Friday, June 09, 2006

Pop Culture Roundup

I read through In Parables by John Crossan this past week. It's a very thin book, though Crossan's style is a little more dense than some of his buddies (Borg, Patterson). Crossan first gives his thoughts on the characteristics of parable, differentiating from allegory and suggesting, as has Patterson, that parables hardly, if ever, turn out to be simple moral example stories. Instead, they communicate something about the kingdom of God, a reality that in some sense is already here and not yet here, whether it's how God is establishing it, what happens within it, and so on. Crossan divides the parables into a few different groups: advent, reversal, action, and so on, seeking to differentiate between foci within them. My only critique is that I have questions about his attempts to reconstruct the 'original form' of each parable. I can see well enough how he may think certain elements added by the early church (I share some suspicions), but the original form that he usually comes up with happens to coincide with his point, which I find suspect. Over all, a good resource on parables, though Patterson is a little more accessible.

My wife was scandalized that I had never seen the original
Superman movie with Christopher Reeve. In turn, yesterday I was scandalized to learn that she has never seen the original Batman with Michael Keaton. Seriously, they're probably about to try to mess with Jack Nicholson's Joker, and you won't have anything to compare it to?! But that's for another day. We're gonna talk about Superman, since I wanted something to compare the new movie to. Honestly, I didn't find the movie to be that great. The destruction of Krypton took a very long time, as did the big flood scene near the end (Oh no! It's gonna really, it's gonna flood...any minute it comes the flood...oh, this is gonna be really really'll see...the water's getting closer...). The movie all in all is more one of self-discovery for Superman, and his clash with Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman is a great actor in everything he does, by the way) is almost an afterthought. Maybe I'm just jaded. I'm not that big a Superman fan to begin with. Most other big-screen superheroes have some grit to them (Batman, Spiderman, X-Men), but then here comes Superman with his 'truth, justice, and the American Way.' He's the symbol of a good and proper all-American boy scout type, and most of the others listed are more conflicted, darker, have to deal with lives as human beings (in whatever sense). Superman just has trouble remembering not to fly with his glasses on so no one suspects anything. That's simplistic. Like I said, not much of a fan.

We've bade goodbye to
The Sopranos for the year, only for them to return in January. Even with its more explosive moments (Tony getting shot, AJ getting in trouble, Vito running off and then getting whacked), it's been a quieter season. I'm thinking that it's probably the calm before the storm, though. So what's a Soprano fan to do while he waits? Well, this particular fan just tunes back in to HBO because Entourage is starting up again. It appeals to both my inner frat boy and my inner Jeremy Piven fan. When we last left our heroes, Aquaman was about to break (where on the above spectrum does Aquaman fall?) and Ari had been fired by the agency. Can't wait to see what happens next.

I've been listening to Weird Al Yankovic's Poodle Hat, which has both some good and bad moments. Good: Angry White Boy Polka (his usual putting a whole bunch of popular songs to polka, this time focusing on the likes of Limp Bizkit and System of a Down), Bob (an obvious parody of Bob Dylan where he just strings together a whole bunch of palindromes), and parodies of Eminem, Nelly, and a few others. Bad: Genius in France (he probably thought it was hilarious while writing it, sucks), Hardware Store (again, he probably thought it was hilarious...). Weird Al albums are pretty hit-and-miss that way, but when he's on, he's on.

Around the web, there's this book site called Library Thing where you can create a database of your books just by typing in the title. There are other sites like this, but this seems like one of the simpler ones to work with to me.