Friday, November 23, 2007

Pop Culture Roundup

I'm still reading The First Christmas. Borg and Crossan do a lot of contrasting between the use of words and phrases like "Son of God," "Savior," "kingdom of God," "King of the Jews" and so on with how they applied to Caesar and other Roman authorities. To me, that's nothing new but nonetheless interesting. One of the most fascinating discussions so far has been how Matthew presents Jesus as a new Moses: they talk about a midrashic story where Pharoah dreams of a baby who will be born and who will lead Israel, and that's what leads him to order the killing of male infants. This, of course, mirrors the arrival of the Magi and Herod's order to kill all male infants. Matthew presents the Magi for this purpose, because it makes little sense for God to give Herod a dream that leads him to freak out on the Jewish people. I'm liking this book.

We went to see Fred Claus this past week, which was okay. The movie borrows concepts that have almost become cliches in Christmas movies: we have the modern take on how the North Pole is run like a corporation, the need for someone other than Santa to deliver the presents, and the bad guy only being the bad guy because Santa didn't bring him what he wanted when he was a kid, but finally giving him that toy makes everything better. The interesting twist in this movie is the exploration of family dynamics, which they could have even done more with. There's the son who's clearly the favorite and who may be willfully oblivious to this fact, the brother who feels underappreciated and bitter, the mother who will overlook her favorite son's flaws at all costs and openly compare her children to each other, and a passive wallflower father. Family therapists might have a field day analyzing all of this.

This past week, House fired the Mormon doctor (affectionately nicknamed "Big Love") after he made a deal with Cuddy in order to satisfy a challenge presented by House. I'll leave the sordid details of that challenge alone. Suffice to say, House had made the challenge to get the candidates to undercut Cuddy's authority rather than make deals with her, so it was an easy choice. Next week, House picks his team, and I get the feeling that the plastic surgeon womanizer guy will be the odd one out. They've hinted at a thing between House and #13, we're not lucky enough to get rid of the blonde, and the guy who played Kumar has signed on as a regular. There. Easy.

This past week I've been enjoying the full Mezzanine album from Massive Attack.

Around the web, here's an infuriating game where you try to throw a paper airplane. I wanted to share my misery with others.