer’s foil, and he always wins.  The film continues this paradigm.  Even when opportunities for scorn and self-righteousness present itself, Flanders never folds; his steady faith and character consistently move him to do the right thing. 

Homer is, in every measure, the anti-father, and the hyper-dysfunctions of his family serve to highlight our own.  That’s why I laugh, at least.  I can understand the concerns parents have about this kind of comedy, and if so many parents weren’t taking their children to see this kind of movie, I might be more willing to jump off that cliff.  As it is, I am more content to just sit back and enjoy it. 

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Written by taj

July 30, 2007 at 12:04 pm

Moxy Thricken

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In the lane after dark
You can make a merry spark
When you take your lover’s hand and kiss her cheek

But beware you are not stricken
By the beast called Moxy Thricken
For he’ll steal your charm and cause your breath to reek.  

Written by taj

July 30, 2007 at 9:27 am

Posted in Poems

Express yourself, little man

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My wife and I spent some time at a place in town that sells teacher supplies this morning.  Among some of the more varied items she picked up was a little rubber hand with a pointing finger attached to the end of a stick.  I told her I thought it looked like something you use to pick a person’s nose.  You know, like those things you buy at the dollar store that are supposed to scratch your back. 

Anyway, as we wandered the aisles, our little man became fussy.  He was previously fed and changed, and likely just wanted to be held.  And that’s OK.  I took him and walked him around the store as he squalled, and drew lots of polite little smiles from the other women in the store. 

If you want a sure way to strip yourself of your insecurities, walk around a crowded store with a crying baby over your shoulder.  It forces you to confront all kinds of internal self-talk—what are these people thinking?—and the like.  Pretty soon, you just stop caring.  This is my baby and he’s having a fit.  He needs to let the world know how he feels.  He will find more constructive ways of expressing himself when he gets older, but for now, this is all he knows.  Get over it. 

It’s tremendously freeing. 

We’re at my wife’s classroom, getting it ready for the coming school year just four weeks away.  Little man is letting me know he is tired of lying on the blanket and would like someone to come and pick him up.  If I find out what that little finger pointer actually is, I’ll let you know.  For now, I am content to believe it is something teachers use to poke little second graders in the nose when they misbehave.

Written by taj

July 30, 2007 at 7:50 am

Posted in Baby News