Friday, September 04, 2009

Pop Culture Roundup

I've been reading The First Paul, the latest joint work by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan. The title plays off their previous books, The Last Week and The First Christmas...perhaps eventually people will be able to buy them as a boxed set. I almost expect a treatment of Revelation next. Anyway, Borg and Crossan set out to analyze the 13 letters attributed to Paul in an effort to reclaim Paul's context and theology. They divide these letters into three categories, and provide a comparison of the views contained therein. So we end up with the radical Paul, who was anti-slavery and anti-patriarchy, the conservative "Paul" who began to acquiesce to dominant cultural views of such things, and the reactionary "Paul" who completely contradicted the radical (read: authentic) Paul. Paul is presented as one who went against the cultural norms and helped spread a message of an alternative community and an alternative Lord, at which point we get Borg and Crossan's explanation of "Caesar is Lord" vs. "Jesus is Lord" and Rome's "peace through victory" vs. Christ's "peace through justice," which will be familiar territory for those who have read or heard these guys' stuff before.

I've been on an Audioslave kick lately. I think I'm still trying to erase the memory of that Chris Cornell album that I heard a few weeks ago. But mostly it was because I heard "Like a Stone" on the radio and thought, "Hey, I should listen to more Audioslave."

I also checked out an album this week by Future Bible Heroes entitled Eternal Youth. I had no idea what to expect, so I popped it into the van's CD player with anticipation. Then, halfway through the first song, I angrily thought to myself, "Okay, this retro-'80s crap needs to stop." Who was it who first said, "Hey man, remember Casio keyboards? People should totally start using those again"? The album became more tolerable as I continued to listen. I went ahead and took a peek at some Amazon reviews, where nearly everyone mentioned Stephen Merritt, a guy who co-wrote a lot of the songs and who is involved in a couple other groups, and I should have seen it coming: a lot of the reviewers said some variation of, "This isn't his best work. If you really want to see what he can do, listen to [blah blah blah]." Man, I always pick the wrong one.

In college, I watched a lot of Cartoon Network. A group of us especially loved the Cartoon Cartoons, such as Johnny Bravo and Dexter's Laboratory. I'm not sure that they show these any more. At any rate, this is one of my favorite episodes of Dexter's Laboratory, "Dexter and Computress Get Mandark," which is based on the narration of a 6-year-old. Enjoy: