Blackadder’s Lair

The home of many a cunning plan

Are You a Christian Hipster?

Christian Hipster Likes and Dislikes (By No Means Exhaustive… Just a Sampling)

Things they don’t like:
Christian hipsters don’t like megachurches, altar calls, and door-to-door evangelism. They don’t really like John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart or youth pastors who talk too much about Braveheart. In general, they tend not to like Mel Gibson and have come to really dislike The Passion for being overly bloody and maybe a little sadistic. They don’t like people like Pat Robertson, who on The 700 Club famously said that America should “take Hugo Chavez out”; and they don’t particularly like The 700 Club either, except to make fun of it. They don’t like evangelical leaders who get too involved in politics, such as James Dobson or Jerry Falwell, who once said of terrorists that America should “blow them all away in the name of the Lord.” They don’t like TBN, PAX, or Joel Osteen. They do have a wry fondness for Benny Hinn, however. Continue reading

March 5, 2009 Posted by | Culture | Leave a comment

The Camera Lies

According to a widely followed dictum enunciated by the Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, “[i]f in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired.” As a principle of drama this is, of course, quite sensible. But it leads to the odd effect that, unless you have had personal experience with firearms, chances are you have never seen a gun without soon seeing it used to shoot someone. And even taking into account the fictional nature of most of these “shootings,” it is not surprising that a person who knew about guns only through film and television might have an exaggerated sense of the dangerousness of firearms, or of their association with murder and violence.

Many people are rightly wary of negative depictions of members of various minority groups, on the grounds that they may serve to re-enforce stereotypes about those groups, particularly among those whose main experience of those groups is from film and television. In each case the basic principle is the same. When you lack much personal experience of a group, object, or environment, and encounter fictional depictions of it, you are liable to accept those depictions as accurate, even if they are not a true reflection of reality. Continue reading

November 24, 2008 Posted by | Capitalism, Culture, Family, Film, Guns, Literature, Media | Leave a comment

Culture as Popular Culture

As we head into the summer doldrums, I know that many of you are probably suffering severe withdrawal from their favorite TV programs. Luckily, I have just the thing: A ten part lecture series! The lectures, by Prof. Paul Cantor of the University of Virginia, examines the interactions between commerce and art, and studies the myriad ways in which artists have been influenced by economic concerns.

Lecture One introduces the topic.

Lecture Two focuses on Shakespeare, and the ways in which his plays were influenced by economic considerations arising out of the Globe Theater, and Royal patronage.

Lecture Three examines the economics of painting, dealing in particular with the rise of painting in the merchant cities of Italy and the Netherlands. Continue reading

June 25, 2008 Posted by | Capitalism, Culture, Economics, History, Literature | Leave a comment

Writers of the World, Unite!

It appears that the Writers’ Guild of America, which has been striking for better internet residuals for the last two months, has itself been struck. According to the New York Post, the 19 unionized staff members of the WGA’s East Coast branch office are upset about the WGA revising its contract with the workers after negotiation to take out a wage increase.

Seeing the story put me in mind of a recent commentary by Rob Long, on the relations between Hollywood writers and the other, non-creative unions in Hollywood. According to Long, writers tend to be, perhaps understandably, impatient with union rules and restrictions on movie sets, which often slow down production, and are constantly trying to get their production crews to bend or ignore them. I don’t have a dog in the fight between the WGA and the studios, but it does seem to me that any claim to worker solidarity the WGA is now making is undercut by the lack of solidarity they show to other unions generally.

January 6, 2008 Posted by | Culture, Unions | Leave a comment