Friday, June 13, 2008

Pop Culture Roundup

This week I started reading Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis, a book about America's "Revolutionary Generation:" Franklin, Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, Washington, and Madison, and some of their actions in the earliest years of the U.S. Essentially, Ellis argues that they were far from being of like mind as they led the country's organization, and that the disagreements that they had about personal liberty vs. national oversight were thus woven into this country's fabric. I'm not too far into it yet.

I've honestly never been a huge fan of the Shrek movies. I thought that the first one was pretty good, with its jabs at Disney movies and general send-up of classic fairy tales. I found the second one to be a lot like the first, except different jabs and slightly different send-up, but basically the same schtick. I had little to no interest in seeing Shrek the Third, figuring it to be the same thing a third time around. Well, we watched it the other night, and I was right. This time we add Justin Timberlake voicing Arthur (as in the eventual King Arthur) and Eric Idle as Merlin in Prince Charming's SECOND attempt to rule Far Far Away. There is a funny bit with Pinocchio trying not to lie and a clever reference to one of Julie Andrews' (voice of Fiona's mother) most notable roles, but otherwise it's Same Shrek, Different Day. Meh.

When I first heard that Hairspray was being made into a movie, I asked, out loud, to anyone who'd listen: "Why?" Admittedly, I didn't know anything about the musical, but went ahead and assumed that I'd probably feel about it the same way I generally feel about Grease: cheesy, annoying, ultimately pointless, pop culture won't let it die, and John Travolta is in it. I caught part of it on HBO yesterday, and while it was indeed cheesy and slightly annoying, it actually had a great message about racial integration. I was surprised. Perhaps someday I will watch the entire thing.

When I was in college and before Heidelberg built their snazzy new fitness center, I would work out in the athletic center weight room. Of course, this place was heavily populated by football player/wrestler types, and we would listen to Loud Meathead Music while lifting. As I've returned to a regular routine, I find that such Loud Meathead Music gets the blood pumping more, so I've been listening to my scant collection of industrial metal, which hasn't been updated since college: a lot of Circle of Dust and Klank. It gets the job done. And I'm on the lookout for some newer stuff, too *coughChicagopeoplecough*.

Around the web, the Internet Monk, Michael Spencer, is slowly making the transition to his new blog, Jesus-Shaped Spirituality. Check it out.