Unexpected computer debility prevented the usual Friday outgassing. While most important files were backed up, some were not. Full speed ahead, now.
I have reached the Mines of Moria, narrowly escaping the crabby Watcher. At the Council of Elrond last week, I found this coming from Saruman:
The time of the Elves is over, but our time is at hand: the world of Men, which we must rule. But we must have power, power to order all things as we will, for that good which only the Wise can see.
Clean up got deferred for a bit, with tumultuous weather and running smack into the granddaughter’s school schedule. The kids got a four day weekend in honor of the brave Polish Cavalryman, but no one else did. I also had to find room to store the couple of dozen lawn recycling bags I’ve filled. Here, the village recycler picks up “lawn waste” once a week, ‘pon reservation. Resumes in April. I shall advise they send an extra truck.
Beauty and the Beast
To which I’ve been looking forward to taking the granddaughter, and probably still will, but <Fr. Lonergan voice> Is this a movie or a manifesto?</Lonergan voice> Must everything affirm the zeitgeist? It’s not merely the probably trivial “gay moment,” but turning Belle into a particular form of contemporary feminism, smart as a tack, village do-gooder, impatient with Gaston’s advances. Well enough. Let her be a woman in 3D. But must Gaston remain a cartoon of a man? And if we must parse every moment, why, in the 2017 version, is Gaston’s apparel quite evidently military? Is Disney dissing veterans? (we’ll just leave that there to percolate for a while).
Gaston was a rude bumpkin before, owing much to Disney’s much earlier rendition of Bram Bones. Just look.
The coat in the second image is pretty clearly regimental, a bit too elaborate for a mere bumpkin to buy for himself:
Gaston needn’t be all complicated and intelligent, just a simple villager caught up in the trauma of war and now trying to rebuild his life. There he is, probably suffering from PTSD, all those arms and legs and heads, chopped off in the battle, home now, smitten with the prettiest girl in town, as who wouldn’t be, just wanting to settle down, marry, start a family. Yes, he’s a bumpkin. So? This bumpkin bashing just has to stop.
I kid of course. But more seriously, the folk tale Beauty and the Beast as we have it descends from Cupid and Psyche, as told by Apulius long ago. Probably retold. The basic story is widespread, and ancient. Part of the nature of real, unfiltered fairy stories is that they ground us in the permanent. They outline the presence of wickedness, struggle, loss, and triumph. Scraping off and repainting the stories to satisfy current notions reduces the story rather than augmenting. Oh, go read Tolkien, On Fairy Stories. Or (and) watch the Animaniacs version. Yes. Definitely watch the Animaniacs.
Some Words about Words
Besides my slow reading of The Lord of the Rings, the granddaughter and I are making our way through Narnia, which she loves. We began with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe at Christmas, went on to Prince Caspian and Voyage, and just finished Magician’s Nephew. She identified very strongly with Lucy Pevensie right away, but I’ll save The Last Battle for last. Not sure where we’ll go after Narnia; Green Gables, maybe, at least a few, before visiting Hobbiton and the Lonely Mountain over the summer.
I’ve been making my way through Yuval Levin’s The Fractured Republic. He spends some time on the issue of Nostalgia as a factor in politics, an extremely intriguing notion. He seems to be suggesting, for example, that conservatives are affected by nostalgia for the 1950s, and for the Age of Reagan, while liberal progressives are affected by nostalgia for th New Deal, and the Age of Protests, if I may lump together the Civil Rights movements of and the Viet Nam War protests. Neither nostalgia, he suggests, provides effective models for dealing with our current challenges. He suggests that times of extreme individualism lead to very strong centralizing forces. Lots to think about here.
My church is reading Fleming Rutledge’s Crucifixion for Lent. Or a part of it.It’s a mighty long book. I’m trying to read it in parallel with N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, covering the same material. Not sure there are enough hours.
Oh yeah, and Dandelion Wine, too. Haven’t read it since 7th grade. I was reading lots of Bradbury then, Golden Apples, R is for Rocket, Illustrated Man, the Martian Chronicles, October Country. But I didn’t get Dandelion Wine at all.
Here and There
Toward the end of Stephen Hayward’s post on Powerline there’s an interesting graph about the content of the late presidential campaigns. From this low person’s standpoint, it was as if two lizard-people were running for the job. One said, “Yeah, I’m a Lizard, but here’s what I’m gonna do and it’s gonna be GREAT!” And the other said, “I am not nor have I ever been a Lizard.”
And Jonah Goldberg is honked off,but amusingly. And I fear accurately.
And there are rumors that this Selection Sunday may be unique. If it doesn’t quite work out, NU alumni may be distressed.