Category Archives: commentary

What I’m Watching: Firefly Pt. 2

In Part Two, I’m going to go into more detail about the conversational nature of the show.

Philosophical roots:  As I mentioned earlier, this show’s roots contain large traces of philosophical and moral statements.  First off ,the show creates a large amount of tension between Mal Reynolds, and Book, who is the Pastor of the show.  Now, Book is presented in a fairly realistic light so far, but we do see a nice-sized portion of conflict between these two, as they disagree over a simple concept as God and faith.  This conflict was purposefully put there ,and I believe is a great starter for conversation about both faith in general, and how those who disagree can handle it.

Also, Whedon chose to put a legal prostitute in the story, who is called a “companion”.  This character does this as a living.  However, Mal often calls her a “whore”, which shows his strong dislike for her profession.  So, we often see the upside and downside of this culture of casual sexual relations, and how it is insufficient.

I can’t forget to name off any number of occurances worth considering, including River Tam’s condition, the overbearing presence of the Alliance, and even Reynolds personal struggle with getting paid, while not harming others.  Many of the episodes contain elements that can be discussed right after watching, while it also helps for many if you’ve seen the whole show, and understand the narrative as a whole.

 

In conclusion, this show is a great investment, and I hope you have the oppurtunity to check it out.

 

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Fahrenheit 451 and the importance of intellectual Freedom Pt. 1

Fahrenheit 451 is a prophetic book of massive power. Its idea of firemen burning books instead of putting out fires is both enthralling and horrifying. But the true theme of the book is the persevering of literature and those who love it.  In fact, it is in these men and women that the source of Intellectual freedom exists.   but how does Intellectual freedom prevail in Fahrenheit 451, and why is it important for all people?  That’s what I hope to explore in this essay.  

So, how does Intellectual Freedom exist within the World of Fahrenheit 451.  In a sense, it doesn’t.  The majority of the population don’t seem to have much intellect, relying instead on the “Walls” and News sources for much of their information.  This source, which is portrayed as controlled by the larger governing entity, only encouraged this condemning of books, which entertains and engages the audience, without enlightening them about life, or it’s bigger questions.  This relationship is addictive, making it hard for the people to look at other sources for enlightenment or Truth.     This also enhances the idea of books being bad because others have never truly investigated whether they were evil or not.  

However, like in all societies and cultures, there are the holdouts and the exceptions.  Guy Montag is the hero who discovers books, and what they stand for.  After watching a woman burn in her house alongside the literature of her life, Montag was left with a gritty impression, and a question: what on earth could be in these books that would make one want to die for them?  So, like any good man, he opened one up, and discovered their soul, their prose, their beauty.  Soon, he couldn’t go back.  however, when he shared with others, their closed minds couldn’t handle what would come from such content, the emotions, the Truth, and views.  Montag now stood in a position that was directly opposed to the direction of Everyone Else.  He had become like those he had fought against, defending the dead from the flames.  In the end, Montag does find other exiles, who have taken on the role of “living books”, keeping them in their minds and in their hearts.

These men represented the books.  however, it wasn’t the physical books that mattered.  It was the ideas.  Granger described the group as book burners as well:

  We read the books and burnt them, afraid that they’ll be found….Better to keep it in the old heads, where no one can see it or suspect it.  We are all bits of history and literature and international law.

The physical books were important, but they weren’t essential.  It was what was contained within the books that made them important.  The ideas and Truths that stood our time.  These men stood as one of the final sources for these truths.  Many of these ideas may have contradicted each other, but that does not remove the importance of them.

Part 2 will explore the importance of collecting the thoughts and ideas of rival thinkers and testing them, as well as the dangers of “groupthink” as the classic novel 1984 put it.

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Rebecca Black and her rise to popularity

I recently got on Twitter, and have found it to be an engaging medium for information. I’m able to keep up to date with many respected Theologians, podcasters, and the occasional celebrity. I also have been following the “trends” and phenomenons that cross the Twittersphere over time.

One phenomenon that occured recently is the popularity of one Rebecca Black. The story behind her is that this average 13 year old teen recorded the single “Friday”, and released it on Youtube, creating a rise of views within days. She became known via Twitter, and was soon in the middle of a conflict between lovers and haters of “Friday”.

After a time, I finally took time and watched her famous music video. I found the video to be okay. It was a catchy song; but with all of the talk surrounding it, I thought there would be more to it than an average music video, at least by my standards. But then I read a fascinating commentary on the situation by a Social Media executive, Pete Shankman:

There’s a young woman — perhaps you’ve heard of her — currently climbing the YouTube charts with a song about the days of the week, specifically, “Friday.” There’s also another song on YouTube rocketing to the top with a bullet, this one about a pair of jeans.

When I was a kid, we listened to songs about days of the week and clothing, and it was called Sesame Street, not “mainstream entertainment.”

Welcome to the age of mediocrity, where anyone with a computer, a video camera, and a few thousand dollars for production can be considered the next big thing.

But as sad as that is, what does it say about us as a society?

The writer believes that Black’s work to be a sign of the change in quality and substance in art, where any one man can make himself famous by posting a video. All you have to do is make you laugh, or be shocked. Is this actually true?

The author is right in saying that if all content is allowed, that many mediocre artists will become popular. But that also means that for an artist to become truly great, they must do fantastically. Many of the videos of our time have only travelled for a short time. They became One-Hit Wonders (or should I say One-ders?) overnight. But after that, what happens to them? They disappear. It is in the long-run that an artist will succeed.

As I mentioned earlier, the author also thought that this video shows how art is being changed, and losing it’s quality. He is right in that. It only makes sense that if one isn’t taught and introduced to quality art, than he will appreciate the mediocre pieces of art that are produced, and feeding those who need to work harder at their medium. So, if these critics want there to be better art, they should help us and introduce us to great art, while also comprehending that each and every one of us has our own opinion.

Overall, Rebecca Black is simply a one-hit wonder who will pass in time. However, her rise to popularity is a great illustration of a minor problem with modern culture.

Now, please note that I don’t hate Rebecca Black. I do think what she did is a pretty cool oppurtunity. I just don’t think it deserves the coverage it has received.

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