Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Blogging Around: The Culture Edition

How James Bond lost his soul: Casino Royale

Steven D. Greydanus of Decent Films talks about one of my favorite Bond movies.
I consider Casino Royale, directed by Martin Campbell, possibly the best Bond film, and certainly the most indispensable — the one that offers moral and psychological perspective on all the others, playing as a kind of commentary and critique of the whole franchise. It is also almost the only film (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is another, to a degree) that treats Bond as an actual character, not just a glamorous, romantic action hero.
Yep. That and Skyfall, of course.

The Most Misread Poem in America

Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" is the poem in question.
Most readers consider “The Road Not Taken” to be a paean to triumphant self-assertion (“I took the one less traveled by”), but the literal meaning of the poem’s own lines seems completely at odds with this interpretation. The poem’s speaker tells us he “shall be telling,” at some point in the future, of how he took the road less traveled by, yet he has already admitted that the two paths “equally lay / In leaves” and “the passing there / Had worn them really about the same.” So the road he will later call less traveled is actually the road equally traveled. The two roads are interchangeable.
Woah. I now realize I've never really thought about it or understood it.  A fascinating article at Paris Review which is excerpted from David Orr's book. (Via Brandywine Books.)

This Game Will Bring You to Your Knees, So You Might As Well Start There

Kate O'Hare's Pax Culturati is on of my favorite new discoveries. Pop culture and Catholicism. Yep, that's where I live.

Here, O'Hare profiles former Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens player and Catholic revert Matt Birk. It's a fascinating look at faith and the NFL. Here's a bit.
“The NFL team,” he said, “it’s probably the most spiritual workplace in America. Every team I was on had a team chaplain who was available almost all the time, had an office there; the door was open. We had player Bible studies Monday; had a couple Bible studies during the week; had fellowship service and Catholic Mass Saturday night or Sunday morning. Where else are you encouraged to grow like that in your faith?

“I’ve always said football’s a very spiritual game,” he said. “The game will bring you to your knees, so you might as well start there. It’s just because football’s so difficult, and the highs are high, and the lows are very low, and it’s so much work and grinding and dedication.

“You have to have a spiritual experience or awakening while you’re doing it. You just have to, otherwise it’s like you’re not even alive. Football brought me back to my faith.”

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