Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Hollywood baby!

Sooooo, I haven't posted in a while because I'm working all kindsa hustles to get some stuff in gear in the next few months, one of which is spending some time in LaLa Land, otherwise known as, LA--Los Angeles, California.

I got accepted to the Act One summer writing program which is really cool. They only take about 24 writers or so each year. Not only does that make me feel special :) but more importantly, it means I'll have very good access to the instructors and over the course of four weeks of 8-hour days, really get a chance to know and build relationships with the other writers.

In other acts of random impetuousness, I sent some info to a recruiter for English teachers in Korea and they'll be sending my 411 to the Seoul Metro School System within the next two weeks. For a while, I worried not only about the safety of my little dog but whether or not my Bollywood habit would be wrenched from my grasp while staying on East Asian soil.

Fortunately, my fears have been laid to rest. Well, not about the dog thing but by the fact that Seoul has a 300-member Bollywood club led by a fellow calling himself Hangulo. Considering the strength of Korea's indigenous media industry, that's saying a lot. It makes me smile.

Almost as much as the thought of being at Santa Monica beach during summer. Almost.

[Up next, Abhimaan (1973) & Why I am still single.]

Monday, April 07, 2008

The City of God

Just the other day I finally watched the 2002 Academy Award nominated City of God. I knew the film was about street kids in Brazil, had good cinematography, and is supposedly a "must see film" but little else. I pondered the title, recognizing it as a reference to one of Augustine's treatises on the Christian faith.

Through watching the film, I discovered that the title was the name of the favela in which the story takes place, a neighborhood completely overridden with poverty, violence, and general lawlessness, a neighborhood described in the film as "living in hell."

Anytime I watch something like this, I am reconfronted by the existence of evil. In an academic sense, there is never any doubt in my mind that evil exists yet fortunately in my daily life, there are few occasions when I am acutely aware of it. Times when awareness is unavoidable, have confirmed my deep weariness with the relativistic thought that permeates public discourse in the West.

Watching City of God also reminded me of the great evil lurking beneath the seeming good of self-preservation. Those who seek for themselves by any means necessary are bound to lose their souls in the process despite the suggestion that if they're fit enough to survive, all is well.

During day two of my viewing, (it was too much for one sitting), I was reminded of something Jesus said:

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. [ref]
Theft-death-destruction is one of the clearest perpetual cycles of evil. The undercurrent of destruction in this film was really unsettling for me. Beyond "simple" murder, there was destruction of property, beating, maiming, rape and humiliation. The repetitively wanton killing reminded me of this:
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. [ref]
The thief Jesus is speaking of is the ultimate enemy of mankind--Satan, the master purveyor of evil. The grand narrative of creation and the Revelation of John both reference the great enmity between Satan and God's creation. Every life taken from the earth is one less reflection of God's image. It is ironic then that the "City of God" in this film is one where the image of God is ruthlessly and continually stamped out.

One can only wonder what the officials of Rio de Janeiro were thinking when they relocated their city slums and dubbed them "City of God." Perhaps they were hoping the name might procure blessings from the Psalms:
Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise,
in the city of our God, his holy mountain

It is beautiful in its loftiness,
the joy of the whole earth...

God is in her citadels;
he has shown himself to be her fortress...

As we have heard,
so have we seen
in the city of the LORD Almighty,
in the city of our God:
God makes her secure forever.
Selah [ref]
May it be so.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Now this is interesting.

Judge admits mistake in kicking whites out of court

What I can't gather from the story is whether or not the judge asked "the lawyers" to step outside of the courtroom--by the way the story is framed, it sounds like all of them were white--though after listening to the interview with Anderson Cooper, it seems like he said, "White people leave," (or something to that extent).

Um, did he really think a group of lawyers was gonna let that go? I get the feeling though he didn't care one way or the other. (What's up with judges thinking they're the shiznit anyways?)

I understand why he did what he did. (Say what you will, but being poor and black in Georgia is not the same as being poor and white.) At the same time, it wasn't good practice. In the end, I guess he got his point across...all across America. *sigh*

[The video is here if you want to watch it.]