Recently, Lutheran scholar John Bombaro wrote a powerful article for 1517.org here. Within, he argues that those who are justified in Christ have had their superficial and shallow identities replaced with the historical occurrence of their own baptisms and are free to love as Christ loves. Pursuits that aim to re-justify a self-image of virtue, therefore, are expressions of a Christian seeking to shackle themselves again to a law that does not fit and will not acquit. “The Christian is free from asinine, self-defined religion, of course, but also the dictates and pressures of every political, social, and ideological agenda the world has to offer.” Amen and amen.
I wondered: how do you get a word that means both the place from where something is mined—and the thing that is mined—as well as the prey that is pursued? Indeed, the word “quarry” has a dual etymology. The latter meaning is from the Latin word (via Anglo-French and Middle English) for the skin on which the entrails of an animal were left for the hounds that pursued it. The former meaning comes from the Latin (again by way of French and Middle English) for hewn (square) stone. Two different Middle English words converging in modern English, spelled the same.
It’s an absurd premise: a tennis coach kidnaps someone to train with his player in preparation for the French open, which isn’t going to happen. They practice and train in the middle of nowhere: on sand, in swampland, on a narrow strip of grass. Oh, and they don’t have any tennis balls, or strings in their racquets, or real nets. And they have to keep moving from place to place because there is an unknown threat from an unknown war.
I will never be a good salesman. I remember when I was young, maybe toward the end of middle school or the beginning of high school, I used to go out a few times to sell newspaper subscriptions for the paper I delivered. There is very little that seems more awkward to me than trying to sell something, being declined, and continuing to meet objections with answers. Needless to say, I suspect that the only subscriptions I sold were to those who were already inclined to buy them.
Watching AKA Jane Roe, the new FX documentary by Nick Sweeney (on FX and FX on Hulu), the only thing I felt for Norma McCorvey was sadness. She claims to have been used, willingly, by both sides of the American abortion debate. Those who are interviewed confirm, sometimes with hesitation, those claims.
Two weeks ago, when I wrote about The Seventh Seal, I had one kind of response to it. Kyle Smith (and his commenters) at National Review had a very different response. Over the past year, people have had strikingly opposite reviews of movies like Joker, The Irishman, A Hidden Life, and Parasite. No doubt preference and taste account for some of those differences. Probably the egalitarian and democratic nature of the internet accounts for a few more (as “reviewing” movies is not limited to experts). When it comes to classic movies—cult or otherwise—some of it is inevitably nostalgia. But in terms of my own feelings about movies, I am more and more convinced that current circumstances play a determinative role in the experience of watching something.
In Georges Bernanos’ 1926 novel Under the Sun of Satan (Sous le soleil de Satan), Mr Malorthy is described as knowing “very little about that superior form of cheek which the clever call cynicism.” Today cynicism seems like just about the only stance left for anyone to take. There is very little room, it seems, for the sincere and the unironic.
Sweet song of heaven calls from above
Weighting freighting the glorious clouds
Soaring out pouring out she tastes the sky
Ambitiously swallowed that deep song of love
After our last episode of Saints and Cinema, where we talked a little bit about movies for watching during a pandemic, one of our brothers commented that The Seventh Seal was the best plague movie. I had watched three or four Ingmar Bergman movies in the past year, but I had held out on The Seventh Seal.
In Coronatide, more than one industry is suffering because people cannot gather together in one place. So movie theaters, especially independent or art-house theaters, are trying to figure out how to stay afloat. One way is by offering “virtual theaters” for films that otherwise would be available only in person in a theater. Last weekend, Alissa Wilkinson offered a list of films that could be watched in virtual theaters, through sites like Film Movement.
One of those films is the Polish film Corpus Christi (Boże Ciało),